Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Body Image

I've been mulling over this post for awhile now.  I think it's an interesting topic, but I also don't want it to come out the wrong way.  So hopefully I get across the point I'm trying to make in a positive way.

As I have mentioned several times, I have rejoined Weight Watchers (I keep telling you so I can be accountable).  When I rejoined, I saw my highest weight ever.  Not the most amazing feeling, but I needed to accept it so I could move on.  I knew I was making doing the right thing by deciding to focus on being healthy.  This moment got me thinking about how my body image has changed over the years.

If you asked me if I think I struggled with my weight growing up, I would say yes.  I think my freshman year of high school was the point that I can recall feeling heavy and that I needed to do something about it.  I recognized that unlike many of my friends, I couldn't go to a birthday party and eat tons of chips and cake.  I knew that they weren't a healthy choice - which is something I am very grateful to learn about through the healthy choices my parents made.  However, my parent's struggle with weight was no secret so they made sure to teach my brother and I to make better choice than they did when they were young.  Here I am as a freshman in high school at about 150 pounds:
Retrospectively, I look pretty darn good!  But hindsight's 20/20 right?  Over the next few years, I started gaining weight.  I attribute some of this to the fact that my body was still changing and I wasn't quite done growing yet.  I continued to swim throughout high school, but swimming alone isn't the best way to keep weight off.  By the time I started college, I weighed around 175 pounds:
I knew college was dangerous for someone like me.  I tried hard to be conscious of what I was eating and I joined a sports club to try to stay in shape.  By the time I was a sophomore, I was up to about 190 pounds:
This is that point at which I decided I needed to buckle down and do something.  I joined Weight Watchers and set some goals.  My recent engagement and a goal to finish a triathlon motivated me to lose nearly 20 pounds, putting be back at the weight I started college at:
Even though I back to the same weight that I started college, I think I was in better shape than ever before.  My running was strong and I was happy with where I was.  I wish I had done a better job at maintaining that weight.  But my return to school in the fall was stressful.  Between my work load and planning a wedding, I lost focus of my health goals.  I was still doing ok until the wedding.  The wedding undeniably derailed me.  Sitting on the beach in Mexico at an all inclusive resort that week after the wedding didn't help things either.  I don't think I ever really recovered from that because the next thing you knew, my senior year was starting.  And it was the most stressful semester of my college career.  And now here I am:
I can't believe I'm even sharing this photo with you, but it's where I'm at right now.  When I recommitted, I weighed in at 207 pounds.  This is my effort at full disclosure.  I know I have a lot of work to do, but I know I'm on the right path.

I don't want my story to sound like excuses, because they aren't.  I let my health fall by the wayside, when it should have been my top priority.  But even though I'm heavier than before, I feel like I've come a long way in terms of my body image.  I think I felt a lot better about myself when I weighed 175 pounds for the second time.  Maybe it was because I worked so hard to get there or maybe it's just a case of your weight looks better going down than going up.

Sometimes I wish I hadn't been so hard on myself when I was so young.  I almost wonder how things would have been different if I hadn't put so much pressure on myself when I was young.  I was lucky in the sense that even though I didn't always feel great about my body, I was always confident and outgoing.  I never let my weight stop me from doing the things I wanted to do.  And I don't think that has changed.

It's hard to learn to love the skin you're in when you're not where you want to be.  But it's important to try because we are all worth it.  And this is especially worth it if you're on the right track and trying hard to make the right choices.


  1. great post!

    Im not happy with my body right now. I really need to buckle down with WW and drop it down!

  2. we're here with you every step of the way :)

  3. I think you have a great attitude about it Carly! Good luck to you in reaching your goals and try to have fun along the way. A lot of healthy food is tasty and as you know, training for tri's and races can be really fun and rewarding too! Keep at it!! :)

  4. Weight and body image are such tough topics. It's so easy to fall into the trap of "I'll be happy when...." I'm glad you are happy where you are right now.

  5. I look back on photos of myself when I was younger, I looked great, but I beat myself up over my weight. I wish that I was kinder to myself. You really do have a great mindset : )

  6. Very good and honest post. I think all girls deal with body image issues I agree with Molly i was very critical of myself when I was younger and i look back at pictures and I wanna kick myself for worrying about and not embracing how great I looked. Good luck with your recommitment and with your greater knowledge of yourself and what is really important I know you'll achieve your health goals, I am thinking about rejoining WW I let the holidays and the stress of moving get the best of me.

  7. Thank you so much for having the courage to post this, Carly! I really enjoyed reading it. I am always so AMAZED at your persistence and your willingness to make sacrifices to accomplish your goals!! You are such a healthy individual, and I think you touch on that: "Even though I back to the same weight that I started college, I think I was in better shape than ever before." I think that's the really important part. Also, "I was lucky in the sense that even though I didn't always feel great about my body, I was always confident and outgoing" — this is SO your personality! I'm glad that you have been able to let it shine through in spite of your difficulties. Please let me know if there's ever anything I can to do help you out or encourage you (or just spend the night scrapbooking! hehe) :)