Nobody warned me about the mental transformation I'd have to go through when my body changed. I naturally assumed that as the pounds fell off, the happiness would come. The more I lost, the happier I'd become. Why not? I'd dreamed of being lean and strong for years and years, and now that it was finally happening, I could be happy. Wrong! It is eerily similar to the theory that the more money I have, the happier I'll be.
Happiness is not in the external. We all know that, but somehow the assumptions are still made that we will be happy some day.
Some day...when we are thin. Some day...when cute clothes look good. Some day...when we can do our own hair and makeup. Some day...when people mistake us for Jessica Biel (or whoever your celebrity icon is).
But I will tell you, as rewarding as taking the reins of my own life has been, there is nothing more fulfilling than the day I learned to accept myself.
This is why I start here. Many ask me how I lost weight...how I know how to dress...how, how how. But I have to say that the most critical part of my transformation had nothing to do with the exterior.
Dropping from a size 16+ to an 8 was no easy feat. I worked hard. I fought hard. I made it happen. But I was shocked to discover that the negative self image hadn't budged. The negative thoughts in my head had not changed. Sarah was still fat, ugly, and hopeless. She still had massive fat clinging to every bit and still dreamed of the some day...just as she had a few years and a lot of sizes earlier.
The mornings consisted of me standing in my closet fighting back tears trying to figure out how to dress this monster in a way that the world would accept and not be repulsed by. At 200+ pounds and 150.
It wasn't fair. I'd worked hard. Why was I still so hideous?
Oh but I wasn't. I never was to begin with. :)
People would tell me I was beautiful when I was obese. I'd think, oh they are just telling me that to make me feel better. They know how miserable life is when you look like Buddha, so they are throwing me a little bone.
Not true! Our friends, our loved ones...those we trust and respect...they LOVE us. It is so crucial to learn to respect those we love when they tell us these things.
It wasn't until I gave myself permission to view me as others did that I learned to accept and love who I was NOW.
I had spent so much energy putting myself into a box (that I alone had created) that I couldn't help but focus on the negative! I can't wear that because I have big ankles, I can't pull this style off because I'm too big, and so on.
Style is not about arriving...it's not a destination. It's not about becoming someone or something else some day. You are worthy of your own dreams just as you are. A unique, stylish individual with something new to share with the world.
It's true, I have pretty things. I read a lot and have learned a lot about body shape, how to dress appropriate for certain occasions, and how to make the same closet fresh and interesting every day. I have learned how to lose weight in a healthy way. Things I am looking forward to delving into here. Don't worry...acceptance includes permission to change and improve. To accept is not to settle.
But before I get into all of that, it is critical that I share with you why it is important to accept yourself as you are TODAY.
So stop right here. Go to a mirror, and take a loooong look at yourself. But view yourself objectively. Look at your face. Take note of your eyes and your cheekbones. Look at the shape of your shoulders and the curves (subtle or not) of your body lines. Embrace the entire picture for what it is NOW. Not the someday or the then and when, but the NOW. YOU. As you are. Take special note of the features you are most proud of...your waistline, your legs, your ankles (if you have slim ones, I'm jealous!), your teeth, your hair, your eyes. What do you love? Make a mental list, and come share that here with the rest of us. I don't want to hear about what you don't love or who you don't look like. It isn't about anybody else right now.
My style epiphany was born from the very moment I embraced Sarah. Not only did I accept my physical being, but I accepted my style. I didn't need to be anyone else anymore, because I had my worst critic's approval now. There isn't a right or wrong, there is a you or not you. Be you. Allow yourself to invest in you rather than change who you are. Give yourself permission to be happy.
I do want to go into details of how I lost weight and how I learned to dress my best features. And we will. But I can promise you that those things will not work for you if you can't start today by accepting who you are - inside and out. It will fall on deaf ears and closed hearts.
So over to you, share one or two features about yourself that you love. I want to hear why, too!
Top: Target, Pants: Elizabeth and James, Shoes: Nine West, Necklace: JCrew