Sunday, November 18, 2012

Beautiful...(this is a LONG post)

This post is going to be a bit different.  It's something that has been on my heart and something that I have experienced both positively and negatively.  After talking with someone at the 5K I ran on Friday night I realized just how much this is on my heart and decided I needed to write it all out.  **Disclaimer:  There will be some references to my faith (so if that offends you then you may want to quit reading but I hope you will read the whole way through).  I also had great parents who never fed me the negativity to lead to a poor self image- I have a dad who sets a great example and loves me no matter what my body size is.

For my whole life I have struggled with the image of myself- really though what I was dealing with was the image of what I thought I should be.  This myth was pushed on me by tv, movies, magazines, even the people who I went to school with.  I never struggled with an eating disorder but I know plenty who have.  I did struggle with comforting myself with food.  When things happened I would turn to those fried foods, chocolate, fattening foods to fill that empty hole that was left.  So, I guess in a sense I did struggle with an eating disorder- just the opposite kind of what you would expect.  I compared myself to the people who appeared on my screen, co-workers, friends, even family members and I always found myself selling myself short.  I got frustrated when I would try to lose weight and nothing would happen (more on that in a later post- probably much later).  Then in 2004 I met someone and he told me I was beautiful and you know what- I believed him.  So, when my heart was broken a few months later- I hid and went to the opposite end of the spectrum.  I buried my grief in time at the gym, changing my eating habits, and basically took myself down to where I thought I would be happy and then I would feel beautiful.  But, as always, life got in the way and through a span of 2-3 years I regained every single one of those 30 lbs I lost and found myself back in the same state of questioning and turmoil I had been in before.  Throughout the last 5 years I have gone up and down, yo-yo'd my way through several "diets" and given up when I should have kept on. And through it all- beautiful was not a word in my self describing vocabulary.

 So, what makes this time different?  I'm not really sure I can put my finger on it.  I think part of it is that I have FINALLY realized that it's a lifestyle.  Being diagnosed with high blood pressure was a huge wake up call for me.  Having to change my diet because of the kidney stones was another one.  I also have a doctor who looked at me and said, "THIS (with a number) is around where I want you.  I don't want you to go too much lower or you will look sick.  Your bone structure is such that this would be a good place for you to land and maintain."  That number was doable- not too far off where I was a few years ago.  Someone telling me that I didn't have to be on the low end of my numbers and that it's okay that I don't look like the media's perception of beauty was what I needed.

So, what brought me to this post today- the realization that I needed to hear it and read it myself.  The understanding that where I am in my job puts me in a position where I am seeing young girls struggle with this every day- even at the preschool age.  The knowledge that I need to do something about it- just not sure what.  and this- this song that I heard this week and my heart ached because to hear this- even now, at age 37- reminds me that God created me the way I am.  Psalm 139 says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  He knew my body structure, my dna, my struggles and successes even before I was a thought in the hearts of my mom and dad.  So, if you have stuck with me through this long post- I would love to hear your thoughts, your struggles, your tips on fighting the myths out there.

Oh- and I have realized that for ME (and not for everyone)- true beauty comes from the inside out, from having a heart that has a passion for the lost, for the hurting, and for sharing with others where their true beauty comes from.  It comes from a heart for God that seeks him in all I say and do, to look for Him and how He is working in my life- even while I am running and exercising.  To recognize that He has given me my body and I need to honor Him with the choices I make with it.  So, am I beautiful- maybe not by the world's standards but by His standards I am stunningly beautiful and THAT is enough for me.


Guinn Girls said...

You are most beautiful inside and out.

I think ALL women, girls battle self esteem issues somewhat and I think it is made that way by magazines, news, media, tv, etc. It is not about been thin, it's all about being HEALTHY!!! Thats is what I want for others.....I know I feel better. You know my story and I just want to motivate, inspire, encourage, and help others get HEALTHY!!!!

Beauty comes from the inside the outside is just a case to containn all that beauty! LOVE YOU!

Bill (cycleguy) said...

You have absolutely no clue how proud I am of you. Thanks for including me as part of your inspiration, but the truth is that you chose to do this. Can't wait to see you in a couple of days.

Amber Michelle said...

Hi Tami! So excited to see how God continues to shine his beauty through you. Hope you stay encouraged and motivated to be healthy. I'm sure you will! :)

Betty said...

Tami, you are a courageous woman. It sounds like God has given you some wisdom to help you rise above how you judge yourself.

Enjoy your holidays with your family. Happy Thanksgiving.

Jay Cookingham said...

I admire you courage and you attitude and the willingness to share your story to help others. The Father is pleased with that kind of heart.

Floyd said...

You are definitely a chip off the ole' block! Some people never accept the wisdom God is trying to show them. In truth I don't know a single person alive that doesn't have many issues with insecurities. It's part of our fallen world and nature. We want perfection, but it's not gonna happen on this side of heaven.

With age a small amount of wisdom I see others and myself differently than I did in the insecure years. I now see people through the eyes of God. It doesn't matter so much what they look like as much as it does who they truly are on the inside where God looks.

The true beauty of a person can't be measure by a number or a mirror... The size of our soul is up to God and us to pursue His call...

Interestingly I've been thinking about the same issues and I have in my notes to do a post on just that I mentioned; "The Size Of A Soul." Thanks for the great post and honesty, it's encouraging for all of us who struggle with our own issues.

Lindsay @ Lindsay's List said...

LOVE THIS! My thoughts exactly!

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