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166 is the new 174 – A Lesson in Kindness

This is one of those “real talk” honesty posts. 

Yeah, I’m talking about my weight. Time to break that stigma.

Lets back track for a moment. At the end of my last semester at Tech, I weighed the heaviest I’ve ever weighed. The scale at the school clinic read 174 pounds. And I can feel this weight. When I run, when I hike, when I go up stairs. In my joints and my feet, I feel heavy.

When I left for my cross country trip, I probably weighed around that. Three weeks later, on the other end of the trip, the scale read 159 lbs. I couldn’t remember the last time my weight was in the 50’s. I was thrilled. A week and a half later, I put back on 6 pounds and thought “how the fuck did that happen?” And I’ll be honest, that spiraled me into a mild depression, which I have a history of. One that really took me a few days and some serious thought and self-motivation to climb out it.

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Sunset in Black Canyon of the Gunnison Nat’l Park. Shortly after this photo was taken by Christiana Hoff, we saw a bear.

I have, like many women and men, been plagued by body issues on and off throughout my life. A while ago, I got really tired of hating myself. I went through all of these mental exercises to change how I looked at, and treated, my body. I stopped having a negative thought reel running through my head. I made myself stand in front of a mirror naked and held myself while saying how thankful I was for different parts of my body. I did this until I reached a point where, when I looked at myself in a mirror, or a photo, I held an admiration for my body and all that it does for me. My feet and legs can carry me up mountains. My arms can pull someone into a warm embrace or climb up a rock wall.

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Second from the front – summiting Mount Baker, WA. Photo by Jason Wang

And yet, while I thought I had convinced myself I loved my body, I’m not so sure I ever really got there. I got busy and stopped making myself a priority. I stopped eating healthy and exercising daily and somewhere along the way, I lost my love for myself too.

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Straight cheesin’ – Photo taken after hiking up St. Arnaud with some rad people – Studying abroad in New Zealand 3-4 years ago, I was in the best shape of my life.

When I look in the mirror, sometimes I want to cry. But you know what, I’m honestly tired of it. I’m tired of feeling sorry for myself. I’m tired of being ashamed. I’m tired of thinking I can’t be beautiful or sexy unless I look a certain way.

I start thinking, “if only I dropped 30 pounds and was a size 6 again I would be happy.” But would I? Would it ever actually be enough? I don’t think so. Because after I got there, I might think, ” if only I lost 10 more pounds and got to a size 4…”

Hey self! I am a woman! A beautiful, vivacious, and passionate woman. I have curves. I am squishy and soft and comfortable. I do not want my happiness, nor how I view myself, to be defined by something so limiting and divisive as a number. So then I asked myself, “what do you want instead?” I want to be an athlete. I want to climb mountains. I want to run around and be able to keep up with kids. I don’t want to be out of breath when I walk up stairs. I want to feel comfortable in my own skin. That won’t come from a number. It will come from a feeling. From feeling strong. From feeling powerful. From feeling healthy. THAT is what I must accomplish. Not dropping __ pounds.

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Naked in Nature – in Canyonlands National Park. Yeah, some strangers ended up catching the tail end of this photoshoot. Photo by Christiana Hoff

Did I just talk myself out of feeling depressed or down? No. Did I just become okay again with my body? No. It isn’t that easy.

But it’s time to start standing in front of a mirror again, set a timer for five minutes, and shower myself with love. Time to massage my feet, poke and prod my tummy, wrap my arms around myself and say “thank you” more often. Time to remind myself that I am eating healthy not to lose weight but because my body DESERVES it. I deserve it. It will take time. I will have to be patient with myself. Kind to myself. But I really shouldn’t ever be anything but kind to myself.

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Check out that sexy…crossbedding.

So ladies, and gents, if you are reading this and feel the same way, or struggle with the same thoughts, be kind to yourself. Nothing really, truly worth doing or feeling comes from hatred or negativity. And if you ever feel ashamed or afraid to talk about your weight, tell those feelings and thoughts to fuck off. You are beautiful, and weight is just a number that means nothing to anyone that really matters. Including yourself. Including myself.

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