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You Can Love Yourself & Change Yourself at the Same Time

Trigger warning: body image, weight gain, weight loss, depression, suicide, death, grief

I find myself hesitant to write about certain topics. Topics that could be controversial, topics that may be triggering to readers, topics that I don’t know a whole lot about. Okay, let’s just say that I am hesitant to write about almost anything other than my training recaps. I also know that the “REAL” stuff is what my readers appreciate. It’s what I appreciate from other bloggers. I love when I read someone’s blog and can’t stop saying, “ME TOO!” It really does feel validating to read that someone else is going through the same things you are, thinking the same way, experiencing life in a similar fashion.

Today’s tough to write about topic is my recent weight gain and ALL the stuff that added up to get me here. So heed the trigger warning at the beginning of the post and if you’d rather not read about those topics, go ahead and click right on out of this post. If you’re ready to dive into my jumbled mess of a mind, hold onto your butts, cuz here we go!

Someone I follow on Instagram once posted, “It is possible to love yourself and change yourself at the same time.” I struggle with being 100% body positive, loving myself all of the time, and who doesn’t? However I would say the majority of the feelings I have about myself and about my body are either neutral or positive. I don’t have any issue with the way that I look right now, but I will admit that I am frustrated. I am frustrated to be at my highest weight despite being as active as I usually am (although I will also argue that the number on the scale is a bunch of BS and doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things) but even more frustrated that the weight I’ve gained has caused a lot of my clothes to not fit so well. And I have a LOT of clothes.

While I don’t hate the way I look and I don’t particularly hate that I have gained weight, I am frustrated by my clothes not fitting. When body positive people say, “Well just get clothes that fit you!”, that is coming from a privileged place. Part of my frustration is that I spend a lot of my hard earned money on clothing. Some of the clothing items are ones that cannot be replaced. It sucks not being able to fit into the clothes that you want to wear. It’s not that I want to look a certain way or to be a specific size, just that I want to wear the clothes I have!

How did I get here? I’m not listing these things as excuses, but as all the stuff that has piled up and landed me where I am at. I had been maintaining the same weight, give or take about 5 pounds, for just over 3 years. At the end of 2014 I was about the same size and weight that I am now, except I was not nearly as active. I found the running community and started to get more serious about training. I trained for a triathlon. By 2017, I had lost about 30 pounds. I didn’t do anything extreme – I was eating the foods that I loved and I was physically active in a way that made me feel good. Mentally, however, I was struggling.

After running a marathon in 2017 and having a really difficult friendship break up, I put on 15 pounds almost overnight it felt like. It was 100% stress and eating related. I was eating sugary foods left and right. The good thing was, though, that I eventually leveled off the sugar cravings and my weight leveled off, too. I maintained that weight and body size from the end of 2017 until the beginning of 2021.

2020 was a very difficult year for me. My husband was hospitalized multiple times. My dad was hospitalized multiple times. There was a flood and a crazy wind storm. Not to mention there was a worldwide pandemic. Work was stressful because of the pandemic. I was running, but not like I had been, because there weren’t races or at least not ones that I felt comfortable running. The year ended with my husband having surgery and vaccines for COVID-19 coming out – it felt like the worst was behind us.

In February, I reached a breaking point. All that had happened to us became just too overwhelming, and I told my coworkers, a few close friends and my husband that I was depressed and suicidal. My coworkers were adamant with me about talking to my doctor and asking for medication. At the end of February, I started taking Zoloft and continuing to work with my therapist. By 6 weeks into taking it, I definitely noticed a difference.

And then my mom died.

At first, I had no interest in eating. I would forget to eat. I did not have the energy to make meals. I relied on fast food and carry out frequently. After a while, my interest in eating came back but my lack of desire to cook for myself did not. And then I started eating more for comfort.

There are a lot of factors contributing to me gaining weight since the beginning of 2020, the majority of it happening since the end of April 2021. I am gentle with myself about it even though it is frustrating to have a lot of clothes that don’t fit. I am also real with myself and know that there are changes I can make that will help me be healthier and feel better – and that doesn’t necessarily mean weight loss, either. I am making small changes but not denying myself, either. I started the first week of August with drinking more water. I already have noticed a difference in how I feel and that I am actually craving water more than anything else to drink. My next goal is to make myself breakfast every day instead of getting Tim Hortons or Starbuck’s. I’m not planning to never ever get breakfast from those places again, but lately it has been something I’ve done every single day during the work week. I’m not 100% sure yet what my next goal will be after that.

I am working on both loving myself and changing for the better, in so many different ways.

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