Last weekend this time I was in the midst of a mini-vacation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Now we all know that if one is in Myrtle Beach in July, then a swimsuit is the outfit of the day. But what if the swimsuits that used to make you look like a Victoria’s Secret model are now making you look like a pork tenderloin wrapped in twine?
That was my dilemma. So, here I am, Lisa, also known as FitGirl, known for competing in Figure and Physique. Known for teaching INSANITY and ZUMBA and Kickboxing. Known for being a personal trainer. Known for being a Sports Nutrition Consultant. Here I am looking like I am auditioning to be a stunt double for Miss Piggy. And it is all my fault.
So, earlier this year, I was amped. I was ready. I was going to kick booty on stage this year! I was going to dive head first into my diet. I was going to throw those weights up in the gym. I was going to make those mirrors sweat with my posing routine. I had it all laid out: the perfect plan. And then came life.
A Slippery Slope
I had gone back to work in law enforcement, not realizing the commitment on my time and the restrictions on when I would be able to eat throughout the day. The freedom that I had experienced in my first 20 years of policing was not present with my re-entry into the world of gun & badge. On top of that, my sons had activities that required travel all over the continental US (or at least it seemed that way), which meant plenty of driving time for momma bear. And then there was the helping with the family business of owning a martial arts school. And if I’m keeping it totally 100% with you, there were also Cracker Barrel pancakes. And therein lay my downfall.
I worked, drove, worked some more, drove some more and ate whatever whenever in between. And over time, my body began to tell the tale. I knew that I could get back into “fighting shape” if my diet and workouts were on point, but I did not see that happening any time soon. And so, life went on with me working, driving, eating, working, driving, eating. And then came summer, vacation, and swimsuits.
Now, I have never been a one piece swimsuit kind of gal. So of course, I have an arsenal of two piece swimsuits in every color and pattern imaginable, except argyle. Argyle I save strictly for sweaters and socks. Anyhow, there I was packing swimsuits for my family trip to Myrtle Beach, wondering what I would look like with the suits on but not daring to try any of them on before stowing them in my suitcase. We make the drive down to the sunny, perfect beach with stops for Icees, Slurpees, and fried chicken along the way. Of course, I indulged because I am a team player and I can’t let the team down by not partaking in fun, fattening food, right? Right.
We check into the resort and of course, my sons want to go where? Of course, to the beach. *Sigh* Really??? After Icees, Slurpees and fried chicken wings? I trudged into the bedroom and pulled out a jumble of swimsuits, tossing each aside until I settled on a patriotic themed suit. I figured that the flag pattern on the suit would distract from my bloated midriff and thunder thighs. I pulled on a black cover up (in mourning for the body I used to have) and headed to the sun, sand, and cool water.
As I self-consciously walked across the sand, dragging blankets, towels and beach umbrellas, I silently wondered if people could see my extra bulk through my cover up. I wondered if I would look crazy going into the ocean with the cover up on. I wondered if my discomfort was obvious. I silently beat myself up for allowing my body to get this out of control. I blamed my schedule and responsibilities for my wayward eating habits. I made myself feel guilty for not being able to fit into even my largest size shorts this summer, all because I would not give up pancakes, waffles, or any of the other crap food I ate on the run.
A Wake-up Call
I wearily laid out the blankets and towels as my children kicked off their sandals, pulled t-shirts over their heads and ran carefree into the ocean. *Sigh* Last summer, I would have been hightailing it darned near naked across the sand too. Last summer, when I was thin, when I didn’t eat so much, when I trained seriously. But, that was then, this is now. I plopped down onto the towel, prepared to be semi-depressed, picked up a book and attempted to read. My eyes roamed the pages but did not really pick up any words. Zero reading. Zero comprehension. Too much laughter.
I looked up. Too much laughter? Yep, too much laughter. And it was coming from a lady. In a bikini. Who was having the time of her life with her children. Who was also twice my size. TWICE MY SIZE! Hold up. This woman who was twice my size was rocking a two piece while running into the water with her children and not giving a damn who sees her, and is obviously comfortable in the skin she is in. And there I was sitting on the blanket moping because I was one size larger than the largest size stored in my closet, but by society’s standards, still on the slim side. WHAT was wrong with this picture? Or more importantly, what was wrong with ME?
I put the book down and slowly stood up. Without looking around, I pulled that that cover up off and trotted across the sand to the water. And as I ran across the sand, I threw off insecurities. I threw off guilt. I threw off blame. I threw off dissatisfaction with self, AND I ACCEPTED ME 100%.
Loving Myself, Accepting and Appreciating Myself
I understood that, no, I am not the woman that I was last year, or three years ago, or five years ago. But I also know that the woman that I am in this moment is not the woman that I will be three years from now or five years from now. In this life, nothing is permanent and we are always changing; ever-evolving. And while my body may not be where I want it to be, it doesn’t have to stay the way that it is. I have the power to create change. And I also have the power to create a healthy mindset about myself in the process. It is imperative that I love myself and the skin that I am in whether I am skinny, fat, short, tall, light, dark, because I am one of a kind–unique–and there is no one like me. I am fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of God and the last thing that He wants is for me to think that I am less than when I am truly great. Our self-perspective can make or break us. It can determine our success or failure. And real talk, many times, the way that we view ourselves is harsher than the reality. Many times, we are our own worst enemies. We must learn to love, accept and appreciate ourselves in EVERY stage in which we find ourselves in life. We must have the mindset that we are AWESOME no matter what. And then walk in that awesomeness. Live in that awesomeness. Be that awesomeness.