I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now (actually I’ve been wanting to write a lot of posts…), and I’m glad I’m finally sitting down to do it. I’ve shifted my way of thinking in 2019… but I’d be lying if I said the last few years — and things that occurred during that time — didn’t affect today’s headspace. The clock didn’t simply strike midnight and a brand new me was born… but I think it is important for me to share what’s changed and why.
Here goes vulnerability… Back in 2016 I gained 20 lbs in 2 months. I was DEVASTATED. I had always cared about my appearance and despite weight fluctuations in the past, this was more than I’d ever weighed. Most confusing, nothing had changed in my life for that to happen. I didn’t stop my regular workout plan, I didn’t change my eating habits, I wasn’t even more stressed than normal… but yet, 20 lbs came on quick. Worse than the sudden gain was my inability to lose the weight. In an effort to lose I became vegan (also because I was convinced that some underlying health issue was the cause), I worked out more, I made an effort to do things that suited my mental wellbeing so I wouldn’t be stressed… and nothing worked. After going to the doctor and being told that my metabolism had simply slowed down… I was upset, frustrated. I knew that the doctor’s diagnosis didn’t make sense but it didn’t change how I started to see my body. My clothing didn’t fit anymore so I replaced what I had with baggy clothes to hide my new proportions. And while I wasn’t stoked about my body’s change, after about 6 months of it, I started to accept that this new shape would be my new norm.
At the end of 2016 something truly magical happened: I met my now husband, Haroon. While our first meeting wasn’t a fairytale, the weeks and months following absolutely were. I picked up and moved to be with him in California after just 3 short months together, and I truly never felt happier. He thought I was beautiful as I was — in the body I was still learning to love — and for the first time I even started to feel my best without makeup. Isn’t it crazy how someone else’s impression of you can make or break your own feelings of self worth? He thought I was the most beautiful with a makeup-free face, and in his words and love, I started to see my beauty too. I was really learning to love myself. I gave up my need to get down to my old size and just focused on enjoying every moment I could with my new love. We tried new restaurants, I said yes to every new experience, and through the process I actually put on another 16 lbs… I like to call that my “happy weight.” And even though I really was happy, I started to become acutely aware of my dislike for photos (because, let’s face it… I was not just the 20 lbs heavier that I was already trying to get used to, I’d gained another 16!) and general lack of fitness.
Then in May 2018 I finally did something I’d been wanting to do, and went to a Naturopath. THANK GOD. Literally, this was life-changing. You see, my doctor back in 2016 was absolutely wrong and I was totally right… my sudden weight gain was health related, she just didn’t do the right tests to get the necessary information. By the time I went to the Naturopath, I was planning my wedding (yay! exciting!) but also feeling like pure shit every day. I was exhausted, lethargic, in a haze, couldn’t handle being around anyone, and yes, couldn’t lose weight. Turns out I had 2 big problems, issues with my liver and my thyroid. I got on some supplements and followed the doctor’s orders and voila… I feel like myself again and I’ve lost about 22 of the 36 lbs I put on. My health is not back to normal but it is improving greatly. But all of that is really just a back story to what I’m about to say.
2019 me wants to apologize to every other version of myself because, well, I avoided pictures if I didn’t have my makeup on or was heavier than desired and therefore don’t have a ton of pictures of the first 2 years of my relationship… which is not only sad but totally silly. So, I’m sorry that I didn’t feel like I looked good enough to be in pictures because I know future me will want to look back on those memories. But what I’m thankful for now? I’m moving forward with a completely new mindset. I’m taking the damn pictures and I’m posting them. Whether I look “perfect” or not, I’m doing it. And I hope you will too.
My wedding photos were probably the biggest indicator to my changed mental state. I looked at the millions of pictures Lynnsey sent me (by the way she’s fantastic and I’ll have to write a post all about her), and while I noticed the things I didn’t love in some pictures — like an unflattering angle that made my stomach look larger than it is, or my doughy arms, or my double chin… good LORD my double chin — I also noticed the huge toothy smile put on my face by my handsome groom, I noticed the genuine happiness exuding from each photo, I noticed the moments captured on camera that I’ll be able to show my future children, and quite frankly, I noticed a beauty in myself that I’ve never given any mind to… just being me is a beautiful thing because I’m the only Anjelica Renee Osborne — well Atebar if I ever get around to legally changing my name! — and that’s something worth noticing.
So in this post, I show you a sequence of pictures an old me might have hidden from the world because I only saw the flaws… but 2019 Anj is all about celebrating just being me.
I don’t mean to sound preachy or even to say that I’m not trying to get my fitness on this year, but just that being exactly where I am right now is fine too. There’s no need to hide from the camera or avoid awesome moments just because you aren’t where you want to be just yet. If I were to mention a current “movement” that’s become popular in social media, I’d have to hashtag “self-love.” Sounds very cliche, but truly, loving myself is so much more important to me than the fact that I can’t fit into jeans that I wore in college. I hope if you’re currently staying out of pictures because you only notice your flaws, you’ll use this new year as a time to reevaluate how important those “flaws” are in the grand scheme of things… probably not very important at all.
Leave me a comment with some of your 2019 goals… I hope at least one of them has to do with loving yourself just a little bit more than last year!
All images by Lionlady Photography.