I hear a lot about “Non Scale Victories” in the weight loss world. I have even had a few myself. I know the point is to acknowledge the little landmarks that let us know we are making progress.
Admission 1: I suppose I don’t usually do this because I feel like these little “victories” are all normal things I should have never stopped being able to do to begin with. I know that sounds terrible and I admit I am my own worst critic. However, I had a pretty major “Non Scale Victory” over the weekend -both mental and physical that I just had to share. It is a little tough for me to admit some of these things but what good is a blog that isn’t honest? Anyway….
Admission 2– There are no “real” pictures of my husband and I in our house. Sure there are plenty of vacation snap shots and ya’ll know we take selfies like a teenage girl before prom but, yeah, there are no real photos of us in our home. When we got engaged 9 years ago I really didn’t know that elaborate engagement shoots were a “thing”- not that it really would have mattered.
Admission 3– I still cringe when I look at our wedding photos. So what about the wedding? I will always look back at those photos fondly in the sense that it was a wonderful and happy day. I had the wedding I always wanted at sunset with our favorite people. The day itself was wonderful. I honestly don’t mean to sound ungrateful or like a brat, BUT all of the happy memories in the world won’t take back the fact that I was on the weight gain up swing at that time in my life. It was really hard to see myself heavier than I ever had been. So much so that it kind of cast a shadow on what should have been a bright and perfect day. Instead of concentrating on this life changing moment I was trying to run damage control the entire day trying to present myself in the best light possible.
The weird thing about weight gain is you know it is happening but then you have this “Aha” moment where you say, “Oh Shit- I have really screwed up”. Imagine that moment being your wedding weekend. Imagine looking at yourself during your big white dress moment and barely recognizing yourself. It sucks. Ive talked about denial and I was waist deep in it at the time. BUT, like I said before the day itself was wonderful and happy. For the time being I just tried to push the negativity aside and enjoy marrying my best pal- and I did.
We jetted off immediately on our honeymoon (also no photos) and when we got home from Mexico we went to pick up our official wedding photos. That day we sat down to decide on one to hang in our home. There were probably 100 photos of us and I hated all of them. My arms, my face, my general size- I was beside myself. It sounds really dramatic and stupid now (even I am rolling my eyes writing this) but trust me- 7 years ago it felt so huge and it really did impact me in ways I didn’t even realize. We finally decided on a shot that left most of the body out. While my arms, shoulders, and face still give me pause- I really only look at the happy expressions in the photo now. However, I never stopped being a little disappointed that I never got my white dress moment to feel beautiful. I know a lot of that was mental- but we will get to that.
For YEARS I felt like I never stopped running damage control. The clothes I chose, ways I would position myself in photos, activities I would agree to do, and even people I would agree to see. It was all an elaborate trick to (in my mind) minimize the impact of my weight gain. It sounds totally insane now but at the time I felt like it was the only control I had.
As you know it would not be until several years later when I actually started to do something to change my weight and fitness. In the meantime life went on. We purchased a home and settled in to being a family. It was really important to me to have a home that felt like “us” so, like in most homes, there are lots of things on the wall with one glaring exception. There are no real photos of us. In fact, there has been a blank 16×20 frame on my living room wall for FIVE years. For real.
Admission 4– I always worried I had not “done enough” or “lost enough” to warrant having our photos done. I always put off scheduling a family session for “next season” or “next year”. I never really admitted why- but I think I was afraid I would see something I wasn’t prepared for like during my wedding weekend.
This year in particular I dedicated myself to health and fitness. I have a long way to go physically but mentally I think I am starting to finally recover. I have lost 40 pounds and, more importantly, I have lost that girl who thought her weight was all that mattered. My family, friendships, interests, and life I lead are far more important than a number on a scale. I can not only say that with a straight face but I BELIEVE it which has lifted a weight far worse than any I carry on my body. With that said, I am absolutely going to keep moving forward with my weight loss goals but not because I want to look perfect in a white dress but because I want to be the healthiest version of me.
Admission 5- Even though I have not seen the photos yet (at the time this blog was being written)- I finally had my white dress moment. Over the weekend the hubs and I finally scheduled some family photos. Luckily one of my best girlfriends and her husband run an amazing photography business in town. It was no coincidence that I picked an off white dress and red cardigan (my wedding colors) even though I didn’t admit this to anyone.
Kristen and Jason came over, gear in hand, ready to shoot downtown.
Not only did we have fun but I literally only had one small moment (during a pose where I was seated) where my weight in even entered my mind! I just enjoyed walking around downtown, posing with my favorite, and watching Jason, our photographer, get into all sorts of crazy positions to get the shots!
It just felt good to feel “normal”. It felt good to feel like any other family would on family portrait day. Realizing we are so much more than a number frees up so much energy to focus on things that matter. I am so happy to have learned this valuable lesson- even though it came the hard way.
That was supposed to be the end of this blog BUT in a crazy twist of fate- our photos arrived today. And in true “practice what I’m preaching” form I am thrilled with them. I can acknowledge that my weight loss and fitness journey is far from over. But, this is where we are today and its okay to be happy.
Admission 6: You can still love yourself while working to change. Learning that has been my golden ticket. I hope you enjoy the photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.
*Final 10 images by Simple Times Photography. Photos have been scaled down in size to fit the format of this blog. And because I know it will be asked….The session was purchased with my own funds and no compensation was given for mention in this post. Opinions expressed are my own. We just happen to love them and enjoy giving a shout out to local businesses when we can. xoxo