Last night I participated in a Twitter chat for SweatPink. We were sharing our “A-ha Moments” both to help each other and to try and win a trip to IDEA Blogfest. Personally I’ve had many “A-Ha Moments” in my lifetime, but recently I have two and more importantly the moment when I realized the two were not only connected, but completely dependent on one another.
My two moments were when I realized last year I needed to do something about the state of my mental health and then again this year when I realized I needed to do something about my dietary/physical health. It’s hard for me to say I wasn’t active (I’m very active) I just didn’t always make the right food choices.
In the world of blogging, especially “fitness” or “lifestyle” blogging the idea of weight loss comes up again and again and again. Along with it is the tradition of posting “Before” and “After” photos to highlight a lifestyle change or general transformation. How do we pick and choose which pictures are the befores and which are the afters? At what point is there a line in the sand? And can there ever only be one line?
I’ve mentioned previously I’ve gained and lost weight a few times in my life. In middle school/high school I went from an unknown weight down to nearly 100 pounds. To go from barely fitting teen-age clothing when you’re 10, (this was before plus sizes were more readily available) to wearing a size 2 or 4 was a huge shift. My idea of self, along with other people’s views of me, majorly changed. Was that my before and after? Was that just ONE of my many befores and afters?
Then in college I went from 180+ pounds to the 130′s. I went from an adult size 18/20 (or more) down to a size 10. It’s sad for me to think about now. I was within 5 pounds of a “healthy” weight according to BMI, but because I was a size 10 I told myself I was overweight. I was at the best running shape of my life, but I let the jeans and my hip bones decide what I would think. Was that my long lost before and after? It’s certainly what I have highlighted in my “About Me” section.
Honestly, I tend to delete or hide from pictures when I’m heavier, so my “befores” are far and few between. The funny thing is, like many people have pointed out, there are many ways to take pictures at different angles, in different lighting, and with different clothing to instantly improve a look. My October 2013 picture? Same girl as the photo below. One of my all time “I hate being this heavy” pictures. These were taken within 24 hours of each other!
Which brings us to “today”. Over the last 6 weeks I’ve managed to decrease my weight by nearly 12 pounds. I’ve gone from a size 16 to a size 12. Mind you that’s certainly a branding issue as well as a size concern. I’ve gone from hating nearly every photo of myself, to actually liking everything I’ve seen lately. Does that mean this is the end of my before and after?
It’s hard to tell. There’s a piece of me that thinks/knows if I keep eating healthy and working out there is more weight I will lose. Part of me knows with even more effort I can continue to lose….but do I want to? How important is it to me to make some magic number on a chart? How important is it to wear a certain size jeans? If I’m happy with my looks and my behaviors, when is enough enough?
Oh, and these are just the physical questions. I often wonder if there shouldn’t always be more than meets the eye when it comes to health and fitness journeys. What about the unseen aspects? What about the people we involve in our lives? Is it not important to note the good and bad significant others? Times when we are close with our family of origin or when we are not? Work stress? School stress? Or what about people who give birth once or twice or more? Does their journey take on different befores and afters?
With me there’s always the push for people to consider mental and emotional changes as well. Before and after the discovery of self esteem and self worth. Before and after learning how to not use food as a crutch or comfort. Before and after understanding how to stand up for yourself. All of this plays a crucial role.
Now tell me, what are your A-HA moments? What changes have you made or have yet to make? Do you follow a set “before” and “after” or is everything on a continuum?