Nine years ago, over the summer after my high school graduation, I lost 25 pounds. It was the first time I’d ever tried to lose weight, and it felt fabulous. I went into college at 220 pounds, the lowest I could remember being since middle school. I was still overweight, of course, but for my height, it wasn’t a bad-looking weight.
I didn’t believe that. Some days I felt pretty good about how I looked, but other days I despised my body and my fat. I felt like my intelligence would be judged based on my appearance instead of my performance, and I was keenly aware of all the nice looking guys and the gorgeous beach girls.
Now I’m just trying to work my way back down to that weight (and far beyond!), but as I’m starting to recognize the changes in the mirror compared to six months ago and feel more confident in my appearance, I realize I missed an opportunity in college: I didn’t appreciate what I had then.
These days, I’m excited about seeing that number again. I look at pictures of myself from that year, and I wish I could reach through and tell that girl she looks better than she thinks she does. I look better than I think I do.
It’s easy to be critical of ourselves. It’s downright expected, especially for females. If you critique your body in the harshest light, then you’re prepared for what someone else might say or imply–the problem is, most people we know aren’t going to tell us we look like the Michelin Man. Your friends and family know you, and when they look at you, they see you. It’s time we started doing that ourselves.
So yes, strive to be the best you possible. Get your life back under control, take those daily, weekly, monthly victories. Triumph over the bad days with good weeks, push your body to its limits and let it surprise you.
But don’t take for granted where you are right now. Appreciate the scenery; find the beauty. Flaunt what you have knowing that every day you make the right decision (and every day after you recover from a wrong one!), you’re giving yourself more things to be proud of–strength, determination, success–and those things make you beautiful from the inside out.