I am currently the heaviest I have ever been and even though I know I haven’t been doing everything I can to fix it, I haven’t been taking it well. This isn’t a completely new development either. Although I’m not overweight and never have been, I have struggled with and at times even obsessed over my weight; never happy with how I looked for most of my life. My current weight “issue” is one I’ve had since I arrived here in Hawaii. Between the time I left California and arrived in Hawaii, I put on nearly 20 lbs and I haven’t been able to shake it. I’d get serious and drop 5 lbs here and there, but I always return back to where I am now.
A lot of this weight gain came from the stress of leaving my childhood home, a stint of unemployment, free French fries while working at DQ, and having to be dependent on fast food and cheap non-perishable food combined with lack of time to properly workout during my first few months here in Hawaii. And although I know I’m not overweight and I’m not really out of shape, I haven’t handled this weight gain well and I have let it control way too much of my life while here in Hawaii.
Shopping the last three years has been an absolute nightmare for me. I can’t remember one time I have been able to walk into a dressing room, try on something, and walk out not feeling like a disgusting slob. I have avoided buying anything remotely expensive or nice because I tell myself, “save the money, you won’t be this size for long.” I have bought so many things in my old size, with plans to get back down into them, only to be let down and end up returning the items a few weeks later.
I have been beating myself up over my weight since I arrived in Hawaii, but I also, in all honesty, have not done that much to correct it. I stay active. I love to hike, and swim, and snorkel. I walk everywhere. But, since moving here, I haven’t worked out like I used to. I don’t work out daily. I don’t push to get my heart rate up like I should. Also, I love food! I love to eat out. I love to try new things. And I love my pastries. I don’t over indulge, but I realize if I’m not working out the way I used to I can’t eat the way I used to. Also, although I’m young, I’m not 18 and I can tell my body is changing.
Since moving here I have gone through stints of dieting and/or working out and I make some improvement, but slowly over time I slip back into my old ways.
This year I made a promise to myself to work on myself; to become more comfortable in my own skin, to listen to myself more and to find myself again. This encompassed a lot of different things, one of them being to work on my personal self image and self esteem, a large part of that being wrapped up in my weight.
I have kept this promise to myself and made great strides in many areas of my life, but the one, as usual, that I have struggled with is the positive self image part. I told myself I would stop obsessing over the number on the scale and would focus more on how I felt, yet I still find myself crying over a few pounds here and there. I told myself I would start buying new clothes again, and I would buy the clothes that fit and make me look good and feel good, not just the clothes that were safe or the size I liked. “So what if I needed a large in some things?” But I still tend to avoid shopping and struggle to accept when I need a larger size.
And I have still struggled to push myself to work out on a regular basis.
In July I made my first real stride towards really getting back into shape and ultimately feeling better about myself (although that was was just a surprising side effect).
In college I started hula hooping and hoop dancing. Just as a hobby and a way to relieve stress. I was self taught through DVDs and YouTube videos and, in all honesty, I never really went very far with it, but it made me feel good. It made me happy.
When I moved to Hawaii, I pretty much stopped hula hooping, not because I wanted to, but because I couldn’t. I had never hooped in front of people, so I wasn’t comfortable hooping in public, like at a park and the first place I rented didn’t have the space for me to hoop. The treehouse had no front or back yard, and a very small yard on the side, which was visible from multiple roommate windows. I did hoop out there sometimes, but only when I knew no one was home.
The first place my husband and I moved, also had no outdoor space. By the time we moved to our current apartment with a big outdoor space, I had fallen out of the habit of hooping, but I still missed it and wanted to get back into it.
To do so I challenged myself to a 30 day hula hoop challenge. Now I have no idea why this worked, I’ve tried other, non self created 30 day challenges, and I’ve never been able to see them through, but it did. I hooped everyday in July for at least 20 minutes a day. Whether it was raining or I was sick, I made time to hoop and I loved it. I’m still not very good, but for the first time since I started hooping, I’ve started teaching myself real tricks like isolations and body rolls. I rewarded myself for 30 days of hooping by buying myself my first polypro hoop.
This 30 days of hooping didn’t help me drop as much weight as I had hoped, but it helped make me feel good about myself again. Everyday I hooped, even if that was the only thing I did, I felt like I accomplished something. It also helped build my self confidence little by little. As the challenge progressed I found myself less embarrassed when I hooped. I didn’t mind if the neighbors saw me, I started sharing clips on social media, and I even took my hoop to the beach a few times.
I wanted to continue my efforts the following month with a 30 day running challenge. I absolutely HATE running, but I thought that if I could get myself to do just a little everyday, I could at least get into the habit of running. (Before moving to Hawaii I was running pretty regularly and I know it is a great way for me to get into and stay in shape.) With this 30 day challenge I made it about halfway before I was forced to quite. I was doing this challenge while my nephews were here and during our kayak adventure I sunburned my feet to the point where I couldn’t wear shoes. I had to abandon the challenge and although I planned on getting back to it once my feet healed, I never did and my working out once again stopped.
This month I decided to get back into it…again. Partially to continue to work on my self esteem, partially to begin preparing for some more strenuous hikes, and partially to prepare for my husband’s upcoming and final military ball. This month’s 30 day challenge is a combination of running, working out and hooping and up until the past few days, thanks to a nasty head cold and stomach bug, I have stuck to the plan. And unlike what happened with my sunburnt feet, I plan on getting right back into things once this bug clears up.
As with the hula hoop challenge, two weeks in, I’m not seeing the results I had hoped for, but I do feel accomplished each and everyday I complete all my tasks, even more so then I did with the hula hoop challenge. On top of the sense of accomplishment I feel everyday, I can feel myself improving every day I go for a run, something I never thought I would see happening.
I have two more weeks left in this challenge, and about three weeks left to the ball. Even if this 30 day challenge doesn’t show me the kind of results I am hoping for, hopefully it will help me continue to feel better about myself and help me maintain a healthier lifestyle that will eventually get my body back to where I want it.