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 a 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 overindulge, 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 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 every day 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. Every day 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 every day, 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 quit. 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 every day I complete all my tasks, even more so than I did with the hula hoop challenge. On top of the sense of accomplishment, I feel every day, 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.