For a woman in her late 20’s, one of the most horrifying things to do is go bathing suit shopping. We already hate the fact that our bodies don’t look like we are still 17, yet every year we stand in front of those 3 way mirrors in countless department stores and torture ourselves, trying to find a bathing suit that we can feel good in. Last year I remember going to at least 10 different stores looking for something that I could put on in front of my husbands family and not feel like a whale. My search was hindered by the fact that I can not wear a suit that ties around the neck. My neck is forever screwed (even after physical therapy) and all that weight of my chest or whatever, gives me an immediate migraine. This really is too bad because most of the suits that fit my body type, do in fact tie behind the neck. I even have an adorable red, black and white two piece that fits great but have not been able to wear it for years because the dang thing ties behind the neck! So day after day, store after store I went on my search for something that drew attention to my assets and away from my faults. Every trip ended the same way. Me feeling like I was worthless and the grossest thing that had ever tried to fit into a swim suit.

Obviously I know that there are much heavier women that struggle with this and I probably sound like some kind of spoiled brat but I think the reason I have a such a hard time with anything weight related is I know what I have lost. I dont mean to be insensitive or rude, but we all know not everyone is created with the same body type. There are so many people look nothing like what society says a woman should look like yet are perfectly healthy. People are “big boned”, or it is just in their genes. It isn’t in mine. Or I guess I should say it wasn’t. I was always tiny. My parents even got DCFS called on them when I was a toddler because neighbors thought they were starving me. Sure when I was a teenager I sprouted these massive hips (for my body) and very big thighs but I still was barely a size 1-2. When I got married they had to alter my size 2 dress down to my size. You get the point. I could go down this in the glory days road forever.  I know our bodies change with age and becoming a mother, but they don’t change that much. I’ve mentioned before that now I am around a size 10. Again I understand that, a size 10 isn’t that far from average but on my small frame it looks like I’m much larger. I’m only 4’11 so any extra pound on me is like 5 on a taller girl. This is another reason I hate how much I weigh. I can see a much heavier woman and think “Wow! She looks really good, why can’t I look that great being my size?” .

Perhaps though it is all about control. I don’t get the option to control how much I weigh. It is largely out of my hands. My Chiari has taken that control away from me.   No having Chiari does not make you gain weight on its own, but depending on your symptoms it just might. I cant exercise. This is not breaking news to any of you, my physical limitations have drasticly changed since I was diagnoesed/had surgery. I’m not the only Chiarian that deals with this problem. However some of us have no issues walking on a treadmill, going for a bike ride….whatever. And just in case you were wondering, yes, I am insanely jealous of you. 😉 Being forced to have a sedentary lifestyle takes away that control most people have over the way they look. Please don’t take me wrong, I do not think that any person that is overweight chooses to be, this is not what I am saying at all. What I am saying is based on my metabolisim, my age, my genetic make up, and everything I know about how MY body is, the reason I weigh what I do is because of my inactivity.

So what can I do since I can’t burn calories the way the rest of you do? The answer is obvious right? I have to focus on the things I can control, focus on what I choose to put into my body. Although I have only been struggling with my weight for a few years, I know diets dont work. What does work is eating healthy. There is a huge difference. Things like eating often, drinking water, and adding more fruits and veggies to your diet are the types of things I am talking about. While I have already been little by little doing these things, I jumped at the chance to push it one step further. My cousin in law posted on Facebook about an 8 week challenge she was doing and I joined.

I love competition, come on what girl doesn’t? And it is definitely a competition. We are all putting money towards the prize for the competitor whom has the most points after the 8 weeks. You earn points by doing simple things like I already mentioned. Drinking 64 oz of water, having 2 servings of fruits, 3 servings of veggies, exercising 30-45 min and a few others. Going into the challenge I am way confident that I have a lot of those things already down. It is still going to be a lot of work but there is only one of those challenges that scare me. Exercising. That is a lot of points I am going to lose, or so I thought. The moderator of the group (the cousin) has let me tweak that requirement to whatever level of activity I would consider exercising.  I can tell you right now it will change from day to day. On bad days I wont even attempt and just lose those points. Good days I might try some yoga or even take stairs when an elevator is present. Other days the in-between days (the majority of them) I will just have to count housework, waking into a store, anytime I could have used my wheelchair but felt alright enough to do without. It might sound like cheating to my fellow challenge mates but I assure you I wont be counting those points unless I feel like I’ve given it my all.

I do not have any false illusions that after the 8 weeks I will be back down to my desired size and everything will be perfect. 8 weeks is just long enough to create a good habit or two. I’m excited to challenge myself along with the other people in this group. To the other members I wish you luck, cause you are gonna need it, I intend on winning this thing! 😉

 *Throughout the course of this 8 weeks I do plan on journaling my highs and lows and sharing with you when it is over.