Healing, Changes, and Where to Go From Here

A few weeks ago I went through what I call one of my "depression spells."  I hit a dark low place and by the grace and honesty of my husband's accountability in my life, we were able to work through it and pull me out of it in a few days. 

It feels like I can't continue blogging until I share this with you because I wouldn't be the person I am today without it.  It almost feels fake to continue blogging without you knowing the whole story.  And it is really hard for me to explain it all but I fear I may never blog again if I don't share it.  So because *I think* at this point I would like to continue to blog, I need to clear the air a bit. 

I have always struggled with my self esteem.  It seems to be that one thorn in my side that I have always dealt with and will continue to struggle with it for the rest of my life.  I definitely have grown and learned to deal with it but sometimes when I am not paying attention it creeps back into my life. 

When I say self esteem, more specifically I am talking about my body image.  My weight.  How I look in the mirror.  It's really vain and ugly that I have this issue and I am quite embarrassed to admit it.  I have considered talking about it before but I just don't seem to have the right words or encouragement.  So I stay on the surface about it and post healthy or low calorie recipes instead. 

I grew up as a "chubby" kid.  I would never say I was fat but I definitely was never skinny.  As I went into adulthood I grew into it a little.  I would say I have been fairly healthy since high school.  I have always been active and enjoyed playing sports or working out.  My problem was more lack of self control when it came to food. 

My last semester of college I was finishing school, student teaching, running the 5th and 6th grade ministry at my church, and dating Brent.  It was the busiest and most stressful season of my life and so I stopped working out.  I got more lenient in what I ate and often my time with Brent was late at night after the day's activities, usually surrounded by food.

I gained about twenty pounds and for the first time became truly overweight.  It was a really short period of time, only about six months, but it had a big impact on my life.  Once I graduated I was able to start working out again and take better care of myself leading me to a 45 pound weight loss.  Not only did I lose the weight I gained but I also lost about 25 pounds more.  I learned a lot that year about my addiction with food and started the beginning of this healing process.  I finished my weight loss in May of 2009 and by July we were engaged and in October of that same year we were married.  Over the last few years I have gained about 15 pounds since then. 

For the most part my clothes still fit and I have been able to lose 5 pounds here and there and then put them back on.  I have stayed pretty steady in my size but I can tell the difference that I have crept over a 10 pound weight gain. 

I tell you all these gritty details not because they are important.  I really don't have a lot to complain about.  I am still in better shape than I have been for the majority of my life and I feel lucky that I was able to do something about my weight when I was at my worst.  But the thing about weight loss is though I make look different on the outside I am still the insecure chubby girl on the inside.  My self esteem issues never went away.

Those small details and 5 or 10 pounds I mention have become an obsession.  At times it has taken over my life in a way that I am not proud of and it has been something that I struggle with that I let take away my joy.  And it wasn't until a few weeks ago that I decided I didn't want it to rule my life anymore. 

I am not sure of the point of this post.  I have sat down to write it multiple times.  And I cry each time.  But I think it is going to be part of my healing.  That it is time to step out and say, I don't have it all together.  I blog about taking care of the home, loving my husband, and making time for relationships but there are some days where I could care less about any of these things.  Because I allowed that number on the scale determine my worth and how I was going to go about spending my day.  And that is a problem.

So I am making some changes in my life.  The first change is that I am taking some time off from being online.  For the most part, I am taking a break from updating Facebook and Twitter.  I unsubscribed to blogs and women I followed on Instagram who shared about fitness and losing weight because it was feeding into my obsession.  I realized that though I felt purpose in being connected online I also was constantly looking at other women and comparing myself to them.  There is nothing wrong with what those women are doing but they no longer were an encouragement to me, but instead, competition. 

I am still trying to lose weight but I no longer weigh myself everyday.  Instead I have limited it to once a week.  I am still watching what I eat but not in an obsessive way.  I am making healthy meals but not being so rigid in counting calories.  And it is amazing how in these few changes how much happier I am.  I am no longer letting my body determine my happiness.  I know I still have a long road ahead but being able to identify what was triggering my unhealthy thoughts has allowed me to break free of the bondage it had on my life. 

The best part in all of this is that when I am not thinking about my weight all day (and spending very minimal time online) I am able to live out my life the way I want to.  I am able to be the heart of my home again--something I feel like I have lost a little.  And it brings me so much joy and purpose to embrace and be a homemaker.  I lost sight of myself when I started focusing more on being a blogger that wrote about homemaking than actually being a homemaker.  The problem was it didn't leave much time left in my day to actually take care of my home. 

So with that being said, I do not know how this will all translate here on the blog.  I want to continue blogging and have plenty of ideas and photos that have already been taken to share.  But if it is a little quite around here for awhile, please know that I am still working through this healing process.  I am so thankful for this community and it makes me really sad to not be as connected to it.  This community has allowed me to better embrace the woman I want to be.  But I feel like right now I need to step away and...just be that woman.