“To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.” e. e. cummings
This year the health club that I belong to advertised a big campaign called “Commitment Day”. The stated commitment is to”live a healthy lifestyle for the year”.It started with a 5K on New Years day and has varying events spread out thoughout the campaign, all designed to encourage real change. I started to think about the meaning of commitment and the meaning of resolution and how the two differ fundamentally. The dictionary defines the two as:
As the new year begins , like many, always think about the upcoming year. This year I was reflecting on what I wanted to accomplish in the upcoming months and how much things have changed in my life. For most of my life I’ve struggled with my weight and every year my resolution was to finally get healthy, lose weight and keep it off. But every year I weakened in my resolve and wasn’t successful. This year I have many things that I want to do, but lose weight isn’t on the agenda. I have been at my target goal weight for almost 3 years and I commit to do the things that I need to do every day to continue to maintain that. Over the past few years I have been photographed by several of my talented friends so I have fabulous photos to celebrate my successes. I could write pages about this journey, but here is a little bit of my story.
I have always loved food and it was my drug of choice. I emotionally ate, (especially sugar) and every time I lost weight, gained it back plus a few more pounds.
In the fall of 2007 we had our first family portrait in years. My friend Verna Pitts did a lovely job but it was a very hard photo shoot. I had peaked at my highest weight ever and was completely uncomfrotable in my skin. When I saw those photos I didn’t recognize myself and couldn’t believe how much weight I had gained. I also was struggling to lift my son. I knew that I needed to change or I wouldn’t be able to take care of him. I felt overwhelmed and consumed by my weight gain, and I didn’t want to continue to be consumed by this every day.
On New years Eve 2007, I made my resolution once again and slowly began to work on losing weight. In 2008 I lost 20 pounds but gained back 8. I was doing better but still was hanging on to some of the things that were keeping me stuck.
In 2009 something changed. This year I made a commitment instead of a resolution. I hired a trainer, gave up sugar, started running and adopted a one-day-at-a-time philosophy. It was a long struggle but I was changing my relationship with food. I wasn’t on a diet any more, simply waiting until I could start eating all of that junk. I gave it all up, started eating much cleaner, eating only when I was hungry and setting exercise goals every week. In April of 2010 I’d hit my goal weight! I had lost 60 lbs, was at 19% body fat, was a size 2 and in the best shape of my life. In October 2010 I ran Twin Cities Marathon (not fast, but finished).
In February 2010 I went to Texas for an incredible photography workshop called the Foundation Workshop. We had an exercise where we had to be photographed, which was the beginning of seeing myself in a different way and becoming comfortable with how I looked.
The dress in the picture below is my favorite for a few reasons. I got rid of my entire “fat” wardrobe and had slowly been buying things as I was getting close to my goal. I was shopping in a boutique that I liked and where I knew the owner. She brought me that dress to try on. I walked out of the dressing room to look at myself in the mirror. There were about 5 women in the store and they all told me how great I looked and that I had to buy that dress. I looked at myself and finally saw my new body. I was wearing this form fitting dress, I looked great (and I didn’t have to wear Spanx any more to hold in the fat)! It was “the moment” that I realized that I had really changed! I had my friend Shelley Paulson do my “after” pictures and had to be photographed in the dress.
In 2010 it was also my 20th wedding anninversary. My husband and I had our first photos done since we were married with my friend Jeannette Nargelenas (who also does fantastic boudoir photography), did the photo shoot.
Since I was in the best shape of my life, I decided to have boudoir photos done. It was really uncomfortable at first but my friend Jen Wheeler made it really easy. With a glass of wine, great lingerie and good light it ended up being a great experience!
In 2011 the trainer that helped me reach my goals asked me to get certified, so he could hire me to work as a personal trainer. I did and worked at a health club as a trainer for awhile. I loved working with my clients, but soon realized that training wasn’t my dream. It was and is photography that has always been my dream.
So, as I ponder what my dreams and goals are in 2013, I know that I am committed to continuing my healthy lifestyle; I am committed to continuing my growth as a photographer; I am commited to building a business that I love, doing work that I feel passionate about and sharing it all with you!
Happy New Year!