Without diving too deep into my childhood or therapy sessions, my relationship with my dad has always been different than the average father-daughter relationship. Mine wasn’t around much as a kid and then he came back into my life when I was around 14. A very delicate age for a teenager and lots of hormones and changes. Being naturally thin I ate without worry due to daily cheerleading practice and an active lifestyle. Never the less, my dad would tease me about my weight and even though it hurt I started to just go along with it, sometimes making jokes at my own expense to soften the blow of what he may say.
Fast forward a few years to 21 when I started going out to clubs and bars and drinking my weight in alcohol. It only took a few consistent months of going out every weekend for the weight to start packing on as I drank and then fought off hangovers with greasy food. Suddenly the extra pounds were too hard to ignore, and my cute clubbing outfits were more than snug. My dad didn’t help the situation either as he would make “teasing” comments at my expense.
My boyfriend asked me point blank, “Why do you let him say things like that to you? It clearly bothers you.” In my mind I just accepted it and started to believe he was right. “Why should I bother working out I’m just gonna binge eat anyways?” I told myself every time I made an attempt to better myself and my dad would poke fun at me. It wasn’t until I moved out of my parent’s house and was living with my boyfriend that the fitness bug caught me again. I was back in the gym working on myself and eating better. In 3.5 months I was down 35 pounds and finally feeling on top of my game.
I was starting to feel really inspired by how far I’ve come. I’d look at side-by-side images of me from a year ago and dramatically saw the positive change not only in my body but also the light in my eyes. Even when I look at pictures of myself from when I was out partying with friends I just looked sad and defeated, even with a smile on my face. Now, I look healthy, glowing, and full of life. I found a routine that works for my body. I’ve finally figured out what makes me feel good and what makes me bloat. Pizza and wine being two of those things but things I’ve learned to consume in moderation and to flush out with cardio and tons of water the next day!
The morning I hit a new weight loss goal my father decided, out of nowhere, it would be a good idea to send me a photo of me wearing a bathing suit from the year before. Flattering? No. Cruel? Yes. I chose not to respond and moments later another image of me, this time sitting on the couch mid-bite of something out of a Tupperware container. Funny? No. Rude? Yes.
“Why are you sending this to me? I don’t need reminders of where I was. I weigh 164 I’m good.” The anger pulsating through my fingertips as I tried not to lose it over text.
“Yeah exactly. More fuel to keep you motivated.” He said with a hugging emoji.
“That’s not the motivation I need.” I ended it there. I was beyond angered. I lived in that house for so long and was never “motivated” to lose weight, always the opposite. It wasn’t until I finally broke out of the tower in a high castle and rescued myself that I finally got the strength to lose weight on my own. Having a boyfriend who supported me and gave me the positive reinforcement I needed also helped keep me on track especially on days I didn’t want to go to the gym.
With the anger still burning through my veins I went to the gym and did cardio, my coping mechanism for dealing with stress and anxiety. Afterwards, I felt better and reminded myself that this is my journey. No one can dictate how I look or feel, I am capable of being my own motivator and sometimes there isn’t going to be a person handing me gold stars for every pound or milestone I accomplish. I took my power back from my dad that day.
I was determined to no longer let someone tell me how I was going to feel in my body or let their negative words impact all the hard work and dedication I had accomplished. It would have been so easy for me to take the cruel words of a loved one and let that defeat me and cope with junk food, but I channeled my newfound strength by working out and letting the anxiety flow through my feet as I pounded the treadmill.
It’s not okay to let someone say hurtful things to you and it’s also not okay to believe them and let them diminish all your hard work. Fuel that negativity into something positive and rewarding.