Andie Thueson » Healthy Living » Andie's Life » Learning To Love Myself…. My Greatest Struggle

Learning To Love Myself…. My Greatest Struggle

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Learning To Love Myself is a journey that has taken years and lots of life lessons to get me to a point where I can truly say I love myself.

Growing up, I never felt comfortable in my own skin.

In the nineties, it was all about looking like a stick with no butt and long lean lines – my thick thighs, bum, and curvy figure felt gross and unattractive to me. Besides a couple of boys in high school, I was largely dateless and received very little attention from the opposite sex. I was also shy, had no self-esteem, and I definitely had very little confidence in myself. In hindsight these factors probably contributed more to my “dateless” status then my figure did.

So I focused on working really hard in school and was often found behind a camera lens observing the world safely behind the camera.

From this vantage point, I felt safe and comfortable.

In my teens and early twenties, I became a serial dieter, I tried everything – diet pills, SlimFast, Atkins, South Beach, cabbage soup, and starving myself. Anything to help me get the body that I wanted.

This is when  I first became a binge eater.

I would not eat, or work really hard on “being perfect”, then I would snap and make a dessert {my comfort food} and end up eating most of it myself. Then the shame would set in and I would feel awful and I would go on to berate myself and make myself feel even worse. Then it was back to the diet and trying to be “perfect” to get the body God did not design me to have.

This cycle of self-hatred continued on for a big portion of my life. And is the one I continue to struggle with today.

Today I can honestly say that I love and appreciate my body – is it what I would call, perfect? – No – but that is okay! Instead of feeling guilt or shame about it – I embrace my body and I choose to nourish it – by eating foods that help me feel strong and healthy and not bloated and gross.

This journey of self-acceptance and love of self, started in a very strange place, it started in a dressing room of Last Chance in Phoenix, AZ.

Instead of sharing my story in words – I thought I would record it and share it with you in a Vlog. Because I want you to see the emotion and the way this moment in time and the words of a complete stranger changed the trajectory of my life completely.

That woman in her short and brief words, helped me to see that I was indeed beautiful and although my body was “different” it was beautiful and that beauty comes in different shapes and sizes. I walked away with the belief that if this woman could find beauty in me and that there was a whole country somewhere that would worship it – then I had better learn to at least accept it. 

I would like to say from that day on I never questioned or hated my body ever again,  but that would be a lie. It did give a new found confidence and I began dating and putting myself out there. And surprise, surprise the more confident I became the more attention I started to receive from the opposite sex. Guys from my office started approaching me and asking me out. – Yes, “me”! I had never received so much male attention in my life. It was weird and very strange to me. But I liked the feeling. At this point in my life, I had found a personal trainer and was working out and eating healthy and really taking care of myself. I looked and felt amazing. 

This new found confidence and love of self, lasted until I found my hubby Kelly, and we had our first child. I then again started to shrink and lose my confidence – I was swallowed up in being a new mother and I lost my identity – then I faced infertility and struggled even more with my identity and my relationship with myself. My marriage suffered and I found myself in a dark place where I was surrounded by constant negative talk, this continued for years and involved a stint with Prozac, anything to make me feel alive and comfortable again in my own skin. I hated how I felt and who I had become. I was tired all the time and barely making it. Yes, there was happiness in there, I loved being a Mom, and my babies were my whole life. But as a woman – I lived for everyone else but myself. It was exhausting. 

After my third baby and a lot of fertility drugs I was at my heaviest 170lbs and at 5’2″ that is pretty unhealthy, there was no muscle tone in any of that. I snapped and decided I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. So with that, I started running and then I started working out and I started learning how to eat and nourish my body better. This is where my journey of health and self-discovery really began. I learned that the words that I thought about myself made a difference and that I would try harder every day to stop being such a freaking mean bully to myself. If I treated others the way that I treated myself I would have no friends and maybe I would have been beaten up a couple of times. 

I share these thoughts with you because maybe you have been there too, or maybe you are there now {if so I want to give you a big cyber hug and tell you can change and the pain will go away if you let it}  

Do I have it perfect yet? Absolutely not,  sometimes I find myself “bullying” myself and the negative thoughts and the half pan of brownies win. But I can choose every day to stand up and say “no more” and change my story to one of positivity and self-love. 

Just remember that no matter your shape or size – be kind to yourself, let go of shame, and embrace the beautiful human being God made and intended you to be! This knowledge and learning to forgive myself have made all the difference for me.