Healthy mind, healthy body

Trigger Warning: In this post, I discuss mental health and body image. I would love nothing more than to inspire others to love themselves and hope that this is the only outcome of sharing my story.

I’ve really been giving myself a hard time today, so I thought I would reach out to the blogging community. I didn’t mess up at work. I didn’t get a failing grade on an assignment. And I didn’t hurt someone I love. I just gained a little weight.

I know a lot of women and men out there are hard on themselves for the same thing. We get busy, lose track of what we’re eating, exercise a little less often than normal. And we gain weight. I’m not talking about a large amount of weight. I’m talking about that 10 – 15 pounds that we gain every winter or every time we have too much on our plates (literally, I suppose). We don’t have to buy new clothes, but everything is a little snug. And that’s what happened to me. I’m not going through an emotionally trying time, but I certainly have a lot going on. And with my efforts to stay focused on work and school, I completely lost sight of self care. It took a few weeks for me to realize it, and now I’m realizing it all at once and I’m not giving myself a break about it.

But this feeling I am having–one of self pity and self hate–it’s what turns into more sadness and less confidence. And that can easily turn into a downward spiral. One I feel as though I have been on before. My struggle with my weight has been a lifelong battle with my body image and self worth. I never “let myself go,” as people say, but I sure was at risk to. I may not have been identified by other people as “overweight” or “obese,” but in my mind I was. And in my mind I had no control over my body. As a size 12, I compared myself to other people and I would spend hours every day critiquing myself for a number of things–my size, my inability to stick with a workout routine, eating all the “wrong” things. I got the idea in my mind that I was “gross” or “disgusting” and I let myself believe it for the longest time.

That all changed when I went away for a summer job and I was given the incredible opportunity to take back my health–mentally and physically. With the support of some incredible co-workers and role models, I got into an excellent routine. I was really healthy. I returned home and I was determined to stick with it. And I am proud to say that I did.

But here I am, eight months later. And I have lost sight of my routine and healthy lifestyle. But not by much. Just a few small changes and I’m back on track. But my mind is in my way. My mind is telling me I can’t. My mind is telling me I won’t. My mind is telling me that I have lost everything I worked for–all because I gained ten pounds.

I am more determined than ever to regain my healthy mind.

Because without a healthy mind, there is no way I can have a healthy body.

For those of you who have suffered with any sort of mental health, you know it’s not easy to talk about it. Especially when it comes to weight and body image, it’s easier to stay silent and fake confidence whenever you can. Faking confidence and staying silent left me unstable and unable to reach my health goals once before. I cannot push past this without being open about my struggle and leaning on those who love me for all my extra belly and jiggly legs. And the more I remind myself of my beauty and worth, the more comfortable I become with all the extra and jiggle.

The solution here is not simple to achieve, but it’s easy to say: I need to love myself despite all my flaws and all my setbacks. The setbacks and flaws don’t define me. My heart and passion and brain do. 

So, I open my heart up to all of you. And I hope that you will pour love and words of encouragement into it by sharing your own stories and your own accomplishments.


10 thoughts on “Healthy mind, healthy body

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I can identify all too well. It’s scary how easy it is to slip back into a negative mindset. I’m also hoping that sharing my struggles in this community will be therapeutic and kick that negative voice in the teeth! Thanks again!

    1. I appreciate your comment so much! And thank YOU! I hope you can kick that negative voice in the teeth because we are all certainly worth more than we allow ourselves to believe. And that darn voice gets in the way sometimes! Good luck and stay strong 🙂

  2. Jane,
    As your biggest supporter, I am surprised at your opinion of yourself, but understand it more than you’ll ever know.
    I have heard it before, but need you to believe who you really are.
    Here’s what you are:
    Beautiful, smart, encouraging, positive, loving, amazing, caring, motivating,resourceful, savvy, giving, unselfish, kind, exquisite, self reliant, and so much more.
    I am not the only one who thinks these things of you. You are someone to be admired, looked up to and a perfect example of what a young woman should be to live life to the fullest and succeed.
    I am all for getting healthy and support you 100%.
    You are my love and I hate that you are feeling this way. Sending you love and encouragement today and always.
    Love Mom

  3. Jane,
    I know you don’t know me except through Chase but everything he ever said about you was how much he loved and admired you. Please take some words of wisdom from the people who love you. A few pounds or 100 pounds doesn’t change who you are. It only changes the size of the clothes you wear. You are just as smart, just as talented, just as beautiful, just as witty, and just as loveable as you always have been. No one can be on the top of their game every minute of everyday. Just be the best person you can be one minute at a time.

  4. Hi Jane,

    As one who has been on this roller coaster many times I whole heartedly know what you are feeling. The fact that you can describe your feelings and even more so, write them down, is the first step in getting back on track. It may take a while to actually get going on changing your routine but with every passing day you will get closer and closer to doing so, and once you start you will very quickly get into the groove.

    I think for all of us who have been there, the one thing we all should keep in mind is to try to prevent ourselves from getting off track. I know for myself, that is easier said than done. Those negative images of ourselves always seem to get the upper hand.

    We are not that close but I think you are terrific. You have so much to offer and have a tremendously promising future. In the few opportunities that we have had to share time together I am always impressed by what you have done, what you are currently doing and the direction in which you are headed.


    Uncle Ross

    1. Thank you, Uncle Ross! I appreciate your kind words and support! I know a lot of folks in our family are on the same page with the “rollercoaster” you describe and I feel like everyone is moving in a positive direction lately (which is GREAT!). I know we don’t spend much time together, but I know you are always there for me and I’m proud to follow in the footsteps of you on my journey to be the next Dr. Diener!

  5. I never thought to connect my thoughts about weight to my mental state. It’s true – when I start to obsess over my image I lose sight of my overall wellness. Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing this with your readers. I’ve always loved your blog so I’m nominating you for the Liebster blogging award! It is a fun way for readers to learn even more about you through a singular post.

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