Thursday, July 24, 2014

Bikini Babe's Secret to Sucess, and a trip to Hawaii

Recently, My Sailor and I took advantage of his leave (and some room on a credit card) and booked a short package trip to North Shore, Hawaii. Hawaii was his choice of a vacation destination, and it was a lot of fun.

To quickly sum up the trip, we...
Hanging out at Turtle Bay Resort
 spent some time on the beach...
Hiking at Ka'ena Point
 hiked around some great natural landscapes...
exploring Wai'mea Valley
And a few slightly manicured ones.
We made the most of this "once in a lifetime" and even signed up to snorkel with sharks!
All that said, we had a great time. Travel gives me time to think and I think it's a bit overdue that I make this list....

I've been told on more than one occasion that it's amazing how I don't seem to have any body image hang ups.  After all, there are pictures of my body at various stages of weight loss, gain, and disarray all over my blog and Facebook. So I must not have any hang ups, right?


Guess what? That's not exactly true.So I figured it's time I made a list.  Since most of them are embodied in this photo, I figured it would work as a great 'object lesson' in how I see myself - and why I refuse to let my hang ups, well, hang me up.

Top 3 Hang Ups

1. I scar BADLY...from EVERYTHING. See all those wrinkly lines on my stomach? No, they aren't battle scars from having kids (though one doctor did ask me during a physical how many kids I'd had - Apparently she had a case of foot-in-mouth-itis). They are reminders of what I did to my body for decades.  That's right - I did it. I take complete responsibility for that. Sure, there were stressful situations that triggered some overeating and big time carbing. Sure, we thought 'bread' was a health food when I was younger. Sure, we thought 'low fat' meant 'good for you.' Sure, there were hormonal issues and made fixing all that harder than it should have been. The scars on my body are a map of where my body has been - adventures for good, gains, losses, and misadventures. They are reminders of years spent riding the 'diet' roller coaster - everything from a strict 1200 calories per day , Slim Fast, Weight Watchers, Medifast and a few others I can't think of off the top of my head.  These scars will NEVER go away, and, due to my scarring disorder, they will continue to grow, no matter how lean and mean I become. Yes, I've tried nearly every oil/cream and treatment my pocket book can afford and, no, I'm not interested in other solutions (laser, etc).

2. I have extra skin! Ewwww!!! Okay, so it's not as bad as others who have lost over 100 pounds or more, but it's becoming apparent that I have about 1/2 an inch of loose skin now. That "muffin top" isn't actually "full". It's just loose skin. Yes. I'm aware that I could have it surgically fixed, but it's not causing a health issue in the least. And - see above. Even surgical scars continue to grow beyond the size of the original wound.
3. Hirsute the unspoken PCOS Systemic Side Effect. Alright, so this doesn't exactly show in this photo, but it's there - trust me. It's probably the most annoying, embarrassing thing I deal with on a daily basis. Everyone wondered if losing weight will help my PCOS go away. Truth is, no one really knows what triggers PCOS, but the odds of it being genetically acquired are high in my case. So, part of that whole PCOS thing is having excess hair here and there. For me, it's my chin. Ugh. I stay on top of it pretty well now-a-days, but there was a time when I kept my head down and/or a hand over my chin most of the time just in case a dark hair here or there would show. It wasn't a full beard or anything but enough to make me cringe at the thought of bright sunlight on my face. And, yes, I spent a small fortune on laser (worked for 2-3 years), waxing (works for about a week), and creams. (Let me tell you, chemical burns suck).  Much like the scars, it's the proof that the hormones are always likely going to be off balance.

So now that I've aired all that out here. Here's why I don't let them hang me up.I wasn't sure if I'd ever feel comfortable wearing that swimsuit out in public. Now, when I look at that candid, and yes, I see the wrinkly stretch marks and the extra skin, but I see the makings of abs under there! I see strength in those arms! I see strawberry blond hair on skin that goes bronze in a day rather than sun burning as most blond-haired-blue-eyed-folks do.

I see a someone made up of a million recessive genes that all happen to come together in this strong creature that didn't just figure out how to survive, but how to thrive through it.

I was diagnosed with PCOS in 1999. It didn't take me long to decide not to let my PCOS define me. Sure, it's part of what's built this body - and I can't deny that it plays a factor. Thanks to my hormonal imbalance, putting on muscle tends to happen fairly quickly by comparison to more balanced women my demographic. By the same token, I'm more likely to become insulin resistant, and I won't even go into the self-esteem slam infertility can be to women (even a gal like me-who'd rather adopt to grow a family-isn't immune to that sucker punch).

The point of all of that is, yes, I have things about my body that I don't love.

But I can either allow that to have control over my all-day-every-day and define myself by my (perceived) short-comings -

I can choose to believe that no one gets out of life unscarred. We all have giant neon 'defective' signs over our heads - and most people are more interested in hiding their 'defective' signs to notice others, and sometimes too afraid of their own sign to even to live their own lives. 

Not all of our defective signs are obvious. Most people won't notice my scars - or that they are bigger this year than they were last year. They won't notice the skin. They probably won't even notice a few stray hairs on my chinny-chin-chin that miss my careful upkeep.

And if they do (like you, dear readers) know about all that - they'll be meaningless bugs on the windshield of my adventures.

Sure, I'm far from perfect. I've got more flaws than those 3 - trust me. (Just ask My Sailor if you have any doubts!)

But I can either live in them -
Or live despite them.

I can say with a clarity of faith that the trick to not letting physical hang ups hang you up comes in taking a look at the big picture.

That's my secret.

That's my trick.

In the grand scheme of things - will my contempt or dismay of these things even matter? No.

In the end, my journey will not be remembered by the hairs on my chin, the map of scars slashing  through my flesh, or the bits of left overs around my middle.

With a little luck, it will be remembered by the way I treated others and the way I embraced life.

Being fit just helps me do that.
(That, and I kinda love Oly...)


  1. You are absolutely amazing the way that you are. I am so happy that you can see past all of those hang ups and see how wonderfully beautiful you are. No one is perfect, but you are perfect for me.

  2. As always, Jay, you articulate your outlook amazingly well. I appreciate your candor and the veracity of your words touches me deeply where I live. This is a reminder I really needed today! Thank you!