Hello to all of you fabulous Then Heather Said readers! My name is also Heather, and I have a blog, Heather’s Dish, that I’ve devoted to my attempts at healthy living as I try to lose the “love weight” that I’ve gained since getting married. It’s been an incredible journey so far, and I hope that by sharing that with the world it will help motivate myself and others to live the best life possible! When I read Heather’s post about her “More Than” series I got so excited! There are so many things that I’m beginning to discover on my road to being happy with my body, and there is certainly more to “health” than just eating right and exercising. One of the first things I thought of was how being married to my amazing husband has truly helped me to work on the first steps in learning to love myself.
I am extremely blessed in the fact that I married the man of my dreams at a young age (I was 23)! My problems in our marriage have arisen from my own past struggles with food and, rather than coming forward and being honest about where I struggle and why, I hid behind the popular phrase, “I just feel fat.” It always seems so much easier than sharing and dealing with the actual emotions!
When I met Nate, I thought he was really cute, but as I got to know him better, we became very good friends, a great starting block to an honest relationship. He knew about a lot of the struggles in my life, and I knew about his. We started dating, and were together for a year when he popped the question; we were engaged for another year while I finished up school and planned our wedding. Everything went smoothly: we got married, had a fabulous honeymoon, moved into our first apartment together, and got a puppy. We were living the dream, and from the outside everything looked great. However, I was internally struggling with all of the pain of gaining weight and not living up to my expectations of being slender and ripped at.all.times. I never once told Nate about how I really felt and so, hiding behind, “I just feel fat,” I went on my merry way down the path of mental and marital destruction.
11 months into marriage our apartment was broken into. Our dog broke a tooth. Nate broke his nose. He hated his job, and then got laid off. I changed careers. I decided to start grad school. And we moved in with his mom for a few months between our lease being up and moving to Colorado. I don’t know if you’re catching my drift but that’s A LOT OF CHANGE in a SHORT PERIOD OF TIME. We were rocked pretty hard by all of it, and that’s when the stuff hit the fan. I blamed everything that was happening on my weight gain (because that’s rational, right?) and Nate had no idea what to do. He was dealing with his own internal stuff at that point, and it just felt like we couldn’t escape. I’ll be honest; the only thing that kept us together was our faith and the love that came from that.
We moved to Colorado, and things slowly started to get better. I was watching what I ate and working out hard every day, but that only made me feel better. It didn’t make the situation better, and I started to take too much pride in my weight loss and started to backtrack. I got a desk job, which hardly promotes a healthy lifestyle, and the fat talk started up again. I was getting more and more lost and unable to share what was actually wrong with Nate. I started to hide within myself.
My husband’s love for me is the next thing I want to talk about. Even though he has gone through his fair share of issues and struggles, he’s never once made me feel as though I’m anything less than the most beautiful woman in the world. He’s loved me, body and soul, since we started dating, and I know that. He countered my unrealistic expectations with a love I can only describe as unconditional. Every time I used the “I feel fat” line, he would emphatically tell me I wasn’t, that I was beautiful, his love, his bride. He would always say, “Stop talking about my wife like that!” The thing is, Nate didn’t know about how I was really struggling with self-hatred due to my weight gain because I never told him. Ladies, men really aren’t mind readers…trust me! It wasn’t until I was called out (in a really good way) by the page on Fat Talk at Healthy Tipping Point that I understood that my “feeling fat” was really a cover up for feeling guilty about letting myself go, for not respecting my body, and for not having the desire to be healthy. When I figured out that I was feeling things OTHER than just “fat”, I told Nate that his job was to call me out on saying I felt fat and force me to say how I really felt. Just giving him that permission was freeing for me, and I’ve made a conscious decision to never tell him I feel fat again!
Through my weight loss, Nate has told me I’m beautiful and treated me as though I’m beautiful. He always did before, but the difference is that I now believe in myself as well. I can’t lie and say that there aren’t days that I don’t participate in internal fat talk; I did that yesterday and the day before. But it’s been lessened from me learning to love myself the way my husband loves me!
Now, this post isn’t meant to say that loving yourself only comes from
being in love with someone else. In fact, it’s the opposite. I came into loving myself a little late in the game, and there have been times that my marriage has struggled because of it. I want to encourage anyone who’s NOT married to understand that loving yourself will not only make you happier, but it will improve every relationship as well. Your life doesn’t start when you find someone to love. Start loving yourself now so that when you meet that person you can cut through the bull and love them wholeheartedly! The reality is you likely have amazing friends and family who want to be there for you; LET THEM! Be encouraged by this online community of food and health bloggers! The key is to know that you’re not alone, and you DESERVE to live a happy and healthy life. There is hope for all of us, married or single, to live a life of love.
Heather’s Dish may only be a few months old, but Heather’s swagger has long surpassed infancy. The Dish is actually a continuation of her earlier blog, The Joyful Kitchen. It’s obvious that Heather’s Dishes are coming from a Joyful Kitchen with tasty meal recaps and recipes such as these.
[& check out her ADORABLE pups, Keira and Bunker!]