About four years ago, I met up with a friend of mine over the Christmas holidays. We were both visiting home and wanted to meet up with one another for dinner. At the time, I was in the midst of my first year of teaching.
Needless to say, the stress of transitioning from graduate student to classroom teacher – along with navigating the ups and downs of moving to the other end of the state – led me to gain quite a bit of weight.During my first year of teaching, I put on 20 pounds. (That was in addition to the ten pounds I had put on during grad school).
So, when I met up with my friend for dinner, I quickly mentioned the “elephant in the room” (<—the elephant being me. Or, at least, my perception of me). I thought if I mentioned the weight gain first, we could get it over with and move on and talk about other things.
We ended up talking about other things that night, but because I was so self-conscious of my appearance, the topic kept coming back to my stressful job and the challenges I was facing in adapting to a new lifestyle. I wanted it to be very obvious that there was a reason why I looked the way I did.
So, it wasn’t a surprise when, we finished dinner and were ready to part ways, my friend reached over to hug me and then said, “Please take care of yourself. I mean, Divya, you write a lifestyle blog.”
He had good intentions.
Which is why I still consider him to be one of my very best friends.
But, thinking back on that conversation, I still cringe. I felt embarrassed. Ashamed. Like, how dare I write and publish posts that promote a “healthy lifestyle?”
It forced me to stop blogging for a few weeks. And then, when I started blogging again, I thought about our conversation every time I hit, “Publish.” I questioned whether I was fit to be offering advice to other people struggling through self-image issues and weight loss.
As the pounds settled in more permanently on my body – and had no plans of leaving – I tried to focus my attention and blog posts on special education and behavior-related things. Because I might not be an expert in the fitness and nutrition field. But I sure as hell can write a mean behavior plan and manage a group of kids like nobody’s business.
So I ventured down the path of classroom reflections.
But, while I love talking about education, it’s taken a backseat in my life right now due to unforeseen circumstances.
So, here I am, four years later, re-living an uncomfortable farewell with a friend. Over and over and over in my mind.
But, this time, I’m doing it with four years of maturity and development under my belt. I no longer feel ashamed for keeping up with my health-related blog posts. I don’t regret talking about a “healthy lifestyle.” Because, what does that EVEN MEAN?
You’ve got someone eating paleo telling you that it’s the right thing to do.
And then you’ve got someone telling you that being vegan helps you lose weight even faster.
Because everyone is living a lifestyle that works FOR THEM.
I’m not here trying to tell you how to live your life. I’m just documenting my journey AS I LIVE MINE. So, this chubby girl over here is going to carry on talking about her lifestyle. Because, even when she indulges in wine and Purple Doritos like there’s no tomorrow, she also knows how to balance them out pretty well.
The truth is that people who struggle with eating and living a “healthy lifestyle” (whatever that may be), tend to struggle with it their whole lives. This was an issue for me back in 1988 – when I was throwing those milk bottles back as if my mama was going to run out of her supply. And it’s still an issue as a full-grown adult when I’m faced with food temptations and social obligations.
It will always be an issue in my life.
And, I imagine, there are other people who are in the same boat.
So, again, I will carry on sharing my experiences. If it resonates with someone, great. If not, great. I just know that I will never ever question whether I should hit “Publish” on a post for fear of how it may be interpreted by other people.
I’m doing me.
This is my lifestyle.
This is what I am going through.
Take it or leave it. This is who I am.
Questions of the Day:
- What kind of blog do you write? Do you consider yourself an “expert” in that area?
- Do you struggle with body image issues? How do you deal with it?