Dear 16-year-old Me:
At 16, I was tipping the scales at over 300 pounds. I was almost to the point of accepting that my only direction was to get heavier, and heavier, and heavier.
Closer to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer… increased frequency of teasing, breaking furniture, avoiding rides at the fair and seats in a theater. My mom tried hard to help me in so many ways. She tried just about every angle to help me really understand what I was doing to myself, but I just thought she was mean and dumb and judgmental.
Now I am a Mom. And someday I will have a 16-year-old daughter (YIKES).
It’s made me think about what I’d tell myself.
So here it goes…
Dear 16-year-old Me:
First of all, you are a beautiful person. Despite what the world tries to tell you, your character will get you further than anything else. Focus on the deep stuff and keep working on being the best person you can to those around you… even the ones that you don’t think deserve it. You have the power to touch the hearts and minds of many- just by being who you are.
Please know that food is not your best friend. You have people in your life that love you very much and can’t wait to spend more time with you and get to know you. Let them in. Hiding in the basement will not help you to make memories. Quality time with loved ones and taking in new experiences do that. Seize opportunities and seek out that support that you so desperately need. People are there for a reason.
You are about to embark on a HUGE journey. You are so ready for this, because you are stronger than you’ll ever know. It’s scary and hard to think about making major changes in your life, but you’ll figure it out.
And don’t be in such a hurry to cross the “finish line,” because it doesn’t exist. You are forever a wonderful, messy work in progress. Take your time. Soak up all of the lessons you get to learn. Nobody is expecting perfection, and you shouldn’t either.
Remember that you are upset with food, not people. Food has won for too long, and being lonely and miserable clouds your ability to see that it’s not everyone else’s fault. Take ownership. Take notes.
Be kind to yourself. Love yourself. Believe in yourself. Forgive yourself.
Ready… set… HERE WE GO!
Love and mega cheers from Your biggest fan (even when it doesn’t feel like it),