Category Archives: confidence

The weight

APOP_infographicThere’s a very personal topic that we all like to talk about all the time.

Our weight.

Let’s face it, we are, as a society, somewhat obsessed with a person’s weight. Our own weight. Other people’s weight. Models’ weights. Children’s weights.

And, you know, that’s okay if means we’re trying to make ourselves healthier as a population. It’s not okay if we’re tearing each other down and making unreasonable expectations of ourselves and others. It’s also not okay, if we’re standing in the way of helping each other make positive changes for ourselves.

An example that has stuck with me for years. While talking with a friend, I mentioned seeing a mutual acquaintance out at the track when I was going for a walk. Their response?

“What are they doing out there?! It’s not like they need to lose any weight!”

It stumped me. It threw me for a loop. I didn’t know how to respond in that moment, but later it made me mad. The REASON this person didn’t “need to lose any weight” is because they go to the track diligently. They maintain a great weight versus “letting themselves go” and having to backtrack later. In hindsight, I wish I’d said something to the effect of, “I think its great they’re out there! It’s inspiring!”

But I missed my opportunity.

I’ve run into that attitude more times than I can count over the last several years… occasionally directed straight at me.

See, I’m naturally built “slender.” But it does NOT mean I’m not susceptible to gaining weight. In fact, over the last ten years, I’ve watched myself slowly gain around 40 pounds. Now, for my height, I’m actually still right in the middle of “healthy” for my weight. I could TECHNICALLY gain over 10 more pounds before I’d be considered overweight.

But I don’t even want to think about that. I don’t even want to know that. I’d rather focus on losing about 10 pounds to be back down on the lower end of “healthy” weight. I’d feel better. I’d be more confident in my appearance. I could stop wearing a corset when I wear tighter fitting clothes.

Here’s the deal, though. When I talk about wanting to lose a few pounds, I often get “the death stare.” You know the one… the one that says, “Shut up. You have no right to even talk about that. You’re just fine the way you are.” And it’s always from other women. Always.

And I just don’t GET that! Now, if I was still what I weighed in high school — a weight in which health insurance didn’t even want to cover me because, “it’s just not possible to be healthy and weigh that little” (I actually had to get a doctor’s note to prove I wasn’t anorexic and was actually quite healthy, just super active!) — then I’d totally understand that glare. I’d hope that glare would actually be more like a look of deep concern for if I had an eating disorder. But when I, today, say, “I’d like to lose about 10 lbs.” I’d hope I’d instead get, “You can totally do it!” instead of, “What for?”

Why can’t we cheer each other on? Why can’t we encourage each other to be healthier in general instead of either letting there be jealousy or judgement?

Next time you see someone going for a jog that “doesn’t need it” or you hear someone say, “I’d like to lose a couple pounds,” don’t roll your eyes or sigh in annoyance. Instead be encouraging! Maybe, just maybe, their determination will be addictive and set a positive example.

Manzanita, Oregon

What insecurity?

A whole new smile
A whole new smile

I am a pretty confident woman. Actually, I like to think I’m a very confident woman. A positive person. Someone who loves to smile and who loves to see others smile. I like to make other people happy, and I long ago found one of the best ways is through just a smile.  And I’ve been told many times over that I have a great smile.

However, when asked what my favorite facial feature is on myself, I would always without hesitation say, “My eyes!” They were hidden for years behind thick glasses until, when in college, I finally got the nerve to get contacts. (I couldn’t, prior to that, fathom putting something IN MY EYE. But now, I can practically do it in my sleep.) Even so, when wearing make-up I’d choose to feature my eyes. I’ve leaned on eye liner for years to make them stand out, and, as always told in make-up rules, I’d leave my lips alone. A little gloss, or a neutral tone now and then, but on a whole I wouldn’t accent them at all.

Strange for someone who loves to smile, right? Strange for someone with confidence.

However, deep, deep down, in a place that I never gave any power, there was an insecurity due to my teeth.

Tillamook Cheese Factory
Far from perfect teeth.

Now, I am dead serious when I say that I never gave it much conscious thought. About the only time I really gave my teeth much power was when taking a self-portrait. Let’s see if you notice what I am talking about…


Yup. In photos, my teeth were my little hidden secret. And it is in THAT action that I admit they were an insecurity. Very few people would ever make a comment on my teeth. I generally felt that anyone who did had issues of their own and were making themselves feel better by pointing out MY major imperfection. But in reality, the few people who would say anything were always very nice about it. Asking with curiosity why I’d not ever had braces. Or, in one case, giving me a high five with a smile of their own to revel their own front gap! But it would never fail… it would take a few minutes to “shake it off” when my insecurity was brought out front to my attention.

All that being said, getting my teeth fixed has been very low on my radar for years. If I hadn’t fixed them by now, what was the point?

72_541515795924_2190_nI mean, I’m happily married to a man who makes me feel beautiful everyday… who looks at me like I’m gorgeous even when I know I look like I’ve been hit by a truck.

I have a great confidence already, and my teeth aren’t exactly on my radar. My family and friends love me as I am. I’ve never been held back in life in general (as far as I know!) due to my teeth.  So… what would be the point?

Then last summer, in the midst of getting a lot dental work done, my dentist presented me with an offer/option. One of my front teeth had a cavity in it, and it would need some work soon. What if we put crowns over the front teeth, and he could reshape them to be straighter through those crowns?

For me, my stomach clinched at the thought of the cost. It would be a lot of money! What on earth would I be thinking if I did this!? However, the offer was intriguing. And after some discussion with my parents and my husband, I agreed to do it.

So one day last summer, I went into the dentist for some sedation dentistry, and I came out with temporary crowns on my teeth. That looked just like my old teeth. I had seen the proposed models of what my teeth would look like in the end, and it was nice! A definite improvement.

We will skip the silly reasons why it took almost six months and one visit to re-cast my molds for the crowns, but on Monday morning I headed in for the big reveal.

And I walked out with a perfect smile. My dentist went above and beyond what he’d proposed to do for me. I keep looking in the mirror and being taken aback by my new smile. I keep running my tongue over the back of my teeth, looking for the gap that no longer exists. Occasionally I notice forming words with my lips has changed. And now… I want to wear lipstick. My old teeth-based insecurity replaced by a new smile.

Here I am at 33 with a whole new look… and here’s the funny thing. Now I feel more motivated to shed the 15 lbs I’ve put on in the last 7 years. I want the rest of my body to match the new smile. It’s made me want to care about ME more. It’s given me a boost I never in a million years thought I needed.

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