Cancer Tried To Destroy My Self Esteem, But I Embraced The Ways My Body Changed

It’s a horrible and frustrating feeling when your body betrays you. My self-esteem was the lowest it had ever been. I no longer thought I looked even remotely attractive. My face and body was just so bloated. I cringed anytime I saw my reflection or shadow. I felt no control over my body.

I let the pity party last too long. I felt defeated. What’s the point of even trying to lose the weight? Who would even care? The ME I know would never allow those thoughts to keep ruminating like that. It was tough, but once I reached that level of despair and defeat, I had to start building myself back up again. I needed a plan. More importantly, I needed a focus.

I wrote down why I wanted to lose the weight and the ways I wanted my relationship with food and myself to change. I came up with three motivations that helped me start this long and daunting process.

I’m WORTH it…

Why did I want to lose the weight? All my reasons were wrong. I initially wanted to lose weight so I could start dating again and buy pretty clothes; so shallow, right? When I saw those reasons written down, I knew I was setting myself up for failure.

Here was my inner monologue:

How dare you want to lose weight for others?
How dare you fall back on people saying, “If a man truly loves you, he will love you at your worst and not care about your weight.”
How dare you have so much self-hate and not see your beauty within?
How dare you stop caring about your eating choices?
How dare you think you’re not worth learning how to cook just because you’re single?

That’s when I kicked myself into a different warrior mode and changed how I spoke to myself and how I viewed myself.

My NEW narrative…

That’s when I stopped saying I wanted to lose weight and changed my narrative to wanting to be healthy. Instead of stating shallow reasons, I got to the meat of what I really wanted to accomplish. I knew I had to start slow and figure out how.

My goal the past year was to date food and myself. I made one of the goals to be able to cross my legs comfortably again. It sounds so small yet it was a huge thought. I also stopped telling myself that it’s pointless to cook meals as a single woman.

So, I bought a fabulous set of pots and pans in a gorgeous dark red. I got a set of knives as a gift from my mother and some other cooking utensils. I had to think outside-the-box and make it fun cooking for myself. Before I knew it, I was naturally thinking of new things to cook that were 30 minutes or less.

Self-care routine…

I started caring about my appearance again. Though it was tough to look in the mirror, I picked two things on my face that I really do love. I love my eyes and eyelashes. So, I rarely left home without my eye makeup on. I would focus on them instead of how full my face was. I purposely took selfies every day and didn’t use the filter to make my face look smaller. I knew one day I would finally see the change.

I also looked at a dress in my closet that became my “goal dress” to fit into. I was able to wear it in March and felt dynamite. I also realized a few days before that I could cross my legs comfortably again. I noticed my face looks thinner even without taking the picture at an angle.

I have been celebrating these huge, personal victories. I no longer turn to food for comfort or reward myself with it. Instead, I buy a movie, a book, a lipstick or new eye shadow.

My advice to others battling weight post treatment is this: You absolutely can change your narrative and embrace your worth on many levels. It’s never too late to start.

What ways have you embraced changes to your body post treatment? Share in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.