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Todays’ guest post comes to us from Katie Smith, a senior at the University of Maryland. I’m excited to have Katie share because she brings a unique perspective to No Fat Talk Tuesday, since she is still in college and dealing with her own set of stressors and pressures. Growing up with divorced parents, I can relate to the struggles that Katie dealt with growing up, and am happy to have her post today. – Madison

Hey everyone! My name is Katie and I’m 22 years old, finishing my senior year at the University of Maryland. When Madison reached out for stories relating to ‘No Fat Talk,” I felt compelled to share my experience. Even after my tumultuous teenage years ended, I struggled with my weight and self-acceptance throughout college. On the brink of graduation, I finally feel like I have reached a turning point. But it took some time getting here. 

Everyone experiences pain in their life. As teenagers, minute heartbreaks can seem like the end of the world.  However, through my adolescence, I experienced both the divorce of my parents and a string of bad relationships. I feel like I transferred the pain of each experience into the next and, also, onto myself.  Midway through college, this manifested itself into a lot of partying and heavy drinking, in part to avoid truly dealing with the emotions. For the most part, these behaviors didn’t negatively influence other areas of my life, like my schoolwork or my friendships. I continued to make great grades, hold down internships and part-time jobs, and make and maintain amazing connections with the people around me.  To be honest, for a time my destructive behavior didn’t sink in because so many others around me were doing what I did. I go to a state school where people drink all nights of the week, so saying no to a drink stands out more than saying yes.  

However, I was treating my body like trash and it was affecting me physically and mentally. My weight would fluctuate depending on how much I was exercising and how vigilantly I was watching what I ate.  But on the days or weeks that I felt heavy or ugly or undesirable because of my weight, I couldn’t brush it off.  It would bring back old feelings of rejection and sadness and I would be absolutely miserable.  Sometimes, I would withdraw. I would avoid people because to me, seeing people meant drinking which meant gaining more weight. When I returned from studying abroad in Australia, I was at my heaviest, and unhealthiest. I remember sobbing, flat on the floor, crying to my mother that I was too embarrassed to be seen. A moment so raw, so low and so real that it sparked a resolve in me to change.  I was too young to waste any more time hiding myself from the world and I was too old to be behaving like there was anyone to blame but myself. In order to become happy with myself, my behaviors needed to change and my body would follow.

I made slow changes. I practiced a lot more moderation. The nights I did go out drinking with friends, I found I enjoyed a lot more when I could remember the details of the conversations we had. People are funny and fascinating and have a lot to share. Where they come from, where they’re going, what they want to achieve and who they want to become. The memories you make together are a lot better if your head doesn’t pound the next day.

I also started to cook more for myself. I found that I love cooking (and blogs like Espresso & Cream are amazing inspirations–cooking can be easy, healthy and fun… and MUCH better for you than that $7 takeout meal every night of the week). I now also exercise regularly–which I had always done but not accompanied with the right lifestyle choices, which made it futile and much, much harder. I exercise because it makes me feel strong and powerful and the endorphins are irreplaceable. A positive hour at the gym with some great music is a form of therapy unto itself.  

Being a journalism major, I hold a certain reverence for the quintessential bad boy of our trade, Hunter S. Thompson. Amidst his hard-drinking, drug-induced writings (this is the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas guy, after all), he once said, “I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” A brief, to-the-point reminder that only you can make you happy. 

Making healthy choices breeds a self-respect that can’t be replicated by anything else. When you have made the choices that allow you to feel healthy, happy and free, you show that to the world. Since I’ve changed my lifestyle, I’ve felt more confident in myself and my future.  It sounds like a cheesy PSA, but I can assure you, I couldn’t have said this six months ago. Negative talk and negative choices won’t get you anywhere; an active choice to change will. Life is meant to be experienced, enjoyed and exhilarating and we all owe it to ourselves to love ourselves, inside and out, every step of the way.  

Hello there Espresso and Cream readers! My name is Sarah, I am wife to Abel, mom to 3 month old Simeon and I blog at The Crosby Show.

I was encouraged when I read Madison’s “No Fat Talk” resolution, because let’s face it, in the past year my body has taken quite a beating in the form of pregnancy, labor, and delivery – more on that in a minute.

My story begins in Jr. High. I was at a swim party and the water was freezing. A “friend” commented that Sarah should be fine since she has a little more fat to keep her warm. Ouch! Needless to say, this was the start of a long (and continuous) battle with negative self-image. Not only did I struggle with negative thoughts, but I put those thoughts into action and fought the battle of anorexia throughout high school.

I am very blessed to have an amazing family and friends who caught this early. They got me the help that I needed to recover before any major damage was done to my body. I discovered what the Lord had to say about my self-image and how he thought I was “beautifully and wonderfully made” and for the first time began to believe it.

I met my (hottie) husband in college and in 2010 we married. Even knowing my husband and more importantly that the Lord thought I was beautiful, I still battled negative self talk and constantly compared myself to others.

February 2011, Abel and I were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were expecting a baby. We couldn’t wait to meet our little bundle. As the months passed, so did my growing belly. For the first time I was proud and even a little excited to watch my body change and grow, but in the back of my mind I knew there was going to be a long road ahead of me to get my body back to the way it was pre-baby.

October came and our sweet boy, Simeon Kade made his grand debut. To say it was one of the best days of my life is an understatement!

My son was 2 ½ months old when I read Madison’s New Year’s resolution to keep her mind and mouth positive about her body.  It came at the perfect time for me since I still had a few of those aggravating extra pounds that I hadn’t let myself forget! I was working out, eating healthy, even breastfeeding, but the pounds wouldn’t budge. I was tearing myself down mentally all of the time because my jeans and my shirts were a bit too snug. This was making me a negative person in all aspects of my life. 

After I saw the “No Fat Talk” resolution I knew I needed to take the challenge and boy, has it made a difference. I decided that I am going to embrace my new mama body! Is my stomach a little stretched out? Yes, but when those negative thoughts come creeping in I remind myself that I grew a human in this body for 9 months! And yes, my hips are a little wider, but my body needed to make room for him to come out! How awesome is that? My body did exactly what it needed to do to keep my son healthy.  One of my favorite Bible verses sums it up: Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things. Philippians 4:8

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