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There were a number of things that I was expecting to happen during my Sober October.  I expected to have more time to work on side projects, extra energy from eating healthier and resting more, and weight loss from not drinking and increased physical activity.  As expected, all of my expectations came to fruition.  Oddly enough, the most difficult to measure was the weight loss.  This could have been the easiest to measure if I owned a scale or had taken measurements of my body, but I did not.

I wouldn’t say that I have body image issues, but I have found myself in the past becoming obsessed with the scale.   If the scale said I gained 1.5 lbs, or heaven forbid 5 lbs, losing it became my primary focus.  I wouldn’t feel pretty or desired until I could get the number back to where I wanted it.  This pressure and obsession added so much stress and was completely unnecessary.  Once I realized that the scale was doing me more harm than good, I ditched the scale and tried to maintain my weight (or lose weight) based off of how my clothes fit, how I felt and how I looked naked standing in front of the mirror.

It’s been almost two years since my last serious weight loss attempt.  Generally I don’t wear very much makeup or spend too much time doing my hair, so I really don’t spend a lot of time in front of the mirror. The week we started Sober October, I took a nice long look at my body to see where I was starting and decided to do weekly mirror checkups in order to track my progress.  By the start of week two, I could already see that my stomach was flatter.  I was expecting even more progress by the start of week three.  So there I was, standing naked in front of the bathroom mirror two Sundays ago, eyeing my body for progress, and it looked the same.  Frustrated, I twisted and turned, sucked in my stomach and flexed my muscles – no apparent weight loss.  But then I noticed something.  I pulled my face closer to the mirror and there they were: wrinkles.

I had seen them before, but never paid them much attention.  I stared and gazed.  I winked, smiled, frowned, feigned shock and watched the lines move with my face – and watched some stay. Curiously, I looked back over the rest of my naked body and analyzed it with new eyes.  Nothing drastically different, but somewhere along the line my body became that of a woman.  I have always had a curvy, feminine figure, but I no longer looked like a girl.  I looked like a woman.  You would not see my body and mistake me for a girl.

This was not what I was expecting to happen this month.

Obviously I am aware that I am not a young girl anymore – I am 29 years old and will turn 30 in March.  I am an extremely self-sufficient adult, motivated and independent.  How is it just now hitting me that I am a woman and no longer a girl?  Maybe it is because I am single and without children.  Maybe if I were married with kids, I would have recognized the change earlier.  Not that there even was so much of a change, but more of a progression.

I have been so wrapped up in “finding myself” and learning to find peace, compassion and patience.  So much time spent healing issues from my past and learning to manage stress and everyday living.  It has taken me a long time to learn how to be present and live fully within the moment.   The one thing I forgot to do was to look at myself with a fresh set of eyes.  To ask myself:  Who is this person before me?  Tell me about her.  What do you think about her?

I answered very honestly.

Strangely, I have a new found respect for myself and my body.  There is no doubt that I have high self-esteem, that I love and appreciate who I am,  but this month I found respect for myself.

It’s  interesting when we have our Aha moments;  you never quite know what will trigger them or what you will discover.

Yours truly,

Erin Terese

P.S.  What Aha moments have you had?  How did it happen and what did you realize?

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