Today I woke up, undressed, and stared in the mirror at my naked body. Immediately, the conversation between Michael (my soon-to-be husband) and I began to replay in my mind.
"Shannon, you need to lose weight. This is not healthy and both Tahiry and I need you. I know things are crazy right now, but you have to take the time to take care of yourself. You have let yourself go and are too heavy."
It was not easy to receive, because who wants to hear that they have let themselves go. Especially from their partner, but the truth is, he was completely right, and I can’t blame anyone but myself. I do not remember the exact moment when I accepted letting myself go, but I do recall the moment I stopped prioritizing my health.
The summertime used to be my shit! Mainly because I was a gym rat, and was blessed with F cups, thick thighs, dimples, and freckles. That is a lethal bad bitch combination! I was in the Army traveling the world, living my best fucking life. I could come and go as I pleased, and had the ability to walk into any room, and choose any man I wanted, because my 'spunky bad bitch energy' radiated and infected everyone in my vicinity. Life was great, and I was the life of the party.
But soon after the birth of my daughter Tahiry, in 2016, everything changed. I became a single mother, and any free time I was blessed with was spent sleeping or cleaning up after her. I would be so tired from working 40+ hour weeks that the local Pizza Hut knew me by first name. There were days I considered asking a friend to watch my daughter for a few hours to break away to the gym, but I immediately was flooded with mom guilt. I had this child; it was my responsibility to take care of her. How dare I think of doing something for myself. I was living for my daughter, and no one would say I was a bad mother! My schedule was simple. I would wake up, take care of the baby, eat, work for eight hours, eat, get the baby ready for bed, eat, sleep, then repeat. It wasn't long before I got punched in the face with a terrible case of postpartum depression and stayed fighting in that ring for about three years.
10 pounds turned into 40, and 40 turned into 80.
Responsibility to Get and Stay Sexy
Many of you may read this and think, "Michael is really an asshole for saying that", but is he? In relationships, you should have a partner that pushes you to become the best version of yourself across the board, and constructive criticism from your partner can help you face what you are unable to see.
For example: I noticed Michael was working odd jobs that did not coincide with his educational achievements. The salary from those jobs worked for him as a bachelor, but we are now inching closer to our wedding date, and the reality of us becoming a family of three set in. It became crystal fucking clear that the odd job shit was not going to cut it. I knew I needed to push him. I had a hard conversation with him, and he took some time to reflect. He concluded that my observation was correct, and now he has a wonderful job that not only challenges him but pays him what he deserves! I could not be more proud of him!
Why wouldn't he be able to push me in the same way? If our partners can’t talk to us, and tell us the real deal, then who the hell can? The goal is not to hurt, or belittle one another, but to simply point out ways in which simple changes could positively impact our lives. In this case, he is a man that loves me enough to know that where I am physically is not healthy and wanted to say something before things got any worse. I applaud him, because he could have remained quiet, and suffered in silence. His attraction to me could begin to diminish, or my health could deteriorate, leading to our relationship suffering, and neither one of us ultimately want that.
The hard truth: It's our responsibility to keep, get, and stay healthy and looking fine as fuck, not just for our partners, but ourselves! It’s not just about appearances, but our overall sense of self-worth – and showing your partner that we love ourselves enough to care about ourselves is a big ass turn-on.
Being overweight (obese) not only comes with a laundry list of health issues, but our self esteem gets fucked up in the process. I do not give a fuck what anyone says. You can have the confidence of Lizzo, but the strongest will break down in frustration when they need a last-minute outfit for an event and can’t find one. You may get lucky and find something that resembles a table cloth, but you find yourself becoming dependent on plus-size stores such as Eloquii, Lane Bryant, Torrid, and Ashley Stewart.
Confidence is sexy on everyone, and if someone is going to be the beneficiary of all that sexy – aside from you of course – shouldn’t that person be your partner? If you do it for yourself, you’ll ultimately be a better partner and mother (if you have children).