Many of my earlier posts swirled around my struggle with body issues and image. I’ve never been a petite girl. As my husband says, I have good German genes. Growing up in the late 70’s and all throughout the 1980’s, it was everything to be thin. Tiny and thin and here I was, large-boned, large framed and for a while taller than every boy in my class almost. Thank god those guys hit puberty. Sometimes in middle school I felt like a giant among my peers. I wasn’t fat growing up, maybe a little chunky from time to time but when the majority of your friends are in single digit sizes, and you are wearing 12, 14 and sometimes 16’s, well you feel much like the names you’d hear whispered or sometimes if they got brave, said to my face. It seems our job as adolescents is to prepare our peers for getting our butts kicked by real life and grow a thicker skin.
When I graduated high school, I pretty much starved myself my junior and senior year. And I got down to a size 10. Not quite single digits but almost. I literally ate like what I assumed a model would eat. Pretty much little to nothing. I was tired a lot, didn’t have a whole lot of energy but at least I wasn’t “fat”. Looking at photos of me back then, I think I really would love to go back and slap myself for thinking that. Hindsight though… I got married young to someone who was very emotionally and verbally abusive. When I got pregnant at 20, I gained 70 lbs with my 8 lb 1/2 oz baby so I really didn’t lose the baby weight after her birth. Sixty-two of those pounds were pretty much still mine to carry. I gained 50 lbs with my second child. I lost some but not very much. My third child, I worked out and ate better and only gained 30 lbs. And then came the divorce. Nothing like a good life changing event to help you lose weight, even if it’s not on purpose.
In my mid 30’s, married for the second time and miserably married to someone even worse than the first husband, I turned to eating for comfort. My knees started to hurt going up the stairs to the bathroom. I was out of breath easier. I felt like shit all the time, in a nutshell. Since we didn’t own a scale, I finally bought one and stepped on it then immediately started crying when the digital number popped up. The display read 282. I was less than 20 pounds shy of 300 pounds. Well, there was my problem. Around this time I was also first diagnosed with depression and started treatment. Everything finally clicked into place and I started taking better care of myself. Except I still didn’t feel right and finally when I was 40, I was diagnosed by my OB/GYN with hypothyroidism.
Though people believe if you get treated for hypothyroidism the weight comes peeling off but in reality it doesn’t. The only thing I found is losing weight is even harder than before though my advancing age has a bit to do with that as well. And the fact I like to eat. I’ve maintained the same range of weight/size going a bit up or down since I was 38. Recently I saw were a plus-sized model was angry with Victoria Secret because of what she sees as an unrealistic body image. I read the article and then looked at the comments which were mostly cruel due to her very large size. People screaming how unhealthy weight is but weight doesn’t always determine health.
I know thin people with many more health problems than I have but I also try to eat healthy 80% of the time and I exercise doing things such as cycling for 40 miles at a shot, hike, practice yoga and once in a while kickboxing. My last checkup and blood work there weren’t any issues other than my LDL was not where he’d like it to be but it’s common for those who are hypothyroid. Being larger doesn’t automatically mean you are unhealthy. I can’t speak for the plus-size model, she is much larger than I am but I also am not her doctor. I can’t speak for the thin VS models either. I just feel like can’t we all just f’ing quit body shaming one another no matter what size we are? Maybe mind our own business and live our own life? Be accepting of everyone, no matter size, race, gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and so on. Can’t we ever just grow up and put our adult pants on and stop acting so cruelly?
Lately, I’ve noticed my clothes are tighter. We moved in September and I never really got back into my riding schedule and now it’s December in Ohio. I haven’t been watching what I have been eating either and I think the big change of the move had me emotionally eating without me really noticing that I was doing this. So I just open up my Livestrong app that I use for food journaling and start doing a check of myself. I start working out more. Since I no longer own a scale, I only can go by my clothes. I’m starting to go back the other way but every time I try to diet or really focus on losing weight or getting smaller, my subconscious rebels.
Each year in December rather than resolutions, I write down 5 goals I want to achieve in the next year. The first one I wrote down for 2016, is to lose weight and be more fit. Then I wrote one for my writing, one for cycling, etc. As soon as I wrote #1, it bothered me. It felt like my old New Year resolutions where I would put “I will lose 50 pounds by December”. I stopped that practice because it always felt like I was a failure when I didn’t meet that weight. It dawned on me yesterday, that I’ve written a lot about accepting yourself as you are and not worrying about what others think but yet here I was making the same type of goal that I said I would not do. It was just worded a little different. I was letting my size bother me. And in doing so, I was making myself miserable again.
My subconscious fights this thinking by giving me cravings for sweets and junk food I normally don’t have when I am not in this mode of essentially dieting. I’ve overcome many years of bingeing by following the author Geneen Roth’s advice. Trusting your body to know what it needs and wants. The moment I try to control that process, my body and mind rebel. It says, hey I thought you loved me not hated me, why are you doing this? So you aren’t perfect, no one is! I opened my little hard bound book that I wrote Goal #1 in and I tore out the pages, tore them into pieces and then threw them away. Now I will rewrite my goals and pay attention to what I am asking myself to do. Maybe I should change #1 to “Love Myself Just as I am”. Because really that’s what I need to do. My husband loves me just as I am and thinks I’m beautiful and sexy, he never says you need to lose weight. My kids and friends love me just as I am. Shouldn’t I love myself just this way too?
Old habits are sneaky, the reemerge in different ways. Listen to your inner cues though and follow what feels right in your heart.