I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. It’s my biggest (no pun intended) personal demon.
Chocolate makes for a good snuggle… but a bad case of eater’s remorse later.
My first memory of the issue is when my mom looked at me, getting ready to dig into dessert after supper one night – and her saying “Honey, maybe you shouldn’t have so much ice-cream. You’re starting to get a spare tire.”
I think I was about 7 or 8 at the time.
Growing up, my mom made healthy meals -meat, potatoes, vegetables. Dessert didn’t automatically follow every meal, and we lived out on a farm, so there was no store nearby to grab snacks all the time. I worked hard on the farm, taking care of horses, helping with calves, chickens, running up and down the barn stairs from hayloft to ground with the cats and dogs. I rode horses all the damn time.
In high school, I grew to be 5’7″, and weighed approximately 130-135 lbs.
And yet, I was considered the fat girl.
Does this girl on the left look fat to you?
And yet, I always felt that way. Because of the way I was treated by classmates, among others.
And so the girl I saw in the mirror was, in my eyes, fat.
Objects in the mirror appear larger than they really are?
I have old pictures from my first wedding, too, that show me at that 130 lb. mark, at the age of 23… and I’ve been told that people thought I looked too thin in my dress.
But at the time… I still felt fat.
I’d had a baby, who was 3 yrs. old at the time of the wedding, and I’d lost most of the baby weight by that time, true, but I still had the “baby belly”, that little bump that… never… quite… goes… away.
So, I must be fat, right?
I had another baby at the age of 24, but lost the weight fairly quickly the year after, thanks to long walks & a good friend who I walked with every day. Back down to 130 lbs. But still feeling fat.
And then… I got married for the 2nd time. And slowly, over the next 10 years, I gained, and gained, and gained. The first few years were good, and then the marriage started to go south. My self-esteem crumbled like soggy graham crackers in milk, as my -at the time- husband slowly started pulling his love out of the marriage, and putting it all into our son. Baby number 3.
I never lost that baby weight, not completely.
At the time of our divorce, I was at my heaviest. I have no true idea what that weight was, as I refused, at that point, to even look at a scale. Even when I went to the doctor, I would stand on it backward, and wouldn’t let the nurses tell me what the number was. I told them that it was because the numbers made me neurotic.
In fact, it was because I was ashamed. I was, truly and really, fat.
There are very few pictures of me at that weight – I refused to be in front of the camera most of the time, ducking out on one reason or another. When it was unavoidable, I’d do my best to “hide” whatever of myself I could, tucking myself in behind others in the frame, or “sucking it in”… a meager attempt at best.
I would say that I was probably somewhere between 250-275 lbs.
After the divorce – I lost a good bit of that weight. I started eating better, started exercising. I felt better, inside and out, than I had in a long time.
And yet, I still struggle. There’s more I want to lose, a better shape I want to be in. Health concerns and just emotional well-being are the 2 things I want this for now.
It’s slow going. I have multiple food allergies, which knocks out a fair bit of healthy foods I could be eating. Some of the most favored diet foods – cucumbers, melons, bananas, pineapple – all of them could kill me due to my allergies.
But I work at it, in my own way. Healthier foods, smaller portions, more exercise, no more soda – only flavored water.
The struggle is real – and it’s time people stop shaming others.
As a child, I might have been a little chubby – but that’s no reason to compare me to the Michelin Man. Maybe there shouldn’t have been any ice cream in the house? And who was supposed to teach me about healthy eating and self-control?
As a teen, I wasn’t heavy at all. I was just the right weight for my height – and yet, because I wasn’t emaciated, and you couldn’t hang clothes from my collarbones, I was called fat in school, and shamed for it by my peers.
As an adult, I finally took back my self-esteem from others – and stopped letting people put me down in subtle ways like my ex-husband had, little by little.
Like the recent co-worker who told me that I “really look like a girl today” on the day I wore a dress to work. The same co-worker who, upon being told that I’m actually 10 years older than her, remarked that it was my red-dyed hair that is the only thing that makes me look younger, even though she evinced surprise at my actual age. And, upon being shown a picture of my sweetheart, looked up at me in total shock and said “Really? But he’s so good looking.” As if I weren’t good enough for someone she thought was that handsome.
Whether she realizes it or not, she’s a bully. And I refuse to be ashamed and bullied anymore because of my shape.
So, I still work on my weight, but I’m not doing it for her. I’m not doing it to “prove” anything to anyone.
I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it for my sweetheart, and for my kids, and my grandson, so we’ll be able to have many more years as a family.
And that’s the shape of the day.