[Imperfect Fridays are the day I take out of the week to peel back the polished layer of the blogosphere and get real with you.]
I’d like to not be vulnerable right now. I’d like to not share what I’m about to share. But, that’s exactly why I need to share it.
I’ve struggled with my weight for a long time. I was never a rail-thin kid– I always had that tummy. The one that’s adorable on kids who aren’t me, but of course, I hated on myself. When I quit swimming after 6th grade, I gained weight even more easily, all the while hitting that age where self-esteem really tanks.
And, so began my love/hate/addiction relationship with food. And, my hate relationship with my body.
Sometimes, I look back at pictures of 15 year old me, or 17 year old me, or 21 year old me, and I just want to reach through the screen and say “Girl, you are alright. Don’t worry about your weight… yet.”
But, I could never have convinced myself of that at any of those ages, because I just didn’t believe it about myself. I’m slowly learning is that there’s no point in trying to fix the weight issue(belief or legitimate), until I fix that heart issue.
I will never stop struggling with my weight until I stop struggling with food. Until, I come to terms with my body and come to terms with food.
Maybe that makes no sense. But, here’s the story. Between the two adoptions, I got into weight loss and exercise and eating right. I was probably at my strongest and healthiest (although not thinnest) ever.
Now, almost 3 years later, I’m at my heaviest. I gained it all back, and then some. Yes, that’s what you always hear about fad diets, but that wasn’t me. I was eating well– not diet food, but real food. I was going to the gym– and running and working out at home. I knew and still know what foods are healthy and what foods aren’t. I know my ideal caloric intake in a day, approximately how many calories are in most foods, the calorie deficient needed to drop a pound, and so on. I love knowledge.
So, where’s the problem?
The problem is, I’m also a food junkie. I dealt with my weight issues, not with my heart. Not my motivation to eat or my honest opinions on the person in the mirror. Are you following?
I had the discipline to cut my calories and work out regularly, but I still didn’t like myself anymore. I still didn’t find a different way to handle my problems than “eating my feelings”. And, so when things got hard, when I felt more stressed than ever(hello, second adoption), I had nothing to fall back on. No better crisis management than my deal old friend carbs. There was no better reward or comfort than the one I found in food.
It’s a miserable cycle– have you noticed? Stress = excess eating = excess weight. Excess weight = more stress = excess eating.
Why am I sharing this? Have I figured it out?
Nope, sorry, guys, this is Imperfect Friday. This is where I air my dirty laundry and try to be a bit more real with you all. I don’t have to figure it out to share, do I?
Tonight, we spent time with some new friends and this sweet mom, a photographer, said, “do you want me to take a picture of you with Lena?” First, my brain said “NO WAY!”, but then it said “Embrace the camera. Save this moment for Lena. She doesn’t think you’re fat. She thinks you’re beautiful.” “Yes,” I told her and passed my camera off.
And, when I flipped back through my photos later in the night, I had the reaction I knew I’d have. It’s the same reaction I had when I saw our beautiful family photos in October. That deep sinking feeling most women, most people, know. “I really look like that?!”
And now, I shared it with you guys anyways. Part of me believes that the first step to healing is to rip off the band-aid.
Not the step to dropping pounds, but the step to reconciling my body and my heart. My biggest motivation of all is that I don’t want to pass this body hatred along to Lena. Whether she’s always lean or whether she’s 300lbs, I want her to get that she’s okay… and she’s beautiful. At 6 years old, she proclaims she is beautiful. I absolutely believe that to be true. And, she frequently tells me I am. But when will she begin to see through my “thank you!” and notice I don’t quite believe it? When will she start to comprehend society’s millions of messages that thin = beautiful and look to my example for truth? And what kind of example can I be for her, at any size, if I don’t truly believe that all people are beautiful, myself included?
No answers, just more questions.
4 thoughts on “Excess”
Love your honesty my sweet girl. I know I’m part of this catch 22. As always you have my love and support. I love you no matter what your weight. My only wish is for your good health and happiness. ❤
Thanks for your vulnerability, I know that it must take a lot of courage. I can relate to the the burden of responsibility of setting an example of a healthy body image for a daughter.
My story starts off exactly the same way as yours…. never the naturally skinny girl, always has to watch since I was young. I, too, yo-yo’d a bit through having kids years (a bit heavier one year, thinner the year my brother got married, then a bit heavier again) and reached my own personal heaviest around a year and a half ago. My husband side of the family started a biggest loser competition 2 New Years ago…. I needed my husband’s encouragement to even think about participating and then had to email my weight to my sister-in-law weekly for 3 months. I lost 65 pounds in 6 months and am the thinnest I have been in I can’t remember how long. It feels so good. I need to remind myself daily however that it feels better to slip on whatever pair of pants I want in the morning than how good chocolate cake tastes for 1/2 a minute. You can do it. If I can, you can. And you are so right about the carbs! Hardly any carbs for me! Good for you about getting on the other side of the camera, though. Your kids couldn’t care less, they love us and think we’re perfect regardless of what the scale says…. but I know I’m a happier mom when I feel confident and good about myself than when I don’t.
This article says it all for me (How to Talk to Your Daughter About Her Body): http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-koppelkam/body-image_b_3678534.html