I struggle with a lot about my childhood a good chunk of the time. It seems that lately with all our discussions about children it’s about what happened to us and will we teach it to our kids. It never really dawned on me until recently how truly screwed up my perception of food and body image truly is and how I refuse to make my kids have the same issues. I can’t say when I had healthy eating habits between the starvation diet/ diet pills in college, saving my Weight watchers point to have treats and sweets, and just not eating balanced meals.
It sorta all started when I was put on Weight Watchers at the far too young age of 12. After all, I had to look good for my bat mitzvah the following year, didn’t I? I was digging through all the old pictures in my computer and it’s kinda weird to see all the weight fluctuations I had over the last 2 decades. And oddly enough, the smaller I was, the more sickly I looked. I do know losing weight will help get pregnant, but I also know tons of women that got pregnant being overweight/ obese/ whatever you use to refer to being fat. Yes, fat. I know that I am.
Steve and I were talking about weight loss surgery this morning. He works a 12-hour overnight shift and has a decent amount of free time to read the paper, watch TV, etc while making sure his client is OK and waiting on him when he wakes up. Last night there was an article in the paper about weight loss surgery. He knows I struggle with my weight. Or rather, that I did. I’ve mostly come to terms with it, but do know that I would feel better if I weighed less. However, the amazing husband that he is, he never once has ever said anything to me about losing weight. He thinks I am perfect. Sure, I think about having the surgery from time to time, but I can’t handle it financially especially without insurance. Will I ever get some form of WLS? Who knows.
My family on the other hand… totally different story. My mom was a size 4 when she married my father 39 years ago. Size 4. I think I was maybe a size 4 sometime in elementary school. Maybe. It seems that sometimes she resents having gained weight and is forever on a diet. Looking at pictures of myself growing up, I looked healthy. Sure, I was a chubby kid, but not dangerously so big that I was a sloth. Even in high school, when I felt like a cow, I was still relatively normal sized. Yet 2 years later, I stopped eating, started binge drinking and took diet pills as if my life depended on them. Oh the irony. I lost like 30 pounds in a month and was so proud of myself. Thinking about it now disgusts me. I visited one of my favorite high school teachers after the weight loss and she looked at me in absolute horror and asked what the hell happened to me.
That summer (1996) I went to camp and worked as a counselor. I honestly think that summer might’ve saved my life from the downward spiral I was on. I lost more weight by walking everywhere, hiked up and down the hills to my bunk and the rest of camp, and felt as good as I possibly could feel. I felt healthy. I looked healthy. I wish I could say that I quit drinking after that summer, but I still drank. After that summer when I broke up with my boyfriend, I went a little more crazy with the alcohol and frat parties until I quit permanently. I stayed the weight from camp for a while until it crept back on, but I was OK with that.
And me? I mentally see a tall beautiful woman in my mind. One that doesn’t have a huge pooch, fat thighs and arms, and 16 chins. I despise clothes shopping. To the point that I would rather do just about anything to avoid it. I shop online and even that is a chore and a half. Looking at the outfits I used to wear, apparently this loathing of clothes shopping is relatively recent in the last 5 or 6 years.
Photo Credit: Emeric Photography
However, for the most part, I like myself. It’s been a very long journey and it’s not even remotely over yet. While I may not be anorexic (anymore) or bulimic, I do have an eating disorder. I barely eat. And when I do eat, I eat enough to satisfy the hunger pangs. I’ve been known to have popcorn as a meal, or 2 slices of bread and a piece of cheese for lunch. Yesterday, and the reason I started writing this post, I was mocked for being both fat and hungry. When I asked what was for lunch, I was asked if I really NEEDed to eat versus just wanting to eat. When I said yes, I was asked again. Each time had more of a holier than thou mocking than the next. I was ready to punch him in the face, but I restrained.
If I, the person living in and with this body, am OK with it, why in the freaking hell do other people make snarky and downright rude comments about it? I really and truly don’t understand where other people get off being complete jerks to other people when they know nothing about them. And it’s worse when it comes from family; the people that are supposed to love you no matter what.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Be kind to your friends and family members. Even the fat ones.