This is one that as soon as I hit ‘publish’ I’m going to start getting a stomach ache. Overshare?
The war is over. As of today. The War Is Over against my body.
I grew up waging a war with what I look like. I would look in the mirror and wonder, “Am I pretty?” I wasn’t sure. When I became a tweenager I was fairly sure I wasn’t. Glasses, permed hair, frighteningly crooked teeth – I looked at myself in the mirror during those years and thought, “Um, am I supposed to look like this? Will I look like this forever?”
At that point, though, I had a tiny little body. Starting around 14, that tiny body became not so tiny.
I mean, I was eating donuts and bagels with cream cheese daily, and then coming home and planting myself in front of MTV – back when they actually played videos. I did little else. Of course I spread out and not up. I had a mom who, out of caring and concern, started monitoring my weight, watching what I ate, and trying desperately to help keep me thin. Being watched like a hawk when you eat is as unpleasant as it sounds. Also? It doesn’t work.
By the time I was in 9th grade, I weighed more than I do NOW. At 43, after having two babies, a thyroid disorder, and foot injuries that make intense exercise difficult sometimes, I weigh less than I did in the 9th grade.
I should note, here, that I don’t have a blame game that I’m playing with my mom. She was concerned, and rightfully so. We come from a long line of people who struggle with weight. So, her concern blossomed into action.
I went on my first official diet when I was 16, with her guidance. I wanted to lose weight, I felt terrible, and she stepped up and helped me, supported me, and did what she could to make sure the environment I was living in at home supported diet and exercise.
After I lost the weight, unfortunately that action that my mom so lovingly undertook blossomed into near obsession. I was under a microscope. Losing weight is one thing. Maintaining it when you’re a teenager, and all your friends are thin and can eat whatever they want is something else entirely. I gained back a few pounds after I reached my goal weight. That’s when any perspective on my mom’s part disappeared, and thus began the cycle of self-loathing on my part that took a huge chunk of my adult life to work out and put BACK into perspective.
Having someone monitor and attempt to control what you eat drives your eating ‘underground.’ I would go to my friends’ houses and eat what my mom wouldn’t allow. (Note: To the few ladies who know what I’m talking about and I know might be reading this: I’m so sorry, you guys. Things were tough at home in the food department.)
Fast forward a little, and that self-loathing, quick-fix, hate-my-body-but-want-to-eat-food cycle repeats itself into my 20’s. Enter: SubHub. He loved me thin. He loved me not-so-thin. He just loved me. Gradually I started seeing myself through his lens, and it has made all the difference. The day we were married I weighed more than I ever have before or since. We’re still married.
As an adult, I’ve been up, down, and all around with my weight. When I saw it starting to creep up, I took action, nudging it back down. Most recently, I lost about 15 pounds that had found their way back on to my body after a few stressful years with Girl Child. (Note to moms: funny how you slide down the list of priorities when you’re needed to be ‘on’ for extended periods of time, huh?) Once things calmed down, I realized, “Whoa. Don’t feel like me.” So I took action.
This last spring – I realized that I had gained a few pounds back from my goal weight – a familiar song. My concern, despite my best efforts, blossomed into obsession, so I tried to lose the few pounds I gained back.
Desperate is the operative word in this scenario.
After about two weeks I had an epiphany: I’m beating myself up over three pounds. I’m letting the ‘love me regardless’ lens I worked so hard to make permanent, slip.
And my daughter is watching.
Tomorrow morning, a personal trainer that helps SubHub is coming to our house to set a training plan for me to help me get stronger. It isn’t about weight anymore. It’s about strength; being able to to the things I want to do when I want to do them, and knowing that I can. It has stopped being about being thin. It’s about living my life, as long as possible and with as much strength as possible.
The number on the scale is no longer in charge. My life isn’t a number. It’s not about the scale. It’s not about every piece of food that crosses my lips. It’s about me.
And it’s about showing her.