Body image

Since it’s the beginning of another new year, weight loss resolutions seem to be on a lot of people’s minds. Weight loss, diet plans, and exercise are the top searched key words on many popular search engines. The television is dominated by W.eight W.atchers and J.enny C.raig commercials. Everyone is obsessed with losing weight. For example, today while at the gym, I heard a fitness instructor telling some of her class participants that she lost a ton of weight on the HC.G diet. Well no crap you’re going to lose weight. You’re essentially starving your body because you’re only allowed 500 calories a day. I’m definitely not a weight loss expert or nutritionist, but I know that one of the keys to successful weight loss and maintenance is a combination of exercise and healthy eating habits. Injecting yourself with pregnancy hormones and depriving your body of nutrients is not the way to go.

Every year I declare that I want to lose a certain amount of weight. Typically my weight loss goal is about 5 pounds. Truthfully, I’m at a weight that’s completely acceptable for my height (I’m a tall girl – almost 5′ 10″). While my weight is where it needs to be, I still see a heavy girl when I look in the mirror. I’m never fully convinced that I’m at my ideal weight. I’m never completely happy with my progress.
I don’t know that I’ve shared my weight issues on the blog before so I guess I should share my backstory. I always had terrible eating habits when I was younger. My parents were big believers in finishing everything on the plate even if I was full already. We also had access to a lot of junk food – soda, cookies, crackers, potato chips, etc. You name the junk food, we probably had it in the house. While I wasn’t an overweight child, I was definitely an overweight teenager and then an overweight young adult.
I really started packing on the pounds during my freshman year of college. I didn’t know how to eat properly, so of course I gravitated towards the less than nutritious food options at the dining hall. On top of not knowing how to eat properly, I also had a roommate situation that was extremely stressful, which caused me to eat more. I ate my feelings (and I still do on occasions). I remember getting on the scale at my doctor’s office for my annual check up that summer.
The scale read 182 pounds.
I remember sitting down on the table and started crying. I couldn’t believe that I let my weight get so out of control. I was embarrassed and disgusted with myself. In addition to being overweight, I also found out that my cholesterol numbers were dangerously high for an 18 year old. Things had to change.
I started going to the gym. I started watching what I ate, how often I ate, and made healthier choices. Unfortunately, the weight didn’t come off as quickly as I would have liked it to. I yo-yoed with my weight for the next few years. Since I didn’t see immediate results, I would get depressed and turn to food. Then I would realize that I was doing things wrong and tried to eat well and exercise again. It was a vicious cycle for awhile.
After I moved in with E back in 2005, things started to click and the weight started to fall off. It took me about 3 years to lose 40 pounds. Even though people started telling me that I looked good and my clothes started getting smaller, every time I looked in the mirror, I still saw the face of that 182 pound girl.
To this day, I still feel insecure about myself. I tend to avoid the mirror a lot because I still don’t like what I see most of the time. I don’t take many pictures of myself because I’m convinced I look horrible in most of them. What am I doing wrong? Why can’t I see the strong and healthy woman that I’ve become?
Has anyone else experienced a fairly dramatic weight loss, but still identifies with your old self? What have you done to see the woman you are now?
I’m determined that this year is going to be different in terms of my mindset on my weight. This year my resolution was not to lose weight, it was to maintain my exercise routine and to continue preparing healthy meals for myself (and for E when he returns). I want to see the person I am now when I look in that mirror, not the shadow of who I once was. I don’t have to be supermodel thin to be happy. I need to love my body the way it is right now. It’s strong and healthy and I shouldn’t let my mind tell me otherwise.

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8 thoughts on “Body image

  1. medicalwife

    Oh my goodness I never would've guessed that you once had a problem with weight. I think you look so incredibly good, for what it's worth, but I know it's hard to let go of the image of yourself overweight.i don't have quite the same dramatic story, but I can relate. I'm 5'4", and in high school I weighed 108. Hardcore metabolism combined with hardcore competitive cheerleading. Uber skinny. Then college I packed on weight and thought I was HUGE (I weighed between 125-135, depending on the year). I felt awful when I was near the 135 range, but never could do anything consistent about it. I did the cheerleading in HS, and that had always kept me thin, but I never learned how to take care of myself outside of it. End of college I settled in at 129, and i was happy with my body (mostly). Then I got married and weighed 139, and one day, I stepped on the scale and it was 147. Every time I looked in the mirror all I saw was fat. Fat. Fat. Fat. So I entered my height and weight on a BMI website, just to see, and my BMI was in the unheathy/overweight range for my height. I sat and cried for a long, long time. Then I decided I was going to change things and get back down to post college weight of 129 (or low 130s even!). So I took up running (slowly… interspersed with walking), and tracking my eating habits (not to be obsessive, but simply because if I didn't I would eat too much without realizing it). 16 lbs just kind of fell off. It was amazing, but I still looked in the mirror and saw the fat. Always the fat. It's easy to see how girls/women can so easily succumb to eating disorders- it's so hard to see yourself as you really are. Unfortunately, we moved here and I stopped keeping up with my routine. I gained almost all of it back and ended up at 142. Sucks sucks sucks. But come next summer, it's my goal to get back into running, and checking my poor eating habits. Anyway. That's my deal with weight loss. It's hard to love your body when you've seen your body in a state that it shouldn't be. But it's so important to try. I think your resolution is awesome for this new year!

    Reply
  2. JustHeather

    I love your resolution! I think it is one of the healthiest you can have!Now for your height, would you be willing to trade that? I'd love the 2 "extra" inches you have. *big grin*

    Reply
  3. Rebecca

    8 years ago I lost 90 pounds in a short amount of months due to being sick from one episode of bronchitis piggy backed with another and then pneumonia. Other than being so tired I looked great with the new thin body. But, every time I passed a mirror I didn't recognize me and I still felt fat.I gained quite a bit after getting injured on my job. Its no excuse either. When my husband deployed in 09 to Iraq I began my weight loss journey. When he returned I began a weight gain journey! Now no excuse again.TTC with IVF a second round and I'm still keeping the weight off that I lost this summer. I need to lose another 35 pounds to reach my goal weight. It will happen eventually. TTC is the main priority.

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  4. Brittany

    I'm the opposite as you. I was extremely healthy in high school (playing on two soccer teams 7 days a week will do that to you) and I could eat whatever I wanted. I played soccer in college my first year but after the season, I gained quite a bit of weight. Mostly from continuing to eat what I wanted without the extreme workout routine to justify it. I was always around 150 and a size 12 at my fittest. My body is just not meant to be any smaller than that. But even then, I thought I was huge.I gained 30 pounds my freshman year and spend the entire summer working my ass off to lose it & spent all of college to try and maintain what was a good weight for me. At 5'7" and NOT playing soccer that often (seriously, somedays, between both teams, I was practicing four hours a day)I maintained a weight of about 160/165, still a size 12. That seemed to work for me. I lost quite a bit in Grad school (140) because I was poor as hell and never ate food. It's the only time I've ever been a size 10 in my life. Then I got married and moved here. I did ok until I got my first ever desk job. When Marshall got home from his first deployment, I had gained 20 pounds. In the 180's. It has only gone up from there. Pre-pregancy (oh god. I can't believe I'm telling ANYBODY this) I was well over 200 pounds. And obviously still am. It makes me cry. It's also why I get so upset with the fact that even though I'm pregnant, I've gained more weight than I wanted to. I have gained my GOAL weight and I still have 9 weeks to go. I hate it. Pre-pregancy, I hated the way I looked. And I don't WANT to be that person anymore. I know that it's going to take a lot of work after this baby comes to lose the 60 pounds that I want to lose, but I feel like I am determined enough to do it. It's why I'm signing up for a half marathon, so I have some motivation. And it's why I fully plan on starting to work out as soon as I'm given the ok from my midwife. With that said, knowing how I feel and seeing what you have accomplished, I have all the respect in the world for you. Because it's freaking hard. My goal of getting back down to 160 scares the shit out of me. And even then, I'm on the high end of an acceptable weight for my height. I think you look amazing, and I love your dedication. And I will definitely be reaching out to YOU when I can work out again, to hit the goal that I need to be at. So be PROUD of what you have accomplished. Because it's pretty amazing. And I swear …. you look amazing.

    Reply
  5. Reccewife

    This is my resolution too! I recently lost a bunch of weight and now I just need to spend this year being comfortable with how I look now and stop hating every seeming imperfection. We can do it!

    Reply
  6. wHiT

    Just came across your blog. Consider me a new follower. Id love for you to come check out my blog at hopefully do the same?-wHiTblacklittlebutton.blogspot.com

    Reply
  7. Kelly

    I think we talked about our weight issues before. I feel the same way as you. You're tiny. People say I'm tiny, but like you all I see is the fat girl in the mirror. I still tend to make some bad eating decisions, but I work out at least 5 times a week to balance it out. I hope one day we'll be able to love our bodies and our healthier habits!

    Reply
  8. Kristin

    I think I will soon talk about these "weighty issues" on my blog. I've had a horrible body image since probably 3rd grade. I'm actually on the thin side, but I'm so afraid that I'll gain weight. Almost like walking a trapeze. Do you have that irrational fear of gaining the weight back? I lost about 20 pounds in high school, and I'm always afraid I'll gain it back.

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