Sunday, August 7, 2011

Day 14 of blog challenge

Thoughts on body image

I really don't want to write about this, but I guess that's why they call it a challenge. Here we go.

I've been blessed with a high metabolism for most of my life. In high school, all I ate was junk food. Recently, one of my good friends reminded me that I used to eat a whole can of Pringles every afternoon after school. Thanks, Jen!

So I didn't have to worry about my weight. I never even gained the dreaded "Freshman 15" because in Charleston, everyone bikes. I was in awesome shape back then.

But something happened, probably when I started weighing over 105 (which is absolutely ridiculous, I know), and I went nuts. It was during the fat-free craze, and I checked the fat on everything. I wouldn't get anything out of a vending machine because I couldn't see the fat content.

Then I got really sick when I was teaching. I'm not sure how much I gained, but it was probably just a little less than when I was pregnant. I was horrified.

When I got pregnant, I was determined not to gain a lot of weight. But I ended up gaining about 42 lbs. At every appointment, I was scared they were going to mention my weight and put me on a diet. Thank God they didn't.

I was scared to death that I wouldn't lose all the weight from the pregnancy. Eventually I did, but my body is now a different shape. It's taken me a while to accept it, but I think I finally have.

It terrifies me that I'll be raising a daughter in our culture. I think our society has become more tolerant of different body shapes than when I was younger, but there's still that pressure to be thin.

My 8-year-old niece, Katie, has recently been complaining that she's fat. And she is a tiny little girl. I really think this comes from her mother's struggle with weight; when she was still with my brother, she talked about how fat she was all the time. I am furious that my niece says she's fat. Really sick about it.

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That's her on the left. Yeah, she really has a problem with weight, right? Please.

So, all I can do is be a good example for Audrey. I want to focus on her being healthy and not the number on a scale. I want her to be active, not a couch potato. Which is one more reason I have to beat this fibro, so I can be active with her. I still exercise, but it's about tai chi now and not vigorous workouts. That's better than nothing, though.

I'm going to be extra careful about what I say regarding weight as Audrey grows up. I secretly hope, though, that she inherits my high metabolism. I don't want her to worry about her weight, and I don't want to see her struggle with it. I don't want her to feel inferior because of society's pressure to be thin.

So, from now on, when I'm feeling fat, I'll share those thoughts with David. I won't examine myself in the mirror in front of Audrey, pointing out my flaws. I hope that's enough for her to develop a healthy body image.

I'll do whatever it takes.


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