Size Matters

I was enjoying reading my girl Nic’s blog tonight.  She posted some beautiful candids of her, her husband, and their son.

It struck me as I was scrolling through them, that we have no pictures like that. Most of the pictures we have are of V and Bil.  Not because Bil doesn’t try to take my picture, but because I hate having my picture taken.  Oh, I’m not shy or anything like that.  It’s just that I loathe seeing pictures of me.  For some reason, I can look in a mirror and think, hey I don’t look that bad.  Then I see a picture taken of me and reality sets in.

I. am. fat.

Ugh.  I hate that word.  I really do.  I was told all my life as a kid that I was fat.  To the point I had such a skewed version of what I looked like that I quite often don’t recognize myself in pictures.  We were looking through old slides one night at my parents house and a picture I had never seen came up of my grandfather, my brother, and someone else.  I looked at my mom and asked “Who’s that with Grandad and Mike?”  She gave me a funny look.  “It’s you”.  I stared at the picture again and blurted out “But I wasn’t fat!”.  And sure enough, it was me, about 10 or 11 years old, standing in a stream, wearing a bikini.  I was NOT fat.  Why did I think I was?  Because my parents were always after me to suck in my tummy.  My doctor always told me I was too heavy according to those little BMI charts.  But I look back at pictures and I was was not fat.  I was no toothpick, but to say I was fat?

This horribly unrealistic expectation of what I was supposed to look like, lead me down the deep dark anorexic path.  And it was so easy.  A missed meal here and there. Working out, jogging, and less eating.  But it wasn’t enough.  By the time I was in high school I had become bulimic.  Throwing up became a sort of release.  Did you know bulimia is like alcoholism?  Once a bulimic always a bulimic.  It’s a slippery slope that is so easy to return to.  It’s been 15 years since I started down the road that completely destroyed my metabolism, made my hair thin, eroded tooth enamel.  But according to the world I was thin and therefore beautiful. I had so much positive reinforcement it was difficult to pull myself out of the pit that was killing me.

But eventually, with help, I did.  To this day I’m terrified of throwing up.  Not because of the normal reasons, but, because it feels good.  I know. Bizarre.  But it really is a horrible sickness.  I’m so afraid of becoming bulimic again.  As much as I hate being fat, being thin was worse.  I look back at my high-school pictures and cringe.  My collarbones hollowed out, my cheekbones sunken in, my hands looked like those of a skeleton.

At my lowest weight, I weighed 105.  Literally nothing but skin and bones.  I will always suffer the effects of what I did to myself in the name of beauty.

Fat 202x300 Size MattersBut once you ruin your metabolism and you go back to eating, the weight starts to pile on, no matter how healthy you eat. Through the years I’ve done the yo-yo diets.  The South Beach, the Atkins, Dr. B, Weight Watchers… you name it.  And so now, 15 years later, I weigh 190.  Yeah.  85lbs.  Ouch. Ideally I’d like to get back down to 150, which isn’t that unreasonable I don’t think.  I’ve already managed to lose a lot of the weight I put on when I was pregnant (being on bed-rest and eating like a pig did nothing to help me keep weight gain to a respectable amount during my pregnancy).  But now, 2 years later, I have to face the fact that this is no longer ‘baby weight’.  I’m overweight and I need to deal with it.
But I’m struggling.  I’ve plateaued at this weight for months now.  And when that happens, it’s REALLY easy to lose motivation.  I have totally lost my weight loss mojo.

So there it is.  My goal.  Loose this extra weight.  I don’t want to be the Fat Mom.  I want to like how I look in pictures again.  I want to enjoy time with my daughter without being tired.  And most of all – I want to set a good example for her.

I never want my child to feel that she’s fat, to make food a crutch, or even worse, make it a pawn in the game of ‘who’s the prettiest’.  I want to show my daughter what it is to live and eat healthy.

Now if I could just figure out where to start.

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20 Responses to Size Matters

  • I never (thankfully) got to the point of anorexia or bulimia, but the part about not having photos of me (even with my own kids – which I really hate) because I despise the way I look hits home. I’m not obese but I grew up being told or at least ‘overhearing’ that I was fat or chunky or ugly or poorly dressed and as dumb as it sounds, those hurtful words stuck with me to this day. Now, no matter who compliments me, I cannot accept it – I feel foolish doing so, as though people are just appeasing me or telling me nice things as a way of *just* being nice and not because they actually mean them because how could they? I, too, will now look back at childhood photos of me and realize I was never fat. I may not have been a stick-figure, but I was definitely not overweight… yet the damage was done.
    That photo of you? Is beautiful. This post? Brave, courageous and extremely honest. Good for you.
    .-= Undomestic Diva´s last blog ..Hung Up on The Hangover =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    It’s amazing how much those type of comments stick with you, no matter how much you may change. We’re always taught ‘sticks and stones’ but words really do hurt.

  • Matthew says:

    I love the honesty in this post. This will never be easy for you (because it isn’t easy for us who never had an eating disorder) but I admire your willingness to look it in the eye and face it.

    I also am struck by the paragraph about wanting to do this for your daughter. It never ceases to amaze me, the power of parenthood, to make us better people in the name of our kids.

    Best of luck. You deserve the best.
    .-= Matthew´s last blog ..Dear God, it’s me Matthew =-.

    Jenn Reply:

    It’s really true, isn’t it. There’s so much we change and so much our perspective changes when we have kids. They really are a great motivator.

  • Jodee says:

    (((hugs)) you are beautiful! I am so proud of you it’s hard to admit too having a problem with food. I understand I am an emotional eater. Bored,scared, depressed I eat. I am trying to not pass these issues on to my children which can be hard. I am trying to just eat healthy now an it’s struggle . But I know it will pay off. Thank you for sharing you are not alone! :)
    .-= Jodee´s last blog ..Happy 4th of July =-.

  • Adrienne says:

    I have always been fat, Perhaps not obese as a kid or teen, but yes, chunky and fat nonetheless. Now I am not only fat but morbidly so. I have considered bulemia, honestly, as a means of losing weight because nothing else seems to work. I have dieted and exercised, but always keep coming back to the comfort of lying on my bed in front of the computer eating donuts.
    I also had an aversion to photos, for the longest time, I hated having my picture taken, but now my kids are grown and I realize I have little to no pictures of me with them. I wish I could go back and do it all over again.
    I would probably still end up as fat as I am but I would have had more pictures with my kids.
    You are indeed a brave woman and I wish you well on your journey.

    Someone recommended using the mug shot program to take your picture everyday, says it helps you get over the stigma of having your picture taken.
    .-= Adrienne´s last blog ..Bathroomtopia =-.

  • Maura says:

    I can definitely relate. I never went down the path to anorexia or bulimia, but can see how I might have. And I applaud you for coming back from it and working so hard not to pass those destructive ways on to your daughter.
    .-= Maura´s last blog ..Hitting the Road =-.

  • Adrenalynn says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. My mother always talked about how fat she thought she was- and of course wasn’t. I was very underweight growing up due to my metabolism and was always told how ugly THAT looked. I still struggle with my appearance do this day- although I know on an intellectual level that most people think I look nice I can’t make myself believe it AT ALL. It’s so tiring, isn’t it? I hope we don’t pass this obsession with weight and appearance on to our kids. And you look awesome in the photo!
    .-= Adrenalynn´s last blog ..Random thoughts on a Saturday night that nobody’s going to read anyway because everyone’s too busy having a life. =-.

  • RJ Flamingo says:

    You have a cheering section, Sweetie, and I’m right there, waving my pom-poms!
    .-= RJ Flamingo´s last blog ..I Wuz Robbed! =-.

  • oh my love… i’m reading this and crying because my post of pics brought this up for you. i mean, i know it came from somewhere and obviously you were ready to write about it (what strength you have!)… but it hurts my heart to know that looking at our family pics caused a possibly-painful post for you.

    regardless, i love you and think you are incredible.
    .-= nic @mybottlesup´s last blog ..wordless weekend- july 4th =-.

  • I’m reading this and tearing up as I relate to so much in your post. I have never dealt with anorexia or bulimia, but have struggled with weight and body image issues my entire life. Having reached my highest weight ever I am now working on correcting my own perception of myself. Thank you for this raw and honest look at weight issues.
    .-= Lacey @digitalpagan´s last blog ..Happy Birthday Baby Boy! =-.

  • Crystal says:

    Trust me i’m not the best about image issues.. i have.. a LOT of them, but you my dear are beautiful. Outside & In. That’s what counts, it really doesn’t matter what size you are, as long as you’re healthy & happy :)

  • Lesley says:

    I’m with you sister…I thought I was HUGE as early as 8 & started dieting at 10 or 11. And, my mom “supported” me on it. Meaning, she watched my food & told me to suck in my stomach, too. So sad. I never became bulimic, but I spent 90% of my waking hours obsessing over my body, food, dieting. I “gave up” dieting about 3 1/2 years ago when I found a non-profit group that works to “undo” body image and dieting stuff. (www.beyondhunger.org) Funny thing is that I’m actually thinner than I’ve ever been without completely starving, which is nice. They have a good book, which is a great place to start.

    The biggest thing this group tries to stress is that “our body” is not the measure or reflection of our value as a human being. Our body size isn’t a reflection of how much we love, how well we parent, how generous or funny we are. That was the absolute hardest thing for me to understand…and I’m only now beginning to emotionally believe that 3 years later. (I intellectually believed it, but I didn’t think it applied to me somehow). Too long of a comment, though!

    I’m sorry you’re hurting. I wouldn’t wish the pain I felt from hating my body on my worst enemies! So glad I found you on twitter & your blog.

  • I saw a pic of me from my pre-baby days and I couldn’t believe I thought I needed to lose weight. I really try to watch what I say to my daughter. The simplest comments like “Ugh you’re too heavy to carry” might just hurt her down the road. Good luck with your journey.
    .-= midwest mommy´s last blog ..Why bother mopping? =-.

  • Lisa says:

    You are beautiful and this post is beautiful. Good for you for writing about something so difficult. I had a friend who was bulmic in high school, I’ve lost touch with her but I know it was terrible for her at the time.
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Laumeier Sculpture Park =-.

  • melissa says:

    Really, I love this post and its’ honesty. I’ve been there, oh so many times. Those words hurt , especially when they come from your parents. I know this personally as well. I’ve gone to the point of just living off coffee and it’s dangerous. It makes me cry when I think of how little pictures there are with me and my kids. It’s hurts like hell.
    the picture of you with your daughter is beautiful and I’m so glad you wrote this. I’ve struggled with hypothyroidism since my 1st child (9 year ago) and I recently (within the past week) decided that I would no longer consider “no carbs, no sugar, etc ,etc”
    I just want to be healthy , in shape and be able to be active and enjoy life with my kids.
    The word “fat” is not even allowed in my home, just because even if it’s not true – it causes too much damage.

  • Jenn says:

    Thank you all for your love and support. And for sharing your personal stories. It really does help knowing that you’re not the only one who’s had a similar experience. You guys/ladies are the best!!

  • Mary says:

    You can do this! I am on the same journey and although it is difficult to start (I totally just ate some ColdStone…just a small one ;O ), once you do it, you get into a rhythm. Eat healthy and get some exercise in there! Good luck!
    .-= Mary´s last blog ..My 9 months are up… =-.

  • Catherine says:

    I can relate to everything you wrote. While I’m fairly young, I’ve ruined my body by my EDs and however unhappy I am with my weight gain…there’s still that little voice that reminds me how easy it was not to eat. It’s a slippery slope, one I’ve been fighting for 10 years. One day I hope to find peace.

  • Katrina says:

    I am so with you! I need to drop at least 50lbs. It’s a vicious cycle. I never allow pictures of me and my 16 month old to be taken because I hate how I look, and it breaks my heart that there aren’t many pictures of us. I’m seriously going to start weight watchers on Monday. It’s time to make a change.

    Thanks for being so open & honest. I seriously think you just opened my eyes…big time!
    .-= Katrina´s last blog ..{feelin’ green giveaway} =-.

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