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A Letter I Wrote To Myself About Getting Fat

Put On Your Happy Face

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Shall we talk about your body?

Your body, which used to be thinner. Which you took for granted, because it fitted into cheap, tight dresses. Your body, which took you up and down Brixton Hill, every day, twice a day, never unheralded by catcalls, the stream of men and their “Oh baby hey baby nice tits nice ass hey WHERE YOU GOING?”

Your body was a girl’s body, made from dancing and late nights and skipped dinners, of hopefulness and sleeplessness and sadness. It took care of itself, or rather, you didn’t care that it couldn’t. It wasn’t for you, and so you didn’t mind that you couldn’t always afford to feed and nurture it. The admiration of others was nourishment enough. You often went to bed feeling empty. You thought it was heartbreak. It was probably hunger.

Then your body became plump with love.

Late dinners and later breakfasts…

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Cheese biscuit, potty, or monster school

  

This is a short post, but too good not to share. 

The choices in life. The things I say to my child. Oh my. How they all intertwine.

We have a crazy morning routine in our house. And because of my work schedule and my husband’s work schedule it changes every 11 days. So, just as things smooth out and become “normal”, they flip again and my 4 year old penguin is out of sorts again. 

Friday mornings are my morning to take her to “monster school”. It started out dramatic, which is inherited, because she told me “I can’t get dressed. I didn’t sleep well”. Yes, I said she is 4. We finally made it to the van, without letting the dog out, which is a success in itself. But then she melts down. “I can’t buckle myself”. “I can’t do it”. Over and over and over. So, being the original drama queen, I know the best way to handle this is to stay calm. So, I calmly told her that we would sit in the car until she put her seatbelt (car seat) on. And I did. I sat there through many more “I can’t mommy”, and finally it was done and I turned around and started the van.

We were on our way. Knowing we would be too late for breakfast at monster school I opted for the precious cheese biscuit from McDonalds. We proceeded to drive through line and the people in my town cannot follow directions so they form two lines before it actually splits off. So, I’m stuck in this line, contemplating asking someone to get me coffee and deliver to my window, when I hear the whining start. “Mommy, I have to go tee-tee. They have one of those pottys don’t they?”. SIGH “Yes, they do but I’m stuck in line. Do you want to eat or me get out of line when I can and go straight to monster school to use the bathroom?” “I want cheese biscuit”. “Okay, then you’ll have to wait.” I get to the menu to order, being reminded not to forget her chocolate milk, and get it ordered. Almost at home base. “Mommy, I really have to potty”. Here is where the choices come in. “Okay, I can get out of line and go to school, but I’ve just ordered. Cheese biscuit or bathroom? We all have to make choices.” Yes, that’s what I said. Her answer? “Cheese biscuit”.

The choices we make start early. And no, they won’t always be simple, but next time ask yourself “cheese biscuit or bathroom?” And remember the simplicity of it all. 

I want to parent like a grand parent

This took me by surprise the other day. I feel slightly judged and on a short rope even at 36 years old with my parents. But, I watched the interaction between my mama and my 4 year old daughter and just sat there in awe. I could vividly remember doing something similiar as to what’s daughter was doing and my mama loosing all patience with me and I probably ended up with a spanking. But I watched as she slowly took her time to allow the experience to fully wash over the penguin. My mother never got upset or in a hurry. I know I would have already yelled, threatened, and yes, probably thrown out a curse word by now.

I want to be the grandparent parent. The one that does take their time, isn’t always frazzled. I want to enjoy this journey just as much as a grandparent wants to enjoy theirs. Yes, some of it a time thing. Some grandparents have more time, they aren’t rushed. But my mom, some days, stays busier than I do, minus the actual job. Grandparents often say “I can let them do what they want and give them back to their parents”. While that is true, aside from the “meth making granny”, most grandparents are still responsible at raising children. It’s not as if they let them just run like wild horses. 

I just think, as a parent, if I could slow down and parent like a grand parent, without the stress and struggle of being the actual “parent”, I may become a better parent. Grand parents don’t worry about time. Child wants to play outside? Sure! But as a parent when my penguin ask to play outside I immediately think of time. Time outside. Time it will take to get her inside. Time to clean up. I don’t want think like that. 

The Psychology of it all (Part II)

  
this would be the second part of my introduction, of sorts, to what has led me to deal with body image issues my entire life. Hopefully, by writing this not only will I gain some perspective but maybe someone else can too. ***THIS IS NOT THE BLAME GAME…. I do not “blame” anyone per se, I am only learning to understand the events that have helped shape the issues at hand

I left off in Part I with the family dynamics and the shaping of my young mind for such warped senses of my image and worthiness. Somewhere along the way it also became about control and proving to everyone, myself included, that I wasn’t the fat kid they thought, or I thought, I was. 

“But, your fat. How could you have had an eating disorder?” Yes, the stereotypical person recovering from an eating disorder doesn’t usually become overweight. First, I never formally was diagnosed with an eating disorder and second, as a result not treated for such. The reasons will be explained. But first, the disorder itself. Primarily I assume it would be classified as anorexia. I did try the bulimia route on more than one occasion, but I cannot really throw up in silence. (Another time, another blog) So I became in control. I was in control of what I did not eat! I lost a lot of weight on my frame and the results were mixed. The adults knew I was on he verge of a health problem. The dumb adolescents in my life still thought I was fat. But, the opposite sex started to notice. The first to notice was the first one I became smitten with. Now, do you see this body image equation working itself out in my already fragile mind? 

Being seen as fat=no boyfriend

Loose a lot of weight=boyfriend

Yeah, so now my mind associates my self worth to the opposite sex with my weight. And, I couldn’t have picked a better boyfriend to hammer that fucked up reasoning if I tried. At 16 I started dating who would become my first husband and 12 years later leave me because I gained weight. So, you ask, “well, if you thought you were only good enough because you were thin, why DID you gain weight?”. Because there was something stronger at work. My crazy mind for one thing, but beyond that the hope and belief that I could be loved no matter what. There may have been women in my family who unknowingly helped seal my fate an early age with the body shame, but there were men in my family who gave me hope. You see, despite the women in my family not loving and accepting themselves, their husbands always did. My daddy has always loved my mother no matter what size. My grandfather worshiped my grandmother no matter what size ( she eventually gave up the “thin” notion anyway). So all if this was in my lovestruck mind. He did love me? He meant his vows? There were years of mental abuse once I could no longer maintain the unhealthy weight I was when we started to date. His family was no different. I spent many family holidays listening about the latest fitness craze from his aunts and uncles and numerous times was told by his mom it was all about being strong. Overweight people were weak. But my grip on that weight slowly slipped away and so did the notion that I could just be loved. After being together for 12 years, married for 7 years, he left me for a skinnier woman. Imagine what body shame I had now . The equation of my youth once again proved itself in my young adult life. 

I finally picked myself off of the divorce floor. I did come to understand the problem was with him. I also came to realize that divorce was the best thing to happen. Now, I’m not going to lie and say it’s not a day to day struggle to not let his actions impact my life. And society reverberates those sentiments he had about weight. It’s everywhere. I have since married a wonderful man, my true mate, who met me at my heaviest. I can say that I know he loves me. But, I can also say that in the tiny crevices of my damaged mind I don’t think he should. 

This is where I am. I want to begin this with a positive view for my daughter. I don’t want her to learn that the scale or size in your clothes define you (my mother had to cut sizes out if my clothes as a child because I would freak if they were over a certain size). That is why I am starting this journey of self understanding and self loving, for her. May she never know body shame. May she always measure her self worth on the inside. May she always love herself as much as I love her.

#nobodyshame, #positivemind, #healthy, #learning, #selfworth, #throwoutthescale, #weightloss

The Psychology of it all (Part I)

katequote

(photo courtesy of codenamemama.com)

When I fist read this quote, it spoke volumes to me. I could picture one of those timelines you learn to do in school around 4th or 5th grade and know where to put everything on it as it related to my body image and weight issues. I have vivid recollections of negativity from my daddy, who honestly would not want to hurt me but his words have always spoke the loudest in my psyche. I remember the taste of the canned tuna and green beans that were allowed on the weight watchers plan when I first attended around age 8.

I assume, from looking at pictures, that there as a time that I didn’t know anything was wrong with the way I looked. I guess you would say I was an average looking kid with an average weight. Not as skinny as some but not as big as some either. I also have the two sides of the family to think about their views on weight and body image. It’s really weird, because in some sense I had not self esteem issues. I wore anything I wanted, much of which was to “fashion forward” for my small town, and I did it without any problems. But, on the other hand I don’t much remember a time that I haven’t worried about what was on my plate. Somewhere between the pictures of the average size kid and the carefree adolescent who wore weird clothes, something happened and I became the “fat” kid.

I don’t remember being anything else in school, but the fat kid. I was taller and matured at a much faster rate than my classmates. I guess compared to their yet matured body I was fat. I do remember kids sort of making fun of me, but nothing jumps out at me. So, I cannot decide if the body image concern was from classmates or family. I don’t remember not being able to play sports, participate in games, or anything like that. I remember passing the President’s Physical Fitness challenge, so I couldn’t have been that bad off. I was just different. I’ve never fit any sort of mold, much less one of the small town molds. So, that leads me to 2 very crucial incidents that can never be taken back and I can never get them out of my mind and they seem to be the start of me questioning myself.  *Side note* as I type this I am thinking….even when girls start getting noticed my boys, I wasn’t all that heavy. I was big boned, athletic, but I danced for crying out loud. I did backbends and back handsprings. Yes, I remember being upset that boys didn’t “like” me, but I’m starting to think that it had nothing to do with my size. Probably my attitude and self assuredness. Like I said, I was not size 2, but I’m remembering some pictures in my head, and I wasn’t a size 22 either. So, again I have to search myself to know if the body image has been created because of those around me or because of my social interactions with peers * End random thought process….

Weight watchers and 8 years old and the fear that “you will be like your Aunt, big as the side of a house”. Yep, that’s it folks. The 2 doozies that have haunted me. Why did I go to weight watchers at age 8? Again, I tell you, the pictures were not grotesque. Heck, my cousin right now has a 10 year old that wears a size 38 in pants. That may be cause for concern. But not looking back on ME. I tell you why I think I went to WW at age 8. Because my mother did. Because my grandmother did. Because I had a tiny seed in my head that maybe I needed to be like the petite girls in my class and since 2 of the influential women in my life were going to WW to loose weight it made sense that I would go to. Okay. WHY did my mother let me? I’m sure she did it out of love and support, thinking that it might help my slightly damaged self esteem. Oh boy! It took a slightly damaged self esteem and confirmed that there was something wrong with me that should be fixed and just drove a tornado through my adolescent self esteem. Because now all I can remember is that I went to WW at 8 years old. All I can see is the affirmation that I did need to be fixed, that I did need to loose weight in order to be an acceptable member of society. Okay, next lesson. My Aunt also inherited the “B” and “M” genes from our family. They are just big people. I’ve seen pictures of my aunt growing up and she is just a big girl. Not a “fat” girl. But, my entire life she has been overweight. I didn’t question it has a small child, not until my grandmother, a petite 5’3″, started saying things to me. Again, I’m sure trying to be supportive. But what they didn’t realize and what so many adults don’t realize today is, if you have a child who isn’t questioning these things…weight, self esteem, acceptance, etc…and you decide “lets be proactive” and talk about it, you have now opened up a host of questions for this child to think about. “If my parents are talking to me about (fill in the blank), then it must BE IMPORTANT< MY PARENTS LOVE ME AND WANT ME HAPPY> THGEY WOULDN”T TALK TO ME ABOUT SELF ESTEEM AND MY WEIGHT IF I didn’t have a problem”. I just think that parents need to think about the influence they have over their children. But, I digress. So, as I said my aunt has been overweight as long as I’ve been alive. My daddy went through some health transformation when I was around 5 years old and has been fit ever since. I remember being at my grandmother’s dinner table and I apparently reached on his plate to take a bite of something. He quickly responded, “if you continue to eat like that you will end up like your Aunt Betty, big as the side of a house.” No, my aunt is not that overweight.

Whew! I need a couch and an expensive bill after that therapy session. Dr. Melfi has nothing on me. I will return with part II.

The last supper

Today will mark the end of eating for pleasure. I will begin to view food as fuel and not just for satisfaction. Will I still splurge occasionally, of course, this will be my life. But the days of pop tarts and cinnamon rolls on a weekly basis will be a thing of the past tomorrow.

I want to teach my daughter good habits that start with example and not with just telling her what to eat. Part of my psychological problem with food and my body stems from being told so many times what to eat and what not to eat. I started my first weight loss program at 8 years old and I don’t remember it being for health reasons. I do remember it being to help me socially so I wouldn’t be made fun of.

This new journey isn’t a self starvation. It’s a new way of thinking and viewing my day to day way of eating. It’s also learning to love myself even if I don’t loose a pound. Learning to become healthy by just moving and feeling the body that God has blessed me with.

I won’t be in any accountability group with someone telling me “no excuses”, “you do what you set your mind”, and all of the other things people say that they see as inspiring and motivating. Umm, yeah, not so much. It posses me off and I view it as judgement. This will be my journey on my terms and I’m the one that will be accountable.

Now….what to devour in a glutinous way today??