Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Weighty Issues

Weight, it's what's on my mind.

Yesterday was weigh day for me - one I will say I was very excited about. Everyone has an ideal weight they would like to be at, for me, it's somewhere I don't think I'll ever see again (note 125) but after 2 kids and a growing age by the year I'm content to settle for a different weight. (note 135) I say all this because I have fluctuated the scale quite a lot over the last few years and will admit that it wasn't until then that I thought my weight really mattered.

Somewhere around 21 (when I last weighed 125) after a failed marriage, I took up food as a replacement for my self-esteem. It made me feel good and it was always available. I gained 10lbs over the course of 6 months and went to 135, no the numbers don't look so bad but at 5'6", trust me, 10lbs makes a difference. I didn't really notice it at first until I had to suck in to get into my favorite pair of jeans, but at that age who cares if your jeans are skin tight...I still look good right?

Eventually I got over my 'man hater' phase, but I kept my love affair with food. I started working out regularly but the weight didn't come off, even still I didn't worry about it. I got pregnant with my first baby and gained 40 pounds. At 5'6" - 175lbs can make me look pretty round, but I was convinced I was young and I would lose it. Within weeks of my daughter being born I started taking appetite suppressing pills with energy boosters. I became obsessed with my weight and wanted it gone. Never mind that it took me 9 months to gain it, I wanted it gone yesterday. I spent the next few months diligently watching what I ate, exercising, popping appetite suppressor pills and some of the weight came off...not all. I had gotten back down to 145 and just couldn't break the weight, then I went on deployment (military) and got down to 138. I was excited - thought I looked like a million bucks.

It was easy when I got back to let my love affair with food take over. I had spent many months without my favorites (Popeye's, WhatABurger, Krispy Kreme) and I made sure I made up for lost time. Over 10 months I went from 138 to 155. By the time I realized what had happened I was on my way taking diet pills and cutting back my eating to just what was necessary. I started exercising again but even then I only managed to lose 8 pounds over 6 months. I would starve myself and then I would binge on alcohol and fatty fried foods, convinced I could eat like this because I had only had a carrot stick to eat that day.

Eventually I fell back into my old habits I regained the 8 lbs I had lost and it wasn't until I saw myself in a photograph that I realized just what I looked like. Back at 155lbs I decided I would start Weight Watchers and try to do it the right way. I worked and followed their plan - food wise and lost 10 lbs over 6 months. I couldn't bring myself to do the exercise part, but over time I had learned to love my constant battle with food - eat what I want, starve, reduce portions, eat what I want, starve (vicious cycle continued.) I had gotten so used to punishing or rewarding myself with food I didn't even notice what I was doing.

At 146 I got pregnant with my second child and once again I gained 40 lbs = 185 at delivery. For someone who still dreams she is 125 lbs it is hard to watch those numbers climb on the scale each month. It doesn't matter what the reason (baby or not) my first instinct was to cut back. I spent those 9 months with pregnancy induced diabetes and had to give myself insulin injections 2x's daily. I HATED THIS!!! Not only did I have to give myself insulin, but I had to monitor my blood 4-5 times a day, monitor what I ate and learn how each food effected my sugar levels.

There were moments during all this that I wanted to just say "F**K it" and not take the shots, not do the tests, just eat the pound of french fries and gravy that were calling my name, but I didn't. My unborn child needed me to take care of it and that is the only thing that kept me doing what needed to be done. During this process I fought with myself but I also learned many a valuable lesson about myself.

  • I have always had a love of food - mainly because my mother cooked so much growing up.
  • Traveling around the world only expanded this love affair.
  • I also learned that food is my 'security blanket.' When life gets crappy I want the things that make me feel like I'm in control, things that bring about happy emotions and for me - it is food.
  • Being that I had diabetes while pregnant (borderline w/first child) I have the possibility of developing it later in life.
In the months following the birth of my second child, I have taken up eating healthy (I still like fried chicken and pizza) I have started exercising and thru a brief moment of 'body image/fat' talk from my oldest I learned that much of what I say and do effects her. In six months I have gotten down to 145lbs, (lost all the baby weight) and am continuing to work towards my goal weight by being healthy.

Why do I bring all this up - mainly because I have many friends who are expecting their first child in the next couple of months and we've all gotten caught up in body image. It's hard for anyone (child or not) not to get caught up in it. It is everywhere we look, the clothes we buy, the articles we read (we're too fat or we're too skinny). It's ok to want to be 'healthy' but it's self destructive to have unrealistic idea's of how we would like to look.

Do you struggle with body image?


Kellan said...

It is so frustrating thinking about it all the time - throughout our whole lives - it's really ridiculous, if you think too much about it. But ... I do too. Everyone I know does. I'm on a diet right now - trying to lose the 15 lbs. I put on over the holidays ... blah, blah, blah. At least you are a runner - that is a great way to keep/get in shape. I've been walking lately - not as diligently as I'd like, but I'm working on that.

Have a good day, Kel - see you soon - Kellan

Semi-Charmed Wife said...

I think you probably already know my answer to this question... yes, I absolutely do. I've never felt entirely comfortable in my own skin. I'm tall for one thing (I'm 5'9), and I was this height when I was 13, so I always felt like I was too big, taking up too much spacy, awkward, gangly, not well-proportioned. I haven't entirely gotten past those beliefs either. I'm trying to move past disordered eating (restricting, starving, binging) and get to a place where the number one thing is my health. But it's hard to let go of the number on that scale...

Jenn said...

Yes...I want to lose weight--I am so undisciplined, though.

A Buns Life said...

I try to pay more attention to how my clothes fit than what the scale says...but at 5'1 even a pound or two weight gain matters a lot in how things fit and how I feel. It's amazing how good I felt at my current weight when I got married (ie before kids) and how gross I feel now at the same weight after two children. I never had a flat stomach even though my lbs aren't that high, now I REALLY don't have a flat tummy. Nothing went back like it should have. But my husband doesn't care, and I buy clothes that I think hide the bad parts well, and I just suck it up and deal with it. I'm hard enough on myself as it is, I don't need to add this to the list. :)

April said...

Who DOESN'T think about body image, right? I get so irritaed sometimes with myself and just want to be like, "enough is enough! appreciate yourself! don't be so hard on yourself! YOU WILL NEVER BE A SIZE SIX!" I finally convinced myself to do it for my health and for the sake of my future baby (as Big D and I try to conceive) and I jus joined the gym yesterday. of course that is only half the battle for me...I, too, have a love affair with food! nI'm trying to cut back on my portions though and listen to my body's cues to know when i'm hungry/full, etc...

Jojo said...

My ideal weight is 125 also....I've come all this way after the pregnancy, I lost 16 pounds lost since the baby...but it took 10 months. The last 15 are just not coming off...I'm just exhausted...utterly tired of obsessing about it, thinking about it every moment, blogging about it...I've started eating dessert every night last 3 days..just because I CAN!

Queen of the Mayhem said...

Excellent post! I could have written this myself! I struggle SO much with my weight and I get so SICK of it!

I am blessed to be 5'10...but when I am heavier I feel almost as though I am as big as a man! *sigh*

I am back on the wagon.....after seeing photos from our vacation....DISGUSTING!

Good luck with your weight loss! Sounds like you are on the right track!

Kim said...

I constantly struggle with body issues.. I am obsessed with the scale and obsessed with having my pre-mommy clothes fitting me.. I am still about five pounds away from my pre-mommy weight but my body has shifted and changed and it makes me crazy. I could talk about this subject for hours.. Great post.


Kellan said...

Hi Kel - thanks for coming by. Have a great day - Kellan

Aleta said...

Struggle with my body image ~ heck yes. I didn't know I had hypothyrodism until the weight was already plastered on me. When you have people who tell you that it's a will power thing and you feel like a failure, it's not easy to stomach. Pardon the pun.

Bravo to you for what you've accomplished and even more so that you are willing to share your struggles and accomplishments.

I used to be thin and trim when I was in college and now, I don't like to see myself in pictures. I'm about to get married to the love of my life and I feel as though I've cheated him out of the healthy body that I used to be when I was younger. *sigh*

Not giving up though, just struggling through it.

krissy said...

I battle the buldge like every single minute of my life.

I gained 20lbs with my daughter. I was healthy and things were great. I walked out of the hospital wearing a size 2.

Then the problems started with my girly parts, hysterectomy, menopause and now I'm ready to stangle skinny people. It's a bitch.

I want to be healthy, and I shouldn't consider it a more as cosmetic. But it's really all about being the skinny bitch.

DysFUNctional Mom said...

First of all, I wanted to say I hope you don't mind that I'm totally stalking your blog and commenting on old posts. lol
I totally feel your pain here! I have struggled with all of these same issues but it got even worse for me, and I had weight loss surgery back in February.
You are doing GREAT and I am totally impressed that you're running a marathon! Incredible!