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.
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?