Around seventh grade I noticed the girls beginning to obsess about their weight and talk about dieting. I was the skinny, petite girl who drank 2-3 Mountain Dews a day and snacked on brownie sundaes. My weight stayed the same regardless. But do not ever assume skinny girls or women for that matter with good metabolism are confident and happy with their body. I had my own set of struggles. I was tomboyish and not proud of it. I was unathletic. I had bad teeth and bad hair. I have always been self conscious about areas of my body.
I cannot tell you how many average weight women like myself complain of their pudgy abs (guilty), their flabby arms, or their big thighs. If we all had the opportunity to have an extreme makeover, would it really make us happier? Would we ever really be satisfied? Would we not find something else to fix?
A year and a half ago, Baby #3 was born. When she was four months old I was at the highest weight ever not counting pregnancies. Technically according to my doctor, I was not overweight. But I felt gross. I was eating terrible again. I caved and was drinking Mountain Dew 1-2 times a day again even though I had manged to give it up for a full year. I was running three times a week, but it was not enough to lose any weight. I honestly had no time to exercise anymore than I already was. So I decided to go on Weight Watchers.
To be honest, I was thrilled to be on Weight Watchers. I had very little education on how to count calories or plan healthy meals. I was willing to learn and amazed at how terrible I was eating! I was able to wean myself off two spoonfuls of sugar in my coffee, give up all sugar pop for good, and find lunches that were much healthier than the frozen dinners or fast food I often resorted to. I realized that burning the amount of calories in my favorite dessert from Dairy Queen would require me to run a half marathon! I also found some great recipes for our family dinners. I did lose about ten pounds.
But I cannot tell you how many people said, “Oh my goodness, you don’t need to be on that diet! You’re not overweight!” That is the problem with our culture. If you are overweight, people assume you should go on a diet and get healthy. If you go on a diet and are not recognizably fat, you are seen as someone with an eating disorder. It is almost like we are fighting to maintain some kind of female image. We do not want to be too fat or too skinny. Yet who of us can really acheive that perfect picture image?
When I lost ten pounds did I feel like a new person? No. But I felt better. I loved having new eating habits. It gave my running routines new meaning. My latest endeavor now is weight training and toning to work on some of the areas of my body that are not worked during running (like abs and arms). I have found that by setting specific goals like eating more fruits and vegetables, training for a race, doing ab workouts three times a week, or giving up sugar pop are more realistic for those who cannot measure it by the scale. I may lose a pound or two. I would be grateful for that. Even if I don’t, I am gaining healthy habits. That is worth more to me than looking like a picture perfect person I may never look like. This whole process has helped me to accept the person God made me even with all my imperfections.
I have greatly enjoyed sharing many of your stories as well as some of my own on Everyday Mom’s “Mom Story Mondays!” I will be taking a short hiatus as I write more Mom Story posts. Beginning October 3rd look for new Mom Story posts that will cover stories such as caring for a child who suffers from seizures, raising children in China, having a large family and more! Feel free to e-mail your stories and I will include them in a future Mom Story Monday! firstname.lastname@example.org