I don’t really think my story is much different from anyone else’s…especially someone of my age that lived through the “you must be a waif to be sexy” style of the 1980’s. I have never been that petite-type girl. I have broad shoulders and muscular legs…features that took me quite a while to appreciate. I also came into my female form long before my other girlfriends. All of this added up to a great deal of negative attention toward my body…too curvy…too big…and I never felt comfortable in my own skin.
When I was a pre-teen I asked my parents if they thought I should lose weight. Their answer was great, but not one that I understood at the time. They said, “If you are uncomfortable then you should do something about it”. Only thing was I didn’t know what that meant, so I interpreted it as that I should. The only advice given to me was to eat less and move more. I didn’t change that mantra until this year.
Eating was easy and difficult for me. While a teenager, my typical day was as follows: wake up in order to be at school by 7:15AM for first period, school, marching practice for two hours, home. Here’s the thing; I can’t eat right when I wake up, so I would skip breakfast. My lunch period was so crowded that getting food was a challenge, so I usually had a small snack. Then I would attend marching band practice for two hours before going home. Once home, I would eat everything in sight, and then feel guilty about the amount of food I ate. Vicious cycle.
As I grew older, my body image grew worse; mostly due to the fact that I was always having rounds of deep depression. I was also always tired and cold. I didn’t understand how I could keep eating less, and not lose any weight. I didn’t look like the “image of the sexy woman”, and the clothes that were popular always looked awful on me. But, I had to stick to what worked for everyone else.
This way of thinking stayed with me until I was 41 years old…this year. I met Lucia at the Y and we were talking about our calorie intake and she told me about her regimen and a new group she was forming called Eat More 2 Weigh Less. I certainly liked the sound of this, but it scared me to death! I took her advice and upped my calories. Sure enough, my weight went up at first and I became very nervous. But soon, other things began to happen. I found I didn’t need another cup of coffee during the day, I wasn’t wearing my sweater all the time, and my depression has all but vanished. I had no idea that my lack of eating affected my life in more ways than just my pant size. Since upping my calories and changing up my workout routine to include free weights, my weight has begun to even out, my clothes are beginning to fit better, and I am getting stronger.
I have come to realize that food and I can have a healthy relationship and that in order to lose clothing sizes it will take time and that it’s a process and life change…a healthy one. Oh…and to that waif-like body image…no thanks…being strong is better than being skinny!