I see so many people in real life and on social media who are on diets or looking for the magic recipe or pill to help them get to a goal with their weight. Every person has their own reasons for dieting or not dieting, none right or wrong. This is just my own story.
In my life I have been on countless diets. The media had me brainwashed that I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t a certain size, or the scale didn’t have the right number on it.
My dieting journey began as a teenager trying to fit in with the thinner girls in junior high school. It sucked! We didn’t have a lot of money to buy diet foods when I was a kid. Being raised by a single mom, on government cheese and pot pies doesn’t do much for the waistline. I was very self conscious of my body. Who isn’t at that age?
In my mid 20’s I was in a relationship that was in hindsight not the best choice. I was told that he loved me, but later I discovered that my attraction and fondness for this man was only about him wanting sex. I was a sucker for this guy, I had such a huge crush on him and when he paid attention to me I felt like I was walking on clouds. Until I got pregnant. It was the early 90’s and the famous ‘sponge’ was all the rage in birth control. I even remember the TV show Seinfeld making it even more popular. Once I found out I was pregnant, the relationship ended. But,this post is not about my relationship with him, it is about the negative relationship I had with my own body.
My mother and sister both had bariatric surgery both for very different reasons. After the birth of my 1st child with whom I was sick every damn day and gained about 60 lbs due to being stuck on bed rest for most of the pregnancy. My mother was constantly trying to convince me to go to her doctor and get the surgery. I saw how it affected my mother and sister and there was no way I was going to put myself through that. Besides, I had a baby to take care of and surgery has it’s own risks.
I remember her telling me that “No man is going to love you if you are fat. Not real love anyway, they will use you but never love you”. To me this was incomprehensible for a parent to say to a child, even though I was 27 at the time. Why would my weight have anything to do with the fact that someone loves me or not? I continued trying everything I could to lose weight. I didn’t realize till many years later that I wasn’t doing any of this for myself. I was doing it because someone I trusted said I wasn’t good enough unless I was different. I was dieting and starving myself because someone who should love me unconditionally said that I was in fact ‘un-loveable’ because of my body mass.
Over the years I have lost and re-gained many pounds, the equivalent of probably a couple of full grown adults. No matter how much I lost it was never enough. Despite losing weight my body didn’t look like I was led to believe it would via the media. We all see those ads where they show side by side photos, the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures. Being naive I truly believed what I saw in the magazines. I believed that if I just didn’t eat that I would look completely different.
I know now as an adult that there is no magic substance be it : pill, powder, fruit, veggie, supplement or juice that will make a person lose weight and keep it off for good. In the past 4 years alone I have done the low carbohydrate diet twice. I have been vegetarian for 1 year and a vegan for 1 month. I have been gluten free, I have done protein shakes of many varieties. I am still a plus sized woman. I have maintained the same weight for quite awhile now and honestly I have discovered that I am okay with who I am. My children love me, I am healthy and my husband loves me just the way I am and has always encouraged me to do what makes me happy. He loves me unconditionally as I do him. I cannot get back any of the time I wasted messing up my metabolism with all the yo-yo dieting I have done in the past.
Life is short. I am not against eating healthfully and making good food choices. I am not against losing weight. What I am against is the constant shaming of overweight people. Lumping every overweight person as lazy, unmotivated and a slob is wrong. Just as calling every thin person an anorexic would be. Generalizing humans really sucks, no matter what is ‘different’ about them!
Learning to love ourselves is not easy, even with the ‘flaws’ we feel we have, and even if others don’t see the flaws we claim to have. If you know me at all I have always been the optimist. Looking for the positives even in the most negative of situations. That is just how I am. Life is too short to not love ourselves. It took me 47 years to learn this lesson and none of that time can I ever get back to do over.
Below is a list of positive things about me:
- I am not better than anyone else.
- I am good enough.
- I am intelligent.
- I am overweight, but I am healthy.
- I am kind and generous.
- I love and I am loved.
- I am sensitive and caring.
- I am funny and sarcastic.
- I am loyal.
- I am a good friend.
- I am trustworthy.
- I am imperfect and that is what is perfect about me.
- I am real!
I challenge those who read this to make their own list of “I” statements. I also challenge you to share some of those with me in the comments. Change the way you view yourself, I did and it is marvelous! We are not guaranteed a tomorrow, but we can make the best of today!