Ramblings of a tired mom

Living on Guam has it's challenges. Add in 5 children, homeschooling and your own business and you'll find me rambling nonsense interspersed with some wisdom. Enjoy!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

My Journey to Fat

I grew up all my life believing I was fat. At least that’s what I remember. Recently my father put together our family photos on CD-ROM and sent me copies. In viewing pictures of myself at 5yrs old, 7 yrs old, 8 yrs old and 12 yrs I saw a young girl with long legs and slender arms. Her face was slightly rounded with “chipmunk” cheeks when she smiled. Her pre-teen pictures showed a pretty girl with the beginnings of a “budding” figure, taller than most of her friends, with beautiful blue eyes and strawberry blonde hair.

I looked at these pictures, taken over 25 yrs ago, and thought, “Why did I think I was fat?” Where did that negative self-image come from?

Thinking back over the years certain memories come forward that reinforced this “fat” body image. There was the 5th grade girls who teased me in first grade when I first came to school wearing the then popular “Bermuda” shorts (long shorts that reached just above your knees). There was the doctor in 5th grade who told me that 100lbs was too heavy for a 10 yr old girl. One particularily embarrassing memory was overhearing my favorite uncle call me an “elephant” when I came stomping excitedly down the stairs to greet him. Words like “who’s the new girl with the big butt?” stuck in my head to etch themselves forever in my memory. And then there were shopping dates with friends who “oohed” and “ahhed” over the size 8 & 9 clothes while I was forced to look for size 12 & 14. I was “big boned” which made me have wider hips and bigger shoulders than many of my petite friends. I developed early so that by the age of 15 I was wearing a “C” cup bra when all my friends barely filled out an “A” cup.

By the time I entered University I was resigned to being “fat” and had given up any attempt to correct my body size. I ate what I wanted, exercised very little and slowly the “image” I had in my mind became a reality. I avoided looking in mirrors or getting on scales as the pounds crept upon me. If I did see myself in a full length mirror or catch a reflection of myself in a store window, I looked away quickly and imagined myself to look much thinner.

Married, with five children, I now weigh about 250lbs. It seems hopeless that I will ever be able to lose the weight. Sadly, I now realize that I didn’t need to end up this way. At 20 yrs old I was a “slim” 140lbs. I looked good for my size, solidly built, flat tummy, well endowed breasts with perhaps a bit more flesh on my buttocks and thighs than necessary, but well proportioned all over. I had allowed myself this negative self-image of being the “fat” kid to take that body and abuse it for the next 20 yrs. I blamed pregnancies, married life and even drug use for my weight gain.

Now, at 42 yrs old, my knees ache and crack when I try to stand up or sit down. I cannot take my children hiking through Guam’s jungles because my body cannot support my weight. I’m miserable and often depressed, spending sleepless nights in pain and despair.

This is no way to live. I have a three-year old daughter and a six-year old son who deserve to have a mother who can run with them and push them on a swing without feeling exhausted.

I want to be able to finish this story with a victorious conclusion - how I was able to lose the weight and keep it off and reform my self-image to a more positive one.

I’ve been reading the prayer of Jabez and wondering if I could use this prayer to reach my goal. I know I can’t do it on my own. God knows I’ve tried.

So this is the beginning of a new journey. Stick around and discover if I’m able to make it or not!