I am overweight…again. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not morbidly obese but I’m definitely way over an acceptable weight for my 5′ 4″ body. I also don’t care and will still go to the beach in a two piece bathing suit and have some days that I feel absolutely fabulous. That doesn’t mean I’m happy with my weight though.
I don’t know about you dear reader, but I feel as though I have been fighting my body over my weight since I was a kid. It’s the never-ending battle within myself. Up and down and then up and down again. All I can say is that it sucks and it’s exhausting.
The irony is that I was never really overweight when I was young. I was actually a very healthy and normal weight. I believed that I was fat because I was constantly comparing myself to other girls and to the beautiful, stick-thin models I saw on the pages of my favorite magazines.
My clearest memories of feeling fat began in junior high. I felt I was fat because other people said so. I am 51 years old and to this day I can hear my soccer coaches in Holy Cross Elementary calling me “panzona” (Las Cruces, New Mexico…this means you have a fat belly) because I was a slow runner. I think I was 12 and yeah, I was a slow runner. I hated running. That didn’t make me fat nor did it make it okay for two grown men to make fun of me or try to make me feel bad about my body.
My younger brother and sister would tease me because I didn’t want to play with them. They’d call me fat and lazy. I wasn’t. I just didn’t feel like being their victim in whatever new concocted scheme they had. I still remember it though. Though I brushed it off with my own little insults, it stung.
I’m not sure when I started using food to comfort myself when I felt anxious or insecure or lonely. I know I certainly never liked exercise. As a kid, I played sports because my parents wanted us all to be a part of a team. I was always one of the least athletic players on any team but I was on but I’d like to believe I was a good sport about it.
As I grew into a woman, my emotions ruled my eating habits and therefore my weight. I don’t believe I ever really felt confident about my body. I was all curves and still am. There is not one straight line on my body. Every heartbreak either brought on significant weight loss or weight gain. The long stretches of being alone (no man) brought on boredom and loneliness and a propensity to at least enjoy the pleasure of good food.
Here I am…again. But this time, I can’t keep allowing it to happen. I’m a cancer survivor, I’m post-menopausal, and I can’t keep screwing around with my health. I’m tired of fighting my body. I’m tired of the toll this battle is waging on me. I’m tired of judging myself based on what I did or didn’t eat. I’m exhausted from looking in the mirror and seeing my hips and arms grow or shrink and feeling guilty or angry about it.
Just under two years ago, I got into great shape yet again and I met my 50th birthday head on, feeling good and with no fear. Then I got some bad news and just shut down again. I stopped caring and ended up standing in front of the mirror in a dress that is too tight and hating myself for it again.
A few days ago, I was listening to a recorded meditation (for weight loss of course) by Deepak Chopra. One particular phrase he said struck me like a baseball bat: “I AM MY BODY’S ALLY.” Wow. I am my body’s ally. Mind officially blown. It might be an obvious thing for most people but it is a shocking possibility for me.
So I am going to approach this a little differently this time. Instead of going to war with my body, I’m going to try to make peace with it. I’m going to try to talk to it diplomatically and maybe even try to be friends. I’m not going to starve it and I’m not going to surrender and just feed the hell out of it to see if I can feel pleasure again.
As I try this new approach, I would like to share my journey with you and hope that you reach out and share your experiences with me as well. I’m not going to say what I weigh because it embarrasses me but I’m willing to be honest about my progress. Up or down, I’ll share it with you in the hopes that by doing that I can help myself and maybe encourage you too.