Underweight. Overweight. I Still See Fat When I Look In The Mirror.

I’m not thrilled with my post-baby body. Who is? Well, maybe the models and actresses with trainers and vegan diets, but not most of us. My issues about my body are nothing new.

Nothing new.

And that’s what’s pathetic.

Growing up, I remember my parents watching us carefully. Portion sizes. Types of food we chose. Commenting on the other “chunky” teenagers out there. They meant well. And it was all ironic coming from my mother – a nurse who struggled with her own weight. But I suppose she was worried we’d turn out like her.

When I was in my teens I was so thin my parents took me to the doctor. They thought I was secretly bulimic. They knew I ate. What they didn’t take into consideration is that I swam 2-4 hours a day on a competitive swim team. The doctor assured them that I was healthy with an enviable metabolism. Sure, I could stand to gain a few pounds but that will come. (And oh boy, did it come.) But even with that experience, my sister and I would compare our thighs.

“Look how mine jiggles,” she would say. “I’m fat.”

“No,” I would counter, “Mine jiggles more. Look.” And I would prove that I was fatter.

In my twenties, my now ex husband (and I’m embarrassed that I’m admitting this) would actually wrap his arm around my waist, making sure he could get his fingers all the way around. I knew what he was doing. He was making sure that I was staying thin. I dreaded wearing a bathing suit, certain that everyone could see my (non-existent) pooch or my thunder thighs. I was actually told by a doctor that my body fat percentage was too low to get pregnant (we were struggling to start a family) and I still looked in the mirror and saw fat.

And then menopause hit. Early. Age 35. And I started gaining weight. At 40, because I was peri-menopausal and my body fat percentage was now optimal for pregnancy, I got my surprise miracle baby. I gained almost 50 pounds during the pregnancy and only lost about 30 after he was born. Now, when I look in the mirror, I pinch way more than an inch in way more than one place. And I think, I’m still fat.

Still.

I see pictures of myself when I was younger and wonder how in the world? How in the freaking world did I ever think I was fat?

But I did.

Maybe I wouldn’t have felt so fat if I’d had an amazing mother like this one with this amazing response to her 7-year-old’s statement that she thought she was fat. I actually teared up with joy and longing and love.

(Please take the time to read this post. Simply amazing. And may you never, ever, ever look into the mirror and think “fat.”)

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9 Comments

Filed under Lessons Learned, Moms, Motherhood

9 responses to “Underweight. Overweight. I Still See Fat When I Look In The Mirror.

  1. Gosh I identify with this so much. I look back at middle school and high school pictures of myself and wonder how on Earth I thought I was fat back then. I guess sometimes the devil within us sees what is wants to see, no matter how hard we try. You are not fat, and neither am I, and yet I too struggle with this.
    *hugs*

  2. Great video and a mom that is clearly willing to go the distance to help her daughter value herself. But I don’t think the problem is about kids at all–we wish it was about kids and we make it about kids and maybe at one time it was able kids (you in fact showed this with brilliance) this is about adults changing there perception and that is such a slow process. Easy to blame on the advertising, marketing industry but they are just giving us what we are asking for..not US of-course other people, other mom’s….bad mom’s! Unfortunately, I catch myself feeling guilty all the time about something I am going to eat.. eating it and then feeling guilty again–I have a boy but since they grow up and become men that marry women (sometimes) they are part of the process.

  3. Our bodies belong to us…It shows our travels and journey. It hold our character and our soul. It jiggles and it pops but it all ours to treasure and love.

    We just keep telling our women…You are smart, beautiful and embrace the muffin top.

    Velva

  4. So true, I also just see fat. :(

  5. Me too, regardless of what I weigh or have weighed I have always thought I was fat. Now I’m struggling just to get down to where I was in 2004 when my parents died and I was trying to lose weight. Struggling to get down to when I felt I was overweight. Big sigh.

  6. Jane, you’re going to hear from a lot of us saying the same thing: I’ve always thought people were horrified at my fat, and now I long for each phase before this one because *this* time I’m really fat. But not. My mother has a TERRIBLE body image and talks constantly about who’s fat and who’s not. She’s the first one to say “fat” in front of my son, and I hated her for it. He now uses the word (that my husband and I avoid except in discussions about how you need protein, fat, carbohydrate, fiber, and vitamins to be healthy) in the phrase “a big fat” xyz. A big fat apple, a big fat stick for walking. I hope he never things of people with that word. Because, really, no matter how prepared for a food shortage, we’re not fat. We’re humans. With extra emotions trapped on our hips.

  7. At 7 she thought she was fat? Children shouldn’t be worried about that.

    I still think I’m chunky…even though my last body-fat percentage was actually a percent lower than normal. Once someone tells you you’re fat, it’s hard to shake that.

  8. In my teens I starved myself to try and reach what I thought was the magical weight of 120 pounds. The extra 6 that I carried above and beyond that made me feel, and in my eyes *look* fat. I even used to worry if I stepped on something like, for instance, a plank to cross to a boat that it might give way beneath my clunking great weight! Crazy.

    There is so much pressure from so many sources to be an anorexic chick that I don’t know how to turn things around. You can do *everything* right for your child’s self-image, like Janell, but you’ll still be fighting a world where our view of women is skewed towards the emaciated. I often despair at the number of ‘pins’ on Pinterest perpetuating impossible goals. Just occasionally I see a quote that hopefully will make some think again about what is really important in life (and it certainly isn’t being a size zero). Forgive me for this lengthy comment, but this quote, by J.K. Rowling says it all. I thought it worth rolling out again:

    “Fat’ is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.

    I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive’, ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…

    I went to the British Book Awards that evening. After the award ceremony I bumped into a woman I hadn’t seen for nearly three years. The first thing she said to me? ‘You’ve lost a lot of weight since the last time I saw you!’

    ‘Well,’ I said, slightly nonplussed, ‘the last time you saw me I’d just had a baby.’

    What I felt like saying was, ‘I’ve produced my third child and my sixth novel since I last saw you. Aren’t either of those things more important, more interesting, than my size?’ But no – my waist looked smaller! Forget the kid and the book: finally, something to celebrate!

    I’d rather they were independent, interesting, idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.”
    ― J.K. Rowling

  9. Why do we do this to ourselves? I would love to know so we can fix it. It’s ridiculous. Here’s hoping we can change the next generation’s feeling about themselves.

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