I am not someone who has struggled with her weight her whole life. I am someone, though, who has been unhappy with her weight/body since forever. I remember loathing my belly when I was in 3rd grade, and really the feeling was that intense – I loathed my body. When I look back at pictures from my childhood I sort of question my sanity because I do not see a belly. But I very clearly remember the day I sat on the toilet, rubbed my hand in disgust over my protruding belly and thought to myself – at 8 years old – “I look pregnant.”
I am sad to report that 27 years later I still look pregnant, only I’m not. Two babies, little physical activity, and a lifetime of poor coping skills have left me overweight and unhappy. It seems that no matter what I have, where I have traveled, or what I accomplish, nothing compares to the feeling of fitting into pants without spilling over the top.
I have tried diets, but things have progressed to such a point now that I can’t stick with them for more than a few days. The mental game that goes on while trying to lose weight could be a DSM diagnosis, I think. It seems to me that dieting, and failing, has only created more issues with food than I originally had. Like I need more issues.
I have decided to take a different approach. It does seem that the one constant in my life has been the poor body image, so it makes sense to me that that needs to be addressed first. I have been reading a book called Intuitive Eating (http://www.intuitiveeating.org/) which has been really helpful in challenging many of my thoughts and beliefs about my body, eating, and the diet industry in general. The notion behind intuitive eating is that food issues can be addressed via cognitive-behavioral techniques instead of dieting. Some of the techniques include allowing yourself to eat whatever you want whenever you want it, not eating what doesn’t taste good, rating your level of hunger/fullness on a scale of 1-10, and identifying and challenging negative thoughts about food and body image.
So where am I at in the process? I am stuck at, you guessed it, self-acceptance. I understand that my body type is beyond my control. I am not making negative comments to myself about how I look, nor am I making them out loud to other people. But a recent trip home coupled with the heat has triggered this overwhelming sense of…shame. I feel shame pouring off of me like cheap cologne. What does shame look like, you ask? Shame wears no make-up and hasn’t had a professional haircut in a year. Shame buys no new clothes, and only wears things that are loose, unflattering, and dull. Shame doesn’t answer the phone, doesn’t like to leave the house, and really only wants to be alone.
So right now I am trying to make small goals – eat well, be more active, say kind things about myself. I never make weight comments in front of dellabee, yet the other day I heard this kid
say something about being fat. WHAT???
I do not want my daughter sitting somewhere 30 years from now feeling ashamed of her body. It needs to end now.