My sister left a comment on fb about my guilt entry stating that I was never the fat kid. That's not entirely true. Sure, I would never had made it onto the Biggest Loser, but I was the fat kid of the family or had the tendency to be on the chunky side. I have had a couple of women in my life (actually still do, she will probably go to her grave before she will willingly say anything complimentary about my body) who have gone out of their way to point out my chunkiness. They started this when I was reaching those formative teenager years when I was already struggling with body image. I was still trying to figure out how to get my bangs to stand up (never figured that out) and how to put on eyeliner (never figured that out either). One of those women even helped me cultivate a fear of eating. In fact, I can still hear her voice in my head when ever I go to eat anything bread related. "You eat that roll and you're gonna get fat". Things got worse when I continued to put on weight in college and grad school. I just kept buying bigger pants and making horrible food choices. This is also when I started to obsess about exercise. I was convinced that I just needed to exercise more. I lost a pants size and figured that I just needed to exercise even more, but I stayed at that size and weight. So I thought this was the size and weight I was supposed to be. I continued to exercise like crazy because I was terrified of going back up a size. The one good thing to come out of all of that was my introduction to yoga. Yoga was the thing that I could consistently do without dread or seeing it as a chore. Eventually something clicked. I learned about food (there's no such thing as "diet" foods) and I learned to work smarter, not harder in exercise.
One of the most important things I've done in dealing with my body insecurities is to surround myself with women who encourage each other. Instead of hearing "you're looking a bit pudgy today", I hear "you look fantastic in those jeans". I've surrounded myself with women who recognize that even though we have flaws, we are beautiful. Isn't that the way it should be? Women make up a little over 50% of the population in the U.S. We hold high powered jobs, run households, and other general awesomeness. Yet as women, we are bombarded with advertisements that tell us we are not awesome. As women, we are assailed with music and images that tell us we are less. So the last place discouragement should ever come from is a woman. I've been blessed with the women in my life. They're response to "you eat that roll and you're gonna get fat" is "here, let me pass you the butter". They have helped me see that I am beautiful and I hope that I do my part in letting them know that they are just as beautiful if not more.
Happy Love Thursday!