Friday, 10 September 2010

Slim pickings

I have spent the past 34 years either being a fat person in the body of a skinny person or skinny person in the body of a fat person. I have yo-yo'd from being fat/skinny/fat/skinny my whole life. I know there are probably many women out there who've probably done the same thing.

My first memory of being body conscious was in about second grade, a girl commented that my thighs were quite chunky. That has stuck with me to this day. I still don't like my thighs, they will never be skinny enough. Funny isn't it that an off-handed comment by a kid can leave a wound that lasts until adulthood.

As a chubby child who turned into a self-conscious teen I have a vivid memory of just wanting to be slim, to be 'acceptable'. I think around the age of 15 or 16 I just stopped eating. Skipped breakfast, had a can of coke at lunch and maybe nibbled some dinner. I'm sure this diet turned a moody teen into a complete monster, but I thought that's what was needed. I got skinny pretty darn quick. A little while later, someone close to me commented "You're too skinny, what are you doing?" It was like a slap in the face. Too fat, too thin. It was impossible to make anyone happy. And looking back, I guess that's what I was doing – trying to make people happy. If they could like my outside, then maybe they could accept what was inside.

In my late teens, I started to eat more sensibly and had a normal figure, but in my head I was still big. I never thought of myself as slim. I was still the chubby kid. Still not happy.

In my early 20s, I met Skip. Happy and content, I ate what he ate and put on weight. Lots of weight. It was then that it was compounded in my head – fat = no respect from people. Skip loved and desired me, but I felt the contempt from others around me. No matter how much support I got from Skip, the whispers that I was worthless because I fat were echoing in my head. There were the innocent comments that people made "Look how skinny you were in the photo!" which I heard as "Look how fat you are now!". There were the malicious comments, such as overhearing myself described a monster by someone who was a friend.

Then I decided to lose weight. I did. About 15 kg (about 33 lbs). People's reaction was always one of amazement. Of course those that mattered most didn't seem to care. Then there were the people who were my friends, who suddenly held me in higher regard. I was suddenly a 'real' person, not just the fat friend. One comment was "Wow, you look great now. You used to be such a muffin.", which shattered me inside and made me forget all the genuinely nice comments that were made.

When I lost my first baby, I put on a bit of weight. When I had Lil-lil I put on weight and never lost it. During that time when I was so fragile and sleep deprived it was impossible to lose weight. Again, amongst some people I went back from being worthwhile person to fat friend (though I must stress, not with the people that really matter). Which in a really fragile stage was shattering.

Now, I'm not the biggest I've been and I'm not the smallest. I would like to lose 5kg, in an ideal world I would like to lose 10kg. I'm a lot more comfortable with my body. I have come to terms with how my body works and accept that the dodgy metabolism I was born with has been infinitely screwed by the starvation I put it through in my teens. I know that I should lose some kilograms and I know the effort that I need to put in to do that.

Over the years, I have learnt to be healthy and for me this is a great achievement. I eat a healthy diet and I try to be active, though exercise and I aren't the greatest of friends. Losing the weight would be a health benefit, yes, but for me it's more than that. I have been skinny and extremely unhealthy, so I'm not one to believe that weight automatically equals health.

I have friends who can eat, eat, eat and never gain a pound. It makes me chuckle when they say things like people should just eat normally to maintain their weight, if I ate what they ate I would be seriously obese. To be their size I would have to restrict my diet to almost starvation levels. But of course, there is still the idea that fat = greedy and lazy. It saddens and frustrates me, that they don't realise that just 'losing a bit of weight' can be a monumental, almost impossible, effort for some. I'm not using this as an excuse though and I don't resent their luck in the metabolism stakes. But I do know what's required for me to lose 10kg, I have done it before. It's a physical, mental and emotional journey.

Now, I have to decide whether I can put in the emotional effort to do it, because for me that is by far the hardest part. The mental dedication as well as the feelings that are dredged up.

9 comments:

  1. Lovely Corinne, I could have written this post myself. You've beautifully articulated the reason why even though the people "that matter" don't care, I care. Because I'm sick of feeling judged because I'm bigger. But at the same time, I dread getting back on the weight loss merry go round because I know that mentally I'm so much healthier and happier when I'm not trying to "lose weight". It feels like a rock and a hard place, frankly. I wish, I wish, I wish I wasn't the sort of person who ever got fatter in the first place. x

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  2. Gosh what a journey in one post! A great read, one I can relate to oh so very much too. I am like you: not flush with responsive metabolism, need to lose at least 5kg and would be ecstatic to lose 10kg. I too know what I have to do to do it, it's just not my top priority in life at the moment. And I've also weeded out the drift-wood "friends" who would make such remarks as well, so easily rolled off acid tongues as if it was their right/duty to say so.

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  3. I am with you on this completely.
    Not a day goes by when I don't consider every little thing I put in my mouth or bargain with myself to work out "extra hard" after being a bit naughty.
    I wish it wasn't such a struggle, but honestly, I am too vain to give up the fight.
    Unfortunately, now in my late 30's, I cannot just skip a meal or two to make up for some bad eating.
    Why is life so unfair sometimes????

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  4. "I would like to lose 5kg, in an ideal world I would like to lose 10kg."

    I really relate to that comment. In an ideal world I'd love to be a size 10, but in reality I know it's much more realistic for me to aspire to a size 12.

    And yeah, it was some stupid comment made by a 12 year old boy that started my issues with my weight, and it stayed with me all through high school. Even though I look back and see I was perfectly proportioned and average, I can remember at the time I was so self conscious that I'd do everything I could to keep myself as covered as possible. If I could meet that guy tomorrow I'd totally resort to saying "So I heard you have a really tiny penis. I HOPE THIS COMMENT LEAVES YOU SCARRED FOR LIFE!"

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  5. If every young girl in the world could read this post I am sure they could be spared so much pain. I am off to read this to my daughter.

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  6. Um, hi.... were you writing about yourself, or about me?

    It was like looking in the mirror for parts of this post. I'm still looking for the healthy me. I'm still stuck in yo-yo binge one day, diet the next land at the moment.

    Thank you for sharing.

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Thank you so much for your comments! I'm always thrilled to hear from you.

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