June 9, 2009

Skinny

If you have been reading my blog for very long, you have probably noticed that I would like to lose weight, but that it is very frustrating because I am having a hard time doing it. And the fact that I can't wish away the spare tire hanging out around my middle has been incredibly hard to deal with lately for some reason. Well, for a couple of reasons. And I feel the need to share at least one of them.

I have fallen into a trap. I'm pretty sure that at some point or other in their lives, most women find themselves stuck in the very same trap: I have started basing my sense of self worth on the numbers on the scale. And it hasn't done me any favors.

I only recently realized that I was trapped. One day I woke up in a dark hole and I couldn't remember how I got there, and no amount of clawing, climbing, weeping, wailing or gnashing of teeth has gotten me out. And to tell you the truth, I'm still in that hole. But ever since I woke up it seems that the darkness lifts little by little. Maybe one of these days it will be bright enough to show me an escape hatch I missed. But until then I"m trying to figure out what got me into this mess, so as to avoid it in the future.

I'm pretty sure Satan had quite a hand in it. Taking somewhat innocent (if not thoughtless) comments made by my husband and turning them into horrible insults. Reaffirmations of the doubts about my value to pretty much anyone as more than a maid and a cook. And a seemingly constant barrage of skinny women surrounding me, in real life and in the media, taunting me, sneering at my inability to lose the baby weight that I so happily put on.

And there my focus has stayed. On the society that puts such a premium on beauty and such a malediction on obesity that it is sure to be our downfall. (Along with insecticides and carbon based gasses. . . but that's a story for another day :) )

Did you know that an estimated 10 percent of female college students suffer from an eating disorder? And 5-10% of all girls and women (that translates to 5-10 MILLION girls and women) and 1 MILLION boys and men are struggling with eating disorders including anorexia, bulimia, binge eating disorder, or borderline conditions. What is even more disturbing is this: 40 percent of 1st, 2nd or 3rd grade girls want to be thinner. And 80 percent of 10 year olds are worried that they will become fat. Not only that, but in a study done more than 50 percent of the 9-11 year old girls surveyed claimed they had tried to lose weight through diet and exercise and 5 percent admitted to using parents diet pills or laxatives. *

Did you know that the average American woman is 5'4" tall and weighs 140 pounds? The average American model is 5'11" tall and weighs 117 pounds. Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women.

What is our obsession with being skinny? And I'm not talking about being healthy. That is a completely different story. There is nothing healthy about school age children drinking laxatives because they think they are fat. There is nothing healthy about women buying parasites and flukes off the Internet and putting them into their bodies ON PURPOSE in order to lose weight more quickly.

Did you know that not so long ago being overweight, even obese was a sign of prosperity? Because being fat meant you could afford to eat as much as you wanted. Being skinny meant you were so poor that you couldn't. Isn't it funny how things have drastically changed? Now having a flat stomach is a sign of wealth. Because so much of the time that flat stomach means you can afford to eat fresh produce, you can afford that membership at the gym, the personal trainer, the personal chef, the plastic surgeon and the nanny to take care of the kids while you focus on losing weight. While being overweight, especially obese, is a sign of poverty. It is evidence of the lack of time to exercise between the 2 jobs you work so that you can pay the rent. Evidence of the fast food you eat at least once a day because it's just that fast--and cheap. Evidence, that every moment that you are not spending at those jobs you are doing everything in your power to teach your kids and bring them up right. NOT focusing on how you are going to fit back into that little black dress for the upcoming party.

And now that I have had a chance to condemn society, maybe that will light up my hole enough to get me out. Maybe, just maybe, struggling out of this hole, coming to terms with the body I have now--especially considering the fact that I happily sacrificed my size 7 pants for 4 incredibly beautiful children, and that the sacrifice is worth every pound--it will give me enough motivation to make my life just a little bit more healthy. And after all, isn't that what I should be concerned about anyway?


*Info taken from ANNE COLLINS WEIGHT MANAGEMENT PROGRAM and http://www.healthywithin.com/

21 comments:

Erin said...

Thank you for all of these thoughts. It is crazy how the models are not really realistic with how the world really is.

I hope you can start talking better to yourself. You are beautiful! And you can do it! (Take care of yourself, I mean.) Good luck!

Kristina P. said...

I gave up the skinny ideal long ago. Healthy is something completely different, and attainable if I work hard enough.

Jodie said...

I have struggled with my weight my whole life. It is very sad to see my 11 year old niece being told what she can and cannot eat by her mom. I wish that as a society, we could teach our children that inner beauty is more important than what you look like. And wasn't Marilyn Monroe a size 14 and she was a sex symbol for many years.

Debbie said...

I'm with ya sista. For me I started seeing results (albeit it's been a slow process) when I stopped worrying about the numbers on the scale and focused instead on bettering my numbers at the gym (reps w/ weights, how long can I run today, etc).

also known as shell said...

You know the whole thing really blows. I have been concerned with my weight for like my whole life. I don't ever remember a time that I didn't have to worry. I lost 30lbs last year... felt great... felt like I was never going to have to worry about it again. Then gained 15 back. I hate it.

Momza said...

:::STANDING OVATION:::
Great post, Great Info! Be gentle with yourself, you're the only you you got.

Carolyn said...

So true. I was one of those 10% in college so now I work extra hard to keep my daughter's self-image on the right track.

That's why I don't even blog about my weight. It doesn't deserve that much attention.

Sara Ward said...

I struggle with this too. The sad thing is it doesn't matter how skinny I get, It's still is not good enough. There is still gross fat on me. Or I'll be happy for a day until I gain it right back. I read a great article recently that made me feel so much better, and helped me have a better self-image.

http://www.womansday.com/Articles/Health/Momfidence-Banish-Body-Issues.html

Read it. It's good. But just remember that I love you no matter what size you are, and I'm so glad to have you as a sister-in-law, and an aunt to my kids because your awesome! :)

pan x 8 said...

I have struggled with weight my whole life and I can understand the sacrifice of size 7 for beautiful children.

I am on a quest right now to drop my weight and it has been a slow and laborious process. It has calculated to 2 lbs a week and it has been 9 weeks now! It's funny how at this stage of life, it no longers translates for me to "look good" instead to "being healthy" for me and for my children.

You are right, Satan knows this is an easy way to get to our hearts and we have to try and stay focused on what our Heavenly Father thinks of us and not what "others" especially "ourselves" sometimes.

I hope you can find what works for you and then your love yourself to death so you can obtain your "healthy" goals. Because I have changed, my children have been more aware of "junk" vs. "healthy" for good's sake, not for look's sake.

Mallory said...

I totally agree with you. And still, skinny is so ingrained into our minds and our lives that when I look at myself in the mirror, my confidence deflates a little. It really is a struggle to learn to accept the body you are given...especially when your healthy body still seems fat.

Liz @ Sugarplum Creations said...

You are beautiful! It is sickening to me how many children are concerned with their weight. I'm so glad we don't talk diet or weight loss around here.

Rochelle said...

Good post with a lot of good info. I have had issues with my weight pretty much my whole life, it's a major cause of any depression that I feel. I have never been skinny, but I have also never been this heavy. It's frustrating and sad and I feel like I will be trapped forever. But I am working on it, hopefully someday I will be happy with myself.

wonder woman said...

Just yesterday I was thinking that I wanted to do a post about something that mattered to me, and have it be a post of substance.

And you've done just that.

Like everyone else, I can relate to this. I relate especially to the fact that it really does take money to be slim. And really god genes. Eating right and finding time and a place to workout takes money.

And it's a delicate line to walk between wanting to be healthy and love your body, and letting Satan tell you your fat and worthless. It's hard to make those thoughts motivate you instead of letting them pull you into that pit.

♥ you, Rachel Sue. Can't wait to see you Saturday!

Linds said...

Rachel, you are beautiful! If my loser brother ever says anything that even hints otherwise I'll kick his skinny butt.

Emily (Good Frau) said...

I have struggled for a long time, too. It's a hard thing for me. The thing is (don't tell anyone this) ;) When I actually really try I don't have very much trouble losing weight. So I don't even have a good excuse. It's very mental for me. It's hard to be in the mindset and make the choices I need to make to have a healthier body. But recently my grandmother (who has always been very healthy and taken very good care of herself) has been in the hospital after surgery to remove cancer from her jaw/cheek/sinuses. It made me realize that anything could happen, and I should be ENJOYING having this young body while I do. So why am I wasting time worrying about being thin before I do the things I want to do? And why am I wasting time being fat when I could be healthier and feeling better?

That's just me. I think about this topic every hour of every day, so even though I didn't mean to leave a giant comment, here it is. :)

Melinda said...

You know, I just must be in a controversial mood or something today, but I feel like sharing. Being one of the skinny people (not because I excercise or whatever, just because thats the genes), I do have to say I get it bad too. Nobody says "Ohhhh, you're so SKINNY!" in a nice way. And what am I supposed to say? Oh you're so fat? No, I would never. I feel like people hate skinny people because they want to be skinny, but why hate something they want? Do they want to be hated when they get skinny? I doubt it. :) I know its so taboo to be the skinny person saying waah don't hate me because I'm skinny, I don't mean it that way. I'm just saying it makes me feel bad too. Weight is a horrible thing in our society, I feel like no one wins. Thanks for letting me share, hopefully that didn't come off horribly. :)

heather said...

I believe that the young girls who are worried over their weight are mirroring the body image issues of both their mothers and their peers. A vicious cycle truly. It doesn't help that we glorify skinny in all media outlets.

Once I stepped on my soap box about shows such as America's Next Top Model, and Dancing With the Stars -and what the images these shows are doing to our daughters and our sons for that matter. I'll be stepping on it again soon.

But yes, I hear you.

Rachelle said...

one of the biggest struggles of my life! i am one of your statistics, and i hate that part of me. i've struggled with my eating disorder almost all my life. i've spent the last few trying to embrace this and learn from it but it is a struggle every second of every day. thanks for the post...i agree with another comment about being healthy is more important...at least that's what i try and tell myself...LOL! best of luck! i'm right there too...

Julia said...

wow thanks for that! i definatly needed to hear that today. (i hopy you don't mind my commenting, i found you on MMB)

Blogking said...

I'm sick of people telling me its just a phase when I know people out there dying from eating disorders! Lend a hand; don’t avoid the problem people.

http://www.eatingdisorder.com/anorexia-nervosa.html?utm_source=blog&utm_medium=pv&utm_content=zs&utm_campaign=anorexia

Sher said...

You are so right! it's so easy to get sucked into it, too. I find myself comparying my body to other people (who are younger and haven't had babies). I should consider myself lucky to have been blessed with the genetics for a relatively fast metabolism.

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