I'll let her take it from here! :D
My struggle with fitness, food, and body acceptance
*NOTE: This is not meant to discourage anyone from sending in pictures
Hello fellow CFC followers,
As you know, our friend CFC recently put out a call for pictures and blog posts from us. I am very pleased by the opportunity to connect with this community. You guys seem like a bunch of warm, supportive people, so I have decided that I would like to share my story with you. I hope you will feel welcome enough to share your stories, too. I know CFC would be delighted to read them.
I am going to start by talking a little about my shape. I have never been obese, but I haven’t been a twig since childhood. For most of my adult life (by this I’m referring to height, which for me is probably starting at around age 14 or 15; I’m the same age as CFC, so I’ve been 5’3” for a while), I have been at least 10 pounds overweight, but probably spent most of it closer to the 20 pound mark, and am currently around 30 pounds overweight. While I am a ways off from obesity, I am also far from being in good health. But I’ll talk more about that later.
I need to explain a little about what an additional 10-20 pounds looks like on my frame. I have proportionately long, slender limbs and a relatively compact torso. When I am carrying extra weight, I am a classic pear, carrying most of it in my lower body region. It may sound strange, but with a body that appears slender from the waist up, the weight gain is not as obvious on my body as it might be on someone else with a different body type. Right now it’s very apparent as I’m a little too curvy, but in the early stages, not as much.
It’s an odd place to be—at least the 10-20 pound range. It may not sound like 10-20 pounds is a huge deal, but for me it was the difference between being able to wear those low-rise jeans that were so stylish in eighth and ninth grade, and not being able to wear them because of a slight lower belly pooch. I don’t mean to sound superficial; I know that being in good health is not the same as fitting into a certain size. If I were in excellent shape I would not wear those jeans now (what were we thinking?). I am just trying to give people a mental picture of what I have experienced.
Often I would encounter people who either trivialized my weight issue or who did not believe I had one; or if they did, they would pretend (at least to my face) that it did not exist. People would say to me, “What are you talking about? You’re not fat,” possibly to bolster my low self-esteem, or maybe they honestly did not think I looked unhealthy. Heavier people would scoff at me and insist they would be happy to be my size and shape. I would feel chagrined and immediately drop the subject.
This is why I like CFC’s website; all shapes and sizes are welcome, not just those who weigh more than or less than I do. We may not understand exactly what it is to be another shape, but we are here to support each other in our mutual quest to become healthier individuals.
When I was 19 I decided I was unhappy enough with myself to start working out. I knew I wasn’t healthy, though I can honestly say I was more concerned with looking better. When we are at home, my family is mostly sedentary. My grandmother and my mom also believe that love can be conveyed by food, which is not good when you’re trying to eat smaller portions, or when you accidentally take too much. I learned that making change for the better (i.e. listening to the urge to stop feeding yourself when you cease to be hungry, even if it means having to throw food away) can sometimes upset other people in your life, but it’s still something you have to do for you. They will eventually understand. At least that is what I assume. I wasn’t eating portions like that long enough to find out.
I would like point out that though I was eating smaller portions than I had been, I was also not nearly as healthy as I could have been. I worked out five days a week at the gym, doing an hour of cardio each time. This was all I really changed about my lifestyle. I didn’t alter my deplorable eating habits (except for eating less), and when I say I had bad eating habits, I mean it. I still have bad eating habits. I have a pronounced sweet tooth, am a picky eater, and just love me some carbs. White rice and potatoes are two of my favorite foods. Oh, and also spaghetti. I do not like nasty wheaty bread, because it tastes like grainy cardboard. Wheaty burritos are the worst. I don’t like bananas, oranges, or grapes. Yes, my relationship with food is not the greatest. On the bright side? I also don’t usually like pizza, which may be good for me, because I’m sure pizza is not. However, when left to my own devices, I have been known to eat chocolate cake for breakfast. Sorry, body, but we must adopt a new mantra: Must. Resist. The. Cheetos. It’s for your my own good.
So no wonder my lowest weight was 103 and I was still furiously slapping cellulite smoothing patches onto my thighs and wondering why I still couldn’t get my tiny paunch to disappear completely. It’s probably why my mom accuses me to this day of being pre-diabetic (type II diabetes runs rampant in our family, so that statement is not as far-fetched as I’d like to think it is).
At this point, I was the skinniest I’d ever been (yes, folks, I was practically gleeful about my thigh gap, before thigh gaps were a fad), but I was still insecure about my body. I still saw cellulite clinging resolutely to the backs of those no-longer-touching thighs. Part of it is because I didn’t give it my all and change what I was eating, and part of it is because I can be a perfectionist (weird, I know). I’ve just always been very critical of myself. CFC often preaches body acceptance at any stage, and it’s one of the things I respect most about her, but it’s also one of the things I struggle with. It's the reason I'm not comfortable sharing a picture of myself with you at the moment. I don’t know if I’ll ever wake up and be able to say, “I love my body,” regardless of how fit I become, but I believe I could come closer to acceptance.
Not sharing a photo of myself,