Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How I Decided I Was "Fat"

As I mentioned, I am on a diet. Again.
At least this time, Clay is joining me (which has its good points and its bad points, but we won't get into that - again.)
I am bound and determined that this will be the LAST time I ever diet. Ever.
After this, I will thank God for an abundance of fruits and vegetables, exercise regularly, maintain self control, and eat treats only on special occasions.
(Quit laughing and rolling your eyes. Oh wait! That's me.)

I have fought with my weight and my body-image for many years.
It all began when I was in 6th grade...
Actually, a LOT of my body image issues started in 6th grade - when all the other girls got boobs and I did not - but we'll save that for another blog.

In 6th grade, prepubescent me started chubbing up a bit (compared to the stick-thin little girl I had always been). We went to visit my grandfather, and I heard him say (with a somewhat negative tone), "Becky is packing on the weight."
Many questions and conversations followed over the next few days; and all of them started with me saying, "Mom, am I FAT?"
I had much need for my mother's reassurance. Thankfully, she provided it.
"Don't worry honey, if you were fat, I would tell you; and we would work together to make sure you were making healthy choices. You look good."
She's such a good mom.

Then, in 8th grade, we went to Delaware to visit my Aunt Belle.
She was 4 ft. something and had arms the size of toothpicks. (I still didn't have boobs, but I was temporarily past thinking I was fat.) When that dear ol' teeny-tiny aunt gave me a hug, the words that exploded out of her mouth were, "Wow, you have thick arms!"
As my face fell, my mom had to keep herself from hurling Aunt Belle across the room.
Mom saw it coming.
I have had issues about the size of my upper arms ever since.
I don't wear sleeveless shirts.
I say "no" to ADORABLE sleeveless dresses (unless I have a sweater to wear too.)
You can imagine how this has crippled me in the fashion world.
(Are you rolling your eyes again? Oh, wait, that's still me.)
It's amazing how I let off-the-cuff comments of other people impact my fragile self-image.
Can you say VANITY stinks?

When I hit college, my weight issues quit being a figment of other people's my imagination. I went to school and promptly gained the freshmen twenty. (No, it's not fifteen...I DEFINITELY gained twenty.)

I came home from my freshman year of college to this conversation:
Me:  Mom, are you wearing my jeans?
Mom: Why yes! They are so cute. Is that OK? You left them here while you were at college, so I figured you didn't really care for them.


I dieted for the first time that summer and started the VERY LONG, NEVER ENDING battle I've had with food.
In three months, I literally walked my butt off.
I walked three miles a day while jamming to "Love of a Lifetime" on a mixed tape from my boyfriend (who, ironically, didn't last 6 more months). I also waited tables at Parasson's Italian Restaurant. (Yes, I lost weight while smelling Italian food for 30-40 hours a week. I was motivated and ate tuna fish most of that summer.)
My mom was NOT going to be thinner than me. Even though she is 3 inches shorter and quite thin, it was NOT acceptable to 19 year old me. My mom was OLD, after all, like FORTY. Ha!

Six years later...
I was getting married and had to go to a doctor to get birth control pills. I had never been to a gynecologist before, so this was hell on earth a bit of a traumatic trip for me.
I walked into the office at 4:00 in the afternoon (wearing jeans, a sweater, chunky brown shoes and maybe even a coat), and I jumped right on the scale with no qualms (and with ALL those clothes on). I was there for birth control pills, not a weight consultation; plus, I knew I was healthy and thin. (I caught me a very picky, very handsome man, after all).
I still know exactly how much I weighed that afternoon. It is burned on my brain. I have since looked at weight charts and found that I was indeed in the healthy range for my height. In fact, I was just about "ideal", but the horrible man doctor that I saw that day looked me right in the eye (after making me VERY uncomfortable looking at other parts of me) and told me that I needed to lose 5 pounds.
Can you see the shock on 25-year-old Becky's face?
If I could do it over, I would show up first-thing the next morning with an empty stomach and wearing a sports bra and spandex. I would jump on that office scale and yell, "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, YOU JACKWAGON!" - then give him a dissertation on the damage he is doing to poor unsuspecting women.
But my young, going-to-get-married-and-have-a-man-see-me-naked brain could only hear, "LOSE FIVE POUNDS". So, I started walking again. I didn't manage to lose the weight, but that little trip to the doctor helped solidify the concept that anything above the "ideal" meant that I was fat.

Well, this is getting a bit long and I'm still only in my twenties on this journey. That means I have almost twenty more years of warped thinking and crash diets to share with you. Since I will no longer write a blog series, we'll see if I actually get around to sharing them.
I still struggle with a lot of warped thinking, but I am slowly looking to God to give Him glory in my health rather than comparing myself with the world. I am also learning to focus on my purpose in this world - and that it has NOTHING to do with my vanity or what other people think of my current size.

*Er, at least I THINK I've made some progress (says the gal who is currently boycotting sugar and putting on shoes to go walking...)

Update: I DID write a second part! How I Decided I Was Fat: Part 2


  1. This is a struggle with a lot of women. You are not alone! But I love your honesty here and how beautiful God made you! I know you know that, but I had to say it anyway! Love you girl! Jess F. :)


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