Jul 21, 2009

Body Images

Musings of A Beautiful Mess
I've read some GREAT posts on body image and I wanted to tell my story. It started when I read Tracy's post. She did a video blog WHILE buying a bikini. It's an amazing post and video and I urge you to watch it and read it. She's an amazing writer, as well. Plus she's my NEIGHBOR! *waves, Hi Tracy* Then Kristin did a post that made me want to jump through my screen and kiss her! She had me with the title of her post: "You Are Beautiful". Finally I read Erica's post and was nodding my head and saying "YES, ME TOO!" the whole time. These are just a handful of bloggers that I love and think the world of. I'm sure there are more posts out there about body issues, but these three are the ones that stood out to me. Here's my story...

I use to have MAJOR body issues...who hasn't OR doesn't, right? This moment in my life, I'm pretty happy with my body. I could do more crunches (invented by the devil, I am SURE) but I don't. I could run more, but I don't. I'm not lazy, I walk just about everywhere I go, but I could do more. I was running just about every day, but I got frustrated with what it was doing to my thighs. They became "bulky" and the shorts and jeans that fit me BEFORE, no longer fit me. The whole "my vagina is hungry and is eating my shorts" look wasn't for me. I know why my thighs are rubbing together and it looks like my vagina is munching on my shorts, but nobody else knows that! It would look like my shorts no longer fit me and I need to get new ones. Which, in a sense, is true, but not really. I know I am making no sense and I realize that NOW, but as I'm walking down the street doing the "shuffle to get the shorts out of my crotch" it made perfect sense to just stop running because it wasn't working for me.

My body issues started when I was in high school. BIG surprise, no? I had a boyfriend who told me I was fat. Yes, I'd love to see him now and tell him where he can shove his comments, but then it made a HUGE impact upon my life. I was NOT fat then. Not even a little bit. I had athletic thighs from softball and hips, but not fat. He told me this and I decided to "fix" it. It wasn't a conscious decision (that I can remember), but it happened. I became anorexic. I stopped eating. I can't stand to throw up, so I could NEVER be a bulimic. But not eating? No problem! I would seriously live on one meal a day, if that! I would eat like a bird. Everyone thought this was so cute, at first. Then it became apparent there was a problem. The problem was that I was passing out A LOT. A few times in school, once at work, and a few times at home. The time it became apparent there was a problem was when I got up in the middle of the night to pee and passed out on the toilet. I could have just came too and gone back to bed and nobody would have known, but my head was stuck between the tank and the wall. So I had to be rescued......by my parents *sigh*. I was embarrassed but more concerned that they were going to ask why I was passing out all the time. About a week before, I had passed out in school. The last thing I remember is sitting in math class and the room going dark. Then I was waking up on the floor.

I did my best to let convince everyone I was just stressed out. Prom was coming up, finals, mid-terms..anything I could come up with. Finally they all realized something was wrong. My parents thought something was really wrong with me and we went to many doctors and many specialists. Ironically enough, it turned out I had a mild case of epilepsy. Which, I'm sure was due to my not eating. Who knows...all is well now.

The last straw was when I passed out at work. I was working for a grocery store and was the bottle counting chick *sexy*. That's where I met my husband, actually. We had been dating at this time and I had gotten my weight down to MAYBE 100 pounds. I'm 5'2" and I looked horrible! (to everyone else. To me, I thought I looked great) Husband had gone into the Navy by this time and once again, I was obsessed with my weight. The obsession would come and go. There were times when I could allow myself to eat and times I would not allow myself to eat.

So, I'm doing my bottle counting thing when I start to feel light headed. I grab onto a cart and down I go. Thankfully my dad was there returning his bottles and cans and pushed everyone out of the way to get to me so I wouldn't smash my head on the concrete floor. Not to mention bury my face in a puddle of stale beer and soda..GROSS! He and my supervisor carried me into the back room, cleared off a desk and laid me down. I remember this as a dream, I was in and out of consciousness., still. I went home and slept the rest of the day. I think my parents told my *now* in-laws because somehow Husband knew about it.

From then on out, my eating habits were scrutinized. I was asked many times if I had eaten and what I did eat. Even Husband got in on it and he was either in San Diego or in Japan. Doesn't matter where in the world he was, if I got a phone call from him, his first words were "did you eat today? What did you eat? You HAVE to eat!" Dinner time was horrible for me. I knew I had to eat, but having everyone stare at me and watch me, just made me NOT want to eat. My older sister threatened to force a sandwich down my throat. She made good on that threat, too. She sat on my chest and forced me to eat. Oh I was SO pissed off at her!

After years of not eating and not taking care of myself, I realized being 100 pounds is not OK. It's not how my body is meant to be. Rarely if ever do I have a regression. A little over a year ago, I remember looking at our laxatives and thinking "I could take those and lose a quick 5 pounds". I didn't take then, but the thought alone was enough to scare me. I told Husband about it and my mom. I didn't and don't want to go back to where I was back then. I won't lie and say I don't want to be 100 pounds, because I do. I just know that it is not healthy. It is not how my body was made to look. I have hips and breasts, weighing 100 pounds does nothing but make me look sick.

Today I am still 5'2", but I weigh 140 pounds. I've tried healthy eating, which works. I've tried exercising, which works as well. These work in the way that they make me feel good, they don't make the scale move, however. I'm not even sure why. I seriously ran a mile every day, ate healthy for a month and that damn scale never moved. I was more annoyed, then upset. I try not to diet as I know it will bring me back to that place. Actually, I NEVER diet. I am against dieting. I will never be an advocate of it. I will, however, be an advocate of exercising and eating healthy, but NEVER dieting.

I realize that if I choose to put healthy foods in my body and become more active, then I am setting a good example for the young girls in my life. I realize that I will NEVER love my body 100% of the time. I also realize that I do love my body. It is mine. The little scars, stretch marks and such that pepper my body are mine and they tell a story of my life of 33 years. Most importantly, I don't need anyone to tell me that I am beautiful because I can feel it. It might be stronger on some days then others, but it is there.

By comparison, here is a picture of me in my in late teens (19-ish) when I was around 100 pounds. Don't mind the kick ass curly fro I've got going on but do note the collar bone sticking out. And how my shirt doesn't fit because I couldn't find an extra small. I can see my bones! That's not how I thought I looked back then!

And here I am now..ish. This was taken about a year ago, but i don't have any other full body shots that I'm not in some slutty cop costume ;o) Not much has changed since this picture was taken. My hair is longer, I'm not chewing bubble gum and I don't have that ipod anymore. Other then that, that's me now. However, since running, those jeans don't fit me. They are my favorite jeans, too! I haven't tried them on in months, but I'm pretty sure they won't be fitting me again. *sigh* oh well! There will be other jeans, I will fallin love with.

The funny thing about these pictures is that in the first one I had NO boobs. Now...I've got ALL kinds of boobs. I have NO idea how that happened, but I am NOT complaining!

So, dear friends, what's your story? Do you have a body image story? Do you have a tale to tell about how you hated yourself and thought you were fat or whatever, only to realize you looked great back in the day? Or how you were young and dumb and thought diet pills were the cure to all your woes? If so, I'd love to hear it! Let me know either in the comments or with a link to your blog.

Please come back tomorrow when I show you what I got in the mail. Hint: Photobucket

30 friends have commented:

rocket.queen. on July 22, 2009 at 1:06 AM said...

Wow, powerful stuff. I consider myself lucky that I managed to maintain a decent self image during the hell that is adolescence but even so still have had major hang ups over my trouble areas.

Coming to a place where you feel beautiful is so amazing. And, girl, you look great now. LOVE the current you vs old you.

Caragh on July 22, 2009 at 2:52 AM said...

This is a great post.
I am so glad that you got healthy.
You have a banging body.

Shelli on July 22, 2009 at 5:36 AM said...

Oh, lord. How much time do you have? lol. My life story has always been about body issues.

I love this post, and one thing always remains true... we always look better as grown women than awkward teens. If only we knew that THEN...

eden on July 22, 2009 at 5:46 AM said...

Oh my, you popping that gum. You are too cool for school ... and those BOOBS, first thing I noticed, hubba hubba!

The whole package ... seriously gorgeous. Look how far you've come, man. That is so awesome.

I just read your cake post .... THAT CAKE!!!! The snow looked so real, what a great job! I was thinking you totally should have left that yellow icing in there and called it "yellow snow" HAHAHA.

Kristin on July 22, 2009 at 6:51 AM said...

I am so proud of you. It takes nerve to share your story. BTW, you look absolutely FABULOUS!

Jenn on July 22, 2009 at 6:57 AM said...

You are just plain beautiful and your husband is a very lucky man to have you!

I am so glad you are at a good place with your body currently. Sounds like it took a long time to get there!

Can I just smack your first boyfriend up side the head for calling you fat? PRETTY PLEASE?

Thanks for putting your story out there!


grace on July 22, 2009 at 8:09 AM said...

I know this is a serious post, and it's a good one, but I have to comment:

"my vagina is hungry and is eating my shorts" is so funny I laughed outloud in my cubicle.

Also--you're right, you look fantastic now!


Anonymous said...

Learning to love my body AS IT IS has been and will be one of the greatest journeys of my life. Thank you for sharing your story.

Deb on July 22, 2009 at 9:34 AM said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I posted once on my blog that I was a recovering anorexic/bulimic (apparently I had no problem with throwing up) and I could almost hear a pin drop from the lack of comments. I SO had body image issues and at 5'7 98 pounds, a serious medical problem as well. Today I consider myself very healthy and pre-baby ate very healthy and exercised as well. Now it's just whatever I can throw into my mouth. I will write a post regarding this issue because I think it's very important. I hope what I've learned will benefit others, especially my daughter, someday.

sassy on July 22, 2009 at 10:55 AM said...

I love this post, you are beautiful,a dn I am so going to do one of my own.

Katie on July 22, 2009 at 11:35 AM said...

I honestly wonder sometimes, who didn't make them selves sick or not eat in high school? I know I did both... I still think I looked fabulous back then, but surely 5'6" and almost down to 100 pounds didn't...?

Lisa RM on July 22, 2009 at 12:39 PM said...

That's very well written. If only these stupid teen boys knew what their words did to their girlfriends.

MissMeliss on July 22, 2009 at 1:24 PM said...

thanks for all your encouragement!! :) i'm definitely trying to figure out what to do for ME... been harder than i thought it would be.

big hugs!!!


MissMeliss on July 22, 2009 at 1:27 PM said...

PS. i definitely have had body image issues my whole life... well since teenhood. right?! i'm trying to like me in my own skin these days, too.

i wonder why people always feel the need to put others down? i guess it is to build their ownselves up... but sheesh.

you are beautiful!!


Sunny on July 22, 2009 at 1:32 PM said...

It's wonderful that you have a happy ending to your story, and that you have shared it with all of us! I had a friend in H.S. who was anorexic. Fortunately she moved past it as well. There is so much wrapped up in eating disorders, they are hard to unravel and overcome. :/

I am 20+ pounds heavier than I am when I got married. I am 10+ pounds heavier than I was pre-pregnancy (my son is almost 17 years old). I just can't seem to shake the weight -- although I'm not really trying THAT hard! :/ I do feel bad about my body sometimes, although getting rid of all my too-small clothes and buying clothes that actually fit has been HUGE in helping with that. I'm right on the border of "normal" and "overweight" -- I hope to get back into shape once my son weans and I can do the SlimFast diet. Me loves me some SlimFast diet!!!

Stacey K on July 22, 2009 at 2:51 PM said...

Fantastic post.

You look pretty hot at 140 and 100 would be WAY too skinny.

We have Angel Wings on July 22, 2009 at 4:40 PM said...

There isn't enough time in the day for me to talk about my story. Body issues, yes.

This post was beautiful and so are you. :)

If I could find high school pictures I would do a post like this as well.

Love you D.


christopher on July 22, 2009 at 8:45 PM said...

Great post! Body image issues are one of those things that get pushed under rug and not talked about. So many people suffer from them, and it's something that really should be talked about.
I had body image issues that started in high school, but they were less about losing weight, and more about gaining it. I wasn't a small guy, but I wanted to be bigger. My walls were covered with posters of professional bodybuilders and I spent hours and hours at the gym every week. This lasted until I hurt my back and everything went downhill. I put on 60lbs of fat in a couple of years and have been feeling super shitty about my body since then. In January I decided to change that and through exercise and healthy eating I've dropped 30lbs.
I've suffered from body image issues since I was 16, but being a guy in his teens and 20's, that's not really something that is socially acceptable to talk about.

oh, and "my vagina is hungry and is eating my shorts"? seriously made me laugh out loud.


WiseGuy on July 23, 2009 at 6:21 AM said...

You make me roll on the floor, and it is not even my vagina.

Ok idiotic statements apart, I love your post! And your photographs...Body Image issues are there...skinny girls want to be curvy, curvy girls want to be skinny, and we all want to be able to pick what should look like what...I too feel that ways...and I now realize that the comments of others made me feel bad about my body image and I am none the better now...in fact, then, I was much thinner, and shapely. As much as I may cuss my IF, I know that it is my laziness and lack of will that catches me napping.

rys on July 23, 2009 at 6:28 AM said...

Thanks for posting this, very timely! We took the kids to an amusement park yesterday, and was having major body issues (more than usual, LOL).

You have a fab body!

Liddy on July 23, 2009 at 6:45 AM said...

Powerful stuff.

My body story. I am a competitive speedskater so the thighs and butt are HUGE. That I don't complain about but I do complain about the fact that no jeans fit and I wear a LOT of skirts.

I used to be about 120 pounds before I started speedskating, now I hover around 140. While I would LOVE to get rid of the extra 20 pounds it is not easy. I have tried eating healthy. Working out (above and beyond the skating). I guess the only solace is that I am starting to lose my mini-gut. I would love to lose the entire mini-gut before I have to hop into the skin suit this winter. One can only hope.

Stopping by for an ICLW visit...
No. 95: The Unfair Struggle (male-factor infertility, good friends, neighborhood rumblings)

Jules on July 23, 2009 at 3:24 PM said...

Great post.
I can only hope my girls learn to love themselves and their bodies no matter how they look vs. going through an ED like their mom. I was (am still to a point) a perfectionist and took trying to get in a little better shape too far. Even thought that was years back, pregnancy certainly tested me as well as getting back in shape the healthy way.
Should post about it but have to be on the private blog - no one in my family really knows too much about my history.

Robyn on July 24, 2009 at 12:19 PM said...

Thank you for the GREAT article.

Working with girls, teachers, and parents, body image is of course a touchy topic. As you've said here, so many girls talk about single comments or incidences that can send them in a downward spiral.

I would love to talk more with you-- I'm currently writing a book due out in 2010 (Harlequin Books) on body image. It's directed towards parents of girls and I always love finding people who have stories to tell that can open people's eyes to the real issues. Would you be willing to talk? You can get in touch with me through my story website http://www.AskDrRobynSilveman.com or my blog http://bodyimageblog.com

I would love to quote your blog in my book, with your permission.

Thanks for your insights.

Dr. Robyn Silverman

Coffeegrl on July 24, 2009 at 1:31 PM said...

Awesome post! Once again I'm inspired by the role model that you are for your daughter and young girls. I want to be like you when I grow up! :) I hope to do a body image post on my own blog now that you've motivated me. Stay tuned!

Katie on July 25, 2009 at 11:00 AM said...

My body image issues only started recently. Some chick has decided that she needs to text or call my husband every day. She's young and thin, and there's no way this 32 y.o. body that has given birth three times can compete with that. I'm trying to be very aware of what this situation is doing to me, be open about it with myself and my husband, and not let it get out of control. I never understood how ED's could develop - until now! Thanks for sharing your story!

Just me on July 26, 2009 at 11:16 AM said...

I liked my body best around the time I got married.

Ironically, a year later I was diagnosed with SIBO- turns out, I wasn't absorbing any nutrients.

3 weeks of antibiotics later, it was like I had a new stomach. Then I gained 10 pounds.

I was also living in the city, therefore walking more, and taking pilates. But I know a big part of it was that I was sick.

Regardless, I miss my body from then. You could see my stomach muscles. My thighs didn't rub. I definitely had less cellulite.

What have I done about this? Nothing. I've made lots and lots of plans to work out... but I'm terrible at following through. So, apparently I don't miss my hot body that much.

My biggest worry, though, is that my husband DOES. :(

Once A Mother on July 27, 2009 at 4:38 AM said...

i hate when i look at pictures from the past where i looked great and think, "why did i spend so much time thinking i was fat back then." you look great and the post was very moving. thank you for sharing

Fiddle1 on July 27, 2009 at 8:34 AM said...

I can totally see the confidence and the "knowing" in your current picture vs. the high school picture. Do you think the happiness and confidence with your body is age-related or is it more than that? This post comes at an interesting time as I am day 3 days into journaling everything I eat. I'm not cutting back, just writing everything down. Anyway, it's just obvious you have a "kick ass" attitude, and that makes you beautiful. That and your smoking bod. Oh, and I loved it back when I was working out and my jeans didn't fit around my thighs. I have great Italian thighs, and lifting only makes them look like little chicken drumsticks.

Jennifer on September 8, 2009 at 7:52 AM said...

You look super hot in the now picture.

I have body issues (who doesn't?) Instead of worrying about what I look like now, I constantly kick myself for thinking my thighs were enormous in high school. Seriously, I wouldn't wear shorts or skirts or anything. All those cute outfits I missed out on. It's tragic, really.

I'm stopping by from blogger bingo, using this post as for the one I think all should read!

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