Friday, August 10, 2012
When I was young I thought I was fat, typical teenager body image issues. In reality, I was in good shape and wore a size 8-10 on average.
I think when I look back, I started gaining weight towards my last year of high school. I didn't balloon up, just gained a bit of weight thanks to not taking care of myself. I think I got up to a size 12.
When I started college I was that size, and maintained that size. I was in a car accident and that is when my weight really increased. I started gaining and nothing slowed it down, not that I really tried. I knew I was gaining but was so depressed and unhappy that I didn't realize what was happening to myself, really.
This was my life for years. I gained and gained every year. It was when I moved away from home that I started to want to make changes, and I did. I lost 20 lbs and since then have lost another 20+. It feels good and I notice so many differences in things. For example, I feel more self-confident, even though I am not at my goal weight...I feel better, I also notice less pain in my knees and feet, and changes like a thinner face and being able to wear smaller sizes. I was in a 24 at the beginning of my weight loss journey. I still remember when I was packing up my apartment to move in with my hubby...I was going through my closet and found out that 1/2 of the clothes I had in there (well maybe 1/4) were too big. I had 2 bags of clothes and it felt amazing to realize that clothes that I bought for my graduation and my awards ceremony were 2 sizes too big and I had only worn them once. I didn't even know at the time that I had lost the weight I had.
Since then I have gone down even more. I am currently in an 18 (my 20's are too big) and I even bought a pair of size 16 pants this summer that I was super excited to fit into. I wanted to be in a size 14 by the end of September...and I am well on my way. I have already dropped 4 full sizes!
I was talking to a friend who is experiencing the same issues I once dealt with. She was put on some serious medications for her back problems. She is unable to do a lot of exercises because of the damage to her vertabrae and the medication and being unable to exercise has caused her to gain like I did. She has moved back home and confided in me the other day about her fear...she is terrified of running into people we knew in high school because she doesn't want to feel like they are judging her. She says she feels judged when she goes to the grocery store and buys her son snacks...like people are looking at her thinking, "You so don't need a cookie, fat a**!"
I tried to tell her that people are likely not thinking this, that it is her lack of self-confidence speaking. The unfortunate thing is that I know exactly how she feels. I never hid from people, but I know all about being self-conscious. I don't live near home, and my reasons for not wanting to see certain people while I am visiting has nothing to do with my weight...it has to do with who those people are. But to my friend, she feels like everyone is judging her based on her weight.
I think it's a sad situation and the public should really be forced to think before they judge someone. I have been on the other side of someone judging me based on my size, and it hurts more than anyone could realize (specifically the people being judgmental). Just because someone is overweight does not mean that they sit on their butt eating candy and McDonald's all day. I am constantly doing stuff, I have a hard time sitting still...but I am still overweight. There are some people that I know that are skinny and do NOTHING all day...they just have high metabolism, but they escape judgment because they wear a size 2. That is completely unfair and wrong!
So my friend is struggling with these feelings and with trying to lose weight, while her husband behaves like one of the judgmental people that think that their hurtful words are "helping". It's hard to watch her go through what I have gone through, and I told her all I could and listen to her. I gave her advice on choosing high protein, lots of veggies, and drinking water over other sugary options. I have told her that I am here for her, which she knows, but I wish I could wave that magic wand that we all wish for at some time in our lives.
I guess the good thing for her is that I have been there and am still working my butt off, literally, but it is still hard to see someone feeling embarrassed by their body and size. It's not always something that can be cured by snapping a finger or waving a wand, and people need to be more sensitive to the emotions and feelings that are often linked to sudden weight gain.
I think the one thing that is often forgotten is empathy. Perhaps if these "judges" walked a mile in my shoes, or my friends shoes, or your shoes...they would realize that their comments, and judgments are not "helping" they are inappropriate. Perhaps they would learn to keep the comments to themselves...or, in a perfect world, those automatic judgments and urges to put someone else down (usually to make themselves feel better...which is the opposite of actually happens) would not exist.
Wouldn't that be nice. The world is a hard enough place to live sometimes, the last thing we need is to judge others. The next time I am faced with this type of situation I think my response will be exactly that...until you walk a mile in my shoes you don't have any right to pass judgment on me...anyone else for that matter.