If I could go back in time I'd like to try and remove the blinders I was wearing almost my whole life. The ones that made me think I was fat when I wasn't.
My grandmother was a petite woman, short and thin. I'm guessing she weighed about 110 pounds as a 5'2" adult. She married a large man and her 3 daughters grew tall and heavy. She would berate them constantly for their weight and introduce them as "my fat daughters."
My mother had low self-esteem for her entire life due to this. She married a man that criticized her too. When I was 10 my father told me the reason they were getting divorced is because my mom was fat. Then he told me I was heading down that road as well and need to be careful. My mother told me she wouldn't allow me to get fat like her and so during my pre-teen and teen years I heard like a broken record what not to eat, what to wear "not that honey because us big women can't wear tight clothes, better something big that hides your belly" or "they don't carry clothes in your size there, lets go to Lane Bryant".
She couldn't see that I was wearing a size 9 and that was a normal size, she just couldn't see it. She had blinders too.
She was trying to help, but instead of helping, she made me believe that I was fat. I always wore things big and shapeless. I thought I was an extension of my mother. I was 'the fat girl'. I would get upset when things in Lane Bryant didn't fit me because I thought I must be some odd size no-one made clothes for and I thought I was different, somehow less.
What I didn't understand until recently was that my mother was projecting her self image onto me and it wasn't based in reality. I look back at pictures of myself today and realize that in photos I was the exact same size as my friends. I was never different.
If I'd known this years ago things would have been completely different. Thin people, no, CONFIDENT people enjoy a quality of life others can only imagine. I missed out on so many social opportunities, and probably professional ones too. For example, when I was 18 I thought about joining the military but my Mom told me they wouldn't let me in because I weighed too much (I weighed 130). What future could I have had if I wasn't so convinced she was right?
Over the years after I left home I have become confident. I've slowly emerged and have achieved goals and learned to make an effort to really live my life. I've also distanced myself from my mother. Without ever really understanding why , I've accepted that visits with my mom are stressful and tried to limit them.
Fast forward to 2013.
Like many people, I have a pair of shorts I wear when I feel 'big'. however, I recently had an eye-opener. I saw an old photo of myself wearing the same shorts as 15 years ago. This means that a) I need a new wardrobe and b) I can fit into the same clothes I wore 15 years ago.
My first thought when I saw this was "Those are my 'fat' shorts. Was I fat then too?" So I took them off and looked at the tag and it turns out they are a size 11.
Size 11. JUNIORS
What's sadder than a 40-year-old woman wearing juniors shorts? Thinking she's fat in them.
Ok, so a size 6 may be movie-star-sexier, but there is no way that a junior size 11 is fat. IT'S ALL IN MY HEAD. I've fluctuated within 15 pounds since I was a teenager and although my shape has changed a bit (stomach bigger..... breasts smaller....where's the justice in that?) I'm still close to the same size.
Also, I read the Spark email with this fantastic article in it:
www.sparkpeople.com/blog /blog.asp?post=is_being_re ally_lean_really_worth_it
That article plus this revelation I had about my shorts were equal to many years and dollars worth of therapy.
Don't get me wrong, I don't have a flat stomach (never have) and would LOVE to lose these 15 pounds that I'm somehow convinced will make me ......smarter-better-richer-se
xier-etc. BUT, I want to lose them for me, not my Mother.
I will try and be nicer to myself when I think about my body image. That's my new mantra and if you hear me say otherwise please kick me.