25,000-29,999 SparkPoints 29,225

I'm not as fat as I think - a revelation.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

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 a 15 year-old old photo of myself wearing the same shorts as today. 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: /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.
Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Sarah, I just stumbled on this blog and I can't thank you enough for writing it! I too had a mother much like yours except she was always thin and I was always fat. No, really I was fat but not nearly as bad as I thought I was until my forties that is and then it got way out of hand. It took me some therapy sessions to figure things out but not until I found spark did everything that came out of my mother's mouth was pretty darn accurate! As far as diet and exercise was concerned. LOL Then Oprah happened and one day she apologized for what she did to me as a kid. I said what did you do? She said what she said and shouldn't have said and what she did and didn't do. Anyway, we turned out okay and I got to be what I consider a"normal sized person! Yea me and you!
    1690 days ago
    Wow. It is so horrible what you had to go through as a child. I am so glad you were and are working and actually overcoming the negative thoughts you received. I was in a similar situation so I can relate. Get on with your strong, beautiful smart and skinny-a$$ :) You beautiful woman.
    1701 days ago
    wow very powerful blog, we all struggle with those comments people make that cut deeper than we even realize but it sounds like you had more than your fair share. Good on you for realizing and sharing this. You are one strong beautiful person!
    Way to go!
    1702 days ago
    This blog was fantastic. It resonates with me on so many levels I can't even begin to explain it. Good for you for figuring it out and taking the steps to move past it!
    1702 days ago
    emoticon The Article is Great!! Congratulations on the Progress you have made toward a Confident, Healthy Self Image and Future!!
    1703 days ago
    So sorry you and your mom had to deal with that pressure growing up Sarah, Glad to see u did not let it get u down and lead a positive life. This blog showed strength and determination! U look great Sarah! awesome blog! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1703 days ago
    Sarah, you are right, you are not fat. That is awful that your mother lived that lifestyle and she passed it on to you so that you felt you had to look a certain way. I think body image is a huge thing for females and even males too sometimes. Where people feel that they have to look a certain way to be accepted and to be beautiful. I am the same height as you and about a hundred pounds heavier-gulpppp. Now I am fat. Needless to say my poor frame having to carry so much extra weight. But I am going to change that and be kind to my poor body.
    I think it a common thing these days where children are brought up being told " you can't eat this and you can't eat that" by their slim mums. But on the other hand there are the larger mums who some have children who end up large too, and some don't. I think the media has made a lot of this behaviour regarding fat, and body shape consciousness. Sometimes I think it is when people think they want to lose some weight and they aren't even big, that they get into the dieting mode and then they put on weight. Coz diets are not good, a healthy/healthier lifestyle is the answer. it is our behaviour that needs addressing, not going on a diet. I've heard of little wee kids getting anorexic. Which of course is for a variety of different reasons, including that they "don't want to get fat". And the truth is , it is a world where looks get you places that uglyness doesn't. Fat to many people is considered ugly. We can be valued on our looks.
    But again sarah, you are not fat. That is pretty good to only have added 15 pounds over over twenty or more years. Good on you Sarah, carry on believing you are not fat and love yourself and accept yourself how you are. emoticon

    1703 days ago
    Oh my goodness, mothers project, don't they? I would never be able to grow my hair shoulder-length or longer because it was too fine and thin. I had bad teeth, a big nose. Okay, so it's nothing like the situation you went through, but it still took me years to realize that none of it was true. They were just ideas I picked up from my mother's projections. I am so happy you are finally coming to realize that you are not that person your mother projected onto you.
    1704 days ago
    emoticon Thanks for sharing. I'm glad to hear about your recent positive revelation. Keep being kind to yourself.

    1704 days ago
    "That article plus this revelation I had about my shorts were equal to many years and dollars worth of therapy."

    That's just awesome! Nothing better than a new pathway for the brain to think differently (read:better). I don't know you, but I'm proud of you!
    1704 days ago
    Your alias tells it all. You are strong and facing the truth is often difficult due to our upbringing. I admire you.
    1704 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

More Blogs by STRONG_SARAH