Saturday, 1/11 One Size NEVER Fits All
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Life is a funny place to live. One size fits all has always haunted me, my entire life. The little fat girl, the "big fat girl" teen, and the fatty fatty grown up could never fit into something that was marked "one size fit all." I constantly disappointed my parents when they would buy me something and it just was too small for my body. I remember finally getting tights and was not able to squeeze into them when I was in about fourth grade and how sad I felt. When I was school-aged, we had to wear dresses every day and the other girls could wear tights underneath and play on the monkeybars and the like. If I wanted a turn, I would have to bring a pair of pants or shorts and put them on under my dress--and that would get me seriously teased. I remember chants of "Here comes the bride; big, fat, and wide" when we were out on the playground playing. I was often more embarrassed than enjoying myself and often found an out of the way place where others wouldn't pay much attention to me and I wouldn't be taunted.
"One size fits all" didn't work as I went from junior high to high school either. First of all, before the transition to allowing girls to wear pants--there was the addition of pantyhose to the wardrobe. My parents were very poor and I didn't have many clothes to start with. We tried the pantyhose thing, but even the "Queen size" in those days weren't big enough for me to wear more than once--the panty part would rip out and my legs would get chafed and there was no money for any more. That would leave me with socks--the dreaded white bobby socks that everyone made fun of. Oh boy. Bell bottom jeans were in style when I was in high school and in those days, there were no plus sizes--I remember we found some sort of linen bell bottomed pants and I loved them to pieces. Nobody else seemed to feel the same. One day, we had a spirit day and everyone was supposed to dress up in mismatched clothes. I had fun choosing things that really mismatched--colors, styles, everything...and then I walked by the bullies and heard someone say..."Hmm, that Sylvia doesn't need to dress all raggedy today--she does that every day." The whole bunch of them laughed loudly at me as I skunk away down the corridor as fast as I could.
Clothing changed as I became an adult. It seemed as if there were more obese people around and some of the catcalls and rude comments that I put up with as a young adult disappeared. I had friends who loved me and took the place of the family that wasn't able to see my strengths as well. However, I was still obese and I hated it. That took me to my time trying every diet under the sun. You name it and I did it. I did the grapefruit diet, the cabbage soup diet, the low, low calorie diet, the shake diet, the diet with the little candy pieces, almost every type of diet aid on the market diets--and most of them worked for me for a while. I have lost more weight than anyone I know. I would always get to 50-60 pounds before I gave it up. I don't know how I ever thought the cabbage soup diet would work for me when I don't like cabbage!!
I became a teacher and have argued against "one size fits all" instruction for students because, guess what? It doesn't work. Each of them brings their own set of knowledge and needs to the classroom and needs to be moved into new learning that fits their background. I have also argued strongly against "one size fits all" professional training for teachers. I am a reading specialist with a master's degree plus 45 additional hours in special ed, gifted ed, early childhood, and children at risk. I do not need extra support in teaching reading/ language arts or providing help for needy students. I am good to do that well.
Now why am I ranting today? This is on my mind because a dear friend and I met at the pool when we were working out unexpectedly and I found out she is retiring at the end of the month. Hooray for her. She and I are the same age--she works at a very physical job lifting big vehicle parts and packing orders for companies. She is worried about becoming injured. She is also a bit of a thing and has always been one--and has always swam laps since she was a young girl. Her parents brought her up with this as part of her background.
Anyway, she and I were talking about what she was going to do after she retired and my plans. First of all, I hope to teach for another 6-7 years, hopefully until I am 65 and my kids are all through with college. I love my work and am not ready to let it go at this time. Her youngest is a sophomore in college. When I finish teaching at school, I want to find another way of using my gifts. She wants to find a part time job at a retail store she enjoys or at the fitness center or as a life guard. She is planning to take an entry level job around people she enjoys. One size doesn't come close to fitting all when you compare where the two of us are at this point of our life.
Finally, I was weighing myself--and I am happy to report that I have lost 5 of the 8 pounds I gained over the holidays. We talked about weight and weight loss. We seemed to have the same eating patterns during the holidays this year--but we grew up eating very differently. I seemed to eat like her big, bruiser of a husband more than like her. I was telling her my story--she knew that I had lost a lot of weight, over 150 pounds (I am 3 pounds shy of being back to at 173 pounds lost.) I found myself telling her that weight loss is not a "one size fits all" activity.
It is not--I also told her that I would love helping people understand that--and then, I told her about Spark People. I realized as we talked, that I am already doing that very thing here and that my idea that "one size does not fit all" in a weight loss plan is the Spark People plan. There are great guidelines--tracking what you eat, exercising regularly, learning about food and nutrition, working with a friend, getting better and better--and building a new way of doing things that keeps you from gagging down the hot dog and tuna diet in three day increments or gagging down that syrupy red protein drink instead of eating. It is a lifestyle--but that lifestyle has to fit with who you are, what you like, what you do and what you can live with. One size NEVER fits all in healthy living either!!