I think SO MANY women deal with this topic. It kinda blows my mind, and then at the same time makes me feel better that I'm not alone. I have a really hard time with accepting my body image, no matter my size or weight. My body is never good enough. I am not good enough-that's the message that is attached to my weight. #thestruggleisreal
I was raised in an era where, to be honest, not that many people were over-weight. Even chunky was considered really over-weight. And growing up, I was definitely chunky. I started off more on the plump side then my binge-eating disorder and lack of ability to handle my emotions blew me up on the scale as I grew into adolescence. Eventually at the age of 18 in my first year in college, I had gained 50 pounds, on top of my already plump body. So much for the freshman 15. I had put on a small human. I can so clearly recall going back home to visit friends over a college break and being mortified to show people how much weight I had gained. I didn't even look like the same person. A few years later I had reached my heaviest at 240 pounds on a 5'3" frame. I was considered morbidly obese and very, very ashamed of it. And the more shame I felt the more I binge ate. It was a viscious cycle.
There is no curtain to hide behind when you are overweight. There is no hiding. None. Whatsoever. It's all out there for everyone to see. It feels like you have a giant pimple right smack in the middle of your nose, and no amount of makeup can cover it. It's just out there. And I can remember feeling like such a failure and so unworthy. Those feelings in turn made me really angry, and I couldn't hide that either. Anger seeped out of me. Because the binge eating was uncontrollable. NO matter how hard I tried I couldn't stop it. It wasn't until I realized that my problem layed in my soul that I finally had some solutions that worked.
And as I began to deal with a lot of unspoken issues, the healing in my heart eventually allowed me to lose almost 100 pounds and keep it off for over a decade. It was a S-L-O-W process and one that I STILL am working on.
You would think that losing 100 pounds would magically make everything better. I mean, when I was obese I always thought that. If I could just be a size 6--then I would be happy. Guess what? I am a size 6, a tight size 6, and in no way am I happy or content with how I look.
My biggest struggle is in my thigh size. I have beast-mode thighs. My husband always says I could kick a man's butt with my legs. One time I accidently sent him flying across a room when we were goofing around. My legs are powerful and I can squat you into the floor, but they are LARGE. No matter my size, I have even been a size 2 at my absolute thinniest and those thighs---well, they were still much, much larger than the rest of me.
I've come to one solid conclusion. On my own--when I'm all alone, standing in my knickers, staring at a full length mirror. I think they aren't that bad, look at your nice shape. Girls would kill for those curves. I even love them and appreciate my Mexican heritage and the body shape genetics have given me. BUT...when I stand in the mirror with lots of other women around me, like when I'm in a group exercise class, I completely beat myself up for being "thick." The mirror in the gym class setting is my worse enemy. I look at her thighs, and then her thighs, and then the lady across the room's thighs. My entire analysis for believing someone is thin or not is based on whether or not I think they have small thighs. And because I don't have small thighs--well, that means I am not thin and therefore have no worth.
So let's re-cap that. On my own I accept myself and even think it's beautiful. In a group, I start comparing and then proceed to hate myself for being different and then believe I'm not good enough.
Why is that?
Because I'm just trying to be like everyone else. I want to feel like I fit in, I don't really want to stand out. And my entire self worth is wrapped up in my body image and whether or not I believe I am "thin." But NEWS FLASH CARLA, you've never EVER accepted your body, overweight or not. I can't remember a day that I have accepted it. Even was I was a size 2 and people kept asking me if I was sick because I was so thin, I didn't accept myself then either. And to be honest I'm so tired of it. Like SICK AND TIRED of it.
One day as I gawked at everyone else's bodies, and wished that I had her frame or her thighs, I heard a small whisper. What if you are the only person in this room to have gone through losing 100 pounds? What if you are the only person to have had experienced and dealt with childhood abuse? What if you are who you are today because you have dealt with different things? You cannot compare yourself to people when they have walked a different road than you.
It was if lightning struck my head because I finally got it.
And here lies the truth. It's not an apple to apple comparison. We all have different body shapes, we all have walked through different eating disorders, we may have had different childhood traumas BUT that doesn't mean we are the same. Some people have never experienced more than being 10 pounds overweight. I can't compare myself to anyone else who isn't me and who hasn't walked the same road. Period.
This has really helped me stop the comparison game. The minute I find myself comparing I say STOP. Literally, I say STOP. YOU WILL NOT DO THIS. And I start listing in my head all the physical attributes about myself that I truly appreciate. I list my hair, and my skin, and my muscular tone. And I keep listing until the need to compare is gone.
Gratefulness always trumps hate. It gives you a new idea to dwell on and changes your perspective. We could all use some more gratefulness in the world. It is proclaiming love to the one person that needs it the most in your life...YOU. So pat yourself on the back for being the amazing creation that you were created to be, and start listing all the things you love and adore about yourself. See if it doesn't brighten your day and help stop comparing yourself to others.
Do it, I dare you.