Monday, October 13, 2008

Weighted Material

I have struggled with my weight since I was a child. I'm not obese by any means, but I am overweight. I try to be healthier and work toward a less overweight body, but it's easy to get bogged down in your flaws. Don't get me wrong, I love my body. It's always been there for me, (har har) but I have a hard time accepting it and all its features.

I remember being in the third grade, and my mother found the cutest little sleeveless, collared shirt for me to wear on the first day of school. In true 90s fashion, it tied in the front below the buttons. It showed the tiniest sliver of midriff, but in third grade, I was still 'skinny.' I was cute.

The next year, I seemed to gain some weight. That year marked the start of my 'not skinny' life. It seemed the older I got, the more I seemed to notice my belly. I quit growing taller in the sixth grade, but my weight continued to climb.

In junior high, the boys began to notice the girls. The 'skinny' girls were described as "hot" while us 'not skinny' girls weren't noticed at all. It was at this point I began to associate skinny with pretty.

My mother, though I love her to death, contributed to my negative image. When I posed for a picture, she'd always say, "Suck your stomach in!" When I got older and wanted to wear more tightly fitted clothing, she'd either veto it, or if I got the tighter shirt, she'd insist I "ruche" it to help hide my stomach. Her body image was negative, too. She was always buying exercise tapes and machines and diet books. She had one diet she'd turn to if she was desperate to lose weight: The Grapefruit Diet. It consisted of grapefruit, eggs, tuna patties, and very little else. I always hated that diet because the tuna patties smelled horrible, and the grapefruits would squirt me across the table at breakfast.

My dad and brother could be particularly mean about my weight, though both of them were (and still are) much more overweight than I was. I used to eat Swiss Cake Rolls at lunch, and one day, my brother took the box, marked out "Swiss" and "Cake," and edited it so it read "Katie's Fat Rolls." I quit eating them, and I eat them today very rarely and with great trepidation. If I ever complained about my weight in front of my dad, he'd just tell me to 'back away from the table.'

It seemed all I could do in high school was gain weight. Once I quit dancing in 10th grade, I put on weight pretty quickly. I also gave up softball. I stayed in band, but let's face it: Playing the saxophone just doesn't melt away your thunder thighs. I had no regular physical activity, and it showed. Each year's first day of school picture features a chunkier Katie.

There were times during my junior and senior years of high school that I very seriously considered trying bulemia. In the end, I decided 1) I hated throwing up, 2) I liked my teeth and esophagus in tact, and 3) an eating disorder was not the way to solve my body image issues. (I did try exercise multiple times, but I would get bored with it and quit. I even joined a gym and went regularly for a while.)

Last year, my senior year, I put on A LOT of weight between October and January. I was so incredibly stressed about college, school, band, and work that it piled up on me and I ended up close to 160 pounds (which is a pretty heavy for a five foot tall 17 year old). That weight didn't come off when I released the stress unfortunately. Over the summer, I learned to accept my body and even wore a two-piece swimsuit in public, a first for me.

Then I went to college. I suppose it was a combination of less food (because I hate the Caf) and a ton of walking, especially up stairs, but I've lost a fair amount of weight since August 16th. I can now dry my jeans in the dryer without fear of them being too tight. I can fit into pants I never thought I'd get into. I even tried on my prom dress the other day to find it zipped with ease and was even a bit baggy in parts. I'm glad I'm avoiding the "Freshman Fifteen."

Along with being a bit slimmer, my stamina is improving. I can climb two flights of stairs without getting winded. My goal for the semester is to make it up those three flights of library stairs (which are much more numerous than other flights of stairs because of the library's uber tall ceilings) without wheezing afterward.

I find that while I am excited and giddy about losing weight/inches, I seem to notice my flaws more. My large thighs that I've long since accepted grabbed my attention in the shower today, and I was disgusted by the way they shook a bit when I moved my leg. I change clothes several times in the morning trying to find something that doesn't make me look "fat." I put on last year's Halloween costume in hopes of wearing it again, and I couldn't stand it. I know I had to look worse in it last year, and that bothers me.

When I left for college, I had a great body image. I had no qualms about my weight until it started decreasing. Suddenly I'm aware of everything that is wrong with it. I need to get things right with my body again. I need to learn to accept my changing body, both the parts I like and dislike.

1 comment:

Naenay1012 said...

Oh, Katie. I grew up in that house too and know the negativity about weight and such. I always hated the pooch I had on my belly, I always thought it was terrible. Momma would say do some sit ups and get rid of it. It felt horrible. Mind you I weighed about 100 pounds, and when I look back on those pictures, I think MY GOSH, what was I worried about?? I would love to have that pooch again, as compared to what I have now after 3 boys.

I really think that I was on the verge of anorexia then. I did not eat but once a day, supper. If I ate lunch it was something like a candy bar and soda.

I would love to lose weight too, but have come to the conclusion that I should make healthier choices when it comes to food and move my behind some more. You know I will never be hard core.

I am excited for you about jeans with a bit of wiggle room. It is such a good feeling. Try to remember why momma has her body issues, our Granny. Man I am sure that sucked living in that house.

Love you,