Wanna hear a story? It is the story of a girl who has battled her weight for most of her adult life, and has battled body image issues for much longer than that.
How about you pour yourself a nice drink (warm, if you are anywhere near where I live!) and we will have a little chat.
I feel like this story might jump around a bit. I hope you will stay with me.
Let's start with my Grandparents. The grandparents who gave me the genes to carry all of my extra weight around my waist. My legs and arms are skinny, my bust is skinny, but I always have a poochy belly. When I was in high school I weighed just over 120 lbs. I rollerbladed. I marched in the marching band (very good cardio workout!) I wore a size six to my graduation. I still had a poochy belly. Marching band was the only form of exercise I was good at. I was the one always picked last for gym class teams, clumsy and un-coordinated.
Now, let's talk about the other Grandma I had who bought me Weight Watchers magazines as a teenager and who never let me forget about my belly. Let's talk about the strangers who, today, stop me on the street and ask me when my baby is due.
Let's talk about how this has hurt my feelings over and over and has made me feel very unattractive.
Let's talk about my wonderful husband who is the only one who has made me feel good about myself and desirable and attractive no matter what my size--and he has seen them all!!
Ok, now that you know the ancient history, let's move up a decade.
Let's look in the window of a basement apartment at a young woman in nursing school. This young woman studied very hard and had very little time to exercise, try as she might. She gained 20 lbs through the course of her nurse's training. She really shot herself in the foot by trying to keep up with her whippet-thin boyfriend who HAD to eat everything in sight in order to maintain his fat free body.
Her aha moment at that time consisted of a picture of herself at Christmas, round face and jiggly thighs taking over. It also consisted of a co-worker at the hospital she worked at pointing out that she was "always eating". She joined Weight Watchers and found the program too restrictive and the leader too mean. She moved away to a tiny town that didn't have pizza delivery, but did have a 24 hour gym. She found new inspiration and lost 30 lbs in time for her wedding.
Hours after the wedding she got pregnant and packed those 40 lbs back on. She gave birth to her sweet boy and quckly lost 20 lbs. She then spent the next year carrying those 20 lbs on and then packed on 40 more with her second pregnancy. She then gave birth to a gorgeous little girl and quickly lost 20 lbs. She joined Weight Watchers again, and found the new program much easier to follow and the new leader much nicer. She lost another 40 lbs and was back to her wedding weight. She felt great. She got pregnant again. She packed on another 40 lbs. She gave birth to a big boy in her bedroom. She quickly lost 20 lbs through marathon nursing and chasing two other kids.
This brings us to today, and 20 lbs to lose. Weight Watchers is too expensive on a single income that must feed five people--four of whom have monster appetites and need lots and lots of calories to stay skinny. The fifth one spends a lot of time resenting the other four skinnies in her home who can eat whatever they want.
She is trying to change her attitude towards weight loss. She is not going to focus on apperances this time and is going to focus on health instead. She knows her waist measurement is right now in the danger zone for heart disease. She is NOT going to count calories this time as she finds that counting and tracking makes her obsess about food in a very unhealthy way. She is going to learn to listen to her body and it's real hunger cues. She is going to drink more water than coffee. She is going to exercise with her Wii.
She is going to get healthy, not skinny.