All the Sun For You

A mom, two boys, a husband, and a whole lot of adventure!

Fat Girl – A Confession

23 Comments

I have been MIA lately, and for lots of reasons.  We are so busy… so busy with life, so busy weaning (that went so well, I can’t believe it!), so busy making career/life decisions, so busy getting out on dates every weekend, so busy trying to purge the house of un-needed things (I am a FB swap-group selling goddess (this is the only thing I’ve ever been a goddess of) and have made over $2,000 so far and still have over $1,000 worth of things to sell), so busy just trying to keep up.  Because of our “case of the busy’s,” I have moved more into a maintenance mode with fitness which is nice, but also scary for me.

Weaning and going on a new birth control pill caused a little correction in my weight.  A 3-5 pound correction.  I knew this was coming, but I honestly thought that if I kept working out, it wouldn’t really happen.  But it did.  Turns out, Bryson was burning a lot more of my calories than we ever imagined and he was, all by himself, a very effective little cardio machine!  After two weeks of a steady climb, my body is back to burning fat and knowing what to do, so I’ve relaxed.

But I was tense.  So very tense.

This all leads me to something that is very sad and hard for me to admit.  No matter how thin I get, no matter how fit and strong I get, no matter how good I look in my clothes… I will always view myself as a fat girl.  I weigh less now than I did my freshman year of HIGH SCHOOL, but I still look in the mirror and think, “careful or you’ll get fat.”  I check my face daily for possible visible gain.  Isn’t that pathetic?  I have always had body image issues and it appears that those are going to continue no matter how thin I get, and that makes me a little sad.

I skipped my workout today.  It took everything in me to skip it because, well, I don’t want to get fat.  I know that one skipped workout isn’t going to make me fat, and I know I ate pretty well knowing that I may not have time to workout, but I still battle those little demons in my head that say, “don’t slip.  Don’t get fat.  I bet you’ll weigh a pound more tomorrow.”  Hottie is on the road and I called him to chat so that I would not go run on the treadmill.  I think it’s healthy to skip it – I don’t have to run 6 miles every freaking day.  But what I think, and what I really think don’t agree with one another.  My shins hurt, I plan to hit up an intense 10:20 class tomorrow morning and hopefully run at nap time, and I still felt the urge to just go run out of fear of getting fat.

This is pathetic.  But it is my reality.

I was raised by a woman who was pencil-thin her entire life until she quit smoking (I honestly believe she was anorexic on top of smoking – she even admits “preferring the anorexic look”) and a man whose family was so obsessed with weight, that I’d have mini-panic attacks before heading down to visit them if I’d gained a pound since the last time I saw them.  I loved my grandma, but that woman could sense any weight gain or loss of 0.5 pounds or more in a New York minute.  The first topic of conversation was always about how you looked, and you always hoped you looked good enough (I’m rolling my eyes writing that).  It’s no wonder I have body image issues.  My dad always told me I was “built like a house” while I was growing up and my mom liked to go on and on about how thin she used to be before she quit smoking.  That same woman was quick to tell us girls when to take it easy on the food because, “you came back from your freshman year a very big girl” (and enter my first real game of starving myself to get back to where I was before college).  Nothing was ever good enough, except, of course, when my older sister was really starving herself and looked how my mom and everyone else wanted her to look (frail).  Jesus.

So here I am, hovering at 140 pounds at 5’7 with a super healthy BMI and a body fat percentage of 21.5% and abs that show without flexing them.  But I still feel fat.  I still can’t believe I wear a size 6/8 jeans and have a 27.5 inch waist – I swore to a sales lady at a boutique two weeks ago that I couldn’t go down a size because, “I am no 27” (but alas, I am).  My first reaction looking in the mirror is still, “you look fatter than yesterday” before relenting and thinking, “no, you’re looking good.”  Hell, I took this picture of myself on date night two weeks ago because I couldn’t believe it was me staring back at me from the mirror, in those 27 jeans and medium top that was too big in the shoulders (but they didn’t have a small).

Fat Girl

I took the picture to remind myself that these actions, these thoughts are pathetic.  That no matter how I see myself, others see me this way – thin, strong, healthy, fit.  I’m trying so hard to not think of myself as a fat girl, but it’s not working.  I don’t know if I’ll ever get there.  That makes me sad.  And it makes me grateful that I don’t have daughters to screw up with these issues.  In my branch of the family tree, it stops here.

 

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Author: Courtney

Hi, there, I’m Courtney. I never planned to stay home with my kids, but I got sucked into motherhood when my first baby came into our lives after years of infertility and multiple rounds of IVF. His brother followed closely behind, something we didn’t plan on after having such a rough road with achieving parenthood the first time around. My boys are IVF cycle twins, conceived on the same day but born two years and one day apart (they were both transferred on the same day in October, but with two years between them). My boys are the best of friends and my husband is a terrific husband, father, and most importantly… friend. He fully supported my desire to stay home (“I just wanted it to be your idea and not mine, I totally want you to stay home and raise our kids!”) and encourages me in everything I do. I am a lover of projects, spreadsheets, fitness, healthy cooking and eating, crafts, selling my stuff on FB (HA!), and the outdoors. If I’m active, I’m pretty darn happy!

23 thoughts on “Fat Girl – A Confession

  1. I totally get this. Totally. All my life if someone asked me to describe myself I would always say something like, “A bit chunky” or even at my smallest, “A bit above average”, never just average or fit or whatever. My mum owns a gym and is a fitness instructor / personal trainer so weight was always a ‘thing’ in my house too. Not quite in the same way it sounds like you had it with your mum but staying fit was always important and when I got a bit bigger in college, it was tough. I am now around the same size as you (although not my waist.. my waist is definitely bigger!).. 140ish lbs the last I checked a couple weeks ago (thanks to breastfeeding, which ended up adding 10lbs when I weaned last time!! Ahhh! Not looking forward to that!) and 5’8″ but I still look at myself and see something so much bigger. I still feel like the ‘bigger girl’ if you were to describe me with a group of friends. It is definitely a very important goal of mine to make sure I do not pass these worries on to my two daughters. I know that it will be hard in the world today with so much convincing us that we have to be something else, something from movies and magazines… but I hope that they can fight that and see that they are amazingly beautiful and perfect the way they are, whatever shape and form that is.

    • See, this is what’s so surprising to me. I would NEVER have thought of you as anything but small. Isn’t that funny? You and I do the same damn thing to ourselves. It’s sad… but even as I wrote this post, I figured that what I was feeling was probably more normal than I thought.

      Nursing… such a blessing… and a curse once it’s all done. My body does NOT want to drop below 140. That’s OK – it’s more than OK – but it’s frustrating.

  2. I totally get this. 100% *sigh* And it makes me sad that I wrote that and then looked up at Fiona’s comment and realized she started the same way. Why do we do this to ourselves?

    I do want to caution you that YES, our society is way harder on women than men when it comes to fitness and looks – but boys are NOT immune to it. We have plenty of boys that come into our office worried about their weight. It is so sad. 😦

    At any rate, I feel like sometimes I plateau around 160 b/c I’m afraid of the effort it will take to get to 140-150 and still feel the same way…just fat. That’s what happened in college – I was a fit 148# and started into the bulimia thing b/c I was so afraid of getting fatter. I’m ashamed to even write that now, 12 years later, but it’s still the truth. GAH.

    • Ps – in every pic of you I see on FB or here I think MAN her face looks amazing. Your jawline is so pronounced – you seriously look like a different person to me. It’s kind of crazy. I wish you could see yourself the way everyone else sees you!

    • Good question – why do we do it to ourselves? And not temporarily, but forever, it seems?

      I know that boys aren’t immune to body image issues, but I feel better equipped to deal with them because they’re boys – so I won’t be projecting my own body issues and expectations onto them inadvertently. I remember my aunt saying, when my cousin was 5 that she needs to watch what she says about her own dieting because her daughter was already talking about being too fat. I’ll never forget that, and I remember thinking, “I’m always dieting – it’s going to be hard not to talk about that in front of kids.” But I’m not dieting now – I eat a lot, and exercise a lot, and the boys see that. And they won’t look at me and expect to look like me. Or maybe they will, but I doubt it. Apples to oranges. I almost feel that if they had body image issues, I’d be able to work with them more effectively on them because I wouldn’t be projecting my own issues. I don’t know.

      Your point about hovering at a weight because you think you’ll still feel fat at a lower weight? YES. That’s exactly it. I am at a weight I NEVER thought was possible, yet here I am, feeling fat.

      Awful.

  3. I was rather sad reading this last night, because every photo I see of you the first thing that always crosses my mind, is wow she’s beautiful (and usually I also think about how cute your kids are too). I’m sad because, you and so many people in the world, see themselves in such a different light then the rest of the world does. I firmly believe we are our own worst critics, and I’m sad that you are too.
    That said, I’m thrilled that you know it, which I believe puts you further ahead then many. Being armed with the knowledge that you are very hard on yourself allows you to try to live a balanced life and take a day off from exercising here and there, and that’s awesome!!

    • This is a really nice thing to say. Thank you! You are right – we are our own worst critics (well, almost… my mom is still my worst critic. HA!). I do feel good that I know what’s going on in my head, versus just looking at myself as fat and then dwelling on it.

      You’ll be happy to know that I have been too busy (truly) to exercise for 3 days in a row – and I feel OK about it. Not good, but not bad!

      • 3 days without exercising is amazing. We are away right now, and 3 days without exercising is driving me crazy!! We’ve been active – hiking and walking a lot – but it’s just not the same. I don’t want our vacation to end tomorrow, but I am excited to get home so I can work out again!! I’m going to feel so much better on Tuesday evening when we get back into our routine. 🙂

  4. This is a fantastic, brave post. My concerns are different but boil down to the same – feeling crappy about my appearance when I shouldn’t. I second what Josey said – every time I see a pic of you on FB I am impressed!

    • Thank you. I’ve been wanting to write it for a long time, and then when I looked in the mirror at the restaurant the other night, I thought, “it’s time to put this out there. This is ridiculous.” I’m saddened by how many people have commented that they feel the same way. Ugh, it’s so sad.

  5. You look fabulous Courtney! I too have struggled with body image and food. I was scarily thin in college because my best friend/roommate was so thin and beautiful that I thought I could only eat if she ate, etc. I’m glad I’m past that phase of my life, but it never goes away completely. I just hope that my daughters never have body image issues. I think we all need to focus on our positive attributes that aren’t looks-focused. You are a beautiful writer, loving Mom, determined person and you have so much to give to your boys and the world! Xoxo

    • Thank you, Nikki! I look at photos of you and have always thought, “I bet she’s never felt bad about herself at all.” We women are such funny creatures, aren’t we?

      Your daughters have a leg-up because they have a mom who has experienced food issues who will keep a watchful eye. 🙂

  6. I waited to comment on this. I wanted to be at my computer and really write something because, well, THIS. I could have written so much of this, down to the role of my mother and extended family (mostly my grandmother) in the birth of my body hatred. I dealt with compulsive eating for a lot of years. It was fueled by my depression and then eventually became so enmeshed in my depression that I wasn’t sure if I compulsively ate because I was depressed or if I was depressed because I compulsively ate. In the end it was probably the same. I remember thinking that I would spend the rest of my life obsessing about food and that it would suck the joy out of living, the marrow from my very life.

    I was incredibly lucky when, after trying many SSRIs treat my depression (none of them helped) I finally tried a norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor to treat my ADD and found that not only did it help me in that area of my life, if helped my depression and, magically, helped me maintain a healthy weight. For the first time in my life I ate only because I was hungry. I never snacked. I never overate. It helped me get my life back in a way I never dreamed was possible.

    I am back on my meds after many years off them as I built and nourished my family. I know I need to take something right now, because shit is hard and I just can’t cope without some back up, but I also know I can’t take them forever (at least, I really, really don’t want to) and I wonder all the time if, when I stop, I’ll go back to being the person I was before, held hostage by food and my appearance.

    Right now I am lucky to have a slight reprieve from all of that, but I’m not totally immune to the destructive thoughts of my teens and twenties. I check my face (are my cheek bones being swallowed by my cheeks) and my belly every time I get dressed in the morning. I don’t step on the scale anymore, but I freak out if I miss one of my three weekly exercise routines, giving myself the same talk that you do–if you don’t keep exercising you’ll gain back all the weight! (I think this is interesting because I was basically at this weight (on my meds) without exercising at all before my daughter was born, but since I needed to exercise to get all the weight off after my second pregnancy, I seem to think I need to exercise to keep it off now too).

    Exercise is important for my mental health, and I’m glad I’m doing it, but sometimes, when my schedule doesn’t allow me to get in three days of cardio, I have to talk myself down from those old, destructive thoughts. It’s disheartening, and I’m working on changing the dialogue. It’s amazing how hard it can be to re-write so many years of script on this stuff.

    I wish I had advice, but clearly I don’t. I just wanted to say that I hear you and I understand. It fucking sucks. And I REALLY hope I don’t pass this shit on to my daughter. I might take my medicine for longer than I would have, just to make sure I don’t accidentally do to her what my mother (in part) did to me.

    • I’ve read your posts in the past and have always identified with them. I think we’re rather similar when it comes to this.

      Exercise is so important to me. If I don’t exercise, I can feel the tension mount. I think Hottie can feel the tension mount too – he knows when I haven’t worked out, and that’s sort of sad. 😦

      I loved those pictures you posted of yourself on FB last summer in your bathing suit. I was so proud of you!

  7. Thanks for being brave and posting this. You look amazing!

  8. It’s funny, it took me awhile to comment on this post because I kept thinking “she looks so damn good right now, what the hell is she worried about?!” but I totally understand how you feel too. You’ve come so far, and worked so hard on getting into shape and a healthy lifestyle, stressing about maintaining that is one thing, but viewing yourself as “fat” is serious. You are beautiful Courtney! You were beautiful before you lost the weight too. Be kind to yourself. It’s not about numbers, but how you feel in your own skin.
    Tell yourself EVERY DAY that you look great because you do!!!

  9. I have been thinking about this post since it first appeared in my reader, wanting to comment on it, but not sure how. Honestly, it worries me. I am so glad that you’re posting about it and at least realizing that your head space is not healthy. I hope that that realization also prevents you from going too far with this. You are not fat. You look incredible. And more important than that you have gotten this way using a really healthy strategy. I just want you to be sure to stick with that. Everything in moderation, including exercise.

    Also, the description of your family and the comments made growing up infuriates me. Eff that. Eff them. Talk about setting a child up for an unhealthy body image! Gah! I remember my mom dieting a TON when I was growing up. She never said anything to us about joining her or anything like that, but I do remember her talking about being unhappy with her body. I look back at pictures of her from when I was younger and she was a stick. And yet I know she was unhappy even then. It sucks.

    I perhaps have or at least had the opposite problem. Growing up I was always very athletic and “solid.” Even as a young child. So when i went away to college and put on the Freshman Fifteen (and then some) I pretended like I hadn’t. I was in major denial about how much weight I’d gained. I look at pictures from that time now and wish someone had said something. It’s such a fine line to walk. Even now I think i probably should be trying to lose weight, but I’m generally content… or lazy. I’m not sure which.

    Anyway, love ya. Miss ya.

  10. Pingback: Fitness Check-In | All the Sun For You

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