I weighed over 8 lbs. when I was born. That’s a big baby! All through
my childhood and adolescence I remained overweight much to my mother’s
chagrin. You see, Mom was a social worker and she was well-versed in the
ramifications of obesity. Not only was she embarrassed by my weight, she
carried the unfair burden of supposing it was all caused by her lack of
attention to me because she was a working mother who on top of all that,
went to university at night to continue her studies and obtain her Master’s
degree…in of all things: family practice!
Eventually, at age 19 as a result of some negative remark I heard from a
mean co-worker, I decide to go on a crash diet which left me hungry but I
did manage to lose weight which I kept off for the better part of 25 years.
16 years ago, I was hospitalized for a bacterial infection which required
massive doses of a antibiotic which also required me to eat a very high calorie
diet until I was released from the hospital a few days later. I gained 6 lbs.
and ever since then, have been gaining steadily until I am now not only fat
but obese. I guess seeing that word and applying it to myself is something that
has taken a bit of time to sink in.
In the last year, I have not gained any additional weight. When I look at
pictures of myself, I cannot accept that it is really me. I resemble my much
more obese sister which is hardly any consolation. I look at my body from
all angles, they equally disgust me. Then I read stories about young people
who are born with horrible diseases, or who die tragically and unexpectedly and
I chide myself for being so superficial. I just read earlier today that a
successful and beautiful actress might be suffering from anorexia and I scold
myself yet again that with all my blessings, I make the issue of weight one
that brings me such shame.
I have successfully lost weight in the past…often. I know what to do, I have
more than a passing interest in health and nutrition. Each morning, I wake up
with renewed commitment to eat only when hungry and try to eat healthily because
I actually enjoy having a plan and sticking to it. The last few months have been
horribly painful in terms of all the losses (of people near and dear to me) that I
have had. Although I have never considered myself a binge eater or even an emotional
eater, I feel today that I have grossly misled myself.
Because food is necessary for our survival, it is near impossible for people with
eating issues to successfully and permanently navigate the complex world of weight.
Today, I stood in front of my mirror. I almost cried when I beheld the folds in
my back, the dimples in my thighs and the way my stomach bulges. I felt sadness
and anger in turns. Sadness that I let myself get this big, anger that I let myself
get this big. And then I took a deep breath and remembered the words of a diet guru
who says we should be happy with the body we have now while working toward obtaining
the body we want/deserve/need. So I put aside all blame and anger and came to the
kitchen to eat a tiny bit of healthy food which has served to nourish my body and my
soul. For today, that is enough; tomorrow will be another today and will take care
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