Saturday, October 17, 2009

In which I place the blame for my weight issues on everyone but myself

I was doomed to be fat from day one because I was born into a hyper-fanatical German family in which food was tightly controlled and firmly regulated from morning to night. I was only allowed to eat at prescribed times and when it was mealtime I was forced to eat everything on my plate. Way back then I developed a mentality I still have: eat when you can and all you can, and sneak your food if necessary, because the rules are too strict and you’ll never be able to comply successfully anyway.

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So my weight issues can’t possibly be my fault. Right?

When I was a teenager I always “felt fat” because I had a pear-shaped, curvy (yet petite) body, unlike anything I saw in fashion magazines. Even as a relatively popular cheerleader and social butterfly, I never felt thin enough or pretty enough because the really popular girls were thinner and prettier. The social mandate demanded a body I simply didn’t have.

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So my weight issues can’t possibly be my fault. Right?

When I was a healthy, young woman at a healthy, normal weight (though all the voices I cared about -- media, friends, even my own mother -- told me otherwise), engaged to a wonderful young man, I was ashamed to be looking at size 10 wedding dresses. Size 10 means fat, I told myself. And I knew that even my fiancé would have preferred I wore a smaller size. All those voices, all speaking so loudly at me, all telling me that I should be a smaller size.

Carol at 24C

So my weight issues can’t possibly be my fault. Right?

Then came pregnancies and babies. Healthy pregnancies and very, very healthy babies. Even the twins were full-term, beautifully baked babies. But oh, the havoc they wreaked on my body! I gained 40 pounds with each singleton and upwards of 60 pounds with the twins. As perfect as my babies were, they ravaged my body and stole my “youthful figure” from me and I never got it back. How dare they?

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Before I knew it, menopause was upon me and the fat cells celebrated by gathering around a whole new venue -- my waist. They’d become more stubborn, too, refusing to disappear no matter how I starved them. Where I’d always been able to drop 10 pounds easily (though keeping it off was another story), I now couldn’t even lost the weight without three times the effort it’d taken in my youth. The discouragement was just too much to bear.

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So my weight issues can’t possibly be my fault. Right?

Then, in January of this year, I fell and broke every bone in my ankle, leaving me sedentary, overworked, depressed, old, and literally falling apart. As a result, my weight sky-rocketed and I gained 15 pounds over just eight months --a good chunk of it after this photo was taken.

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So my weight issues can’t possibly be my fault. Right?

Right?

Wait.

Wrong.

Even if my weight gain over the years wasn’t entirely my fault (and of course it’s entirely my fault!), I’m still the one who has to live with it and it’s still my responsibility to do something about it.

So it’s time to stop the excuses and actually do something about it. Or at least take the very first step in that direction – which I did today. I finally joined Weight Watchers.

(Again.)

I finally took step one: taking full responsibility for both the problem and the solution. The goal seems huge and unattainable and I make no promises… except to go to bed tonight not feeling like a victim.

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11 comments:

Margaret said...

Weight gain is one of those things that we don't want to admit to. I dread going to the doctor because I know I've gained weight; I haven't been very careful about what I eat (or drink) and my doctor is pretty outspoken about it, since I have a lot of diabetes in my family. :( Good luck with the WW!!

Tammy B said...

When I teach group Yoga classes, one of the matras I use is 'Observe; don't judge.' I've noticed that sometimes people get turned off by Yoga because it definitely helps put you in touch with the reality of your body, and some people don't like that reality. No matter where you are going with your weight, take a moment to observe, recognize and embrace where you are now! We all have the capacity for beauty at any size (fashion magazines do not define our beauty). This body has brought you on this remarkable journey of your life! I suspect those who love you are grateful for each and every piece of this body you want to change.

Remember when I told you what I learned from sailing? No matter which way the wind blows, you have to know where you are AND where you want to be able to go - otherwise, you won't be able to figure out how to get there.

Your best friend in this journey is food. Don't treat it like an enemy :-)

Carol said...

Tammy, your words are hugely appreciated -- and so completely right on target! YES, there's something very connected between this WW thing and the sailing thing! The word "re-invent" comes to mind... but right along with "gratitude." Hmmm... interesting, eh?

Thanks so much!

Carol

Carol said...

Margaret,you're so right! I do denial incredibly well! Thanks for the kind words!

Carol

Snooker said...

Aw Carol, I FEEL you on this one... I REALLY FEEL you on this one.

You've made an important step, a life-changing step, don't look back only forward.

Tammy B said...

another piece of wisdom I was reminded of today - A friend of mine was in her car with a friend. She was a bumper sticker that said "God is my copilot" She thought out loud, "If God was in my car, I'd let him drive."

Just thought I'd share. It somehow fits in with the sailing analogy :-)

c said...

Hi. Just want to share that a friend who has weight problems joined Overeaters Anonymous a few months ago and she is now at her goal weight and says that the meetings have helped her a lot with problems she had with food, emotionally and mentally.
She says that her inner dialogue over her weight and her self loathing went on for most of her life and now her head is clear, not just because she reached a good weight but because of other lessons and support from OA.
I should join but I'm in too much denial and still think I'm going to lose my extra weight my way but you might want to look into OA. It worked really well for my friend. They actually have a mentor for each person, who guides the new member.

Betsy said...

Wow, Carol! It took a lot of guts to write this post! Congratulations on your first big step! Empowerment is a powerful thing-- I wonder if you already feel better just for having made the commitment? Good luck on your journey!

Oh, and I was flabbergasted to read that you felt unattractive as a teenager! I love those pictures you posted-- have seen them before and have always been struck by how gorgeous you look in them! Just goes to show you how skewed our perception of ourselves can be. I truly believe that most of the time we are our own worst enemy!

Goofball said...

I think you've posted the wrong pictures...I'm still searching in which one you'd look fat

Shriyansi said...

Carol, you are beeeeyoooooootiful! And I mean that in every sense of the word. I know what it feels like to look in the mirror and hate what you see - I've been there too, but like Tammy says, observe - don't judge. :)

I gained roughly 20 pounds when I quit smoking, and I look like a big fat cow in my wedding pictures (dress too tight, tummy as big as my boobs, just awful). I've been yo-yoing too, till I found this site: www.livestrong.com

I don't have access to WW here, but I do think you'll find the daily plate section really useful, and it won't interfere with WW. Most likely, it'll be an added tool in your weightloss toolbox.

And by the way, did I tell you you're gorgeous? :) Love you to bits!

kazee said...

For me, losing weight is one of the hardest things to do. I love eating and most of the time I eat when I am bored. My friends teasing me about my cellulite and no matter how I try, I just can't get over it. So I'm absolutely agreed that I can't blame anyone for my weight issues but me.

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