My weight and body image

This is a very personal topic, and I feel a little bit weird writing about this. But I think I have to go for it and break the taboos. This is my story, after all, and there’s no need to hide it. So let me tell you about my (often complicated!) relationship with weight and body image.

Growing up, I was very (VERY) thin, to the point where the most common insult thrown at me by my brother was “anorexic.” (Although I ate like a horse, constantly, and had no eating disorder). My father always told me I that was ugly and that I needed to “put some meat on my bones.” (Yes, messed up thing for a dad to tell his daughter, but the issue of my father is a whole separate one). In high school, for example, I was always picked in P.E. to be on the top of human pyramids because I was the one who weighed the less. But then again, I was one year younger than everyone because my parents made me test out of a whole grade. I always thought I was this way because of my tall, skinny Moroccan genes on my father’s side.

Well, I was wrong. It was just the way my body was coping with growing up. Because when I turned 19 and my body realized it was done growing up, my metabolism slowed down and started catching up with everyone’s. I started gaining weight for the first time in my life. At first, I thought it was funny and I’d make jokes about it. Since I was kind of underweight and skinny, I didn’t mind the first ten pounds. I even marveled at the first appearance of boobs (which I never really had).

It was the OTHER ten pounds that kind of hit me hard. I had started dating, and I guess I just let myself go. I used to cook big meals for dinner with my boyfriend, and since we were poor (lazy!) college students, we mostly ate pasta (aaalllll the tiiiiiiime. I can’t even eat pasta now, because I got so tired of it). Also, we’d eat straight out of the pot because we didn’t want to do the dishes. This would mean, of course, NO PORTIONS. And I’m not a guy, and I don’t have a guy’s appetite. I know that now, but before, I’d just make myself eat as much as my boyfriend, who is an eating monster!

Anyway. I gained a lot of weight, but I didn’t even notice or care. I was used to being immune to being fat, so I didn’t even know I changed. Then, we went for Spring Break with a group to volunteer in another city, and we took LOTS of pictures. It was looking at these pictures that I thought: “DAAAAMN! How the hell this I get this FAT!” I was in complete shock. I didn’t even recognize myself. I hated it! I moped around for a long time, hating myself, but not changing anything about my lifestyle.

Then, one morning, I thought “That’s IT.” I went back to the gym and worked out every other day, if not every day. I discovered how out of shape I was (although I was never really an athlete). I completely banned chips from my house. I forced my boyfriend to distribute food in PLATES, that way I could know how much I ate. I was by no means a perfect dieter, as desserts were not included in the things that were banned (and never will be. To me, they are the meaning of life).

Anyway, I made efforts, and they paid off. I lost the extra ten pounds relatively easily. And here I am, with still 10 pounds to lose. People tell me I look fine, but I’m so obsessed with my goal that I feel I won’t look fine until I’m perfect. I know it’s screwed up, I know it’s based on wrong societal ideals of what beautiful is, I know ALL of that. But it still doesn’t change the way I feel about myself and how I should be. The fact that I was skinny all my life doesn’t help. I feel like having extra weight means not being me. Because I never had extra weight. Because I was ALWAYS the girl on top of pyramids. I don’t know. I guess it’s an identity thing. Hmph.

But I still think I’m better. I hit a pretty low point last semester where I was obsessed with my (what I considered fat) body. I hated going outside the house, because that meant people would see me. I know that sounds messed up. The fact that my boyfriend had a “temporary crush” on a girl who looked like a pubescent 12-year-old BOY didn’t help my self-image, either. But it still wasn’t an eating disorder, because I always ate normally. It’s not because I had an unhealthy view of my body that my hunger went away. Haha. My hunger is something that went unchanged with the years. Oh, and my love for desserts.

Now, I’m doing better. I’m 5’9” and weight 140 lbs. The BMI index says I’m normal. I still weight myself every day, which I know is stupid and unrepresentative of my weight. But it’s a habit and an addiction. I still want to go down to 130 lbs, but I don’t feel that sense of urgency; like it needs to be RIGHT NOW because I can’t live with how I am. No. Sometimes, there’s even some days where I think that I’m pretty and that I don’t even need to change.

And recently, I started reading really interesting posts about women and their self-image (I’m not the only one trying to deal with this). And although it’s hard to change the way I view beauty, I can already see little changes. For one, I will never judge a fat person the way I did when I was younger (because then, I never had to struggle with my weight and I was inherently what society says is pretty). Now, I know. I know the mental toll that can come with having pounds to lose. I think overweight people have enough shit to deal with on their own and don’t deserve people’s meanness and judging attitudes. And that’s implying that all overweight people struggle with their image and wish they were thin. That’s not even true. Some of them accept themselves the way they are, which is wonderful. I envy them.

I also saw this amazing article that lists the height and weight of actresses and models; people we look up to on billboards and on TV. Reading this woke me up. Most of them are groooosssly underweight. I was shocked at how much. I realized that it’s disgusting and wrong for me to have ever wanted to resemble them. It’s not even healthy. First step into reality.

So I guess I’m maturing. I’m learning. I’m trying to be better and to love myself, both physically and mentally. It’s difficult, but I’m getting there 🙂

This is me now. (In the country, with my little brother)

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~ by seaofcurls on August 19, 2010.

4 Responses to “My weight and body image”

  1. You look beautiful and I cannot wait until you accept yourself for the beautiful person that you are.

  2. You’re a beautiful girl! You don’t need to lose any weight!

  3. OMG my aunt is one if those people! she loves herself and she is the nicests most funny, real person in my life I love her and would love to emulate her. One day we would be able to laught at our flaws, and honestly not care about them but have them distinguish us from the rest of the world.

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