Posted in Blogging, Bullying, Childless by Choice, Weight

Never having given birth doesn’t make me any less of a real woman…

Or: So, if I don’t have kids, I should be ashamed of my stretch marks?

 

There’s a quote that floats around Facebook that has always bothered me, and for the longest time I couldn’t figure out exactly why. This is the quote:

tiger stripes

The last couple of days though, it hit me. It talks about having earned her stripes, like through pregnancy. And pretty much every time that I’ve seen this shared it’s always accompanied by something being said about how women should be proud of the “tiger stripes” they earned while they were carried another human being inside of them. Or women talking about how they earned their stretch marks through carrying all of their beautiful children and that they are so proud of that and that they wear them as a badge of honor.

I’m all for women feeling better about their bodies, and I have nothing against women being proud of being a mother.

What bothers me about this quote is how it makes me feel as woman who has never had kids and yet has stretch marks. Because what’s implied in this quote is that if my stretch marks weren’t earned via pregnancy I should be ashamed of them and that I am less of a woman because I am not a mother. I do not feel like I am meant to be included with the women who are supposed to feel better about their stretch marks. Because having earned my stretch marks through weight gain and loss is not something that is exactly celebrated in society.

I feel like this is kind of like the “real women have curves” type things that have been going around, and that I have myself shared in the past. I recently realized that if an “inspirational quote” is attempting to make one group of people feel better about themselves while shaming another group of people, it’s plain and simple bullying. I have stopped sharing things that might make other people feel worse about themselves because they don’t fit into what was described.

It feels like there’s a competition as to who is a “real woman”. There’s no reason why it should be a competition. What should it matter if a woman has given birth or not? If you identify as a woman, then you are a woman. No matter what shape or size you are. Or what gender it might say on your birth certificate for that matter. You don’t have to look a certain way or be a mother to be a “real woman”.

Posted in Food, Mental Health, Weight

National Eating Disorder Awareness week 2014

NEDAwarenessLogo

I never thought that actually losing some weight would trigger anorexic thoughts. Most of the time when I feel like I need to start restricting my diet it’s when I notice that I have gained some weight. But when I noticed that I had lost some weight a couple months ago I started having thoughts of restricting my diet to see just how low I could get my weight to go. I didn’t act on these thoughts and thought that I had come to terms with the fact that my body was losing weight and would eventually stabilize.

Until I happened to weigh myself a few days ago that is. The scale said 149 lbs and I freaked out about the fact that I was in the 140s and immediately started wondering if I restricted my diet, could I get my scale to say 145? It’s only 4 more lbs. And it has kind of been one of my “goal” weights and a weight that I never thought I’d actually see. I say one of my goal weights, because I know that as soon as I hit that I’d be focusing on getting down to 135, and then 125, and then 115…

Distorted Body Image

But here’s another way of looking at it. I am only 4 lbs away from 145 lbs. Why is that not good enough? Why is seeing a specific number on my scale so goddamn important?

love-myself

And why, when I see that my body has been naturally losing weight on it’s own do I not take away the lesson that I don’t need to starve myself in order to lose weight? And even if I did get down to a certain weight because I starved myself, what then? I wouldn’t be able to maintain that weight, and in fact would probably gain more weight back once I did start eating because my body will think that it needs to compensate for the fact that there isn’t enough food available for me to eat.

I have come too far to go back to disordered eating. I do not need it in my life. My life is better without it.

NEDA color quotesFashion Modelseating disorders aren't coolFatspiration #80I refuse to waste my life for a bikiniYou are strong, brave, amazingjudging defines youFatspiration #104Fatspiration #180eating without guiltFatspiration #65

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Posted in Mental Health, Weight

My “ideal body weight” reality check…

Yesterday I did some searching on the internet for “ideal body weight” charts and calculators. I have done this in the past, but usually if something asks me to put down my laptop, get off the couch, search through my townhouse for measuring tape, and then do some complex looking mathematical equations based on the measurements that I got after following their confusing instructions to get said measurements, then finally be able to use their chart/calculator to get my “ideal body weight”, I usually click “back” on my browser and look for something more simple. Like a chart that only asks for my height. I think I can handle remembering out how tall I am, although, I have gotten conflicting measurements for that before as well…

TooShort

But yesterday I found a site that started out by asking me to go and locate my measuring tape to get a measurement of my wrist, but then they also provided a handy little shortcut that didn’t involve me getting up and didn’t involve any math skills on my part. All I had to do was was wrap my thumb and middle finger around my wrist and see if they could touch or not, and then based on that I could finally confirm what I’ve thought for a while. I have a large body frame.

Armed with this new found knowledge of my body frame size I went and clicked on many links to many different charts and calculators… and found that pretty much every different site I went to had their own unique idea as to what my “ideal body weight” should be. Some of them were similar, but I still ended up with many conflicting numbers. The ones that only asked for my height and didn’t take my frame size into account, the old school charts basically, told me that I still needed to lose a pretty good amount of weight before I would be at my “ideal weight”. The lowest number I saw for my height of 5’6″ was around 114 pounds! I would have to lose 38 more pounds before I would hit that weight. But these are the charts that I’m used to, the charts that I remember from back when I first got married and was being gently prodded by my doctor that maybe I might want to “become more active and lose a little bit of weight”.  These are the types of numbers that I have had in my head for years when I think about how much I “should” weigh. Admittedly, some of these charts have a range of numbers for what my “healthy weight range” would be, but we all know that all we tend to see is the lowest number connected to our height. Well at least if your brain works the same way mine does anyway.

Fatspiration #104

But when I moved on from the “old school” charts and started to take into account my large body frame, I was shocked to find that they all pretty much say that I am already in my healthy weight range. Some of them say that I am just barely in it because my current weight is the lowest number listed on that weight range. Some of them say that I’m right in the middle of it. But pretty much all of them say that I am already at a healthy, ideal weight.

Which completely shocked me.

Because I still had the old charts in my head. I was convinced that I still needed to lose at least 20 or so more pounds before I would actually be at my ideal weight.

Fatspiration #80

I have spent years, really ever since I was a teenager and my obsession with my weight began, thinking that I needed to get down to a ridiculously low weight in order to not be “fat”. And the old charts didn’t help with that at all. Because, until yesterday, the thought that my large body frame might mean that I shouldn’t look at the lowest number on the chart connected to my height never crossed my mind.

When I was in high school it never even crossed my mind that different sized body frames were even a thing. Even though for a while I was really quite skinny, I always felt fat because I wasn’t as small as some of the other girls. Back then someone saying they were “big boned” was looked at like an excuse for not losing the weight that they needed to to be super model skinny. How different things might have been for me if someone had actually told me that I was “big boned” and that it didn’t matter how skinny I got, that was never going to change.

Or maybe I'll just go ahead wear a bikini anyway, even though I'm not super model thin...
Or maybe I’ll just go ahead wear a bikini anyway, even though I’m not super model thin…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But now that I know, maybe I can start to change the way that I look at myself. Maybe I can start to give myself a break.

love-myself  

Posted in Food, Mental Health, Weight

Trying to find balance with body acceptance…

judging defines you

As I shared in an earlier post, I have recently lost over 10 lbs (13 lbs to be exact) when I never expected to lose anymore weight at all. I wasn’t trying to lose any weight, and when I weighed myself again after having not done so in a while I was shocked at seeing a lower number than what I was expecting to see. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the fact that I had lost weight again when I was just starting to try and accept my body at the weight I thought that I would always hover around. Part of me was very happy to see the weight loss and another part of me was unhappy with that part of me because I had been talking on my blog about how there was nothing wrong with me and that I didn’t need to lose weight.

Fatspiration #104

But now I’m no longer as okay with the thought of weighing around 165 lbs again. Now that I’ve lost the weight, I’m terrified of putting it back on again. I know it’s irrational. I know that what I weigh does not define me. But I’m terrified nonetheless.

Fatspiration #180

This fear of gaining back the weight has me fighting the urge to let anorexic behaviors take over again. Right now it’s a fight that I’m winning, but not before a bit of a setback immediately after seeing the lower number on the scale for the first time. Seeing that I’ve lost weight triggers this urge to see just how low I can get that number to go. It wasn’t very long until I realized what I was doing and started challenging those thoughts though.

Fatspiration #65 eating without guilt

I had the realization earlier today though of just how much weight I’ve lost now, total. Well, at least how much weight I’ve lost since the last time I actually weighed myself when I was at my heaviest. After I stepped on the scale and saw the number 195, I just stopped weighing myself. So I don’t know what my highest weight actually was, I know that it was more than 195 lbs though. But based on the numbers I do know, I’ve lost at least 43 lbs total now. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around this. Part of me is very proud of this weight loss. And part of me feels guilty for feeling proud of it since it really shouldn’t matter what I weigh. And once again there is the fact that I am terrified of gaining back any of that weight.

Like I said, I’m trying to find a balance.

Dealing-with-unintentional-weight-loss-in-a-body-loving-wayIn searching for images to add to this blog post I came across this image which led me to this article that talks about exactly what I’m going through right now.

Posted in Apartment Living, Blogging, Food, Mental Health, Weight

Why it can’t all be about a number on a scale…

In the last few months since my last blog post a lot has happened in my life. My husband and I moved out of the apartment that we had been living in for the past 7 years or so and into a townhouse. The move was stressfull. We rented a U-haul truck, carried all of our stuff down 3 flights of stairs and loaded it all into the back of the truck with the help of one of our friends. We then drove that truck a little ways across the valley and, with the help of the same friend, unloaded that truck into our new garage. My husband and I then spent the next few days making several trips up and down the stairs connecting the garage to our living space while slowly unpacking our stuff.

Our townhouse has a fireplace and our new apartment complex is located right next to a wooded walking trail. So once we were a bit more settled we started taking walks on the trail and collecting as much firewood as we could with the help of our camp saw before the snows came. And then there was much sawing our collected firewood down to size in our garage.

We have moved from a place that had a grocery store located directly behind the apartment complex, to one where the nearest grocery store is now about a mile away. And we don’t have a car. We have signed up for some carshare programs out here, so we’ve been able to use a car for some of our larger shopping trips, but money is tight so most of our shopping trips we’ve had to walk there and back.

When we moved we knew that it would be expensive, but you can never quite be prepared for just how expensive it can actually be. Just getting electricity turned on cost us $250 more than we expected to have to spend. Add an unexpected wage garnishment to the mix right after moving in and you have a situation where you are now having to choose between paying all your bills or buying groceries. And even if you decide to not buy any groceries, you still can’t afford to pay all your bills, so you have to decide which bills won’t be getting paid right now just to be certain that rent will be paid and you are excited when you figure out how to squeeze $20 out of your budget for a small grocery shopping trip. You turn your heat down after you are unpleasantly surprised by how much your first natural gas bill was and yet find that the bill went up again the next month. So you turn your heat down as low as you can without risking your pipes bursting.

And we can’t have anymore fires right now, because all of the firewood we collected before has all been used by now.

So I’ve been freezing, hungry, depressed and stressed. Add that to the slightly increased physical activity since the move and somehow I have managed to lose about 12 lbs since we moved in November. Which puts me at a weight that I haven’t been at since high school, if not before that. I had given up on losing anymore weight, and am now at a weight that I never thought I’d be at again. A weight that I was convinced that if I could just get down to it again I could finally be happy with myself… but I’m not. The scale tells me I’ve lost weight. My clothes fit a lot more loosely than they should. And, the scariest thing for me, my wedding and engagement rings are now very loose. I got engaged my senior year of high school and my rings have always fit, but now I have to remove them before washing my hands in order to make sure they don’t fall off and go down the drain… And despite all the signs that I have lost weight, I still don’t really see it when I look in the mirror. It has gotten a bit better recently, I don’t always see myself as horribly fat when I look in the mirror now. But hitting that “magic number” did not automatically make me love myself. It’s gotta be about more than just that number.

I am still not at what might be considered my “ideal weight”, and by some standards I might still be considered “overweight”, but I think I’ve actually dropped out of the “overweight” range and into the “healthy” range according to some charts. But I’m never sure what charts to trust.

One of my blogging friends was just recently brave enough to share her weight on her blog. I think that I am going to do the same today. Because it’s just a number. And if I let people know what I weigh, it might help keep me grounded in reality.
I’m 31 years old. 5’6” and, as of today (1/13/2014), I weigh 153 lbs.

Posted in Bullying, Food, Mental Health, Weight

Telling someone to “just eat” doesn’t help, neither does telling someone “just don’t eat as much”…

This week is National Eating Disorders Awareness week.

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(click on image to enlarge)

I wanted to take a moment to once again to remind everyone that anyone can have an eating disorder, no matter what their size or gender. I want to remind you that that “overweight” person that you just judged for having the audacity to eat in public may not have the sort of eating disorder that you think they do. Just because someone might be “overweight” doesn’t mean that they eat too much. When I tell you that I have a history of anorexia and, based on my appearance now, you automatically assume that I must be recovered now, or worse decide that I must never have really had any issues with anorexia in the first place, you are wrong. Yes, I might be “recovered” enough that I now eat something  everyday. My dietary habits might be pretty close to “normal” most of the time now. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t still have times where I do not eat enough. That I don’t have times where I ignore my body when it tells me that I need food. Because I feel that I know better than my body, that I have already had “enough” food that day and therefore my body is just going to have to deal with being hungry. Or better yet, learn to not be hungry. Because what society tells you when you are “overweight” is that all you need to do is “not eat as much” and you will then become thin and therefore acceptable. And if you are “overweight”, according to society, you shouldn’t need as much food anyway.

But what society tells you happens to be lies.


What most people don’t realize is that if you are eating, but not eating enough, your body thinks that you do not have enough food available to you and prepares for famine. It stores up extra fat. So the truly ironic thing about my eating disordered behaviors is that even though I am restricting how much I eat in order to try to lose weight, or at least not gain weight, those behaviors are probably part of the reason why I am “overweight”. And even though I know that, I still can’t seem to completely drop them. I am doing better, but I am not recovered. We all need to learn to stop judging each other based on appearance.

Really, we all need to learn to stop judging each other period. 

None of us truly knows what someone else is going through. If we could all learn to approach others from a place of love and support, this world could be a much better place.

You are all beautiful and you are all enough.

Posted in Blogging, Bullying, Food, Mental Health, Weight

And why can’t we encourage people to accept themselves the way they are…

I was reading other people blogs again earlier when I came across this one. It was a very short blog post, just titled “Seriously?”  (The author of the blog is not encouraging this.) and with this picture.

DoItForTheGap

But it made me so angry. This is not okay. We should not be encouraging each other to strive for things like this! Why is having a “thigh gap” so important? Why can’t we all encourage each other to be happy and love ourselves for who we are right now? It doesn’t matter how big or small  your body is right now, it still deserves to be loved and respected. You only get one. Starving it, exercising it too much, forcing it to purge is not how we should be treating our bodies!

Personally, I do NOT want a “thigh gap”. Why don’t I want one, even though the media has clearly told me that I need one in order to be worthwhile and “sexy”? Because I think that they look gross. I do not want to be that skinny. In fact, maybe I don’t want to be any “skinnier” than I am now. Yes, Even though I am currently considered “overweight”, maybe I’m fine with how my body looks now. Is there really anything wrong with that? It’s MY body. And if I choose to love it when it’s an american size 14, what the hell should it matter to anyone else? I am 5 feet 6 inches tall, and I weigh around 160 lbs.

TooShort

I am technically “overweight” and recently had a quick, but extremely scary relapse into my own eating disorder. There is a part of me that still says that I shouldn’t eat as much as I do, that I should weigh less, that my stomach should be smaller. But you know what? That little voice can go to hell. I’m done. I don’t care what the media tries to tell me, I am enough, just the way I am now. I am beautiful just the way I am now. I am sexy just the way I am now. I do not need to fit someone else’s ideal mold of “perfect”. 

I am now going to do something that I never thought I’d do on this blog. I am going to attach some pictures of what my body looks like. I will not include my face, but not because I am ashamed of my body. Only because this blog is anonymous. I have no reason to be ashamed of my “overweight” body. I do not need to apologize for not looking like the people in the magazines. This is me, and I’m okay with it. I really hope that all of you can learn to be okay with your body, no matter what size it is. You are all beautiful. 

ImOkay1 ImOkay2
(Yes, I’m even unashamed of my PJ bottoms.)