Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fun House Mirrors

I have body issues. This isn't a secret to anyone who knows me. It has been going on for years. I remember exactly when it started. It was one of those health screening at school. I stepped on the scale. The lady slid the height thing up to tell me how tall I was, but I have no idea what that number was. Nope, the only number that I heard was my weight. 74 pounds. I believe I was in 4th grade at the time. Now 74 pounds is a perfectly acceptable weight for a kid my height at that age. I was not overweight in the least. But somehow attaching that number to my body did some sort of crazy brain scramble which haunts me to this day.

I spent the next several years attempting to stay at 74 pounds. I grew taller, but stayed similar in weight over the next few school years. I remember in Middle School I had friends who desperately tried to fatten me up by filling me with M & Ms and any other candy they could pump into me. I never saw myself as skinny. In high school the battle continued. I put on a little weight, then freaked out about it and would survive on Jiffy box cakes for a week at a time. My parents were supportive, sent me to counseling, and were happy for anything I put into my mouth. I never did the anorexia or bulimia thing, I just didn't eat much. When I finally graduated from high school I had mostly grown out of it and was a healthy 101 pounds. Skinny, yes but not dangerously thin by any means.

When I got married two years later I weighed 105 and swam in my altered down size 4 dress. I stayed fairly small until I was mid 20s and then the climb began. I got rid of my scale, deciding that weighing myself was unhealthy and moved on from there. I had some minor health issues and took some medication which cause some weight gain, but for the most part, unhealthy lifestyle choices made me creep up and up on that scale.

The breaking point for me came about 5 years ago. I had spent a year in hell. My first year teaching, an unwanted hysterectomy and months of slowly watching cancer rob my Dad of all he was to us, eventually stealing him all together. I ate, and ate and ate and ate. One day I took myself to the Dr. because I was having a lot of trouble with my breathing. I learned two things that day. One, I had asthma and two, I weighted 160 pounds. I drove home in tears and joined weight watches the next day. Over the next several months I lost about 20 pounds and was stuck for a long time at 140. When I looked in the mirror I still saw a huge cow, but it was getting better.

Last year I discovered running. Real running. The kind that cleanses your soul and renews you. I've blogged about it before, you know that journey. I lost another 5 pounds and was headed back down to where I wanted to be. Then the skid happened and the knee put it at a stand still. So now I'm back to the land of the middle school girl who looks in a mirror and sees a huge girl. Like then, friends assure me that I look fine, but my clothes tell me different. Nothing fits like it did, nothing looks like it did. I try to talk but people don't get it. They look at me like I am crazy and comment on my body image issues.

Until last night. I met with my trainer for our weekly session and she gets it. Thank God! She gets it. I have a plan. I have some goals and for the first time in a long time I feel hopeful again. I know that I will never be that 105 pound bride again. I can't even imagine what I would look like at that size. She was a girl, I am a woman. I wouldn't trade this life or experiences to go back. But I know that somewhere between then and now there is a healthy and happy woman who can set and reach goals, who can walk with her head held high and who can rock a fine pair of jeans.

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