(Writer’s Note: I am posting this on a day that I don’t feel so go about myself.)
I have spent most of my life with an irrational fear of weight
. The fear began when my great grandmother passed away. I was only a child, and sadly, the two main things I remember about her is the sound of her breathing machine and that she was heavily overweight. At her funeral, I remember her casket seeming huge and overwhelming. I am sure the memory is exaggerated as I was only a child and it was my first experience with death. Anyway, that is the image that stuck with me.
Even as a child, I made the connection that if she was overweight (read obese) that I was probably more prone to it as well. I never wanted to look like that. Thus, began my very unhealthy relationship with weight. In high school, despite being a size 2 weighing in around 110 pounds on a fat day, I imagined myself to be about 2 -3 sizes larger. I skimped on food throughout the day so that my stomach wouldn’t bloat because I couldn’t stand the sight of it.
During my senior year, I began gaining weight and have continued to gain each year. The extra weight made me see myself as a monster. When looking in the mirror, I would squeeze the fat of my stomach and be disgusted. I would touch my stomach during the day when sitting at my desk and be so disappointed in myself. I avoided looking in the mirror because I would only become depressed after knit-picking my body flaws.
I resorted to over-sized clothing, cover ups, and avoiding things because I was embarrassed of my appearance. I almost passed on hot tub time with my friends at the cabin this year because I couldn’t handle the idea of wearing my swim suit especially in front of others.
On top of my own self-inflicted pressure, the stigma that comes with being overweight made it even more difficult to deal with. People automatically assume if you are overweight that it is your fault, that you are lazy slob who doesn’t care. My compulsive behavior, heightened by the stress and anxiety of this fact, pushed me to overindulge which only worsened the problem. The overindulgence led to guilt which led to purging which led to guilt which led to overindulgence…you get the point.
In October, I found out that a large part of my weight gain was health-related, kick-started by sleep apnea. Genetics did get me just not in the way I thought (as my grandmother has apnea), so a light switch turned on. What am I doing? My obsession with my weight was ruining my relationship with myself as well as my relationships with others. I was viewing myself as a fat blob who didn’t matter, looked awful, and had no value instead of someone who is a caring friend, wife, and daughter, a hard-working employee, and proud pet mother.
With my cpap machine and my new ability to see clearly, I decided to start watching my food intake and stop beating myself up. Everyday, I am learning to be conscience of my food decisions but not obsess over my body every time I look in the mirror. I am focusing on the parts of my body that I do like. I am appreciating the beauty of my soul which is a part of me no matter what I look like. I am learning to accept myself. Most importantly, I am learning to love myself whether I am a size 2 or a size whatever.
I am writing all of this to first, get it out of my head and convince myself that I am strong enough to take on this challenge. Secondly, I am sharing my story, so if any of you feel the same, you will know with complete certainty you are not alone.
Thank you for taking the time to read about my journey.