Thursday, October 23, 2008

WARNING: I have no idea what I am about to write. If this makes no sense to anyone but me, I'm good with that.

For the last 12 years I have struggled with my body image. Having babies has a way of changing one's shape. Three years after I had my first baby I joined Weigh Down and lost 20 lbs or so. I was thrilled. The body I had been used to was a lean, muscled machine. I was quite active, a lifeguard and never ate excessively, in fact, I could eat pretty much whatever I wanted and never gained anything. In Bible College I had less than 14% body fat. Before I got pregnant for the first time we moved closer to where I worked and my long daily walks went out the window. I started putting on a few pounds (I had a desk job). So after weigh down I was back at a healthy weight and I was a happy camper, after baby #2, I was back at pre-pregnancy 6 weeks later, I figured I had this thing nailed. Then baby #3 came along with all his health issues and I was a wreck. Baby #4 came only 17 months later, I hadn't taken off a lot in between the two and battled with some post-partum depression. Then a miscarriage and baby #6 arrived two years later. I am not horribly overweight, about 20 lbs or so. In all my pregnancies I never got over 200 lbs (that was my goal and I managed to keep things there) I am 5'8" tall. Some kind souls have told me that I'll never get rid of this extra weight so I might as well get used to it. Perhaps I should name this extra roll and we can talk late at night. Now that I'm 40 I realize that weight loss is going to be more difficult, but that isn't what has me on a rant today. My wonderful husband told me to go write something caustic...why...because he thought it might help me work through how I'm feeling right now and somewhere in the middle of it God just might give me a flower. So now that the backdrop has been painted I'll tell you why I'm a little peeved this morning. Let it be known to one and all that.........


oh sure they have their place, like as a paperweight or perhaps a particularly pretty one could be used as a decoration, but for the most part I think they should be banned from every woman's bathroom and bedroom because they make us feel like scum, even when we're doing something good.

In May, I started a walking program. Since then I have walked two or three times a week, sometimes more, sometimes less but I've done it. There were two weeks I was sick and the week of recovery that I didn't walk at all, but other than that, I've been pretty good at getting my walks in. These aren't regular walks, they are aerobic walks, working every muscle of my body and making me sweat. I'm drinking water and all that. I don't overeat very often due to years of weigh down training. It does happen, I'd be lying if I said I didn't but overall, I'm not an overeater. So why am I upset today. I decided to step on that stupid scale and guess what????

I am still the same weight that I was in May (20 lbs overweight). I am not asking for miracles here, I just want the scale number to move for goodness sake. Oh sure it did a little slidy dance down a couple notches, up a couple notches, up, down, up, down, never more than that little 6 pound spread that could happen in the week of your period. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Do my clothes fit differently? NO

Do I feel extremely more fit? NO

Do I sleep better at night? NO


And here's the best part of all...........this morning...........I am going to convince a bunch of other ladies that this is a great thing to do!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HA, I'll say it again, HA! They aren't going to see any results on this frame. Perhaps I have leaner muscle somewhere under there, perhaps there are subtle changes occuring that I just can't see, perhaps I am healthier and my risk of heart disease is actually less. Unfortunately I can't measure that. For all intents and purposes the 100 miles I've walked hasn't done any visible good that I can see except maybe that I can say I did it.

Is that worth something. At least I'm trying? At least I'm sticking with something? At least I can? I really do like it. I really enjoy the workouts, I'm not sick of doing them even after all these months. Is that worth something? I know that I am doing something good for my body even though I'm not getting the results that I want. Perhaps it's God's grace that I haven't dropped the 20 lbs, I'd have to buy new clothes and I can't afford that. On the other hand my weight has been pretty stable for the last number of years. This is the same weight that my body has gone to for the last 6 years or so. However, I know it likes the 20 lbs less weight quite well, too.

So how do I change my focus in all this? What I want is to lose the 20 lbs. Honestly I don't care much about lessening my risks of anything, I know I should, but I don't. I'd even by happy with 15 lbs, I'd be fine with that. 10 would be okay, not great, but okay. I know that would be better for my knees. That's one thing I am concerned about, both my parents have bad knees, I have inherited their knees and I know that every pound that comes off will help them last longer. One of the reasons I am trying to lose weight is for my knees.

The biggest reason is my vanity. I hate this extra roll. I'm going to give it a name, not a people name because somebody might get the impression that I don't like them, I'll call it XR5. XR5 needs to go. I know it might never go because apparently I have a muscle separation down the length of the roll right where XR5 lives. I don't know what that means except maybe that having had 6 pregnancies might have given it the message that there is no hope of ever coming back together.

Okay I need to get ready to leave and I'm not done ranting yet. maybe I'll just save this draft and see what God does in my heart today. Perhaps this story isn't over just yet.

The walking thing was good. I didn't have to convince anyone and no one asked me how many pounds I've lost doing it. XR5 and I did fine and I realized somewhere during this day that no one but me cares what the number on the scale is - except for the possibility of my knees, they care.

So why do I care so much? Could it be the Barbies I played with as a child have caused permanent damage? I doubt it. However, all the media stuff, diets galore, health consciousness and all that certainly does play a role in how we feel about ourselves. I don't know why I can't just get comfortable with the skin I'm in. Maybe someday I will. Maybe someday I'll quit being jealous of women with flat stomachs who don't have any overhang. Maybe I'll just buy baggy shirts for the rest of my days and throw away every single item of clothing that clings to me. You never know someone might nominate me for one of those make=over shows and I'll get a free tummy tuck!!

I'm really tired and tomorrow I'm heading off with a bunch of wonderful women to put my pictures into albums. Scrapbooking they call it - those are not scraps as far as I'm concerned. My poor, neglected 4 year old will finally have some pictures in his photo album beyond him coming home from the hospital! How pathetic is that I ask you. REally, my kids LOVE looking through their albums, they love pictures of themselves and all the little things I stick in there. They're called memories and they tell a story of their life. That's why I do this thing, even though it might just kill me in the end. But I'm looking forward to a weekend of no demands and no dishes or cooking. TA TA


Carebear said...

Wow, the thoughts of your speak for many many women. How are we going to heal from this curse? God we need your healing displayed in your daughters in this day and age. This body image thing has GOT TO BE HEALED!

Thank you for being so so transparent in your thoughts. I think that if we could all be just a little more honest about how we REALLY feel as women, we could develop a safer place to be real and be ourselves. I have to admit that I like to paint a pretty picture of my body image, but underneath it all, I will totally agree with you that I AM NOT okay with the skin I'm in either. When the media through tv, mags, internet and pretty much everywhere we look tells us "THIS is the package you need to have to be beautiful" It's so hard to believe that you actually could be beautiful when your body is a million miles away from "that package"
Yes, babies have changed my body totally too. My belly is the nice jello-y jelly belly. It's like a kangaroo sack without any purpose. Nusing 5 babies has also taken it's toll on the girls. I dream of somehow coming up with the cash to fix them up like new. So I can look like the package.

But there is just no peace on this path of just leads me to more unrest and an even greater dissatisfaction with my aging body.

Joe continues to read scripture to me that speaks on life in the spirit and not living in the flesh. I WANT TO GET THIS.....
But I wonder if I kinda don't want to get it because I feel "comfortable" in my poor self image. It's what I've always known.

I totally understand your frustration with your walking program! I've been there with my running. God continues to push me away from my flesh and into the things that really matter. Like my heart, my spirit, my mind, my integrity, my purity, my attitude....I kick and fight him every step of the way. He's so gracious.

Your questions really ring in my head often too. Is it worth it? to prevent this or that? When you are flesh focused, then, no it isn't. But you know that you know that you know that your heart is saying thank you lani! your lungs are stronger, your lean muscle inside your legs that YOU HAVE BUILT are happy with you! You ARE DOING A VERY GOOD THING! DON"T GIVE UP! And i don't hear that you will, there is just something about those God given endorphins that keep us coming back. He created it so that the hard work would pay off and that we would desire it!

Part of it too, is that there is a truth in what you are saying. It just needs to come from the right motive and the right heart. 20 lbs off your body would be really good for it. I think that we do need to seek God in how we can take care of our bodies better. But it has to come from the right spirit. I am really struggling to find that path where I am doing it to honor him and not going after a "package" I think of what he said about David. The man looks at the outside, but God looks at the heart.

I love you girl, i appreciate you and I loved this post. It gave me a chance to rant a bit too. I pray that someday, God can really use me as a daughter of the King who has been healed of this stupid pressure to look a certain way. I know God has you on that path too. I'll be praying for you and on behalf of all us women that need to love what God created....US!

Momma Me said...

I definitely relate to everything you've spoken about. I would like to lose 40 lbs. I just had baby #2 10 weeks ago and baby #1 2 years before that. I got pregnant one month after stopping breastfeeding baby #1. So since July 2005 I feel like my body has belonged to those little babes and not me. Everyone said breastfeeding would help drop the weight - I beg to differ - seriously I think my body holds on to the weight! I'm not sure what pyschological aspects are tied into people who hold onto extra weight and I don't like using those as an excuse. My story is like this the summer I (re)met my husband and we began dating I was in the best shape I'd been in since high school (this was the summer of '04) then we got engaged and moved in together and all of a sudden our home was stocked w/ junk food, all time was spent together (not the hours of free time I had to walk before), and my portion sizes and eating habits started to match his (bigger and later). I put on 15 lbs before our wedding. Three months later I got pregnant and now I'm up close to 200 lbs. at 5'8" after baby #2 and nursing again. I will be the first to admit I fall into the lazy category - I would much prefer to lay on the couch w/ a movie, would prefer to eat when I'm hungry, prefer to play w/ my children and see my husband in the very few hours we all spend together at home, prefer to sleep than wake up early to go for a walk, etc. And I know that is not honoring my body, myself, my husband, or my God. So if I know this in my head and heart, why can't I put some action behind those words????? I am just glad to read this today. Thank you.

Kelly & Audrey Taylor-Faye said...

Hello dear friend,

Can you send me an email,I have tried to send emails but your addresses can't go through.
Trusting the Lord is good to you, as always.

Nin said...

I loved this post. That is all...
: )