Body Image Series: Blog 3

Body Image Series: Blog 3

Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyways. – Mother Teresa What you’re about to read are five insights from five friends about body image. In preparing for my last blog in this Body Image series, I was inspired to hear from other women. In opening up the dialog, I realized the entire blog needed to be dedicate to their stories. I hope you are as moved as I was in reading their struggles and victories. Thank you five friends. “Big, fat, yeast roll!” The older girls in my church group cackled as they compared my 8-year old frame to a popular restaurant’s dinner side item.  Church girls can be so nice. That same year, a boy on the bus pointed out my tummy pooch. In third grade I learned that a tummy “pooch” was bad. For the next 6 years, I gained weight, even though I played sports and took dance.  I was scared to buy jeans because I didn’t want to know what size I wore. What a sad thing to occupy the mind of a pre-teen, when I could have been thinking about enjoying fun things with my friends. Then things got serious. High school. Cute guys, dances, football games, cool clothes, the even cooler “cool crowd”, and this Southern Baptist girl didn’t know what to do except take control. Enter anorexia. I played basketball my freshmen year and we ran. A LOT. I began to lose weight and realized that the more I exercised, the more weight I lost. Then I began to limit the types of food I would eat. No...
Body Image Series: Blog 2

Body Image Series: Blog 2

As a child low fat diets were all the craze. My mother would put me on low fat diets featuring slim fast shakes and meal replacement bars. I now know that was the opposite of what my nutritionally depleted, unbalanced hormonal prepubescent body needed. I now know that those slim fast shakes contained so many harmful ingredients, including soy products that were damaging to my estrogen levels. It fought against me, not for me. However, as this was before the internet age there was little knowledge, so we were stuck with Richard Simmons and low fat cottage cheese. My challenge with weight apparently began in kindergarten. My mother explained to me one day that I was sent home with chickenpox. It took me about 10 days days to recover and in that time I ballooned two clothes sizes. She explained she couldn’t keep weight off of me after that. Who knows what that was about? Maybe I’m an unrealized X-men with the super power of exponentially gaining weight in a short amount of time? I’ve yet to find the purpose of this power but I’m sure it will serve me in the zombie apocalypse. Because of this superpower, I became aware of being overweight at a very young age. I played sports all through middle school even though (on average) I was 40 pounds heavier than my peers. I ate what my parents fed me. Being low income it was often high starch boxed foods with meat added. Very limited and small portions of vegetables and carbs were prevalent because they were cheap. As I explained in my previous...
Body Image Series

Body Image Series

As the plane took off I was comforted by the fact that I had plenty of music, things to read, and a few movies on my iPad to keep myself occupied for the long flight. After about an hour of staring at the back of the seat in front of me I settled in to watch a documentary called Embrace, all about women and body image. This documentary appealed to me since it wasn’t the average “healthy eating” documentary I’d been watching lately. Embrace is a film created by Taryn Brumfitt who posted a before and after photo online which went viral and created a huge stir. Her before photo was taken after a bodybuilding competition in “ideal shape” and her after photo was taken several months later when she decided to ditch the intensive workouts. The muscular photo was the “before” and the fuller mom body was the “after” which isn’t the norm in our society. I was moved as she explained that after working so hard (hours a day to achieve the perfect body) to be in the body building competition she had a revelation that this was not leading to a fulfilled life. She found herself unhappy along with all the women backstage who were horribly critical of what they wished they could change about their bodies. These women who were supposed to be the “ideal” but were miserable. It was then that she decided it was too costly to her family to continue. Her goals then shifted to being active and eating well. With that mindset, if her kids wanted to make cookies, they would...