In a society that puts so much emphasis on body image and beauty, it is so easy to get caught up in self -condemnation and body shaming. I was terrible at judging the smallest flaw on my body and making it the primary focus of negative feelings. I could not enjoy life because I had this flaw and it would not go away.
I did everything under the sun from starvation, to bulimic tendencies to try and become what I thought society deemed acceptable. I regret having lived this lie for the first three decades of my life.
Recently, I went through a period of time where I gained 50 lbs. in a matter of seven months. Medication was a main contributor and the inability to get a thyroid disease under control.
I grew up in a small body. Maintaining the weight between 115-130 lbs. the majority of my adult life. I would not change this experience for anything in the world. I grew in my personhood like never before being a larger person. At my biggest, I weighed 177 lbs. which is the weight I weighed when I birthed my largest child. A weight that you are thinking, “I wish I could get this baby out of me.” Weight that you can’t wait to get rid of because you feel like you look like a beached whale. You are counting down the days that your body starts resembling the way it did before you got pregnant.
I didn’t even take pregnancy pictures because I felt like I looked horrible; my body distorted and out of sorts. I regret that now. I looked 9 months pregnant having a short waist, it made my stomach look disproportionate. I even took a picture of my belly with my hand underneath it cradling it, as it was the house of 5 babies, 4 of which came to term. Four individuals in this world that are making a difference, leaving their fingerprints on all that they touch. Four individuals that I would not trade for anything. My belly is the testimony that I held four individuals in my arms for as long as I could and now hold them in my heart.
The idea that a large person still feels large after they lose a bunch of weight is true for a small person as well. I forget that I am as large as I am until I go in front of a mirror and get caught off guard.
I am now at a place in life that I can see myself and be okay in a larger body. I do wish it were smaller for the ability to do all that I was able to do when I was small. For the first time in my life I am able to live without that condemnation of “how” it looks. If I could only have lived in the mindset that I have now about my body, then, life would have been great. My aim is to continue to try and get back to the weight that I am used to, but I will no longer do all the fad diets and deprivation that I have done over time to be small.
I don’t promote living in a large body, there are a lot of medical issues that come along with being large. I have experienced firsthand losing my independence from weight gain. My feet were swelling to a debilitating size that caused concern to the doctors and I was put on a heart medication, a sedative that promotes weight gain.
I understand being larger from many different angles. I am making decisions in my life to be healthy and try and combat all that is going against me.
I have lost about ten pounds and am able to do a lot more than what I was. I don’t want to grow old and be debilitated sooner than what I should. I want to encourage you from an older person’s perspective to view your bodies as a tool. It works for you how you take care of it.
For some, it is harder to maintain a certain weight because of illness or medication, like me. Don’t let that be your determining factor of how you will live. Fight it, fight it with everything you have. Be healthy. Don’t aim for skinny, just be healthy.
When I was at my thinnest, 99 lbs. I was not healthy, nor was I healthy minded. Being obese is not healthy even if you have a mindset of no body shaming. Have the mindset of being the best that you can be for as long as you can be it, is the best way to live. If food is your comfort, find out why and work to change it. If you can’t look at yourself in the mirror at 115 lbs. find out why and change it. Choose your destiny and make a change.