If you’ve read me for any length of time you’ve probably stumbled across one of my McFatty Monday posts. For the past year, I’ve been blogging and linking up with Blair on and off as I tried to lose the baby weight, then the not-so-baby weight, then the “Yes, I’ll take seconds” weight.
But during that time, especially the past 6 months, I’ve started to work through some of my true feelings about my body. It’s one thing to tote how proud you are of what you look like because you just had a baby. It’s another to actually believe those words while you stand in front of a mirror and wonder what happened.
As I poured out my heart on here, I began to feel something happen. A shift in my thoughts. I often reflected back on my “Porker” post and wondered how I could capture that feeling more often – how to accept where I was instead of hating it?
There was a point after “When it’s not something you want to talk about” where a part of me snapped. Someone commented how, for Bella’s sake, I should try to heal and not pass the body image concern on to her. And I really took that to heart. I never, ever want Bella to hear me say I hate my body. Or how fat I am. Or watch me eat seconds and then go on and on about how I shouldn’t have. I want her to see a mom who has self control and loves her body the way it is.
So the past few months in writing my McFatty posts, I started to do things I’d never have dared before. Even 15lbs lighter.
- I bought clothes that fit.
- I bought and wore a swimsuit.
- I started cooking recipes I loved that were healthy.
- I made a daily decision to, at the very least, not loathe the way I looked after a shower.
- I threw out most of my old clothes before we moved – the ones I’d carried to each new place we lived and tried on every few months only to end up in bed crying because they didn’t fit past my thighs. And hadn’t in three years.
Then a few days ago, I was thinking about clothes for BlogHer. How they needed to be business casual during the day – and I had to go buy some. Because the only business casual I had was hanging in my closet from being a teacher. I hadn’t even worn a few of the pieces because right after I bought them I got pregnant with Bella.
With determination to try them on one last time, see if there was any hope of wearing them unzippered with a long blouse or something (hey, they were expensive clothes!) I headed into the closet of tears and took one skirt off the hanger. It was my favorite, a Talbots that I wore one time – at the kindergarten graduation.
I said the little reminder I always say, “It’s ok if it won’t fit. I’m not going to die,” and pulled it up.
And over my thighs.
And to my waist.
For a moment I simply stood in that closet in complete shock at what had happened. My clothes. My teaching clothes from 3 years ago right after I went on Weight Watchers. They fit.
Sensing a fluke, I tried on another. Zipped. Another. Buttoned. I grabbed them all off the hangers, threw them on the bed and screamed in delight, jumped up and down, danced around the room – then dialed up my Mom and Sam to leave them inaudible messages full of, “OMG” and “In a million years”.
In the past year, I’ve gone from nearly a size 14 (last summer) to a size 8. But most of it happened within the past 4 months. Moving here helped because it’s so hot, we’ve had to work so hard on this house, and we eat like normal people together.
But in the bigger sense, somewhere along the line I lost that struggle with my body. I gave up, decided that focusing on how much I hated the way I looked all the time wasn’t doing anyone any good. I felt like I was missing so many other, more important things, in life because of that. Swimming with Bella, buying clothes I like, just being kind to myself and others in my same boat.
All of these things, all the writing and comments from you and reading your stories, and Blair being brave enough to sit down for 18 months and share hers – they changed me. It’s not because I’m thinner that I stopped my line of thinking, because that would be easy. It happened months ago. And when it stopped being my focus all the time, when I accepted at least part of it and started to force myself to move on, I changed.
So thank you. For all the support and encouragement and the comments that made me think twice. For sharing your struggles.
This isn’t over. I still have my own issues and it’s so easy to eat it all back on in a fit of, “I’m thinner, I can eat 27lbs of macaroni and cheese.” But I had to share it with all of you – letting go of the obsession and the self loathing helps. Whether it’s to write or see someone or join a meeting or learn to love food in a new way. You have to figure out how to change the focus from hatred to taking the small steps to acceptance.
And yes. I’m pretty mad that I gave away all those clothes I’d never fit into again.