Monday, January 19, 2009

Weighing Weight

Jocelyn at Teen Book Review made a great post on her blog regarding body image. I made a note somewhere I wouldn’t subject anyone to my own views lest they be rendered utterly lifeless upon reading it, but Jocelyn said she was interested in knowing, so here we go. Hell if I don’t give the keeper of Teen Book Review what she wants. ;)

Let me start by saying my metabolism sucks. You hear a lot of girls complaining that they can’t even look at a donut and they’ll gain five pounds. You think they’re kidding? I sure as hell am not. See:

*thighs expand*

It’s not fun.

I’ve flirted with the overweight BMI range at least twice before. One of them was when I moved back to The Shithole (my home country) in 2007. I fell into a black hole of agony and despair and all things depressing, and I’ll tell you what, it’s nothing something you get out of without self-motivation. Trouble is, I had none. My love of food overcame my love of fitting into my clothes, and what with the metabolism from Satan himself that I have, it wasn’t the best of combinations. After gaining a considerable amount of that pesky thing called “junk in the trunk” and looking worse than I’ve looked in years, any desire I had to turn things around were shot to hell.

Then, in 2008, I quit being emo for a moment and decided I wanted to feel pretty again. So I embarked in a crazy scheme where I was to lose 30 pounds and damned if anyone would stop me. None of that small goals crap—I was aiming for the win. I dieted, I abstained from fatty foods, I deprived myself of an actual delicious meal for months until the results began showing up. By April my classmates began noticing the difference. By July my super prissy cousin praised me and said I looked really great. I have no idea where the will to do all of this sprung from but I thank whoever’s up there every day for it because I truly underwent an amazing transformation.

Here’s the part where I get controversial. Some girls would’ve probably felt fine at the peak of my weight, but I sure as hell didn’t, nor will I ever. Not to sound conceited, but I’ve never really had to worry about my grades or anything like that, so all that attention’s always been focused on my body. I needed to lose all that weight to begin embracing myself for whom I am. And I don’t think there’s a single thing wrong with that—having positive body-image and self-esteem to me means evaluating what it is you do want a going after it. People are allowed to go after higher grades, better jobs, better homes, and general improvement, so why wouldn’t that be applicable to my own body?

Not that it’s that easy. I still fight negative thoughts about how I never lost all the weight I intended to lose. I still fight the frustration I feel at how I have such skinny friends who eat whatever they want and don’t gain an ounce. But that’s my issue, and I know I’ll be combating these negative thoughts forever because I’ll never be content with how I am. But, I’ve come a long way from my self-loathing. And I did it healthily.

That’s my take. I have an obese sister and no matter how many times people say you need to accept yourself, that it’s okay to have curves, etc., I never want to have those kinds of health implications on me. Same with being too skinny. But when you’re in the realm of health and you want to change yourself for whatever you perceive is better (by either losing or gaining weight), I totally respect that. It was my weight loss that gave me the courage to like me for me. You should (HEALTHILY of course) set the ideal you want for yourself - for friendships, looks, weight, grades, family, WHATEVER - and go after it. In the end, it’s all about feeling good and happy about yourself, and no one else, right?

And, let me just say, however you go about acquiring better self-esteem, know that it helps in all possible aspects.


Alea said...

Oy. I think I was thin when I was 6, that's about all. In college I tried to eat better for like a year and then when I graduated ended up eating better because there was nothing bad to eat and even started going to the gym. I quit right when I got my job, no time etc and gained back the 17 or so pounds I had lost. Now I've been told (not like i didn't know but didn't think about it) I must start eating better and go back to the gym, I think Wednesday is going to be my first day. Food is just so delicious, I want your will power! That's totally a Simpson's doughnut isn't it.

Natalie Hatch said...

I think the goal is to be happy, when you're happy the weight drops off. If you are constantly stressing over weight and diets you'll never lose enough.
Getting active helps with being happy. The older you get the harder it is to keep your metabolism going so you work harder at finding ways to keep active.

Hillary said...

I've never had a problem with my weight but I play soccer everyday and I'm always running somewhere or speed walking. (I like to go fast!)

I admire your dedication though. If I tried to eat healthier, I'd mess up the first time I saw a bag of Swedish Fish!

Liv said...

Amen Steph. :)

Brooke Reviews said...

Great post girl! I've always had to deal with my weight. While my brother and sister remain sticks, I was the one who had to really bust my butt to get the weight off. It seems that if I stop busting it that the weight just piles back on, AND fast! I agree that as long as you are happy and healthy with yourself then there is nothing wrong with wanting to be thin and feel beautiful. :)

cindy said...

wow. i was never so self-aware at your age, steph. i was one of those sticky girls who could eat anything. but flat as a boy--still am. ha! it took me well into my late 20's to accept myself as i was. and a few years of steady exercise and understanding and food eating adjustment to be happy again with myself after having two bubs. thanks for this post. i think some things are hard to express or share--but you did so eloquently and thoughtfully.

ps. i never feel old, but this post makes me sound old. i still remember 15...back in the day...blah blah. haha!

sweetmelissa818 said...

I was within the normal BMI until I graduated from high school. After that I was on the upper side for a while before I expended even further to the lower overweight section. Then I had a baby. The first batch of baby weight came and went just as fast as the pregnancy did and I came back down to my lower overweight area. Then I had another baby, and it all went to hell. I spent 5 weeks in the hospital on bedrest (no walking or anything, they only let me out of bed for the bathroom and shower). I got up to a nice 200 pounds on my 5'2" frame, but that was okay because I was pregnant. Then I had the baby, and it didn't come off. As of 9 months after the baby I am still at 170, which leaves me in the first rung of obese. Now you might not think it by looking at me, but I feel like it. I can tell that I'm overweight, having been about 50 pounds lighter for most of my life. It sucks!

Chelsea said...

I hear you. I've always been tall (5'9"), so I LOOK thin in my arms and legs, etc. But ALL of my bagel just sticks itself right on my stomach. I have far from abs of steal. When I complain or mention my weight, people always blow it off. But, hell, they haven't seen my with my shirt off! (At least, not most of them...ha.) So I have a huge inner-struggle with myself, and I've even had some slight eating disorder problems. I think self-worth and acceptance is something all of us deal with.

Anonymous said...

I am the opposite of you. I never had to worry about keeping the weight off, but I did have to worry about keeping it on AND I have struggled with school since I started it.

Just to clarify, I do not have an eating disorder. I have a fast metabolism and don't eat huge meals. I major in Theatre so I keep pretty active because of that. This might sound crazy to you, but I wish I could keep more weight on me. I struggle with it because I am a fairly picky eater. I've cut back on meat significantly because I don't digest it very well and psycologically speaking I find meat hard to swallow (all thanks to Earthlings).

My biggest struggle has been school though. I'm dyslexic and it's very hard for me to figure out the answers when having to break things down or find the hidden meaning in novels. I get by and I do okay (with the help from tutors, family and friends) but I wish it came as easily for me as it seems to for you.

My point is I think it is great that you try as hard as you do and that you do it to be healthy, not because the twig of a girl on Cosmo told you to. We all have our struggles and we all have the things we are good at.

Anonymous said...

This is such a great topic, Steph, and your take on it is realistic and refreshing. Have you posted this over on Myspace? I think you should, because it's a discussion that a lot of teens should probably be having with other (preferably level-headed) teens.

As the owner of an Eat-A-Donut-Gain-Ten-Pounds metabolism, I sympathize. And I'm not one of those people who claim to struggle but somehow manages to wear a size four. Noooo. I STRUGGLE to be a 12. My teenage daughter also struggles constantly. She has to eat ridiculously healthy AND run track year-round (which she abhors) just to stay at a size that makes her semi-comfortable and is still not as small as her "thin" friends. But the truth is, SHE is happier at a reasonable weight, and THAT is why she takes such care.

For what it's worth, I agree with you completely, Steph. I think in our effort to insure a healthy self-esteem in our teenagers and to counteract the affect of the mainstream media's message that one must be a size zero to be attractive, we often lean to the other extreme by not teaching our children that it is within their power to manage their weight in a way that makes them happy and keeps them healthy. This is especially true in the States. And really, it's not about being "thin". It's about being healthy and feeling your best, and there's nothing wrong with instilling in our kids that something as important as maintaining a healthy weight is within their power. It's part of taking care of yourself, just like brushing your teeth and taking a shower! ;)

Truthfully, most parents I know are afraid to bring up the issue of weight with their teenage girls, but I've always addressed it from a health perspective. And really? What's better for the self esteem then looking and feeling your best? Not someone else's definition of best. YOUR best.


Anonymous said...

God! I am sorry for that novel I just posted disguised as a comment!

Unknown said...

Oh, what a post! And so many great responses. This is really hitting home with me since I, many years your senior, have recently made very similar commitments to myself (finally). I will probably post about it in more detail when the BIG transformations begin. Right now, I'm just starting to enjoy more energy, a better attitude and improved confidence. Amazing what actually CARING about yourself can do! xo

Anonymous said...

Im anti-twilight BIG TIME. It's funny how some of our small little hate comments can cause such an UPROAR from those who love it. I don't hate those who love twilight. I've got a few friends who do but I can't even walk down the street saying "I love vampires" without someone saying "twilight rocks". Well, go shove your twilight up your gay sparkly vampire loving ass. I don't have a problem with twilights fans until they just start putting words in your mouth and won't let twilight blow away for a new and better subject to come out. I loved it when vampires lovers were just in small little groups like with the goth, punk and scene kids but now EVERYONE loves vampires. THEY'RE A FACADE OF VAMPIRES. I mean Edward freakin sprakles like a fairy princess and stephanie meyer has undeserved success. Twilight didn't really bother me till it was EVERYWHERE, ON EVERYONE, IN EVERY STORE. Now i just full blown hate the damn piece of crap. So many other novels could have made such bomb movies but some blind retarded ape must have grabbed twilight instead. I can't walk into my favorite store Hot Topic without seeing a whole freakin row of twilight crap and store keepers going "Sale on twilight shirts" or some crazed fan coming up to me asking where the twilight shit is. I say it belongs in the trash. Its the AIDs of literature and made a mockery of vampires. Then twilight lovers feel they have the right to say the haters are the immature ones?

Obviously those who don't read much would say that because the more sophistocated people who do read often are the ones who want to murder stephanie meyer for daring to pick up a pencil. She couldn't write her way out of a paper bag and Stephen King was right when he said she couldn't write. Don't hate the twilight haters for wanting to clear their mind about the subject on the internet. You must be the low life trying to pick fights because all we want to do is talk to people with similar thoughts just like you people do on thoose twilight fan sites. JUST LEAVE US THE FUCK ALONE AND WE WON'T NURDEN YOU. Stop shoving your twilight crap down our throat and we wouldn't have a problem. If I didn't have people asking me about it all day then No one would have ever known that I was anti-twilight because I never talk about it unless someone bring up how much they adore it and everyone els should to.

It's just a fuckin crappy book that made a crappy movie


Get a life and stop making a fight

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Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph