The ‘On this Day’ memory feature on Facebook always elicits a plethora of feelings whenever I open it. I’ve had Facebook since about 2007 so I am always faced with over ten years of memories and ten years of people who were part of my life at various points. As I scroll, some things make me so happy to remember, some things sad, and some things make me cringe! Apparently, back in the day, I also used to partake in some ‘vaugebooking’, but even ten years later I can often remember what a certain quote was about. (Spoiler: probably boy troubles in my younger years. 😉 )
Today a particular post struck me. I posted it in the morning before school. The year 2009 — only a few weeks before my high school graduation. In the morning I posted, “Another day of not feeling like enough. My jeans are getting too tight again. My mom said my face is getting rounder. Why is my weight ALWAYS such an issue? Here we go … starve mode … have to look good for graduation!” The sad thing? I had nothing to worry about with my weight then. I was healthy. I was strong. I was most definitely not overweight. This was just the beginning of what would eventually become a lifetime struggle with my weight. About a year later I would be diagnosed with PCOS and the issues would only keep on coming from then on.
I’m so mad at myself for living in a state of “weight panic” most of my high school years. Every single day I obsessed about how “fat” I was getting. I tried every fad diet, every fasting technique, and more to try to control my weight. But, in reality, I know that this only made things worse. Those tactics probably messed up my metabolism for years to come. I remember a specific diet that consisted of just eating tuna, broccoli, and grapefruit. So…much…tuna. I still can’t look at the stuff to this day.
Additionally, as I consider the comment about my mom saying my face was getting rounder, I’m annoyed. I love my mother dearly and she’s done so much for me, but I’m not sure she realized how much I struggled with my weight concerns, and she only exemplified them. My mom is tiny and has never had to pay attention to what she eats and she never gains a pound. She just doesn’t understand the struggles. Please, please refrain from pointing out things like weight gain especially when you are talking to impressionable young women. Those comments she always quipped had a lasting impression. So much so that even nearly 27 year old me always waits for a weight comment from her even though, at this point, I think I’ve gained too much weight and I think she thinks I’m already lost. (She does still say things like, “That shirt really looks good with your body type.” Usually an over-sized comfort shirt. Hey, thanks, mom.) But, that’s so minor now it hardly matters.
I urge you to encourage the young females in your life to nourish their growing bodies and eat healthy. They are more than what the scale says and they should be happy with who they are. (I KNOW that is harder said than done. Self acceptance can be hard.) Even if you notice they are adding on a few extra pounds, don’t point it out … maybe sit down and cook a healthy meal together or go for a refreshing walk. Teach your kids (and the kids around you) how to take care of their bodies and teach them how to love who they are. Also, refrain from expressing your own negative thoughts about your body in front of them. I used to occasionally express my displeasure in my body in front of my friend’s seven year old. She looked at me one day and said, “don’t say that!” That had an impression on me. Even if in my mind I’m completely disgusted with myself I refrain from that kind of talk in front of her.
If you’re unhappy with who you are, put the steps in place to make a change….a small one or maybe a big one like weight loss surgery. You deserve to be the best you! I’m glad I saw this post today because I remember how deep my “weight wounds” go. I am looking forward to my bariatric surgery consult in a couple weeks, but for now, I need to live my life and be happy with who I am.
How do you embrace you you are…faults and all? How do you present yourself in front of the young people who are watching you? Feel free to share!