Thursday, December 19, 2013

Does my body make me look fat?

About 15 years ago, I was a typical young adult.

I wanted to have fun.

I wanted a boyfriend.

I wanted to do well in college.

I didn't think about my weight. I never worried if that candy bar I had just eaten would make me gain ten pounds.

It was a non-issue for me. (My hang up was that I was "ugly." I still have that hang up sometimes. Okay, most of the time.)

I just was.

I owe a lot of that, I think, to the fact that I didn't read magazines about celebrities, and I didn't frequent the internet like I do now. In fact, my internet skills were lacking to an astounding degree. I remember I had to do some research online for a class, and I punched in some words into the search bar and hit Enter. I was exceedingly disappointed that I wasn't directly taken to a page filled with information. I was given this list of websites. What was up with that? Couldn't this all-knowing Internet just take me to one, specific page? Sheesh...

Anyway, my life wasn't consumed with me "losing weight" or "getting fit." In fact, when I graduated high school and went to my first semester of college, I lost ten pounds by walking to and from the school lugging my textbook-laden back pack. No freshman 15 for me. And I didn't even notice I had lost weight. I think I had to weigh myself for something, and I was shocked to find that I had lost a large chunk of myself during the hikes between the Institute of Religion and TVI.

And when Jeremy and I got engaged, and I tried on Jenny's wedding dress, I didn't think of myself as skinny (and I was...I was 135 lbs, and at 5'8" that's rather thin and wispy), since I had to suck in a good deal for the buttons to be fastened.

And I didn't notice that I gained 15 pounds from my wedding day to the first day of classes that fall semester (roughly two months). I spent that summer in pajamas and overalls, and it wasn't until I tried to stuff myself into my regular jeans that I realized I had put on some weight.

I quickly lost it when I got pregnant with Josh, what with being morning sick for three months (more like all day sick).

But, something happened after having Josh.

I started worrying about my weight.

This worry worried itself into obsession over the years.

This worry has become an epidemic in our society to a disturbing level. New eating disorders have developed, like "pregorexia." A pregnant mommy shouldn't be obsessed with not gaining weight. They're supposed to gain weight. It's part of having a baby. There is nothing wrong with it, so long as it isn't extreme, putting the mother and baby at risk.

Hollywood has given an impossible standard to women. They parade the Elite Beautifuls in front of Little Lucy Housewife, and make her feel drab and worthless unless she is a certain dress size and has perfect skin. The fact is that all those starlets aren't even that good looking. They have been altered, airbrushed, nipped, tucked, strapped, and enhanced. Society has bought into an ideal that isn't achievable, realistic, or, arguably, safe.

On the flip side are people who assert that it doesn't matter if you are fit, you should just accept who you are, even if that means your health is at risk because you are carrying too much weight. I won't go into all the health ramifications that go along with obesity, since they are widely well-known.

The headlines recently have been filled to the brim with these issues. You have people on one side saying that you are a lazy blob if you don't have washboard abs, and on the other you have people saying that being overweight is better, and that those washboard types are body-shaming the rest of us, and that isn't good for self-esteem (bleh..don't get me started on the whole self-esteem issue...).

I haven't fully agreed with either side. I believe in being healthy, treating my body with respect, exercising it, and filling it with good food (and I fully expect you all to turn your eyes away from the pile of empty 4-lb bags of chocolate chips that are laying around my house...I also expect you to excuse all the late nights I have been having, since I am a firm believer in getting plenty of sleep and would do it if I had will-power).

I'm not sure I buy into the whole "good genes" thing, either. I have four sisters and we each got doled out different body experiences, and supposedly we come from the same gene pool. So, I'm inclined to believe that is an excuse. I know there are health conditions that may cause weight issues on either side of the spectrum, but I think for the majority of people, their weight can be controlled.

That being said, it seems like society has made things more complicated than they should be. We've gone from eating non-processed food to eating food-like items. The more I look into the foods Americans eat, the more disturbed I am (Let me tell you about my experience with researching MSG sometime...).

We've turned food into a pastime frenemy. If you eat, you feel guilty, if you don't, you have an eating disorder, and therefore feel guilty.

Food is fuel.

We've turned our bodies into modern-day golden calves that we worship and bow down to. The funny thing about the golden calf was that to make it the people had to melt down their valuables to create it. What valuable thing have we sacrificed for our personal golden calves?

And those who don't measure up to this fantastical lie have come to think of their bodies as that shameful relative we don't talk about in polite company, and quietly shove it in the closet.

Our bodies are glorious gifts. They are temples.

I wish that people would remember that.

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" 1 Cor. 3:16

That is why I like this lady: Taryn Brumfitt

I love how happy she is! 

She was a body builder type. She had plans to have plastic surgery in the attempt to be "perfect," and erase the signs of having had babies.

But then decided not to.

Because she realized it didn't matter. She said this:

‘Society only seems to celebrate one type of body. I say: “Screw the beauty and diet industries that prey on women’s insecurities, become unstoppable and learn to love your body from the inside out”.
‘If what you value is your health then you’ll treat your body like a vehicle, not an ornament.’

She's my hero!

You can read more about her here. Fair warning, though...she has some, um, nek'ed pictures (nothing graphic, but lots of skin...).

She nails it on the head at one point, saying that health includes mental health, as well, and people forget that, and asserts that living in the extreme doesn't contribute to mental wellness.

I don't know about you, but I think she is one of the most attractive women I have seen in media for a very long time. It's not just her outward glow, but her inner glow. She's got this all figured out!

And I'm so glad that she shared it with the world.


Katscratchme said...

"Enjoy your body.. use it every way you can. Don't be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It is the greatest instrument you will ever own!"
Yes and Yes! :)

Jen said...

I think we all had to suck it in a little bit to get that wedding dress on . . .

Bethany said...

‘If what you value is your health then you’ll treat your body like a vehicle, not an ornament." Love it!

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