Monday, January 16, 2012

Confessions about My Weight

My history with body confidence is a checkered one.

As a kid, I was constantly underweight and this apparently caused concerned for my mother.  I was an active tomboy so I'm sure hours of running around the neighborhood was a factor.  I was simultaneously made fun of my chicken legs at school and praised for my svelte figure by relatives.  

In high school, I barely made it over 100 pound by the time I was 16.  I did basketball and tennis and loved gym class.  I ate like a wolf.  Despite being thin, I had acne so bad it was painful to wash my face.   

I constantly fretted about how I looked.  My hometown was pretty superficial and even in my church looks were important.  I never had confidence that I was attractive and it was easy to dismiss my looks compared to the popular pretty girls.

Mike came along and was most helpful in telling me otherwise, but it takes a long time to unwind long-standing behavior.

I filled out more in college and achieved what I consider a healthy weight for several years (150lb at 5'6").  I was confident, felt care-free about my body, and made efforts to dress it appealingly.

During grad school, I became less active and the scale started climbing.  My confidence began to slip.  Teaching completely destroyed any exercise plan and I officially became overweight. 

Now a year and half into a sedentary desk job, I am 191 pounds.  That's really embarrassing for me to admit, but I'm doing this publicly to move past being ashamed of my body.  

Yes, I used the word ashamed.  I feel self-conscious about the excess I carry, how clothing fits me poorly, and that I still have acne at 27. I deliberately dress in ways that cover my figure.

I was recently in a Victoria's Secret with a friend and thinking back on the days when I was a VS junkie (they don't carry a bra size that fits me anymore ... big boobs are not a blessing).  It dawned on me that it's been a long time since I bought something for myself.  Afterall, sometimes lingerie is for the wearer, not the viewer.

As we continued to shopped, I realized this wasn't just an issue of sexuality, it was a problem with body confidence in every aspect of my life.

In recent years, I have consciously denied myself anything that would draw attention to my body.  I have no fun tops for a night out on the top, no dresses that I would wear to a bar but not work, no outfit that makes me feel like a million bucks.

I've always been a believer that attractiveness radiates from within.  But I'm beginning to think that playing down the outside isn't a solution to body dissatisfaction.  

The crazy thing is, I would be horrified if one of my girlfriends confessed to me the same thoughts that I have about myself. 

Most people make a New Year's resolution to lose weight.  And while I'm certainly keen to see that number go down, I'm going to start working on my confidence.  I'm not sure how I'm going to reclaim it, but I need to work on.

My 10-year high school reunion is this fall.  I want to walk into that room and own it.  The last thing on my mind will be my body.  Let's see what I can do in 9 months! 

Do you struggle with your appearance?  How do you chase away negative thoughts?


  1. I feel you on the clothing issue. I rarely have the money to get new clothes, and when I do I find myself looking at a shirt or a dress and thinking, "I really like that, but I can't get to my boobs to nurse the baby wearing that. On to the next one then . . ."

    Often I wish that we had a little more spare change sitting around so I *could* buy that nice dress and not worry about it being impractical 99% of the time.

    And if I lived closer to you I'd take you out to play basketball. And I wouldn't quit half way through this time either! LOL! ;-)

    1. Lol, you could call it the 1% dress!

      I wish I had someone to play basketball with (good memories, PS)! Hubby's hand-eye coordination is limited to shooting guns and throwing punches :(

  2. Yeah, I hear you. I've always been chunky. I lost 30 pounds in college, but I gained it all back and then some when I graduated and got my first job, and that theme has continued since then. I'm hoping the Live Healthy challenge will give me some motivation to do better. It would be awesome to shop for clothes without it becoming a massive hassle too - I can find tops easily enough because I'm smaller on top (to the point that I have to buy bras in the junior section), but finding pants that fit right is a nightmare. I haven't worn a skirt or dress in years - my goal is to lose enough to make that feasible.

    1. Agreed. Let's not even get into the fact that all of the 80s-inspired fashions right now are so not my thing ...

      Old Navy is my go-to place for jeans, but they're not always good about carrying all styles and washes in each size. I also detest pant shopping. If I get it to fit around my waist, then I have elephant pant legs. If I find the right length, they won't button.

      I swear I'm inbetween sizes too. An 18 will generally fall off, 16's are too small, but a 16 stretch will sometimes do the trick.

      Apparently I need to write a post just about clothes shopping! Men have it way too easy, sigh.

  3. I was wondering when you may have gone off the pills your parents were making you take. They wreck your metabolism. I have gained 20 lbs in 9 months after going off mine. I suddenly remembered when I went off mine in 8th grade I gained my unwanted weight for the first time. It's incredibly difficult to lose weight after being on them. I was just wondering if this may be a factor in your weight gain in college.


    1. I went off said medication prior to college, though I wonder how much it affected my metabolism. No studies to show the long-term effects, unfortunately.

      I wasn't very active in college. I did marching band, which did help, and I worked out inconsistently. I very much have myself to blame for gaining weight, there's no argument there. Classic story of becoming inactive, high stress, and unmonitored eating.

  4. On a related noted, the very funny site Cracked recently did on article on how ridiculous clothing options are for women:

    1. Ha #6 (no pockets) SERIOUSLY bugs me. I don't like to carry a purse and as such often have nowhere to put my keys and cell phone.

      And #4 (arbitrary sizes) is just par-for-the-course. I've pretty well given up on owning pants, currently I am happy to say I have found 2 pairs of jeans that fit because (apparently) no woman in the entire world, except me, is 5'10" with actual hips and butt and a natural waist.

      And I can sum up #1 with my recent (unsuccessful) quest to find a hoodie sweatshirt. I don't want a zipper on it. I don't want a big cowl neck on it. I don't want a sweatshirt. I want a hoodie, dammit, and apparently those don't exist anymore. *sad*