Thursday, July 07, 2011

Body image and then something nice

Since I am a woman who is ALIVE, it should come as no surprise that I often struggle with body image issues.

I come from a naturally thin family. My sisters and I were sometimes playfully teased about our twiggy-ness, but I knew it was far easier to joke about my chicken legs than to be made fun of for being fat. However, I did always feel self-conscious about the itty-bitties on my chest.

This was compounded by the fact that I was raised as a Mormon and taught that my body needed to be hidden. The standards for youth have been updated and re-worded a bit since I was that age, but the basic precepts regarding "dress standards" remain the same:
Your body is God’s sacred creation. Respect it as a gift from God, and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show the Lord that you know how precious your body is...
The way you dress is a reflection of what you are on the inside. Your dress and grooming send messages about you to others ... 
Never lower your dress standards for any occasion. Doing so sends the message that you are using your body to get attention and approval...
Cue: teenage angst and complexity.

My sisters and I were always very active and never had to worry about what we ate. After college, my boobs magically grew about four or five sizes in what seemed to be a week's time, but I could still get away with ignoring my diet.

I always wondered at what point a person got on the scale and said, "Eh, oh well." And just let it go, you know? I mean, how do people make it to 400, 600, even 1,000 pounds without doing something about it?

As I got a little older, my increasingly sedentary lifestyle and slowing metabolism brought me to that point when I got on the scale and said, "Oh, shit."

I changed my habits, including paying attention to my food intake and starting a running program, and was able to lose over 20 pounds just over a year ago.

Now I have a baby in my belly and my priorities have to change a bit. I'm supposed to be gaining all 20 of those pounds back and then some.

Tuesday morning, I got on the scale to see the same number that spun my head two years ago. It's been a struggle for me to look at that and know that I still have about a pound a week to gain for the next 18 weeks.

Intellectually, I know it's not the same as before. I'm growing a human. It's not even the image in the mirror that I struggle with - the weight is clearly all in my torso. I mean, at LEAST four of those pounds are in my boobs, alone (Seriously, are they ever going to stop growing? I'm not even close to actually producing any milk, yet!).

But that number on the scale is really hard for me to handle.

And then, last night, Eric and I were walking around a pretty happening outdoor market in town trying to decide on a place for dinner. As we walked by a crowd of people standing outside one of the shops, a woman leaned over to me and told me that I was the cutest pregnant lady she'd ever seen.

That was nice.

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3 comments:

  1. After being so big in high school and losing weight in college getting pregnant was HARD to deal with. I stressed the whole time and it really wasn't good. Then I lost the 40lbs plus 15 more and was feeling decent about things when we got preg again. This time around I had an awesome nurse who noticed quickly how I hated being weighed and had the most brilliant idea....stop looking at the scale. The saint had me weigh backwards the rest of hte pregnancy and always hid the chart/kept it covered. I didn't know til afterwards that of course I'd gained like 45 lbs but I was ok with that. I took care of myself and wasn't obsessed with the numbers. It is all gone again and I'm back to what I was before my kids came along (not at my lowest between kids but don't think I"ll get back there). Your boobs will get like 3x bigger when your milk comes in it will BLOW YOUR MIND! Honestly toss the scale, don't eat the whole grocery store and take walks every day or so. Even if you don't stand backwards you don't have to stress about it. On the brighter side if Eric is anything like Reed he's loving the "growth" you've experienced!

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  2. I have plenty a friend who stopped looking at the scale. I've also had friends that gained 60 lbs and lost most 40+ of it after delivering. Babies do weird things to our bodies. Enjoy being pregnant! Enjoy eating! But don't always eat that extra because "the baby needs it." Hehe! (Mind you, I said "don't always"--give yourself a break!)

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  3. I can totally relate to how you are feeling. I went through the same issues with my pregnancies. It was so difficult, especially with my first one, i couldn't see it as cute - i saw it as omg, how could i weigh 125 and then 140lbs??? It's just another issues us girls have to deal with! LOL -
    i bet you look adorable....and yes, you are gorwing another human - it's ok to gain weight! enjoy - go have a nice big smoothie!!!
    have a good sunday...! stay healthy!

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