The Why’s (well one of them)

As I was sitting here eating dinner today, I noticed that I was eating like it was the last food I would ever see.  Not because of the WW, but because that’s what I always do.  And it got me to thinking about why.  It got me to thinking about body image and the root cause (yes, that’s right, ROOT CAUSE….I’ve been working too much!)

I was never a fat kid.  It was only around my early teens that I can remember even thinking about my weight. And I only thought about it when someone else brought it up.  That someone was usually my grandparents.  Personal worth is defined by your personal appearance, according to my Gramma.  My Gramma is not tolerant.  She has very specific views about fat people (don’t even get me started on different races) and I think that she was so scared that my twin sister and I would end up fat that she eventually figured we were anyway and started treating us as thought it had already happened. 

My earliest memory of that was when I was very, VERY young.  I remember I was very young because the outfit in question she bought in a child’s size 6.  We were at our cabin in Saskatchewan at the time and I remember her wanting me to try the outfit on.  It was a one-piece shorts jumper and it didn’t fit.  It didn’t fit in the torso (crotch to shoulder) because my sister and I were already quite tall, I realize that now.  I remember her saying in a snarky voice “I don’t know why I bother buying you things, they never fit anyway.”  I remember vividly my face going hot and feeling like I didn’t measure up to what I was supposed to be and that I was a disappointment to my Gramma.

Another time I was with them in White Rock.  I lived in Prince George at the time and had come down for a visit.  My Gramma and I were standing knee deep in the ocean and my Grampa was taking our picture.  I was wearing a navy blue cropped tee shirt with denim shorts and she had her arm around my waist.  As my Grampa was telling us to smile, she pinched me in the side and told me to suck it in.  I wish I had the picture to show you.  I was tall and gangly and there was not an ounce of fat on me. (UPDATE:  Ok, I found the picture…and maybe gangly is not the right word, but I was NOT fat!)(and be nice about my spiral perm….this was 1996!)

ocean001.jpg

And finally (before this pity-fest is over), I lived in Red Deer and they came to get me and take me on vacation to our cabin in Sask.  My sister and I are fairly close to our aunties and uncles in Sask, despite only seeing them a couple of times a decade.  Anyway, we pulled into my Auntie’s driveway and she came out to greet us (this is a woman who has always had a weight issue, and has been morbidly obese in her life).  My Grampa ‘introduced’ me to my Auntie and said “She didn’t always used to be this fat”.  WTH? 

And now here we are, over 20 years after the first comment I can remember from her.  And I’m fat!  My sister and I have now struggled with weight issues for over half our lives.  Would we have gotten fat if she hadn’t gotten into our heads?  Who knows.   

It’s not all her fault.  She didn’t shove the food in my mouth.  But she did damage to my self-image and self-worth, and as soon as I was fat (or thought I was), I figured I had no value left.  So I ate.  And got fatter.  And felt more worthless.  So I ate.  And got fatter………you can see where this is going.  I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir.  I’m sure everyone who has a weight issue can somehow trace it back, even in part, to an event or events in their childhood. 

Do you remember a particular instance that started your road to where you are today?  Would you share?  Stay anonymous in the comments if you like, but it’s nice to know we’re not alone.

(PS.  My sister has recently lost all the excess weight and looks fantastic.  She is my goal-stick, and while I won’t be doing it in the same way, I am waiting for the day to come again when someone will look at my twin and I together and not be able to tell us apart)

    

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4 Comments

  1. Princess Darcy said,

    September 10, 2007 at 10:01 am

    I LOVE YOU!

    Your ps made me a little teary… I can’t wait for that day either!
    You can do it! I know you can! There’s nothing different between me and you but timing…. I did it and so can you… and I’m doing it again, unfortunately since I skipped excersise for the last 6 weeks, so I’m on a Sept 10-December 9 crusade! Cause when I win Project 18 (1lb a week for 18 weeks) I will be getting my bellybutton pierced… what do YOU want and what is YOUR timeline/goal? Make it small and achievable and we can celebrate the successes together… I’ll even let you pay for my piercing 🙂

  2. shannon12271 said,

    September 10, 2007 at 10:19 am

    I LOVE YOU!

    My first goal is just to be down this week. That and drinking the water every, single, solitary, God-lovin’ day!

    After that, I’m not sure. I hope to lose between 8-10lbs a month. I have quite a bit to lose, so as long as I follow the plan, it should work.

    I know that the day I get to my goal weight, I will be booking my tattoo appointment. But the inbetween goals I don’t know yet. I guess my goals are just to be down every week…..

  3. Princess Darcy said,

    September 10, 2007 at 11:00 am

    Well, after that smushy lovefest, I figured I’d write a little something else…

    Plus, you mentioned me in there, and I feel compelled… but don’t worry I won’t be talking about poo!

    I think you’re right about GG. I think if someone treats you like you’re dumb, ugly, fat or unworthy, and they’re an important player in your life (as are all parental figures in a child/teen’s life), then you’re bound to embody that… why wouldn’t you… if they think that about you anyway… I thought that it changed a little bit when I lost the first amount, but it’s gone back to them being the same as they were, it’s now just not weight that they nag about… it’s Patrick, or the cat, or talking on my cell phone or them bitching that mom is important too… GAH, I hate THAT!
    I remember being so thin I could wear belly revealing shirts and short shorts and still feeling fat because that’s what I was told…
    What I don’t understand tho, is that it would be different if it was coming from mom, or if you have kids and we were, God forbid, to put the same nonsense on them… since we have the experience… but neither of them were ever overweight or ever experienced anything similar, so where did the fear and loathing about it come from? Why were they ‘scared’ that we would become fat? Who looks at kids and has THAT as their overwhelming fear?
    I can’t remember where my journey started nearly as clearly as you, but I do remember living with them after WL and ‘sneak eating’… I think the sheer guilt over food that they heap on us, even now, is enough to make a person who is by nature an emotional eater wanna hole up in the powder room with two dozen frozen cookies! The endless comments at family dinners and the like about dessert and eating and choices is enough to make you go postal… it’s a wonder that one of us hasn’t burst into a screaming fit… the problem there is that they don’t feel what they’re doing is wrong, so then YOU just look like an irrational retard…
    don’t worry tho… you’re not alone… even “My sister has recently lost all the excess weight and looks fantastic.” (thanks btw) has to work every day at the choice between ease and lazieness and the tasty cookie and wanting to feel healthy and fit into her jeans, or get to the next level… Even skinny people (ask Kathleen!) will tell you that every day and every choice is a hard one, weight wise… it just doesn’t LOOK as difficult… but there is no free pass…
    WOOHOOO! TATOOS! I’m so getting one with you! I’m dying for a new one… hurry up and get to your goal weight! (kidding of course)

  4. Bev said,

    September 11, 2007 at 6:30 pm

    Now that I’ve wiped the tears away, I can comment. I was always a ‘sneak eater’ at home. I don’t remember the exact comments from my parents but I thought I was fat when I weighed 130 pounds in Grade 11! I wore a size 10-12 most of high school and I can’t even remember what size my grad dress was, maybe a 10. And even though I’m 50 , I still sense the disapproval.
    Every choice is a hard one. My addiction is bread which leads to cookies which leads to donuts and on and on…..
    One thing that helps is equating what I eat with how hard I will have to work to get it off…and I’m lazy and would rather not be on the elliptical or treadmill for hours and hours.


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