April 5, 2013

Body Image

For my whole life I have struggled with body image. I was born tiny, but quickly turned into a chunky child. I stayed that way. In school, I got joked at some times, but most of the time I had good friends and was well liked by everyone. I wasn't really fat, just what everyone liked to call 'big boned' back then.

My life was spent comparing myself to my skinny friends and the one girl that was truly fat. I was happy for sure, but there was always that feeling of not being good enough. I started a diet when I was like 11, you know right when I started having periods and wearing bras. Not good for a girl to diet when she is in puberty.

When I got to Jr. High there was some merciless teasing by boys. Boys that were trying to be mean, and nice ones trying to compliment me in the only way they knew how.
 " Hey Jessica, you should play on the football team!"


Middle school is also when I started playing sports and running my guts out. By highschool, I had gotten pretty good at volleyball, my favorite. I had also gotten good at running because I wasn't quite good enough to be on any team I tried out for, thus I was in the off season group the whole year, which meant lots of running.

I changed to a private Christian school for highschool, and was just totally loved and accepted immediately. By the time I graduated, I was taller, fairly slim and full of confidence in myself, and in the Lord. Shortly after my future husband and I started dating and got married. I started an eating plan about 6 months after marriage and lost quite a bit of weight. About 6 months later I became pregnant and had bad morning sickness. Later the pregnancy became high risk and me on bedrest and ordered to eat a lot. So, I did. Unfortunately I ended up with an emergency c-section and a tiny baby, AND a 60lb weight gain.

Stressful pregnancy + scary stressful birth + tiny high need baby = Fat ain't budging. Three months after her birth, I conceived her sister and started the process all over again.

In all the diets I have done in the past 10 years, none, and I repeat NONE helped me actually lose weight. The same 10lbs would come off and come back on with successive pregnancies. Thankfully, I didn't really gain that much for quite awhile, even while being pregnant. My body stayed at the same weight for several years.

After my fourth baby, I lost quite a bit of weight, and was the lowest I'd been in awhile. But then, I started low carb dieting. I lose ZERO!!!! weight. Zero, and guess what, gained weight! I tried three different versions of a low carb diet over the next year, only to continue to gain more weight. Now, I am the heaviest I've ever been, thanks to diets.

It has been quite a process, but I am having to rework my mind and my concept of my body. The world tells us that having a certain type of body is a great achievement and goal. I think it's awesome when people do that and reach their goals. It is so inspiring to read other people's testimonials of how they were able to lose weight and get fit. Very uplifting.

But the Lord has been correcting me a lot lately. There are so many worse things to have wrong with you besides being fat. I saw a magazine article about a specific person in the media that's gaining lots of weight while pregnant, and she is freaking out, saying 'Don't call me fat!'

Well, what about being called 'shallow', or 'dramatic' or a 'whore'! Those are much worse things than being fat. One thing that I've hated is my belly. It has so many stretch marks that the skin itself is altered completely. One night the Lord told me to feel my skin in the dark while I was laying there- and you know what? It just felt like skin, didn't feel gross or anything, neither did the parts with cellulite. The point is, I don't need to hate anything about myself. God loves me and I am His temple, and not loving all of me is wrong. My husband has tried to convince me that I'm  beautiful and he loves me just as I am, and is definitely happy with my body as it is. I just couldn't believe him though. But when I think of him, if he gained weight or something it wouldn't change my love for him, I probably wouldn't even see it.

I think we need to eat good and take care of ourselves, yes. But in my own personal journey with all of this, I'm trying to rid myself of the old negative thinking. Just the other day a random lady followed me in the store just so she could tell me that I was so pretty. I did have makeup on some, and was dressed nicely- my favorite top and some black stretchy pants- but I didn't look stunning or anything. That really opened my eyes to see that what others see about you is very different than what you see. Confidence is attractive too, and I am working on that.

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