Monday, 5 December 2016

The Climb

For pretty much as long as I can remember I've had a very complicated relationship with my body and food.  I began my first diet in grade seven after a school bully punched me in the stomach for being fat (I weighed less than 100 lbs at a time) and was praised by everyone when I managed to get down to 85lbs.  The dieting just kept going from there.  When I was 15, I was mortified when I accidentally wet the bed because I was feeding myself practically nothing but water for a 72 hour crash diet.  For most of university I managed my weight by living off of Slim Fast as two squares a day and a somewhat human sized dinner.  For the most part that worked for me for a number of years (as much as being very unhealthy nutritionally but managing to maintain the numbers I wanted on the scale goes).

Grade 8 Me

Since that time I've yo-yoed quite a bit and am significantly heavier than I was when I was sucking back diet shakes and not much else. For a brief period in my late twenties I lost weight by working out 15 hours a week.  When Chris and I decided to have kids I figured it was a good time to re-evaluate my relationship with food, diet, and my body.  I met with a great nutritionist who helped me see food as fuel, and not as the enemy or a caloric number that I needed to be at war with.  I lost eight percent of my body weight and started trying to have a baby.

The battle of the bulge continues post babies, but with a healthier attitude.  I exercise very regularly and try to make healthy choices for our entire family.  Chris and I made a conscious decision not to complain about our bodies in front of the kids and talk about healthy food for energy and growth, as well as exercise.  We try to raise the kids in a body positive family and not projecting our own body issues onto the minions.

Recently the scale climbed 15lbs over only 10 days, during a time period where I was monitoring my food intake very closely.  I got worried and rushed over to the doctor's office to find out what was happening.  My body image has been really fragile lately, pretty near the Slim Fast days of shaky.

Me in University

The other night we were getting ready to set up our Christmas tree.  As we were sorting through ornaments and other decorations Molly walked up to me and told me I was like Santa Clause.  I laughed and asked her why.  She then pulled up my shirt and said, "Because of your big belly" as she grabbed at my stomach.  I felt the tears starting to well up and hit the eject button, running upstairs so I wouldn't cry in front of her. I didn't want her to  know the shame I felt over how my body was betraying me, or how unhappy and scared I was over the lack of control I had over my weight. Once I had collected myself, explained to Chris what had happened, and after I had re-applied my mascara, I returned to the festivities and tried to act like nothing happened.

A few times that evening she tried to grab at my body and I pushed her away.  I was hurt, upset, and mad at a five year old who had no clue what she had done. On one hand I was thankful that these comments were for me and not hurting anyone else, but on the other I was horrified at the prospect of being "the fat mom" for life.  The next morning I talked to her about people's looks and what is and isn't appropriate to say.  I didn't bring up the Santa comments.  I think and hope she gets it.

All weekend whenever she acted up I was a little less patient, a little less kind, and finding it hard to forgive her. None of this was her fault and here I was punishing her. Not in words, but in actions. In holding back and holding onto issues that have absolutely nothing to do with her.

She is such a kind girl and would never intentionally say or do anything to hurt someone, myself included, which is part of the reason why I went upstairs to cry.  She would have been gutted if she knew she made me cry.  I was treating her like she was the bully who had punched me in the stomach for being fat.

As I work through this health issue; this parenting issue; I will teach my children to be kind and compassionate and hope that they get it. Maybe some of it will rub off on how I treat myself.

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