Filtering by Tag: body image

My Body is Not The Enemy

The scale didn't move this week, but that doesn't matter. My body and I are on a journey that's about so much more than a number on a scale.

I am treating my body with kindness, respect, and patience and it is responding by telling me what it wants and needs.

My body can run -- for 30 second bursts on a treadmill.

My body loves strength training.

My body prefers whole foods to processed anything.

My body and I, we're in this thing together.

My body is not the enemy.

I Told My Husband My Weight And The World Did Not End

I told my husband my weight this morning -- and the world did not end.

In the entire time we have been together (8 years of dating plus 26 1/2 years of marriage), I had never told him my weight.

This lovely man has been with me through thick and through thin(ner), and yet I have always carried this secret dread that, if I divulged the number on the scale, he would look at me; repeat the number, pack his bags, and be out the door in a flash.

Guess what? it didn't happen that way at all.

We were out for breakfast at our favourite local diner when the subject of my weight loss came up. He asked me how much weight I was planning to lose. I told him I was hoping to reach about 175 lbs. -- the weight I had been on our wedding day.

The moment the number exited my mouth, I realized the gig was up.

My weight was no longer a secret.

He simply had to add two and two together. Well, to be more precise, he simply had to add 175 lbs. (the weight I hope to achieve) to 111 lb (the amount I am trying to lose) to calculate my starting weight.

Then, if he subtracted how much weight I have lost to date (21 lbs.) he would know what I weigh right now.

I'm not sure he was even aware that any of this information was available to him (clearly there was a certain amount of paranoia at work on my part), but I figured I might as well put the numbers on the table so that dreaded number on the scale would no longer have the same control over me.

What happened next did not play out like the horror movie script in my head.

The world did not end.

My husband did not run screaming from the diner.

He simply told me what I have always known, but refused to believe (until now):

"Your weight has never mattered to me."

We continued on with our meal. And everything was good.

This marks the achievement of a major milestone for me.

One of my biggest fears no longer has hold of me by the throat.

What will I do with this heady new freedom -- the freedom to live my life without being in fear of being judged unlovable by the person I handed my heart to oh-so-many years ago?

It feels great to luxuriate in the possibilities and to feel calm and at peace with myself because I have allowed myself to accept the gift of unconditional love.

Fat as a Cocoon

When I was a high school student, I had a summer job working in a plastic bag factory. My job was in quality control. It was my job to test the strength of the seals on the plastic bags -- to ensure that they would be able to hold up under pressure. 

One night, I was taking a break in the quality control lab. I was working on my own that night so I had the lab to myself. I remember sitting in the inner office of the lab, flipping through the pages of a magazine as I sipped on a cup of vending machine coffee. I heard the door to the outer lab open. A man in his sixties walked in. He was wearing a red t-shirt and beige pants. I recognized him as the man who was responsible for gluing labels on the cartons in the factory. He didn't have any reason for being in the lab.

As I swivelled my chair sideways so I could see what he was doing, he entered the inner lab office. 

"I've got your tape measure," he said. I'll give it back to you if you give me a kiss," he said.

"You can keep it," I replied.

He walked over to the desk, placed the tape measure in front of me, and began kissing my neck.

I twisted away.

He laughed and left the lab.

I reported the incident to the shift supervisor and I was allowed to go home.

The next day, the man who had kissed me was forced to apologize to me.

It was all very confusing. 

* * *

When I was a university student in Toronto, I made an appointment to talk to a family physician who came highly recommended by one of my roommates about the stress and anxiety I was experiencing at the time.

At first he seemed great. But, over subsequent visits, things started to get a bit strange. I wasn't quite sure what to make of him.

After making some rather odd comments about my weight ("You've finally reached the Big 2-0-0!" he announced one day), he suggested that I take a particular brand of cold capsules to suppress my appetite. He told me this was how he managed to control his own weight. 

While discussing the importance of deep breathing as a means of promoting relaxation, he slipped his hand into my bra so he could feel me breathe.

Finally, midway through a counselling session about stress, he asked me when I had last had a pelvic exam -- and suggested that we do one right then and there. I hopped up on the examining table.

That was my last appointment with the doctor.

By this time, I had finished university and was about to move to another community.

A few years later, I read in the newspaper that this doctor had lost his medical license for professional misconduct -- for sexual improprieties involving three patients. 

* * *

I didn't think too much of these two incidents until over a decade later -- after I had lost and regained a significant amount of weight.

When I think back to that time period -- when I had lost 74 pounds -- I realize how vulnerable, how naked, I felt in my new body. I was by no means skinny, but I was much slimmer than I had been and I was having to deal with attention from men for the first time in my adult life.  

This new-found male attention freaked me out. I think it may have caused memories of what happened at my summer job and in the doctor's office (experiences that I should more accurately refer to as sexual harassment, perhaps even sexual assault) to surface on some level, even though I wasn't aware of it at the time.

My response? To take my new butterfly self and crawl back inside the much more familiar cocoon of fat. 

If I am going to be successful at losing weight and maintaining the weight loss this time, I am going to have to prepare myself for these uncomfortable feelings to surface again.

Fortunately, I am much stronger and much more political than I used to be.

I am strong enough to speak out for the younger me who had yet to find her voice.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
— Lao Tzu