Ready for another shocker? I have body image issues. HOLY CRAP! Shut up, I know that’s just another stop in the road to middle-class-america. Raise of hands of people who HAVE NOT had an eating disorder? Three of you? Well, you missed out. Trust me. (Don’t)
I’m guessing it’s no surprise I have issues about gaining weight when I’m pregnant. I actually stay up at night pondering how I can prevent the sixty pound weight gain (and only 55 pound weight loss) from last time around. But I’m up late, starving, eating (LIGHT) Laughing Cow Cheese and I know for a fact that if I don’t eat, I’ll hurl. And this time I’m not trying to.
There’s a video I’ve seen going around the Internet. It’s a good promotion about self esteem. I ache to think my pole-thin little girl will one day call her tiny legs fat. She’ll want to starve herself because she can’t wear a size 0 and she’ll eat 400 calories a day and feel like shit. And yet, still to this day, I wish I could be one size smaller, my belly a little more flat, my arms a little more toned and why, JESUS, why can’t I just look like her*? Or her? Or .. hell.. her? (For the record, I have a better shot looking like Evangeline Lily here. If I had a shot at all that is…)
The truth is, I’m trying to be realistic. Look, I had a maple strudel muffin last night, a chocolate chip cookie tonight (the big ones! From Barnes and Noble, of course) and .. wait.. make that two of those chocolate chip cookies this week. Crap.
I try to eat well. I’ve made choices like cottage cheese and pears for a snack instead of animal crackers. I’m trying to eat actual food instead of pringles and poptarts like last go-round. The She Child was grown on chocolate and pop tarts, my ass was grown on the same, incidentally.
It’s not that I obsess about my weight every morning when I step on the scale (believe that, do ya? right.) or every day that I don’t work out, or every damn magazine picture that makes my lumpy size 10/12 feel gooshy and heavy on my 155 pound frame. It’s not that I’ve wanted to get back to 145 before I got pregnant again (my wedding weight) or at least zip up my jeans and be able to breathe at the same time. It’s not that I know that morning sickness is best soothed with food and my belly is going to grow regardless of what I eat, it’s my ass that I’m worried about.
And so far, the baby is the size of a pen prick but my ass? Is so so not.
I think it’s a bit unfair that society makes me feel that my growing and changing body is a shame and not something lovely to be proud of. My body is a working body. It is real. It is mine. It has created life, it runs after a toddler, it sits in a chair to write and make web designs. It is sleep deprived, it survived Post Partum Depression, it survived the 80s and a seven year eating disorder in the 90s. It carries me up stairs and hiking trails and bike paths. It does not have a personal trainer, a nanny, a personal diet chef, a photo shoot. It walks in to the Gap and laughs at the “size 10” jeans made for a ten year old the size of my daughter. It is my body, it is real, it works hard.
I wish I could grow to love my body as it grows to love my baby. Maybe this pregnancy, I will.
Girl, I hear ya. I’ve thought I was fat since I was 8… looking back, what I really was was a sturdily built, athletic tomboy. But the comments from the stick-thin girls about me being fat have stuck with me and even today, I often look at pictures of myself and cringe.
The whole pregnancy weight gain thing was so hard for me last time… I weighed myself everyday, I totally obsessed about it. Granted, I couldn’t DO anything about it beacuse my body was making me eat. (and eat and eat) This time, I’ve decided not to care. I’ve read that if you don’t go crazy and eat icing out of the can every day (my aunt did this!), your weight gain is pretty much programmed and you’ll gain about the same with each pregnancy. I also know now that it comes off after the baby is born.. slowly… but it DOES come off most fo the time. Hey, that’s the one thing PPD is good for… you don’t really feel much like eating!
In short, I feel your pain. Now let’s go have a Starbucks cookie!
By Erin on 2006 10 23
Amen sister! Speaking as someone recovering from an eating disorder I applaud this post. I was never happy when I was underweight…and I made everyone around me miserable. I just wish I could find a way to not be miserable when I look in a mirror now.
By Jenny on 2006 10 23
Oh yeah… amen sistah. Now I KNOW you are my long lost twin. I struggled with eating disorders for 12 long years (hell, who am I kidding? I still struggle every single day). Gaining weight for my pregnancy was terrifying. I thought I’d be okay with it since it wasn’t really “weight”, but an actual HUMAN BEING growing inside of me, but my brain still only registered the fact that my already skewed image of myself was now rapidly expanding.
Then, just for fun, I also got gestational diabetes and had to be on a low carb, diabetes diet and monitor my food intake like a Nazi (like I didn’t already do that?) and then I was on BED REST for two months and that just poked a stick at the old eating disorder beast even more.
It’s a struggle, I know. And I hear the familiar tapes in my head from my therapist about my body being a wonderful thing that does amazing things everyday for me. But, it also betrays me when (like last night) I just HAVE to have queso for dinner and top it off with WAYYYYYYYY too much ice cream and I wake up feeling like two ton Tessie.
I guess I’m not helping much here, am I? I do know this: your body IS doing a wondrous, amazing thing right now. Can you believe an actual human being is growing inside you? And it really shouldn’t work, you know, but it does. And amidst all of that your body is still moving and grooving and doing the other amazing things it does each day (like keep you alive)! Right now, this minute, weight is a gift to your baby. Right now, this minute, you are nurturing and protecting that little miracle. Right now, this minute, your baby thinks your body is the most awesome, cozy, loving place in the entire world. And it is right.
Hang in honey.
By Katie Kat on 2006 10 23
Have you seen this website:?
It’s got pictures and stories of real women with real bodies - Like you and I.
By Jan on 2006 10 23
I think a lot of women feel this way pretty much all the time, and I don’t know why. I have never seen you, of course, but I think that first picture is too thin. I know that doesn’t go along with our societal views, but still, I think a woman should be a little round, soft looking…
All the same, I imagine the people in your life think of you looking completely differently than you see yourself.
By Heather on 2006 10 23
Same boat here, well almost. You know I’ve been trying to size down before getting pregnant again. I’ve been trying to not look at magazines anymore or to just read the articles. If you eat good and still treat yourself, you can be confident in knowing that you did everything you could and whether your body responds how you want it to or not, you and the new babe will be just fine and healthy and we all know that is the most important thing. Sorry for the blabbing. I’m just not into commenting right now but wanted you to know that I’ve been around and thinking good thoughts for you and this babe!
By Beckik on 2006 10 23
I’ve never had an eating disorder unless sticking to a high sugar/ high fat diet counts as one. Weight gain didn’t bother me until after that first child, and then the second, and now? Well, there isn’t a goddam scale in the house for a reason. I think that society as a whole is always going to segregate those that are ‘acceptably pretty’ from the the other ‘undesirables’ but those definitiions change like the tide. There is nothing we can do about it except to outlive all the skinnyassed bitches and to be happy about it. At least we don’t have cocaine problems or meaningless sex? And the bottom line: we wind up with a brand new life to take care of and teach and love. Isn’t that a hell of a lot more essential than the superficial exterior we get so hung up on? As I walk away please do not stare at my swaybacked enormous ass and ignore the varicose veins. thanks.
By texasbelle on 2006 10 23
Amen to TexasBelle!!!
I know I need to loose wieght but why does have to be so hard.
You are carrying a baby it’s okay to indulge. Live it up!!!!! Workout later!!
By Amanda on 2006 10 23
I also think it is disgusting that pregnancy models have been getting thinner and more sexualized. I actually saw a topless maternity jean ad. She was cupping her bare breasts coyly—- uh, first, don’t those puppies hurt? Second, do you really need to look all flirty right now?
Ugh…I wish our society celebrated the typical woman more.
Don’t obsess too much. Enjoy the food. You have a genuine reason to EAT and nourish yourself and your pinpoint. Nourish away!
By SaraS-P on 2006 10 23
I had such a complex about my weight in grade school. I hit 5’10” by the time I was 12 and looking back I was a stick. When I was 15 I weighed 125. I remember in high school thinking if I ever weighed over 140 I would just DIE. But I an aspiring model so I was programmed to think I was fat not matter how tiny I was. I went in and got measured one day and they werent happy with my hip measurement (shocker) they told me to come back in 1 week and they expected to see a significant improvement.
My mom (now a Weight Watchers leader) looks back in the diets I went on, at the suggestion of my various agents, to try to lose the inches and wants to cry that she let me do that to myself. I lost 10 pounds in about a week once, my skin and hair was dull, my eyes looked sunken, and I was so weak I couldnt stand up straight, and at the same time I was so cracked out from the “supplements” I was on that I trembled constantly. SO much fun, let me tell ya.
By Sara on 2006 10 23
I don’t have the heart or engery to properly discuss this topic, but I wanted to comment because IT IS SUCH AN IMPORTANT TOPIC. I hate what we do to each other. We as women fail miserably in this area. One of the worse moments in my life was sitting across from my boss, (another mental health proffessional) discussing eating disorders, (which I have battled more than half of my life now), and how to treat them, and she said, “real women just don’t come in a size 4 and people need to understand that.” I just sat there stunned. I wanted to sink into the carpert. I am a size 4. I have never thought it was good enough. I have always struggled to except myself and my natural weight, but now I was being told that THAT wasn’t good enough either, by one of the top proffessionals in the field. People, what is it going to take for us to stop judging and comparing. We are all different. We need to be healthy, mentally and phsycially, and start excepting ourselves and each other.
Thank you for the excellent post Mrs. Flinger.
*stepping off her soap box now*
By erika on 2006 10 23
As someone who’s weight hasn’t ever really flucuated since high school, it was surprising how some of the pregnancy weight seemed to rearrange itself and take up permanent residence on my body.
Sounds like you’re on the right track - eating healthy, but not denying yourself treats. Even as your body changes (and rearranges!), it sounds like you have a hubby that appreciates you and your body regardless!
p.s. it helps to have no scales in the house and avoid the Gap completely!
By AmyM on 2006 10 23
Flinger, I love your big ass and back fat and all the curves inbetween. Pregnancy is beautiful and so is all the “extra”. I like to think that the fact that multiple body parts are no in an entirely different location than before four children, well, it’s just a badge of honor of having healthy babies and it’s a trade off I’m OK with most of the time.
We all have our body image days. Just remember how much your husband still thinks you’re sexy and you’ll forget the flab and the smile will come out!
By Sonia on 2006 10 23
Yeah, I feel you on the weight thing. My only suggestion is to put away the scale. Have the Mr. lock it up somewhere where you can’t get to it. As for the Gap, well, I don’t even bother looking at their website because my fat ass outgrew their clothing back in my high school days - even though when I graduated I was a size 9/10. I’m built like a football player (or farm wife, as that’s my immediate heritage).
By Lanna on 2006 10 23
No one cares how big your ass is while you are pregnant. They are only lookin at the belly! I joke that I love my giant pregnancy belly because it draws the eye away from the caboose, and my boobs look well proportioned for a change.
I have found pregnancy to be the only time that society (and my family) has given me 100% permission to be exceedingly plump. And most of my weight problem has nothing to do with me being pregnant.
I was committed to attending Weight Watchers with a friend - I had reached my highest weight ever - when I found out I was pregnant, 2 days before the meeting. If nothing else, it has given me much motivation to lose weight and set a good example as soon as baby is born.
It has been a hard pregnancy, wishing I had gotten in gear earlier (and perhaps suffering fewer health problems along the way had I done that). BUT it has also been wonderful, because I can eat ice cream and no one gives me a second glance. None of those “she should NOT be eating that” stares that I usually get.
So enjoy these nine months and don’t think another thought until after baby is born. Stay well, be healthy but also enjoy the fries & ice cream along the way!
By Monica on 2006 10 23
As a friend of mine wisely told me during my first pregnancy (I put on 40 pounds on my barely over 5 ft. 1 inch frame and actually had someone…a man of course…ask me if I was carrying twins at one point), you have the rest of your life to lose weight and get back in shape after having a baby.
Enjoy this pregnancy and try not to beat yourself up over munching on some goodies. Those celebutaunte bitches have an entire staff of people at their beck and call ...personal trainers, chefs, personal assistants, etc. You are a real woman, not some product of marketing or someone who can’t afford to let themselves skip a Pilates class. And besides, baby needs chocolate.
By Jamie on 2006 10 23
You know, the best thing I did when I was pregnant was not weigh myself. I didn’t have a scale at home, and I’d turn around at the doctor’s office so that I wouldn’t see how much I was gaining. There was only one time that I knew how much I weighed, and that was about 6 weeks before Brody was born.
By Kate on 2006 10 23
Ahh, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your stories. (Except Sonia who said I have backfat! DUDE! heh…) It’s such a “non-topic” kind of a topic. I mean, look, the ass is gonna grow, yaknow? It’s a fact. The belly will, too, and like Monica said, hopefully people will notice that instead (they will.)
As of tonight, I am officially not weighing myself until labor and delivery. Any other pregers wanna join my quest? (it’s going to be hard, I won’t lie to ya)
By Mrs. Flinger on 2006 10 23
Embrace the backfat!!! You can’t have more than me anyway, who knew things got flabby that high up????
By Sonia on 2006 10 23
Welllllll….I’m kindof addicted to my scale, so it’s going to be hard. But, for months and months I’ve been “good” and have eaten things low in calories/fat (or “points” if you will…i *heart* weight watchers), however since I found out Friday that I am preggers I have eaten WHATEVER I wanted to eat. Guess what? I’ve lost 2 lbs. GO FIGURE!!!
By Charla on 2006 10 23