Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Weighing in...

My friend Tonya posted this blog post on her Facebook wall this morning and I was glad she shared it...because I haven't been able to get it out of my head since.  

C. Jane Enjoy It - Weight Doesn't Matter

This is a sensitive subject, and one pretty close to my heart, so I thought it was worth an editorial.  I read it carefully, almost holding my breath.  I think a lot of people want to hear that the numbers on the scale don't matter - me included.  However, some can take this as a jumping off point to let their health go to the wind. Therefore, I could have almost jumped for joy when I read the last paragraph.

Let’s leave the false religion and adopt the true science of dieting.  Weight is not a reliable indicator of health.  Nutrition and regular exercise are.  Thin people do not have a monopoly on health and fitness.  Bodies of all shapes and sizes can be fit and healthy.  The bottom line:  Forget weight loss and work on healthy eating and moderate exercise.  Body type is determined by genes.  But exercise and nutrition are determined by you.  

Preach it sister!  I love that she said body type in this paragraph - because we CAN alter our size and shape.  But body type...what you've got is what you've got.

My body type is directly from my family.  I have the build of my mom with the small bone structure of my dad.  I have my dad's flat butt and my mom's smile.  I have my grandma's high cholesterol and my grandpa's dry skin.  I have my memaw's hazel eyes.   I've battled most of this for much of my life until I finally came to the realization and acceptance that this is me.

Although some days are more accepting than others.

I have admittedly dealt with the scale my entire life, and those who are close to me know this.  I'm sure most people have.  I can link it back to social interactions dealing with weight and growing up and  I was especially sensitive about the size of my legs.  I wanted to wear the popular skinny jeans (funny how things come back around, huh?) and they just weren't meant for my body type.  Sports really helped me in this area and it was freeing to get to college and realize that other female athletes also had large (i.e. muscular) legs and were proud of them!

I was addicted to the scales while losing weight after Rachel.  It literally dictated whether I would have a good day or not.  I wanted that weight off so badly that it dominated my thinking and existance.  Thankfully, I have a sensitive and knowledgable husband who talked me into weighing in only once a week (instead of once a day).  And now I haven't been on the scales in a while. 

You have to be careful with your measurements of health and how you perceive them - and I think that this is the true crux of the article.  Your weight is simply a measurement of health.  It's not necessarily a measurement of you, but it's a number.  The same as your Body Mass Index.  Now, I've never agreed with BMI as a good indicator of health, as mine has always teetered towards the higher end of normal weight onto the brink of a 5'3" woman who varies between 130 and 135 pounds.  Waist to hip ratio is another, and possibly more accurate measure of health.  This is simply the idea that it is healthier to have more fat around your rear end than your waist, because it is further from your heart.  However, for your own purposes, you can also judge your weight based on your clothes fitting or what you see in the mirror.

My views of weight have changed (thank goodness) as I've gotten older, as so many things do.  Even the title of this blog is tongue-in-cheek, as I am very proud of my post-baby body - stretch marks and baby pooch to boot - because it produced our two wonderful children.  My goal is simply to be strong and healthy because I feel better every day that I workout.  I want my children to be active and fit because they see their parents  that way.  I want to remain as attractive as possible to my husband and I want to be able to go hiking and walking with him when we take our dream retirement RV trek in our 60's with no health issues. 

Not long ago, I sent some of Elizabeth's gymnastics pictures out in some cards.  We were blinded by her cuteness and the joy of our first organized sport pictures (yes, at two...yes, I'm crazy) and purchased the whole shootin'-match of pictures.  

I got hit by a ton of bricks when not one, but two family members commented to the effect of, Wow, Elizabeth is getting a little chunky, huh?  

Whoa!  Really??  My child, who can't keep up a pair of shorts on her skinny butt...who jumps off anything with springs in their interior...who won't sit still unless I hypnotize her with Mickey or Sesame Street so I can actually cook dinner...

That Elizabeth?

My first instinct was to protect my put a bubble around her and not let her hear comments that could damage her little self image.  Don't you always want to protect your child from everything traumatic you had to go through?  More realistically, I'd like to instill in her a sense of fitness...or body proudness.  So that she is one day able to laugh at such comments and answer, You're crazy!  Look at what my body can do!...rather than combat it in a dark closet with a carton of ice cream or running miles and miles on a treadmill with no fuel in her body.  

I will battle with my own body image issues and keep them in check so that she never sees them.
Unrealistic?  Probably...but it's still my goal.

I pray that she will deem herself more valuable than a number on the scale...and that she will always stay so active that she never slows down to stand on one for very long.

Maybe I should pray the same for myself.  :)

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful post, Annie! And wonderful example to be setting for your kids. (P.S. Chunky was not the word that came to mind -- she's adorable!)