Joy lies in the fight, in the attempt, in the suffering involved, not in the victory itself


Friday, April 3, 2009

Once I Was Overweight

This is something I posted over at my WLS blog, but wanted to capture it here, also.

Once I was Overweight. It was 1992. I'm almost five foot ten and I weighed about 80kg (175 pounds).

After that, about 4 years later, I moved into the Obese category, weighing about 95kg (209).

Eventually, after the Heartbreak of 1997 and the Doomed Marriage of 2000, I qualified for the Super Morbid Obese category, and let me tell you not just any old fat chick gets that label. My BMI was 54, and I weighed around 170kg (374).

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was the second heaviest person in my class. It was 1986 and I was 16 years old, almost at the height I am now (five nine and a half). I weighed 64kg. Smack bang in the middle of the Healthy Weight category. I'll say it again - I was the second heaviest person in my class, including boys. Every day I was told I was fat, ugly, slow and was always the last person chosen for sports.

No wonder I have such a screwed-up body image. No wonder I constantly question whether it's even worth all this money (cost of my weight loss surgery =$18,000) and effort to get to my new goal weight of 80kg, which will see me still Overweight. I need to find a way to disconnect from the numbers, but how do I measure my "success" if not through BMI points, clothing sizes, centimetres and kilos? Sure, there are a number of things I can do comfortably now that I couldn't 50kg ago. I'm not disputing the fact that I've lost weight and gained health and fitness. But basically, I've hated my body since I was 10 years old, no matter what number was attached to it. And lots of other people have hated it too, and have told me so.

Sadly, I find myself still hating my body, still lamenting its ugly lumpen state and scarring. Even worse, now I've lost a lot more weight from my top half than my bottom bits - where I was once an "even" size 26, I'm now 20-22 in pants and 16-18 in tops. Nothing fits. I'm uncomfortable all the time! In my former-life as Super Morbid Obese girl I was comfy in track pants and lycra.
I would never want to go back. But sometimes I wonder WHEN or IF I will be able to learn how to value my body instead of viewing it as my enemy.


Anonymous said...

I don't think we can over-estimate the harm caused by cruel remarks in childhood. I was at the other end of the extreme - super skinny - which might lead people to assume I had it all. In actual fact I was teased for my skinny legs and flat chest until I was 16 years old, by which time the damage had set in. Even now, much older and wiser and somewhat more rounded, when trying on tops and looking for the one that covers as much of my frontage as possible I still her the taunts of 'ironing board' ringing in my brain.
One of my best friends and her daughter are around about the same weight/size as you (and much shorter so likely to have much higher BMI or bullshit-mass-index).They absolutely love their bodies, wear clothes to flaunt them and have more admirers/lovers than I would know what to do with! I am never jealous of someone else's size or shape but I am seriously envious of that kind of self-confidence which is the sexiest quality of all.
I am sorry you have this constant struggle and I'm sure you know that really all that matters is being healthy and comfortable in your skin. Unfortunately the former is an ongoing battle for most of us (especially when 'mental' problems complicate) and the latter is the holy f**king grail! Still, I truly hope you find it.
P.S. for what it's worth you have a great smile and a fab personality, neither of which can be measured and monitored (despite what shrinks and therapists might say)!

Anonymous Drifter said...

"Every day I was told I was fat, ugly, slow and was always the last person chosen for sports."

What a painful experience to go through. The main thing to remember now is that you're a fantastic and valuable person just as you are, regardless of weight.

Borderline Lil said...

Kate and AD, your support and kind words make me teary! It seems like such a trivial thing to worry about, when you're my age and going through other stuff. But it does still get to me... one thing at a time I guess, and I will eventually beat this demon as well as the others.xx

Dreamwriter said...

I think that society is so obsessed with body image and it is sad. The silly childhood rhyme..*Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never harm me* is truly a$$ backwards.

Names do hurt and they stick. But it looks to me that you have come full circle and shining through.

Keep that head up girl..I always believed that when people have negative things to say to others it is a mere insecurity mechanism withim themselves.

Anonymous said...

This post made me cry. I've had a screwed-up body image from early on. I admire so much what you have done and are doing.

Wandering Coyote said...

I was bullied about my weight from grade 1 all the way through high school, until I pretty much isolated myself from everyone and everything. I still carry those scars - physical & mental. It affected how I trust others and how I relate to people.

I am a big girl now, but unlike you I'm too chicken to give out numbers. I'm pretty sure I'll always be a big girl. I've had to accept that. Now I focus on being as healthy as I can. I weigh myself maybe once a month. I do what I can: I work out hard at least three times a week, I walk, I generally eat well (except during my PMS time, as you read over at I'm Listening!), and I try not to deprive myself of the things I love, because that deprivation is devastating on the soul.

And, once again, I highly recommend "The Beauty Myth." This book really changed my thinking a lot. It's certainly worth a read.

I truly appreciate your honesty in this post, Lil.

Elizabeth B. Alexander said...

It's not just words. I managed to gain 50lbs within 6 months after marriage and the looks killed me. Oh, the looks and constant comments of getting the weight back off of my friends and family. "But you used to be so skinny." Hello? You think I don't remember when I was 120lbs. It made me hate most my family and I'll always remember how they treated me so differently because I was a size 14. Scarred.

The Addict said...

I didn't have any problems in school because I was rather atheletic; however, after I got married I gained about 80-90 pounds and have really had some rude remarks from my hubby's side of the family like, "OMG belinda I wouldn't have recognized you, you've gotten so big." (this from a woman that was as big or not bigger than me). Then another one stating they could'nt believe I let myself go like that. I'm dumbfounded when people say these things. I really do not know what to say in return. I just can't be that ignorant.


Borderline Lil said...

I gain incredible strength and power from knowing I am not alone in this. Thank you all, from the bottom of my heart. xxLilxx

preciousrock said...

deja vous! reading this it was like i was reading about my own life. i won't tell my story as it would be like a repeat of yours. i was at my top weight while going through a divorce also. the only thing different about my story is that i don't have pictures of me at all the different ages and weights. i felt so disgusting that i refused to have my picture taken for many years. i'm still not fond of being in front of the camera.

by the way, you have such a beautiful face. love that photo of you in your profile.