Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Biggest Gainer

I'm finally there. 8 months, roughly a billion glasses of whole chocolate milk, 10 pounds and two points on the BMI scale later and I have achieved my goal.  The interesting thing about this journey has been how difficult it has been to ignore what society shouts at me. I've always known that body image is one of the most marketed issues out there but until now, I mostly was in line with what it was preaching. I was trying to be thin, trying to be athletic and look good and avoid high fat foods.  I passed billboards encouraging the consumption of skim milk and would think, "Of course, who would drink anything else?" 

So, when I was told by a doctor to pack on some pounds for a reason I really wanted to believe in, I went for it.  I weighed myself regularly in the hopes that I'd see the pounds increase. I did the calculations to figure out that BMI and was glad when it went up one and then two points into my target range. I ate second and third helpings at most meals. I enjoyed the psychology of watching men and women react differently to my doctor's orders. Some women would either sort of stay quiet and look like they were trying to be sympathetic and others might joke that they've never had that problem. Some reacted by giving me wonderful recipes to fatten me up.  Most men would state longingly that they would like to make an appointment with my doctor and then humorously point me towards some ridiculous food that would surely do the trick but that would also, likely, give me an instant heart attack.  Needless to say, it's not the kind of doctor-ordered regimen that most people have experienced and can empathize with.

Last Sunday, I woke up to an unusual 70 degree temp in steamy Durham. Wanting to take advantage of the first opportunity to wear pants since April, I excitedly pulled out my favorite dress pants. No go. Well, maybe my 2nd favorite pair. Nope. May as well try some jeans on while I'm at it.  I settled for a pair of pants I used to wear a lot the spring after Josh was born. Part of me was really excited - knowing that I'd really hit that target I'd, ahem, "worked" for.  But the part of me that was conditioned for 31 years to freak out if my clothes were getting too tight was not pleased. It ended up being a tough Sunday. These two sides battled with each other- the healthy side that knows what I'm doing is to help reach that goal of having another child and that I'm actually at quite a healthy weight and the side that still finds some self worth in how I look, the skinnier the better.

You see, there's no show out there called "The Biggest Gainer". Everything around me, from facebook ads to reality tv to billboards is screaming at me to want to be as skinny as I can possibly manage. The crazy thing is that I had to work to even notice how prevalent it was until these last 8 months when every decision I was making was going against the so-called standard of beauty. 

Well, I'm tired of what's preached. At some point, I hope, I will be in a position when I'm not trying to put on weight. There may even come a time, God willing, that I've had another baby and do need to lose some weight to be healthy. Will those ads still seem so sinister? Will I be able to resist falling back into those lies and be happy with being a healthy weight, even if it's not the standard of beauty, the skinniest of skinnies?   I truly hope so.  It helps that I have a husband who has pretty routinely told me through this whole gaining escapade that I look healthy and full of life.  He's great at reminding me of my inner beauty, that I am beautiful because of who I've been created to be.  (And I will freely admit that I don't mind that he does occasionally throw the word "hot" into the equation - after all, it feels good to be attractive to your spouse!) 

So, the next time I put on some clothes that fit a year ago and won't quite zip up, I'm hoping that the side that trusts my husband and my God will win out over the side of me that is still tempted to listen to what society preaches.   As each year of my life passes, I realize more and more that there's pretty much nothing worth listening to in those sermons anyway.

1 comment:

  1. maybe it is too late, but if you like indian, we have and AWESOME chicken curry recipe with lots of creme and butter(an apple sauce surprisingly). It is SOOOOOO good, but we can only allow it for ourselves every now and again. Also I think some of or Ethiopian recipes are similar in that way. Have Reed and Josh been gaining weight as well if you eat dinners together?