Sunday, November 27, 2011

She always had a pretty face

Okay, maybe not always.  I'll be the first to admit that I had a less than stellar appearance as a middle school/high school student.  I was awkward, awkward, awkward.  I had a really bad perm in middle school and wore huge tortoise shell glasses.  If I had to liken myself to someone, it would be Julia Sweeney's portrayal of Pat from SNL.  I found this photo on the internet that looks eerily like me when I was about 12.
Kids are cruel and I hated school.  I was always the token fat girl and covered up my insecurities by adopting a sarcastic and sometimes abrasive demeanor.  This was my armour and security blanket when I was out in the big bad world.  People treat you differently when you are overweight.  I was the butt of many jokes and even the adults around me had something smart to say about my appearance.  For some unfathomable reason, it is generally believed that if you berate an obese person in public and make them feel shame about their appearance that this will in fact encourage them to lose weight.  Wrong!  When I was made fun of by the people in my life, I felt even worse about my appearance and would go on an emotional eating bender.  This behaviour lasted throughout my teen years and well into adulthood.

I was told so many times that I had a pretty face and should really do something about my weight.  It makes you feel almost sub-human.  Like you will never be good enough because your weight will always be the one thing holding you back.  For those that struggle with their weight, it's not about getting the will power or the strength to gain a healthier lifestyle.  It's about being accepted and respected for who you are despite your size.  Some people may never be able to control their eating habits and may not be able to see past one day at a time.  Some people may be happy at the weight they are, even if society deems them to be "unhealthy".  Some of us are blessed with great metabolisms and lucked out in the gene pool.  That wasn't me.

I accepted a long time ago that I was likely going to be heavy my whole life.  Regardless of how I was treated in school and throughout my life due to my weight, I was no longer going to let anyone's words dictate my actions.  Therefore, I stopped letting name calling or rude comments get to me.  Any binge eating I did after this realization was done purely out of habit and enjoyment.  I'd be lying if I pretended that I didn't like the times I pigged out on something particularly yummy.  Ironically enough, I always binged on some sort of carbohydrate and would feel sick afterwards.  I definitely didn't like that feeling.

When my husband fell in love with me and wanted to marry me, I was shocked.  He was a pretty boy in high school (we attended the same one) and had MANY female admirers.  We didn't get together in high school.  We got together 12 years later when we became reacquainted and started dating as much older and wiser adults.  He thinks I am beautiful as I am now.  He has always supported me and never told me or even suggested to me that I should lose weight.  He does worry about my health though. I can certainly respect that because if something happened to me, he would be a single parent and that's not fair.  To him, or my son.

My health is something I do have control over and I truly do want to be the healthiest person I can be.  Thirty-six pounds of weight-loss is significant.  It's a flash in the pan for all the weight I have to lose, but it's a good start.  It took me a lot of time to gain as much weight as I did and I can certainly take the time required to lose it.  The experts say that a steady weight-loss and lifestyle change is the best way to maintain a healthier lifestyle.  I'm certainly not going anywhere and have all the time in the world.  Oh, and the next time you see a pretty woman or a handsome man who is also overweight, appreciate them for what they are.  A beautiful person:)