Sunday, August 10, 2014

I don't have a thigh gap and that's (mostly) ok

Here's some shocking information most women won't share: I'm 5'6" and before I got pregnant I weighed about 145 pounds. And I wasn't fat.

Shocking, right?

Today's world is so obsessed with weight loss and gain. Everywhere we look, we're being told we aren't thin enough but yet we need to eat massive portions of food and binge watch tv shows and sit in front of our computers. That's messed up.

I've never been overweight, so this is coming from a perspective of someone who used to be PAINFULLY skinny. Like...people thought I was anorexic, then saw me eat and thought I must be bulimic. In my family, we stay skinny until about puberty, then we put on a bit of weight, then we get married and all hell breaks loose. As a kid, I saw my parents' wedding picture and had no idea who the couple was because 1 Dad didn't have a beard at 23 and was a beanpole (his mother described him as so thin you could see his spine through his stomach once) and 2 my mom was super thin and had long hair. She was more recognizable, so I figured her out after studying it for a bit but they had to tell me it was Dad.

My parents dieted and exercised for years. Mom actually got back down to a slim size after Caleb was born by walking at the Family Life Center and doing Medi-Fast, a supplement meal diet plan she recommended to her patients. Dad would jog every morning and occasionally do Medi-Fast to keep his weight in check. But when his knees gave out and she had a couple issues pop up, the weight piled on. This is probably my future. And I'm ok with that.

I never liked the way my body looked. I think most women are in that boat. Something was either too big or not big enough or just weird looking, so in high school I hid it with clothes that were a couple sizes too large. It worked for me. I wasn't heavy by any stretch of the imagination, but I didn't see that. I saw the small (minuscule in retrospect) pooch of my stomach and thought everyone else was focused on that, too.

In college I put on about 30 pounds in the first semester. Apparently I can be an overachiever about some things. I was so horrified to go to a doctor's appointment in January and hear that I weighed 140 that I immediately decided to control my eating habits. I was hiking all over campus with a heavy backpack, so I knew I was getting exercise and that wasn't the issue. It was the 4 or 5 sodas a day I drank and the two or three helpings of fatty dorm foods or fatty fast foods I was eating. So I cut those things out, started cooking for myself more (and that meant eating a lot less) and by the next year I was back to 120. A reasonable weight for a 20 year old who's 5'6" with my build.

I graduated college like that and started working in a job where I ran up and down the stairs in a 5 and 4 story building in heels every day, ate whenever I could whatever I could and slept crazy hours. At my thinnest, I got down to 105. My friends were a little concerned because I was so skinny. I loved it because I weighed less. I still had that damn stomach pooch, so I still felt like part of me was wrong.

On my wedding day, I weighed 117 and, if I do say so myself, looked pretty good. I wore Mom's wedding dress and it was a tad snug so I had to wear what was basically a girdle to flatten things and squish things. Even then, it wasn't terribly comfortable so I bought another dress for the reception.

I was on birth control, cooking for my husband every night, pretty sedentary since I'd quit my my weight ballooned. To 135. Horrors. I hated the way I looked again. Pooch was bigger, thighs and hips and butt were bigger, I felt awful. I figured "well, once I start having babies, I'll breastfeed and that'll help with weight loss, as will chasing the kids around. I'll be fine once I'm off the pill."

Silly me. I am one of the few "fortunate" people who gains weight while breastfeeding. I weighed around 165 at the end of both pregnancies and immediately after was about 20 pounds lighter. Once breastfeeding was abandoned, I tried dieting by tracking my caloric intake and eating less in a day. I took the baby(ies) on walks and tried to be more active. And my weight went nowhere. I think my bottom line post babies is going to be about 140ish. MAYBE 135 if I really get into the whole weight loss thing.

These days, I don't diet, I just do portion control, usually at home (you better believe if I'm buying it at a restaurant I'm eating as much as I can.) It helps me and I think it would help others if they'd be consistent, but it's hard to do. If there's still food and your stomach is still saying "feed me" and it tastes good...yeah, you want to eat it.

I consistently felt bad about how I looked until one day, I hit me. I was wearing the wrong clothes. When you weigh 140, you can't and shouldn't wear a shirt and pants you wore when you weighed 120. It's just not a smart choice. OF COURSE it doesn't look good on you. It wasn't made for your body. Not your current one anyway. So I went out and bought clothes that fit me now (or before I got pregnant. work with me) and I felt tons better. I buy clothes that fit the body I have not the body I want and I'm much more comfortable in my own skin.

It's probably a maturity thing, or maybe it's a laziness thing, but I've come to accept that this is my body. I've created life with this body, carried it to term and delivered it naturally. It's got dimples in weird places and fat and cellulite and a few light pale stretchmarks and of course I wouldn't mind some things being smaller, but overall, it's a good body. It's done what I've asked it to do (except lose weight) and sometimes things I didn't think it capable of doing (anyone who's had a vaginal birth knows EXACTLY what I'm talking about. ow). It has comforted my children, fed them (somewhat), loved them, sheltered them, and been their jungle gym. It may not look the best to outsiders, but to my little family, it's pretty good.

So yes, after this baby, I'll wish I was back into the 130's weight wise. I'll occasionally hate the way my thighs touch. I'll get frustrated with my big butt. But overall, I'll let it be because it has been through a lot in the past 30 years, especially the last 4.

That's my advice: dress for the body you have, not the body you want. You'll be more confident and comfortable in your own skin if your clothes fit and look good on you. Trust me.

If you were 5 and these were your parents, would you recognize them? lol

I'm also 6 inches taller than that made things interesting. 

Palm Sunday this year with my two body wreckers. 

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