I have had body image issues for as long as I can remember. I think it came to a head in high school when I started getting “teased” about being pudgy. Looking back, I know that weighing 159 pounds at 5’11” tall really isn’t pudgy; it’s well within the normal weight range for my height. I worked hard and got my weight down to 135 pounds and began what became a lifelong habit of counting calories.
By the time I went to college, I think I was dangerously close to developing an eating disorder. I decided I needed to lose even more weight. My goal was to get down to 120 pounds. My body decided that was a no-go. I started working on losing weight and I got so sick. There are a couple of weeks that I don’t remember. I was somehow still going to at least some of my classes, but I’m not sure how. Once I got better I decided to let my weight stay where it was.
The next hurdle was pregnancy. I worried about how I would deal with the weight gain that goes along with pregnancy should I decide to have kids. I honestly wasn’t sure that I would be able to let myself gain weight. However, when I actually got pregnant at 24, my body once again took control. At that point in my life I was skipping meals or just eating something like a pack of crackers. Once I got pregnant, I had to eat every two hours or my stomach would be growling loud enough for others to hear. My body basically forced me to take in the nutrients that both my baby and I needed. I gained a total of 28 pounds during my pregnancy and was able to lose it all within 6 months after giving birth. The fact that I gained weight and successfully lost it seemed to change something in me. So much so that with my second pregnancy, I actually gained 40 pounds; I decided that if I was going to gain weight anyway, I may as well enjoy the process. I ate a lot of peanut M&Ms, LOL. However, I was once again able to lose all of the weight within 6 months. I also did not throat punch the coworker who commented about me “still carrying all of that baby weight” when I returned to work after my maternity leave. At that point, I only had 15 pounds left to lose. Sigh.🙄
Then, along comes hypothyroidism. Even though I’m on medication to treat my hypothyroidism, it still makes it easier for me to gain weight and harder to lose it. Slowly, over an extended period, my weight crept back up to high school levels and I worked to lose 15 pounds. This left my final weight higher than it was for so many years, but I was okay with that. The cycle repeated again a few years later. I’ve been struggling to lose weight and have been frustrated with myself. However, once I started my part-time job, I’ve slowly begun to take the weight off. (Yay for being more active!)
So, why have I made this post with TMI about my weight? Well, now that I’m 60, aging and such have been on my mind. During the course of my musings I had an unexpected realization. For the first time in my life, I’m comfortable with the body that I have – cellulite, aging skin, and all. I’m not exactly sure when this acceptance occurred, but I’m glad it did. Always striving for some impossible level of perfection is exhausting.
I guess the change has been coming on for a few years. Prior to retirement, I wouldn’t leave the house without at least some level of makeup. I loosened up a little in the months after retirement… and then COVID hit and no one was going anywhere. Makeup kind of went out the window and pretty much stayed there. I now regularly leave the house with no makeup or minimum makeup. As a matter of fact, my coworkers don’t even know what I look like with makeup. Why put on makeup just to sweat it off?
I’ve been a long time reaching this level of comfort with myself, but I’m glad I finally got here. How about you? Are you comfortable with yourself?