As I sit here writing this, I recall the horrible memories and feelings I had and guiltily, sometimes still do, about my body image.
"What do I see when I look in the mirror?"
I remember having a physical around the age of 12 and I was in the car with my mom and reading the doctor's observations of me that day. I went down the list and stopped when I came across the word "obese." I was shocked to say the least. My mom laughed it off and said, "You're active, you're fine." But if the doctor said it, it had to be true. Was I really obese? I didn't think so, but then I got to looking at the other girls my age and saw that my body didn't quite match theirs. I was maybe 5'6"-7" tall and a whopping size 11. It wasn't until then that it didn't really dawn on me that maybe he was right.
I couldn't really shop where my friends shopped because the clothes were too small and didn't fit me right. Having my mom say, "Kate, you need to shop in the misses department," broke me. I didn't want to shop in the misses section. I was a junior for crying out loud! So I attempted to "fit" into clothes that didn't fit me and just went from there.
Fast-forward two years later when I started high school. Things fell into place and I was feeling good. My baby fat went away and I had what I thought was the perfect body. I didn't worry too much about my body then because I liked what I saw.
About a year later, a friend of mine shared with me that she was anorexic. I talked with a teacher and got more information about it to help her, but wouldn't you know, while I was "helping" her, I, too, became anorexic and bulimic. I popped diet pills for awhile, but when one popped in my throat, that was the end of that because it tasted so disgusting. I ate a little and whatever little I did eat, I'd excuse myself, make sure the bathroom was clear (usually the upstairs bathroom), and do my business of purging myself of the calories I had consumed. On top of that, I was very active. I played volleyball and basketball and weight-lifted. So I was definitely burning the calorie count.
I got real good at hiding, or so I thought, my body from everyone from seeing just how thin I had become. At my lightest, I was 123 pounds, which is not healthy for a 5'9" frame. Now on top of all of this, my emotional stability was nowhere in sight (That's another post for another day). I would break down at the dumbest things, so naturally, being anorexic and/or bulimic allowed me to take control over the things in my life that I didn't think I had control over. I tried to do it on my own and didn't want to ask for help in anyway shape or form. It wasn't till one day that my math teacher came over to give me hug, when she stepped back and looked at me. I was wearing my backpack and an over-sized sweatshirt. She asked if I was okay and I responded quickly and walked away. I knew right then and there that my secret was out.
Mrs. H. spoke with Mrs. V. and the intervention started. I broke down, mainly out of embarrassment for being caught, but also a little angry because I was losing control over the one thing I thought I could control on my own. During lunchtime, Mrs. V. would provide me with food and would make me sit down and eat and I couldn't leave till I had finished what she thought was appropriate and stayed at least a minimum of 15 minutes to let the acid start its work on the digestion process. Let me tell you, I ate a boat-load of Balance Bars. I haven't touched them since! I was to check-in with her everyday and provide her with a food journal showing how I felt when I ate the food. If I had a bad day, she didn't criticize or give up on me. I know she prayed, and still does, for my healing. She continued to love me for who I was, faults and all.
So fast-forward 7 years. I'm pregnant with our first-born and we visit Mrs. V. I was about 20 weeks pregnant and made mention to her that I was terrified of getting fat with pregnancy. She sat down with me and Mark and talked over her concerns about my body image while being pregnant. If anything, I was to take care of the baby, rather than be selfish and worry about a few pounds. I knew I wouldn't jeopardize the baby, but those horrible thoughts kept coming back into my mind. I ended up gaining the recommended 30 pounds and lost 40 pounds after all was said and done.
We just recently had a trip back to San Diego and had dinner with Mrs. V. and she asked me if I remembered what I was so concerned about the last time we saw each other. For the life of me, I couldn't remember. And it was then that she recounted my issues about gaining weight while pregnant. Her love and concern blew me away. I love that lady so much!
So Now What?
I still have body image issues. My poor husband, who loves me more than I could ever imagine, tells me everyday how beautiful I am. Yet, when I look in the mirror, I don't see what he sees. I figured it was high time that if there is a problem, I need to find a solution. So my solution to get things back in their right places is to commit to exercising and eating right.
I started Rockin' Body with Shaun T on December 31. The completion of the program is March 31. I am commiting to myself and my team members that I will finish the challenge. All I have to do is bring it and push play every day. But just doing this isn't going to fix everything. I need to find a good counselor who has experience with these issues to help steer me in the right direction. I need to continue to ask God for his help to change my ways of thinking about his product. He made me. He didn't make a mistake. I have to remember that.