March 1, 2010

Plus Size Bloggers Contest Kickoff

As long time readers know, I've been struggling with my weight for years now. So, when I heard of the Plus Size Bloggers Contest on Twitter week after last, I had to check it out. I signed up, and so I'll be chronicling my progress on Mondays for the next three months.

Weight is a hard thing for many of us, and the causes are as individual as we are. Magazines, food companies, diet industries, and well meaning friends all spout one size fits all answers, and most of them will work, for a time. However, I really believe a person needs to find the reasons behind their struggles for there to be a lasting change.

I've certainly experienced enough regaining as soon as I get off a diet to suspect cutting calories and upping exercise isn't enough in and of itself. Even eating healthfully and exercising regularly isn't always effective in keeping weight off, I'm disappointed to say.

Thanks to some early progress made during the 52 Week Challenge, I did manage to loose 20 lbs. over the past year. I wouldn't have been able to do this if it hadn't been for my husband's help, not only as my personal cheerleader and coach, but as something of a counselor as well. We had several conversations about what was going through my head when I was both highly motivated and felt like giving up, and we came to two conclusions.

1) I have a distorted self-image.

No matter my size or how much I've lost, I keep seeing myself at my heaviest, i.e. the last days of my first pregnancy. In fact, the only way I can actually see the difference is to try wearing the one or two items I still have from back then, which now make me look a bit like a little girl playing dress up in mom's closet.


I'm trying to take off the ugly glasses, but it's not as easy as one would imagine since old wounds run deep. Even though I was an active and largely scrawny child, an uneven growth spurt just before I hit puberty opened the door for issues with weight and self-image that have followed me since. You see, my height stalled in fourth grade. I only grew about two inches in height from the end of fourth grade until the middle of my seventh grade year, yet my torso reached it's adult size at this time. Given that I was only 4'9" at my tallest, having a 28" waist made me a prime target for taunts about being a cow and "about to bust out of my dress."

When my height finally caught up, I looked normal again. Actually, given my rather broad adult frame, a 28" waist makes perfect sense proportionally speaking. Yet, the urge to hide my middle in any way possible and fantasies of being able to remove a few inches as if I was wearing a fake tummy never left.

2) I have a problem with self-loathing.

I've known I'm a perfectionist for decades, yet I'm just coming to realize how much this other side of the coin has been effecting me. In the past couple months, I've come to the conclusion self-loathing is the cause behind my perfectionism since not living up to that impossible standard gives me a reason to punish myself and bash my own character. I make myself good and miserable. Then I end up turning to carbs without thinking about it, and the whole cycle starts again.

I think perhaps I let myself get so out of control during that first pregnancy out of sheer relief. I finally had an excuse to gain a pound or two without guilt, so I relaxed the reigns on my perfectionism for the first time, literally, in years. Before I knew it, I'd gained more than I wanted, and that was before I ended up on bed rest for weeks. By the time Boo Bear was born, I was 60 lbs. overweight, and I'd killed my metabolism.

So, here I am four months shy of four years later, and only 20 lbs. lighter than I was then, albeit, I did have Sneak back in 2008, so it's not like I've been dieting for four years straight. I still need to loose 40 lbs. to reach a healthy weight again, though I'd love to loose 50 if I can. I'll post about what I'm doing and my progress over the next few weeks.

Please click on the link at the top right of the page, and give some support to the other bloggers in the contest.

* The first picture is of Boo Bear and me Christmas of 2006. The second picture is our family photo taken back in January.

2 comments:

  1. Boy what an honest post that was. You really made me think a lot about these issues. I have been reading all the posts from the other participants and I have to say that so far yours has made me "think" the most. You have a talent here. For what it's worth you look great! Thanks for participating!

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