As a child, I always had a round face. My cheeks were chubby (and still are), I always filled out a pair of jeans more than my size 2 friends. As I went through junior high and high school, I refused to wear shorts, even during the humid summer months. I hated my legs. I have been blessed with skin that's prone to stretch marks and I developed them at a very early age. Eventually I never wore tank tops either, because I hated my flabby arms.
I never really had a boyfriend growing up, because I may not have been as cute and tiny as my adolescent friends. And, because of that, I wasn't confident enough to approach boys. I never had an interest in extracurricular activities and sports. I danced and eventually participated in pom poms. But, I had no interest in breaking a sweat or participating in a team atmosphere. I preferred sitting as first chair clarinet in the school band.
In elementary school, I had interest in a boy and nerves and morning jitters eventually turned into nausea. I was vomitting and sick to my stomach, but had no fever. After being home a few days from school, my parents finally realized that I wasn't sick after all and sent me back to school the next day. I struggled with nausea the entire day, and couldn't eat. I quickly dropped some weight and realized the reaction that I was getting from people as my clothes fit a little differently. Throughout junior high, I was too nauseus in the morning to eat breakfast. I would would wait until my parents went to work to make myself vomit and feel better. And sadly, after awhile it wasn't voluntary ... my body needed me to do it to feel better. It would just happen. I would also conveniently "forget" to pack my lunch for school. If I did pack my lunch, I would only pack liquids (fat free yogurt and sugar free jello). My tummy would growl in class continuously.
I was down to 115 lbs on my 5' 6" frame. I was not eating. When I was, I was binging and purging. I was hungry. I was skinny. But, I was not healthy.
After high school, when X and I moved in together, we developed unhealthy eating habits, ate a fourth meal almost every night before bed, and were couch potatoes. In a year I gained a pound after pound. I went to the doctor for my annual physical and just broke down crying. She talked to me about my weight fluctuation and touched base with me on depression. She sent some anti-depressents home with me, but I tossed them in the garbage.
I was hovering around 190 lbs. I was binging. I was sitting on my @$$. I was not healthy.
Eventually, I was able to lose the weight after subsequent attempts on Weight Watchers and multiple pregnancies (and an early miscarriage). But, it wasn't until I discovered running that I truly became happy with myself ... and my body. And, my body ... and mind ... continue to transform.
My running, my accomplishments, and the journey of motherhood .... have all given me great confidence in myself as a person and the body that has carried me through these parts of my journey. It's taken years for me to be comfortable with my body, my curves, my flaws. Stretchmarks, misplaced dimples, a stretched out tummy from two pregnancies .... they are all mine. And, I'm trying to embrace them. My weight still fluctuates, but within reason. My legs are strong, they are muscular and I happily flaunt them in running skirts as I run each 13.1 or 26.2 mile journey. I'll also wil noww flaunt my flabby arms in a running tank top from time-to-time. It's only taking me thirty years - or so - to get here.
Growing up, I wish I had an outlet like the Girls on the Run Program (HERE), which tries to educate and empower girls at an early age in order to prevent the display of at-risk activities in the future. At risk activities include substance/alcohol use, eating disorders, early onset of sexual activity, sedentary lifestyle, depression, suicide attempts and confrontations with the juvenile justice system. That is why it is my favorite organization. I ran as a Sole Mate for the organization last year, and hope to do so again in the future. It's so important for our young women to learn to love themselves for who they are, to love their bodies and to treat their bodies well.
September 2011 - Embracing Curves
(finally showing off those legs & arms!)