Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Why I no longer comment on weight

The other day I was out to dinner with a group of wonderful interesting and very active women. We chatted about work and running and pets and hometowns. 

During the conversation, one very fit lady commented on how she was "fat". Whether or not she can be considered "fat" isn't even relevant to what I want to say here. But do you know what I said in response?

Nothing. I didn't say a word. No. "Oh you're not fat" or "what are you talking about" etc. I pretended that comment never existed in that moment. Why? Because it never should have existed in that moment. 

Some might say that she was looking for reassurance. For support. For someone to say the opposite of what that voice in her head says. And quite frankly all of that is most likely true. 

I have battled that demon myself. The never good enough one. I've been the one in the past to make such comments about myself. About my body. In hopes that someone would tell me that what I believed about myself wasn't true. 

I was raised, that whenever I visited my dad, I was weighed. We literally called it "fat camp" when we hopped on the plane, my sisters and I. So much value and importance was put on what that number said. How we looked. What we ate.  Even now in that relationship there is always commentary on "how you look". It's the first thing said. 

And it has always made me uncomfortable. Not in a creepy way. But in a "this is not who I am" kind of way. I wished always to have been commended om my heart or brain or efforts or ideas or laugh or ANYTHING else. 

But you see, this is how it is with women in this world. We are judged on looks. That is what we first see in each other. See in others. How we judge ourselves. 

Never mind that the above mentioned person is a doctor. Or runs 8:00 miles. Or trains dogs. Or is kind and helpful. No. All she sees is thighs. (Thighs that help her run 8:00 miles!) For that is what the world wants us to see and value. 

One of my biggest fears in having children was this: that I would gain too much weight, not lose it and then be unlovable. 
Reading this now, it seems the most ridiculous thing in the world. But I believed it then. 

And then somewhere in between having 2 kids, and maybe after looking in the face of my daughter, who will likely face some similar battles, I stopped. I stopped caring what I weighed. I stopped weighing myself 4, yes,  4 times a day. I stopped worrying about stretch marks. I stopped giving a shit about what anyone else thought. 

And I started putting the effort of my thoughts into other things. Into playing with my kids and encouraging them in areas I thought were important. I started new goals for myself. I started embracing my messiness and imperfections. I started running even more and being ok with whatever my times were and accepting my efforts. I am investing in opportunities I find fulfilling. Including myself. 

I wish I could draw a map on how I got here. And then hand it to you. I have some ideas, cannot fully trace them. But I think it started somewhere in the ballpark of struggle and then gratitude. Gratitude changes a lot of things. And it changes your focus. 

For In the scheme of things. My bra or butt size means nothing. Nothing. Not one thing. It will not be mentioned in any epitaph or obituary. I never saw a tombstone that said "pleasantly plump". And so I will not address it. I will not entertain self-deprecating thoughts in myself or others. They (the thoughts)will be tossed out like the garbage. 

I will not ask you if you lost weight. I will not ask you how. I don't care nor will I comment on if you "should" eat ice cream or carrots or how much of it. I will not correct you if you put your looks down. I will not joke about my baby pooch. (That pooch gave me my 2 greatest accomplishments). 

Instead I will use that energy to address that which has value to me. Everything else. Who you and I are. Who you and I want to be. Our visions. Our accomplishments. Our character. Funny stories. Laughs. Drink coffee with lots of sugar in it. 

That matters. 
That I will discuss with you all day long.