Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Stupid comments

When I was 16, I met a guy at a party that I really liked.

He was older than I, and had long hair, and he was in a band, so of course I was smitten. He had paid quite a bit of attention to me at the party, so I was eager to find out the next day, from one of his friends, how he felt about me.

The friend assured me that "Jack" liked me a lot, and was going to ask me out. Of course I wanted to know more. What did he say? Details, I want details!

The friend, "Rob", wasn't too good with details, but he did remember a few. Jack thought I was cute and nice. He planned to call me soon. Any negatives? Well, he did say "She'd look really great if she lost about five pounds."

I don't know why I thought of this anecdote today, but here it is, in the front of my mind, really ticking me off. It's just one of a collection of bad body memories in which the stupid, careless comments of another set me up for hating myself.

FIVE POUNDS??? Are you kidding me? Could someone even detect if I'd gained or lost five pounds?

Would I have turned into some kind of amazingly beautiful goddess if I were only five pounds lighter?

That same summer I remember riding my bike and hearing teenaged boys shout out the car window that I had a fat butt. (That same butt would be considered quite lovely by today's "J-Lo" standards.) Comments like these affected me deeply. Even though I was certainly at a normal, healthy, attractive weight, I allowed these comments to affect me that I began starving myself, dropping 29 pounds during my senior year of high school. I did this by eating one-half of an alfafa sandwich for lunch each day. It was brutal, but when I could see my ribs, and my prom dress was falling off me, I was beautiful, right?

I dated Jack for awhile, and it didn't seem to matter how thin I was. I don't remember exactly what happened. I saw him recently. He has a paunch, wears glasses and is no longer in a band. I've changed too.

I've changed to the point where I realize that five pounds, or fifty pounds, is not the issue.

I'm much, much more than a number on a scale, and the stupid comments of others don't change that. Insert fingers in ears and repeat after me: I'M NOT LISTENING!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Book Meme

I am a Meme slacker and rule-breaker. My apologies. But this one from Ebeth (thanks for thinking of me!) was intriguing to a bibliophile like myself. It's just too bad I'm not reading something really profound like St. Augustine's Confessions like I and surely most moms of young kids, of course, usually do.

Anyhow, I've decided to post this book Meme over here first even though it was directed at my other blog because my chosen book pertains to exercise and body image. I'm juggling several books right now, but I decided to feature a book that's on my nightstand that I actually first read in college and have revisited several times since. It's Making Peace with Food by Susan Kano and out of the slew of books on eating disorders and body image I've read I found it to be one of the most helpful.

Now without further ado, I'm supposed to turn to page 56 and write down the fifth sentence as well as a few sentences following it, so here goes:

"You can decide when to exercise in advance, put that time aside in your schedule, and avoid constantly asking yourself, 'Shall I exercise today or not?'

If you stop exercising for a long period of time, there is no need to feel guilty. It happens to everyone, and feeling bad about it is unproductive. Remember that you are still the same person you were while exercising - lack of exercise has made you less fit, not less worthy. Just as eating poorly does not make you a 'bad' person. Ideally, you should handle it in the same way most people who love to be active handle it: mildly regret that you haven't been enjoying the fun and mental relaxation you had been enjoying and go back to it as soon as you can."

Now I'm going to cheat and include a passage I highlighted way down on this page just because it's something competitive, little me needs to be reminded of (yes, I admit I have been that crazy preggo lady on the elliptical trainer at the gym who's racing the dude in the spandex shorts next to me to see who can pump their arms and move their legs the fastest):

"Do not fall into the trap of pushing yourself so hard that you push yourself away from the fun of exercise."

Just in case you're wondering: Maniacal elliptical training doesn't really fall into the fun category.