Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Is There a Baby In Your Tummy?

So much to write about and so little time. But I did want to take a moment for a quick service announcement for people to understand the manatees in your life.

This morning I dropped off my little man at preschool. I usually do it every Tuesday and Thursday and then take a brisk 1.5 mile walk around the adjacent business park. I've only been doing this for about six weeks. I am hoping to increase my health and decrease my waistline. I'm concerned with the way I carry my weight- despite that fact I have to much and always have, the way I carry it in my belly is shown to be correlated to higher risks of all sorts of nasty things I don't want, like heart attack, stroke and diabetes. I also want to increase my energy and general health levels.

I eat too much. There is just no way around it. Compounded with the fact that I have been obese since the age of four, I have also played havoc with my metabolism with a variety ill-fated ideas and diet attempts. But, again, the truth must lie in the simple fact that I eat too much and don't burn enough.

But here is my big secret and the one that people get angry about: I don't hate myself.

I'm not filled with self-loathing, nor do I pine for that "someday" when I will be thin so that I can start living. I am living and I have a happy life. Not perfect. And some days, not so happy. But my happiness does not depend on my size. It can't. If that were true, I would have wasted 34 precious, wonderful years.

That doesn't mean I will stop trying. I am going to try to eat less. I am try to stop eating to fulfill emotional needs instead of nutritional needs. I am going to keep increasing my physical activity. I find great peace in my morning walks, yoga and Nia. I can't wait until it gets warm enough to swim again. And there are a lot of other physical things that I want to add to my repertoire.

And trust me- I have certainly tried to apply self-loathing at different times and spent a lot of time with it as a youth. Most recently I have tried Overeaters Anonymous groups. And while there are some aspects of it that I think I can grow & learn from, the part that I don't like is the loathing. There are stories of people who were very, very unhappy when fat. People who hid from life, not wanting to go out, not having healthy relationships. And as I would listen, I would try to relate. I felt that it I couldn't relate that I wasn't trying hard enough or wasn't being honest with myself. Clearly I am fat, so I must be much more unhappy than I realize. Listening to folks talk about how happy they are now- I must be missing out. But the last group that I was at, I had a surge of emotion... and it was because I was feeling that being in that room was keeping me from enjoying a beautiful Saturday morning with my family. And I felt that I was missing *that*.

But here's the thing- we are have different, personal journeys. I will go back to OA and I will continue to read the literature and look to grow my serenity, courage and wisdom. And I'm going to continue to work on my nutritional and physical activity. But it's not because I think my life will begin when & if I am thin... but rather, because I love my life and my son and I want to be around for both as long as possible.

So, back to what started this post. On this frigid Florida morning, I finally lured my son out of his warm covers. My husband, who had to leave especially early for the end of semester catch up, left little man a sweet note in his room that made us both smile. The sun was streaming in the window as we got ready, happy and singing. Our little old geriatric wiener dog, Abby, stuck her snout out from under the baby blanket next to LM's bed and sent us into giggles. I had warm, clean laundry and I was just very happy with life. I put my hair in a ponytail and threw on my walking clothes- no makeup to cover the weird skin issues I've had lately- I'd be sweating off any attempts at it and was already looking forward to the shower I allowed myself after I got my heart rate up. A little coffee and sudefed to help with the cold I refuse to acknowledge and we were off to school.

Once there, a little classmate looks up and ask, "Do you have a baby in your tummy?" Now- this is not the first (or second, or even third) time that a wide-eyed child has asked me that. And honestly, I wish the answer was yes (that's a whole different post). But I said, "Nope!" with a smile. A little girl sitting next to him said, "Well, why is your belly, uh, ummm" and uses her hands to indicate roundness. My reply? "Well, sweetie, I guess I just eat too much food." One of Little Man's teacher- a young one, still a student- looked a little mortified and said, "OH! Kids are just too honest," or something to that effect. I didn't leave feeling sorry for myself- but I did feel bad that she was so uncomfortable.

I related the story to my husband on the phone as I drove away and he remarked that I still sounded in a good mood. Here's the thing- kids are innocent and curious. If that had been a malicious 45-year-old man in a bar, I may have felt differently. But not because he would point out something I didn't know (um, yeah, I may have noticed my size. It didn't just sneak up overnight) but because he would be initially trying to be mean and I hate that. I hate it anywhere I see it.

So that's it- PSA over. Plenty of work and sunlight await me... I hope the same for you.

1 comment:

  1. This was a wonderful post! Because I feel like you do - I don't hate myself because I'm overweight. I've been underweight and I've been normal weight and now I'm overweight. One of the things I've learned is that that can change! You do what you need to do and live your life while doing it.

    I used to have a "fat" blog that was all about losing weight. It was so BORING! And I find people who talk about nothing but how to lose weight, losing weight or how they lost weight absolutely tedious. I gave up that blog after I hadn't written on it in a few months because that's not where my head is.

    I recognize that I need to lose weight. I exercise when I can and practice mindful eating with the occasional splurge to remind myself that eating IS a pleasure as well as a necessity. But my weight doesn't rule my life. Love does. And part of that love is doing what I can to be around as long as I can for my man and my son.