Tag Archives: weight

mom finds “diet list” in her 7-year-old daughter’s room.

You read that subject line right. According to this post on Mommyish, a mother found a heartbreaking “diet list”, complete with documentation of daily food intake and exercises, on the floor of her 7-year-old daughter’s bedroom.

I can’t even imagine.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about something like this. I’m grateful for that fact, truly, because any time I come across something like this every hope and dream I have about the world in which we live dies just a little bit more.

Sorry for the melodrama but here’s the deal — I have a kid now. Not that this wouldn’t have pissed me off a year ago, but it’s a little different now that I’m a parent. In a moment of fleeting amnesia, I forgot how terrible the world can be sometimes, so I decided to bring a little life into it. So I had a little boy. A little boy who will sit next to little girls in his classes at school. Girls he will talk to and possibly befriend. Or fall in love with. A little boy whose utterances about girls’ appearances could either be encouraging or incredibly damaging.

See, people? Now it’s personal.

Anyway — here’s a picture of the “diyet” list this poor mother found.

diet_list

If you read the article, you’ll find that the mother’s discovery of her 7-year-old’s diet plan sends her into a tailspin of parental questions, as I’m sure would be the case for any warm-blooded parent with a heartbeat and a brain stem — How did my daughter learn about diets? Did she hear this from me? Was it from someone at school? Was it something on TV? 

I’ve only been a parent for 7 and a half months, but I am already wracked with so much mom-guilt it’s not even funny. Guilt because I work full time. Guilt because my son once choked on a piece of carrot that somehow didn’t get pureed enough. Guilt because he’s teething and so nursing isn’t exactly his favorite thing at the moment. The idea that I’m hurting my child in any way causes me paralyzing grief each day; I can’t imagine the pain I’d feel in my gut if I ever knew that my child didn’t like himself and that feeling was somehow tied back to something I said or did.

The reality is that we do live in a broken world, one that puts so much emphasis on our outward appearance that it’s literally (in this case at least) destroying our youth. We can’t get away from airbrushed magazine covers or commercials for diet pills or anti-aging cream. But what we can control are the words that come out of our own mouths.

You are fearfully and wonderfully made. You are beautiful. You are strong. You are capable. You are worth so much more than your skin color or weight or height or eye color or anything gives you credit for. 

Here’s the thing, though. I sincerely doubt this mother ever told her 7-year-old she needed to go on a diet. I also find it highly unlikely that this mother ever uttered anything to her daughter that might suggest she didn’t like her appearance at all. I’m sure this mom doted on her daughter every day like all of us would our own children. So what’s the disconnect?

While it’s extremely important to make sure we say these things to our children (both boys and girls) as well as our friends and family, we’ve got to start with us. The words we say to ourselves are just as important, if not more so. They’re not just heard by us; they’re heard by others. Especially, I’d argue, the littlest ones. The ones we wish couldn’t hear us the most.

What if she heard her mom complaining about her body? What if this woman (who, at this stage in life, is her daughter’s main example for womanhood) offhandedly commented on her lovehandles or something like we all tend to do? And what if this little girl just assumed that’s what life is like for a girl these days? To be unhappy with her body?

Furthermore, what if this little girl was a classmate of Dax’s? And what if she had no idea what a diet was, but when talking to Dax, learned I was on a diet.

“What’s a diet?” she might inquire.

“My mom says she has to eat less food because she’s fat,” he might respond, if he were to repeat anything I’ve ever said around him concerning my own body.

Let’s break this cycle. Let’s start with us. Let’s talk about ourselves positively and encourage others to do the same. Let’s tell our children they are the perfect creations they are. Let’s end this.

Now.

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friday favorite: jeans.

Okay so maybe this post is a humble-brag. And maybe by “maybe” I mean “absolutely, 100%, no doubt about it.”

Today I am stoked to say that, at four months postpartum, I officially fit back into all of my pre-pregnancy jeans.

Including, but not limited to, the smallest pair I owned before. WHAT WHAT! Nice to see you again, Pacific Sunwear size 9’s that I wore as a college freshman!

dork

What’s that? You don’t like my dorky bathroom picture? You hate fun, don’t you?

THAT SAID, I’ve got to cover my own butt on my body image blog, here. Some disclaimers:

  • NO I am NOT dieting or even exercising, really. Nor do I advocate that for new moms. I am not, nor have I ever, been trying to lose weight since Dax was born. My husband (and my late-night white-chocolate-covered-Oreo binges) can back me up on this. I have just been really, really, REALLY stinking lucky.
  • The reason this is exciting to me is less about having my “body back” (because I couldn’t give a rat’s behind about that) and more about the fact that I don’t have to spend money I don’t have on new jeans because oh my LORD, you guys, diapers are expensive. (See also: I’M WEARING JEANS I WORE MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF COLLEGE. PLEASE NOTE THAT THEY ARE NOT STYLISH. THEY AREN’T CUTE. I KEEP THEM BECAUSE I AM TOO BLOODY PRACTICAL TO BUY NEW CLOTHES. LIKE EVER.)
  • The size of my pants and the number on the scale have nothing to do with how much I appreciate my postpartum body. For proof, please refer back to this post.
  • No number will ever, ever, EVER define me or my happiness. Period. 
  • Except the number of dollars I don’t have to spend on new clothes. That number does, sadly, define a whole heck of a lot of my mood.

Happy Friday, y’all!

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pop singers don’t eat.

In recent days, Lady Gaga has come into the spotlight for, ahem, “letting herself go” and gain some weight. Media outlets, like they tend to do, have criticized her new “fuller” (I put all these words in quotes because GOOD GOD SHE LOOKS BLOODY NORMAL) figure. To defend herself, she posted a couple pictures of herself online in her underwear with the caption, “Bulimia and anorexia since I was 15.”

 

Now, all of a sudden, people are coming up alongside Gaga to aid her in her new found quest to spread body image positivity and courage.

Yayyyy, right?

Bleh. Yes? I guess? But here’s what pisses me off about the whole thing.

I used to love Lady Gaga. I would dance like a damn fool whenever her songs came on the radio or in the clubs. My husband and I bought her newest record (which was disappointing, honestly) the day it came out. I can’t remember another artist for whom I went out of my way to purchase their stuff on the drop date. (Okay, there’s Hanson, but they don’t count because I buy their stuff BEFORE the drop date. Obviously.) But I stopped supporting her cold turkey recently.

You see, all of you are late to the “Lady Gaga Has An Eating Disorder” Party. We were all invited to that party years ago and I guess no one but me noticed her invitation to it… despite it being on Twitter. 

I stopped supporting Lady Gaga because she tweeted about eating a salad with the hashtag #PopSingersDontEat. It was almost like she was proud of it, like she knew she was “better” than the rest of us for foregoing calories in the name of thinness. I didn’t want to support anyone, ESPECIALLY anyone who women (and girls!) across the globe looked up to, who would publicly advocate such unhealthy behavior.

Because I struggled with an ED, I know that her tweet, and the thought process behind it, had ED written all over it. The desire for validation. The absurdity. The stubbornness. The emptiness. Everything about her tweet SCREAMED, “Help. I have an eating disorder,” but only NOW, when we actually see Lady Gaga give her ED a name, do we feel sorry for her?

Why is it that a tweet that LITERALLY STATES one is refusing food just gets swept under the rug, while a picture that states, in lesser words, I DON’T EAT FOOD actually gets your attention? It’s the same thing! Is it the sheer fact that now, a medical term — anorexia and bulimia — is tied to the behavior? If so, that’s horribly sad, because think of all the people who are currently suffering from eating disorders without diagnoses.

I was one of them. For those of you who know my story, you know I suffered from an eating disorder for TWELVE YEARS before being diagnosed. Twelve. Years.

After Gaga’s original tweet, that’s when we should have been rallying up alongside Gaga for body positivity! We should have tweeted back at her that nothing is worth damaging your body for, especially not thinness. We should have tweeted back at her the truth that she’s fearfully and wonderfully made. But we didn’t.

I didn’t.

Had Twitter been around back in the days I was knee deep eating disorder hell, I’m almost positive I would have tweeted something about how a Pepsi One (yep, throw back) totally counts as a legitimate lunch option. And you know what? I would have secretly hoped that someone, anyone, would tweet back at me, “Please, eat something more than that. You’re beautiful. You deserve to treat yourself better.”

Don’t get me wrong — I’m glad Lady Gaga is doing what she’s doing. I think she’s a beautiful woman, inside and out, who, like a lot of us, has been tricked by society to believe that her worth is only skin deep. And I’m not mad at her for doing this all of a sudden. What makes me mad is that THIS IS NOT NEWS. Poor Gaga practically threw a Hail Mary pass on Twitter asking for help and no on caught it. But now, she’s in the end zone doing a dance after rushing for a touchdown in her underwear, and NOW we’re paying attention?

Welcome to the party.

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i’ll have curves with a side of bones, please. hold the cellulite.

Well, readers. I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.

The good news is that it seems as though the outrage against society’s “thin ideal” is finally being recognized. Magazine photo editors have finally gotten the message and have stopped Photoshopping images of women down to impossibly skinny frames.

The bad news is that instead of Photoshopping women to look skinnier, now editors are adding fake curves. According to the lovely ladies at Beauty Redefined, curvy is the new skinny, but only in places curves are “allowed.”

Sigh. SO CLOSE, YOU GUYS. SO CLOSE AND YET, SO FAR.

Seriously, people? The problem isn’t that images of women have been manipulated to look thin. The problem is that images of women (and men, for that matter) are being manipulated at all. I’ve been dying for magazine photo editors to get this through their heads and with this new revelation, I feel like I’ve spent the better part of my life begging my parents for a puppy, and they just finally agreed to get me one. Only they came home with a beat up Pound Puppy they found at the local Goodwill and hoped it would pass.

And so. Here we are again singing the same song reinforcing the idea that one body type is better than all the others. Where it used to be impossibly skinny, now it’s impossibly curvy; that is, thin all over except where curves are acceptable (boobs and butt, essentially).

As someone who falls in the “curvy” category (or plus-sized, if you can believe it) I’ve always wished that I could have this exact body type — thin everywhere, but with killer boobs and a butt. But even when I was starving myself into misery, I still had the body type I do: curvy, even in the spots where it’s not acceptable (bigger arms, bigger thighs, and so on). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a conversation with another girl about how we wish we could switch body parts with each other so we could fit the ideal.

ME: Ugh, I hate how big my boobs are. I wish I was skinny all over like you.

FRIEND: Whatever! I wish I had your shape and actually looked the way a woman is supposed to look!

ME: But we’re all ‘supposed to be’ skinny like you.

FRIEND: Yeah, but with big boobs like you!

I wasn’t born knowing that there is a “right” way to look and a “wrong” way to look. I was taught it from a very young age. Sadly, I was also taught that, thanks to Photoshop in the media, the “right” way to look is also the “impossible” way to look.

Either it’s being so skinny that you’d have to have most of your rib cage removed…

 

Or it’s extremely curvy, but only in the places that curves are accepted.

And if you don’t look like this? Well, it’s no one’s fault but your own because you’re the only one not working hard enough.

To learn more about this stupid new trend in Photoshopping, click here to read the article by Beauty Redefined.

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mirror, mirror…

I’ve always been obsessed with my reflection, in both good and bad ways. When I was a kid, my mom caught me smiling at my reflection in the mirror once, and I was so embarrassed. (Nowadays if I were to see a small girl do that I’d love it. I was mortified, though.) And now, if I so much as walk past a glass-covered building, my eyes automatically attach themselves to my reflection, usually for several seconds, just to make sure I still look presentable and am not walking funny or anything. I’ve even found myself having a conversation with someone while walking past my reflection and completely tuning them out while I ogle myself. Bleh.

This week, two of my friends sent me a link to the same story — the story of Kjerstin Gruys, a woman who avoided looking at herself in the mirror for an entire year.

You can read the story here but, in a nutshell, Kjerstin spent the better part of her life fighting an eating disorder. After years of therapy, she finally beat her ED. Later, she got engaged and began planning her wedding. While dress shopping, she found herself thinking the damaging thoughts associated with disordered eating and, rather than subjecting herself to the temptation to fall into old habits, she decided to avoid mirrors altogether.

Yes, even on her wedding day.

When I first read this story, I had conflicting feelings: first, I felt ecstatic for her. What an amazing, liberating thing. But then, I felt convicted. Ashamed of myself and my own addiction to my reflection and the fact that I didn’t think to do it first.

And I thought not straightening my hair for 40 days was a big deal!

When I got married, I got ready in a room with no mirrors (the church nursery). I distinctly remember feeling a sense of anxiety about not being able to give myself the once over before walking down the aisle. How silly — the happiest day of my life spent worrying about whether or not I look okay? (And, as if my Christian, children’s pastor of a husband even gave a crap? Let’s be real, y’all; I could have walked down the aisle in a paper bag and he would have said, “I do” anyway, so long as I took the paper bag off later. Blatant inferences intended.)

As a brand new mom, I haven’t had much time to look in a mirror, let alone analyze my appearance in one. Through this process, I’ve come to realize how truly fleeting and insignificant my looks are. This point was proven when just a week after delivering, one of my TV reporter friends (I used to work in TV news, by the way) was doing a story on breastfeeding and texted me to ask if she could come over to interview me. Without thinking, I agreed, and she told me she’d be over in 15 minutes. Then it hit me — I couldn’t remember the last time I’d brushed my teeth, showered, or changed clothes. And here I was, about to be filmed for television.

My apathy was amazing. You should have seen it. I only changed clothes and brushed my hair because I thought I was doing those in our viewing area a favor. I couldn’t have cared any less about my appearance because my new baby was happy, healthy, and fed. Oh, and I’d gotten to nap that day, too. (Priorities, people. Motherhood changes them.) My baby boy had become my mirror; the way he thinks of me — with blind love and dependence — is the way I’m learning to look at myself.

Instead of a new baby, Kjerstin focused on her new husband as her mirror. His thoughts about her were all she needed to engage with. In an interview, she said that, when he looked at her, he saw all the things he loved, not the things he wanted to change. And she wanted to look at herself that way, too. By removing mirrors from her life, she was able to look inside herself and see everything she has going for her. (Appropriately enough, her first dance with her husband was to the song, “I’ll Be Your Mirror”. How perfect, right?)

I’ve actually considered giving up looking in the mirror for Lent before. But I’ve never done it. Just like giving up social media, I’ve always assumed that avoiding mirrors would be “virtually impossible” so there’s no use in trying.

Psh. If one girl can do it for a year — the year in which she gets married — I can do it for 40 days. Maybe I will…

Thanks for your inspiration, Kjerstin! You truly are beautiful, inside and out.

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postpartum body image.

Let’s call this blog post a victory lap, shall we?

At two weeks postpartum, I’m in a very awkward stage as far as my body goes. I can’t fit into my pre-pregnancy pants yet, but my maternity pants are just a bit too baggy. Similarly, the number on the scale is considerably smaller than it was two weeks ago, but it’s still one that I’ve only ever seen since becoming pregnant.

The Lindsay from several years ago would probably be crippled by depression over this. She would most likely be missing out on all the wonderful blessings surrounding her newborn boy because she’d be too concerned about dropping the baby weight as fast as possible. And she’d definitely be completely inconsolable over her ridiculous new bra size. (For the record, I still have no idea what my actual bra size is. Thanks, nursing sports bras! You’re the best!)

But no. Not anymore.

I’d argue that, if anything, pregnancy has taken my body image and radically transformed it into something magnificent. Sure, my midsection is as soft as a pile of bread dough and is decorated by a couple of new stripes. And maybe I’m not entirely sure what “size” I am anymore. And let’s not get started on what my BMI says about me at present.

BUT…

As completely cliche as it sounds, I’ve never loved my body more than I do right now. Here’s why:

1. my body built a life.

Every time I look at my son — my beautiful, perfect, angelic son — I am in complete awe. My body is the instrument God used to create my sweet baby boy. It’s a true miracle, really.

2. my body sustains that life.

All I have to do in order to make sure my baby is fed is stick him to my boob. Bam. Fed.

(Also, to drive this point home, watch Jim Gaffigan’s stand up special called “Mr. Universe”. It’s on Netflix.)

3. i’ve never felt more loved.

Okay, so maybe it’s true that my two-week-old baby doesn’t really give a crap whether or not I have horns, so long as I feed him every two hours and change his diaper as needed. BUT BUT BUT it’s really nice to feel so loved, no matter what my body looks like. My son couldn’t care less if I ever lose the baby weight — or grow horns — he just wants me to be near.

4. for the first time in my life, i’m letting myself be loved.

Not just by my son, but by my husband and my friends and my family, too. For the first time since I can remember, I’m consciously letting myself be loved, without asking “why” or “how” or anything, just because I am me. Not because I look a certain way — because that “certain way” is definitely NOT what I look like right now, and I might never again — but because I simply am. Because I am a wife. Because I am Mommy. Because I am a friend. Because I am family. I am loved and that’s the end of that.

In today’s society, I think that too much pressure is put on new moms to get back to their pre-pregnancy form as soon as possible. What with celebrities like Beyonce gracing the front covers of magazines mere weeks after giving birth, it’s easy for new moms to feel insecure about their so-called ravaged bodies. But as for me, someone who has a past that is pock-marked by disordered eating, I refuse to fall victim to that.

There is nothing — I repeat, nothing – in this world that I have done that holds a candle to carrying my healthy, perfect, wonderful baby boy to term and giving birth to him. Nothing. And if I’m a bit pudgy and stretch-marky afterward? Let it be. I couldn’t be more proud of my body and the miracles it is capable of.

Put that in your beauty-obsessed pipe and smoke it.

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the body image avenger.

A little over a week ago, I went with my husband on opening night to see The Avengers. Despite not giving two craps about the comic books, or the characters therein, I still thoroughly enjoyed the film. The writing was punchy and smart, and, for those of us who have no back story to go on, it was easy to follow. Partner that with phenomenal special effects and a conceited yet endearing Robert Downey Jr. spouting off one quip after another? Magnifique.

I will say, however, that at 7 months pregnant and growing, with a steadily shrinking wardrobe, a face that has exploded with zits, and hair that refuses to be anything but unruly frizz, it was difficult for me to spend two and a half hours staring at the immaculately gorgeous Scarlett Johansson, next to my husband who has publicly admired her beauty in the past. While I tried to focus on the movie, my thoughts kept interrupting me:

Is he looking at her? Does he still think she’s hotter than me? Of course he still thinks she’s hotter than me! She IS hotter than me! She’s Scarlett F—ing Johansson! And I’m a big, chubby pregnant slob! I’m pretty sure angels sing when she wakes up in the morning. Angels who, undoubtedly, have pictures of Scarlett hanging on their walls. Angels do not have pictures of me hanging on their walls. If they do, it’s only as a visual reminder for them to talk to God about arranging my appearance on TLC’S “What Not to Wear.” You know… as a favor to me.

You’d think it would be easy for me to hate Scarlett because of all of this. Wish she never existed and all that. But the truth of the matter is, I think she’s just as bloody beautiful as everyone else on the planet thinks she is. And, today, she proved to me that she’s more than just a knock out.

Damnit, you guys. Scarlett’s sharp. She’s intelligent, a self-proclaimed body image warrior, and a fantastic writer to boot.

Touche, Johansson. Tou-freaking-che. You are a superhero, aren’t you? How can I ever measure up?

Anyway.

Scarlett wrote an article for the Huffington Post in response to tabloids making (wait for it) outlandish claims (gasp! who knew?!) concerning her body and weight loss in preparation for The Avengers. The article is bloody brilliant and should be read by everyone. Here’s an excerpt:

Since dedicating myself to getting into “superhero shape,” several articles regarding my weight have been brought to my attention. Claims have been made that I’ve been on a strict workout routine regulated by co-stars, whipped into shape by trainers I’ve never met, eating sprouted grains I can’t pronounce and ultimately losing 14 pounds off my 5’3″ frame. Losing 14 pounds out of necessity in order to live a healthier life is a huge victory. I’m a petite person to begin with, so the idea of my losing this amount of weight is utter lunacy. If I were to lose 14 pounds, I’d have to part with both arms. And a foot. I’m frustrated with the irresponsibility of tabloid media who sell the public ideas about what we should look like and how we should get there.

Check out the rest of the article here.

brb changing career path to become scarlett johansson when i grow up kthx.

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