The Body Image Trap

This is not the typical homeschool geared post, but I feel like it is something I need to sound off about.  I know I am not the only one who is affected but I think it will be therapeutic for me to write about it.  All during my childhood and throughout college I played soccer.  All the time.  It wasn’t until I was in high school that my issue with self esteem and my weight was an issue.  Maybe because I began comparing myself to other girls.  I constantly hid my stomach by blousing my shirts because it wasn’t perfectly flat.

This carried on into college.  I was a size 8 and though that I was heavy because my stomach wasn’t as flat as some of my teammates.  As I approached my senior year of college, I was burned out and decided to not play soccer my senior year.  With that came a desire to stray from everything exercise related because I no longer had to do it.  That year I must have put on 30 lbs of weight.  Since that time, I have always struggled with my weight and I was still struggling with my self esteem.  This was all in my own head.  My husband’s feelings for me never changed.  It was all about my feelings about myself.

I dropped some weight prior to becoming pregnant with A-Man.  I stayed fairly steady until I had T-Man.  All of a sudden, I was smaller than before I was pregnant with him.  Obviously, I was ecstatic.  I didn’t have to beat up on myself so much anymore.  I was finally wearing a size smaller.  Obviously that was important, right?  Wrong.  Yet I still didn’t see it.

When Hubby had two job layoffs during T-Man’s first year, I put on weight again.  The stress took over and I did not watch what I was eating or how much of it.  Now that T-Man is approaching 3, I’m beating myself up again.  I look at friends of mine and even strangers and compare myself.  I look at what I’m not.  What size I’m not.  How thin I’m not.  How pretty I’m not.  That is what goes on my own head.  Ridiculous, right?  Yet, how do I get it to stop.

It was listening to some sermons in church that got me thinking about what I was doing to myself.  Am I where I want to be with my weight?  No.  Is constantly beating myself up about it going to make that change? No.  While health is important, the appearance is what I was focusing on.  We eat healthy food.  We hardly eat fast food and we do not eat foods with a lot of preservatives or artificial dyes.  However, I do make treats at home from scratch.  I don’t want my children to struggle like I have. As a child, my brother and I were not allowed many sweets.  Naturally, when I got out on my own I made up for lost time.  This is something that I struggle with now. I want my children to understand that you can have certain foods.  They just have to be eaten in moderation. I want my children to love themselves no matter what they look like.  In order to send that message, I have to walk the walk.

It is time to accept and love myself for who I am and where I am right now.  Is it more important that I am wearing a size 6 or that I am educating my children and giving them a loving and explorative home environment?  Is it more important that I run to a gym for 2 hours a day or sit down and read a stack of books while snuggling on the couch?  With that being said, I do incorporate exercise into my day.  However, it works with my schedule.  That means that in my 30 minutes of exercise, I probably won’t drop weight and be at my “dream” size in 3 months.  That’s okay. There are two boys who hug me and tell me I am beautiful no matter what I look like.  My husband still sees the woman he met almost 18 years ago.  It is time that I start seeing those things too instead of dwelling on the negative.  

This post is not just for me, but for all of the women who are struggling with their weight and any other aspect of their appearance.  I see woman who are heavier than me carry themselves with so much confidence instead of trying to hide and I envy that.  We need to see ourselves for the beauty that we possess, regardless of our clothing size.  So for those of you who are struggling alongside of me, hear this.  You are beautiful!  You are strong!  You are loved!  Don’t hide yourself because you think people are judging.  If anyone is judging you because of your weight, it is those people who have the issue.  Love yourself!  Love your body even if it is not where you want it to be!  You’ll get there but love yourself every step of the journey, no matter how long it takes you.  You are worth it!

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