Archive for the ‘Weight Loss & Exercise’ Category

Life shows up everywhere on my body...

Life shows up everywhere on my body…

This is my body.

It has done amazing things.

Almost ten years ago, it created another human being.

It functions without a body part many others have: a gallbladder.

Last year, for the first time ever, it completed a 5k race. And then, just a couple weeks later, it completed another one.

This body of mine used to weigh 70 pounds more than it does now. In a matter of five months, it went from being “obese” to being “normal.” Every part shrank: my legs, my arms, my chin, my stomach.

My body puts up with too little sleep. It deals with too much sugar. It is affected by my worry and stress. I have cut it accidentally, banged parts of it into doors, tables, and other hard objects.

It has been cut into and has the scars from two surgeries to prove it. My daughter asks about “her” scar sometimes. By now it’s such a natural part of my body that I barely notice it.

This body does things automatically: my heart beats, my food digests, my lungs exhale. My body will run up stairs, carry heavy things, remember how to do a kick-ball-change from dancing lessons 20 years ago.

If you stop to think, to really think, it’s pretty amazing.

I don’t always focus on the amazing-ness of my body.

In fact, more often than not, I see my body as a collection of flaws all put together.

My hair: too thin and flat.

My brain: too anxious, my responses too emotional or not rational enough.

My thighs: too big; my cellulite too ugly for shorts.

The lines on my stomach: stretch marks, scars. All of it unfit for a bikini.

Sometimes my body turns against me. I don’t understand why it inherited dry, itchy, red Psoriatic skin, why I had to hide it in embarrassment just when I was hitting puberty and embarrassed about everything. I can’t grasp why I’ve hit a weight/willpower plateau that won’t budge for now. My body was so willing to change, to mold itself into its new shape, and now it is resisting, making me work harder.

Yet it still does all the things I ask of it, despite my disdain for the parts that are flawed. It can run three miles at a time again. It can make my hands complete an astonishing custom painting in a week’s time.

My hands can draw a realistic picture, take a photograph, write words together into sentences and paragraphs, and my eyes can read thousands of words every day. My body helps me do all the things I find important.

My arms can hug my kids, big squeezy hugs that leave us both gasping and giggling.

My hand can hold Luke’s hand, my small one fitting inside his large one like it was made to fit there.

I don’t give my body enough credit for everything it does. I take it for granted. I forget sometimes that everything works normally, that I don’t have to be worried about sickness, pain, disease, or despair with my body, right now.

Every day for 36 years, my body has served me without fail. I have abused it, berated it, tired it out, and put it down endlessly. Yet it doesn’t react or respond, it just exists, as it always has, maybe hoping I will see the error of my ways and feed it more vegetables, stretch out my muscles, put down the junk food.

It doesn’t judge me like I judge it.

There will be many days where all I see is the pants that don’t fit quite right, the thinning skin on my arm, or the bulging veins in my hands.

But sometimes, I will remind myself: this is what a body looks like when it survives.

This is a body that lives.

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For the past three weeks, I’ve been running again. Yes, again. As in, I stopped running for several months because I was super busy lazy.

I knew I needed to start doing something again because I felt yuck.

It’s funny, in a way, because when I was heavy, I would have given anything to look and weigh what I do now. But now that I’m here, which is a few pounds more than my lowest weight, I feel like a loser-blobby-fat-pants. It’s mostly in my head, and in the sheer terror of facing the possibility of weighing what I used to. Just because I know it’s not what’s best for me and the life I want to live.

So, running. The thing I hate most, but that works the best and is the easiest thing to do. Shoes + outside = running. No excuses.

Oh, but I had them. Lots of excuses. They weren’t doing me any good, so I knew I had to stop hiding behind them.

This time, my family is running with me. Luke runs with me every night. One or more of the kids join in at least every few nights. And I walk and run with my mom twice a week. Not only can I not hide behind my excuses, but I now have several people who talk me into going if I’m trying to talk myself out.

Since I hate running and always have, I made a rule for my self way back in 2012 when I first decided to lose weight. I started running on a treadmill, walking and running until I hit 20 minutes. After a while, once I could run the whole time, I started running outside. Then, I made myself a deal. Once I got myself out the door and started to run, I wasn’t allowed to stop until I got back.

Even if I didn’t run every day, I knew if I did run, I wouldn’t be allowed to wuss out. For some reason, this little Jedi mind trick worked like a charm for me.

If I went running, I was going to damn well keep running until I got home. It was my stubborn self saying, If you start, you’re damn well gonna finish.

That little promise I made carried me through, and I eventually completed two 5k races thanks to my decision to finish what I started. Now that I’ve started running regularly again, I still stick to my guns on this one.

Train Tracks

My unfinished projects seem to lead somewhere like here.

Which led me to thinking . . . why doesn’t this rule apply to other things in my life? There’s other things I’ve wanted to do – some for years – that could use this rule.

Just finish the countless books, stories and even blog posts I’ve started writing. Just finish the paintings that aren’t finished. Just finish the important things I start. Maybe you’re like me, and have dozens of half finished projects just laying around, tucked into closets, or sitting on your computer. I don’t know what realm your unfinished business falls into: maybe scrapbooks, knitting, getting your GED, courses you started, woodworking, home improvement, starting a business, learning a new sport . . . the list is, of course, endless.

I have The Big Two that I keep coming back to no matter how many times I try to escape them: painting and writing a book. Both have come in and out of my life since I was a teenager. Both I’ve tried to give up on.

It didn’t work.

This tells me that these are things I shouldn’t give up on.

Like running, both painting and writing are things I need to finish, because I started. I started years ago when I picked up a brush and I wrote a story, and no matter what was going on in my life in the years since, I’ve gone back to these two passions/annoyances time and time again. They won’t leave me alone.

Now, it’s time to figure out how to finish what I’ve started.

No excuses.

Just start running.

What about you? What is something you have been unable to finish and why? What would motivate you to finish those important things? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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Will your goal weight make life perfect?

Will your goal weight make life perfect?

No matter how many times we say it’s not true, many of us still believe that achieving that perfect weight/pant size/shape/look, or whatever you want to call it, will magically give us the perfect life we’ve been seeking. Or, insert any other “if only,” here: if only I had a better job, a partner who loves me, kids who listened, a college degree . . . the list is endless because each of us seeks different things.

Now, having been on both sides of the weight loss coin, I had some recent thoughts on the myth that certain things lead to perfect lives.

In the photo on the right above, I was probably at my heaviest weight.

When I weighed 220 pounds, I had all of these feelings:

  • Sad
  • Frustrated
  • Content
  • Elated
  • Invisible
  • Nervous
  • Happy
  • Thankful
  • Tired
  • Proud
  • Ashamed

In the photo on the left, I weighed the least I’d ever weighed.

When I weighed 143 pounds, I had all of these feelings:

  • Sad
  • Frustrated
  • Content
  • Elated
  • Invisible
  • Nervous
  • Happy
  • Thankful
  • Tired
  • Proud
  • Ashamed

To put it bluntly, my life was as far from “perfect” at my heaviest weight as it was when I was at my lowest weight. Losing more than 75 pounds changed many things in my life – there’s no doubt about that – but I was still the same person with the same life. Losing weight didn’t change that.

I struggle as much now with my self image as I did when I was 75 pounds heavier. It never goes away, it never ends. Achieving the “right” size, the perfect physique, the desired weight, will never change who you are at your core.

Don’t think I am saying this to discourage. It’s just the opposite, in fact. I’ve been thinking lately about the myth I believed when I began my weight loss journey, that somehow once I reached that magic goal weight, I would suddenly have the life I’d always dreamed of. I fell into that trap, and I still deal with the negative effects of that belief today.

My life at 143 pounds was filled with annoyances, have-to’s, frustrations, and disappointments. It was also filled with amazing moments, laughter, fun, and peace. Just like my life at 220 pounds.

Don’t Change Your Body Because You Believe This Myth!

Change your body because:

  • You want to be healthier
  • You want to set a good example for your family or friends
  • You want to use your body to achieve some awesome goals
  • You want to feel better
  • You want to

In Fact, Don’t Change Anything Because You Believe This Myth!

The myth that anything will “make life perfect” is a myth for a reason: life is never perfect. Life is life, and you have ups and downs, good days and bad days, awesome moments and shit moments, and none of it (none of it!) is based on your body size or shape.

Remember that you’re still you no matter what your body looks like, where you live, what work you do, who you hang out with, and work like hell to be the best you possible. If that means changing your body in some way, go for it, and be proud of your accomplishment! If it means accepting your body just the way it is, do that, and then continue to work on what makes you awesome.

Don’t live for the someday when life will be perfect . . . live for the today when life is messy, random, funny, weird, and beautiful.

At some point in our lives, we learn it was never gonna be perfect, anyway.

Did you ever believe that getting or having that one thing (a girlfriend, money, a certain weight, status, looks) would make life perfect? How did it turn out? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

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Losing 73 Pounds and Keeping it Off

Losing 73 Pounds and Keeping it Off

The last time in my life I remember being “skinny” was when I was about 7 years old. I have pictures of me before being chubby and after. I was one of those kids that, until about age 8, was a stick: long knobby legs, skinny arms, long brown hair.

Then, something happened (or many somethings) and all that changed. I clearly have a picture in my mind of me at 8 years old. It’s from a photo of me, and I am standing in our house, wearing short shorts and a t-shirt. I have frizzy brown hair (back in the days when perms were awesome) pulled back with two barrettes. I have a round face and round middle. The way I’m standing in the photo is just awkward to begin with, with my hands up and my back arched, so I’m sticking everything out and not sucking anything in. It’s a totally different me from the skinny kid just a year before.

Ever since that time, I have done battle with my image, my weight, my reality. I’m sure I promised myself a million times “Today, I will start losing this (freaking) weight.”

And a million times, I didn’t.

I knew I was overweight, but I stopped associating that problem with me. I loved chocolate (plain Hershey’s only, please) and would take to stashing a bag with me. If there was dessert in the house, I would wake up in the morning, head to the kitchen and eat it straight from the container . . . cake, brownies, cookie, whatever, then I would make myself a full breakfast. Sweets were truly my heroin, but I loved plenty of other things like pasta, potatoes, or fries. I told myself I was pretty healthy because I hated soda, tried to always eat my vegetables, didn’t eat white bread, and didn’t eat prepackaged snacks.

Heck, I even worked in nutrition and could tell you anything you wanted to know about the Food Pyramid, exercising, and choosing the right foods.

I could say it, but I didn’t live it.

I was a sneaky eater. I didn’t want people to see me being bad, so I hid my chocolate, hid when I ate more that I thought was normal. Maybe I even hid it from myself. If nobody saw me eating, it must not count.

Jaime, 1980

Me as a toddler, around 1980. In the top photo are my Uncle Steve and my gorgeous, ageless Memaw. That’s my brother in the dryer at the bottom there. (We didn’t turn it on, if you’re wondering).

My other downfall was portion size. I never paid attention to how much I ate. I had no idea how many calories I took in during a typical day. Second and third helpings were ok. In my head, I convinced myself that I couldn’t lose weight, that I was healthy, just bigger, and that I was unable to follow a regimented diet plan like you saw all laid out in magazines. I hated those. 1/2 cup of asparagus and 3 oz of lean meat? Who eats like that? Not me.

I also convinced myself I was not athletic. Which is funny since I danced for 14 years, from third grade through college graduation, and rode horses. Plus, I liked walking, mostly because it didn’t really seem like exercise. But team sports, going to the gym, lifting weights? Ugh. Work.

My First Attempt

I successfully lost weight one time. It was in 2004, about mid-spring. It suddenly felt like a light switch had been flipped in my head, and I was able to do all the things I needed to lose weight. I started reducing my portions to the size of a side plate instead of a dinner plate, and walked every day for at least a couple of miles. I got down to around 155, maybe a little less. I was in a size 12, which for me was a huge deal. I felt great. I looked great. Maybe too great?

In September of that year, I became pregnant with my first child. Have you ever been extremely nauseous and ravenously hungry at the same time? How about for several months at a stretch? I tried valiantly to keep it all under control, but the day I checked in to the hospital for my c-section (my baby was breech), I weighed in at 221. My daughter, when she was born, weighed 6lbs, 13oz. So, I know the weight was all me.

I Gave Up For Years

March of 2009, when I got a tattoo of my daughter's name on a trip to Branson, MO.

March of 2009, when I got a tattoo of my daughter’s name on a trip to Branson, MO.

For the next seven years, I struggled mightily to force myself to that place I had been in 2004 when I found the magic spark that made me lose weight, but I was not able to. As 2009 came to a close, my life exploded. My husband left and I was suddenly a single mom with a house to pay for and a daughter to raise. For many months, simply existing was a success. I was crushed and heartbroken and completely lost, so taking care of myself went waaaaaay on the back burner.

At some point, I made it out of grieving for my marriage and began to come to grips with everything. I knew I didn’t want to be alone forever, but I also knew dating meant I had to have some respect for myself, and I didn’t. I tried online dating once before, and met someone at the end of 2010, but it ended badly and I swore off any form of dating for a while.

Finally, my best friend, Angela, told me I had to give it another shot. I knew I wouldn’t find Mr. Right until I saw myself as Miss Right.

This Time, I Changed My Mind

In February of 2012, I promised myself, this time, I could do it.

I could lose weight. It wasn’t a body thing, and eating thing, or an exercise thing.

It was all in my head, and if I could get my brain to back me up, I could do this.

Tattoo in 2012

Me taking a photo of my tattoo in 2012, over 3 years after I got it and in a very different body than the day I got it.

I joined My Fitness Pal so I could keep track of my calories (a really eye-opening thing once I saw how far 1,200 calories a day went. Hint: not far.) I broke out my dormant treadmill and began walking on it at night after my daughter went to bed. Gradually I added a minute of running, and then after a couple of months, I was running for about 20 minutes every night. According to my app, I was losing 1-2 pounds a week. I carefully measured my food, and found that if I ate pretty much the same thing for breakfast and lunch, it helped.

Breakfast: Honey Bunches of Oats with skim milk and strawberries.

Lunch: An apple, a serving of crackers or pretzels, and an ounce of cheese.

Add lots of coffee (no sugar, only creamer) and rinse, repeat every day.

Dinner: Meat, a vegetable and a little bit of rice or bread or other side.

After dinner I allowed myself 16 Ghiradelli chocolate chips. 16 is a serving size. It seems brutal, but it let me have chocolate.

After a while, my body got used to the portion sizes, and I stopped craving so much sugar. I went down to a size 14, which I was able to wear because of the clothes I had kept from 2004, but soon I was too small for those and had to go buy clothes that fit, which were around size 8. In July of 2012, I was at 160, and by the end of September, I was at 143. During all those months, I entered my meals every day, just to make sure I didn’t get off track. I also weighed myself every morning.

In the middle of all this, I joined another online dating site. I talked to a few people who seemed promising, and went on a couple dates that proved that adage is true: some people can seem like anybody online. In real life? Not so much.

I talked to one guy for a couple months, but in the end he proved to be very squirrely. Single dad, but no job, no vehicle? I finally wised up there that I was probably being played. In late July, I got a message from a guy who liked that I was a Damn Yankee. Turns out, he was, too. Would I like to meet? I couldn’t that night because of my job, but agreed to meet him for dinner the next night, a Saturday.

I was standing in the “lobby” of Longhorn restaurant (a running joke between us now because he doesn’t believe it had a lobby) when Luke came around the corner of the restaurant. I had made it to the restaurant on the bottom of a tank of gas on E, and I didn’t dare sit in the parking lot with the AC running for fear I would run out of gas and not make it home. Our “meeting” lasted until after midnight. I found out he understood all about my weight loss (a thing I was still very shy about discussing) because he used to weigh almost 400 pounds himself, and had lost the weight by changing his eating and taking up running.

Luke & I in NY

Luke lost nearly 200 pounds and has kept it off for over 7 years. I lost 73 pounds and have kept it off for 2 years.

Even through starting a new relationship (there were a LOT of rocky places involving my daughter accepting it, and us merging our lives and understanding who the other person was) but through it all I stuck to my plan.

Eat the same breakfast and lunch. Pay attention to calories. Allow yourself a small treat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

This isn’t a diet.

I have to eat this way for the rest of my life. Otherwise, I’ll end up back where I was, and I know that no matter what tempting food is staring at me, it’s not worth being fat again.

All along, it was a mental journey, and my physical body just reflected that.

Every single day, with my actions and my thoughts, I choose to be at my current weight. It’s not as much of a conscious decision some days as it is on others, but it’s still a decision I have to stick to.

Now I’ve added exercise back in. I pretty much lapsed on the exercise for almost a year, yet maintained my weight. 1,200 calories, every day. I know what most foods I eat are calorie-wise now, so that makes it easier. I joined a running group in March of 2014 with my mom, and just completed my first 5k. There’s another in 3 weeks that I now know I can complete with little issue.

My First 5K Race

The two people I used to be have changed places. For most of my life I was a fat girl, with a skinny one somewhere inside, waiting for me to allow her out. Now, I’m a skinny girl, who keeps the fat girl I used to be tucked away inside. She’s still there, but I fight every day to not let her out.

Losing weight is a mental battle, and maintaining a weight loss is, too. Any person who has successfully lost and kept it off will likely say something similar. It’s not the diet you follow, the exercise you choose, the doctor you go to, or the pills you take.

It’s you.

You’re the difference between losing the weight and not losing the weight. It’s not even about “willpower.” It’s about making a choice every day (sometimes every minute or every second) to not let the fat you win anymore. She’s not mean, or evil, or bad. Often, the fat you is scared, or hurt or sad. She thinks she’s protecting you, and helping you, and comforting you.

But there comes a point where you finally have to come to grips with the damage fat you is doing, either to your mind or your health.

It’s not sexy or easy. It won’t sell a product on the back pages of a magazine. Shaun T won’t do an infomercial about it. Because there’s no way to sell you what’s already there, inside your head, waiting. You have to be willing to admit that losing the weight will be hard, frustrating, challenging, and life altering. But also totally worth it.

And only then can the journey start.

 

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In February of 2012 (two years ago now!) I started doing something I never believed I would be able to do. I began losing weight, and instead of giving up like I’d done a hundred times before, I kept at it.

My best bud, iPhone, had an app on it called MyFitnessPal, (awesome site, by the way . . . I couldn’t have lost the weight without it) and my info when I first set it up showed me weighing 221 pounds. I am 5’6″ tall, so this put me in overweight, definitely pushing something else, especially since my BMI (body mass index) was over 30 which meant I was that word that I can’t even stand the sound of . . . obese. Ugh, what a way to think of yourself.

Pool Pic 2011

This is the picture that got me writing this post. This is me in 2011, I am on the left and am obviously trying to suck it in here.

Today, at this very moment. I am still 5’6″ but my BMI is 23.9. I weigh 148 pounds.

Camping 2014

This is me on a camping trip in March of 2014.

The thing is, in my head, I will always be that fat girl. I spent so many years being her, compensating for how it felt to be overweight but not seeing it. Oh, I felt it. I understood it. But even though I looked in the mirror every day – I never really could see myself, and be honest about it.

But I can now.

Even now, two years into my new body, when I look at the pictures from before, I cringe.

How did I not see it? How did I have such blinders on? That little voice that lived inside my head was constantly telling me, “Hey, you’re not that big. Plus, insert excuse here. (You’re a new mom, you’re just built this way, you eat healthy, you only had a kid x years ago, how fast are you supposed to lose it? And on, and on). That voice was also the one saying, go ahead, have a bag of Hershey’s, you deserve it!

Just like when I was big and couldn’t see myself in a mirror or in photos for how I really looked, now that I’m 73 pounds lighter, I don’t see the new version of me. In my head, I’m the same as I always have been.

About 10 months into dropping the weight, and about 5 months into my relationship with Luke, he took me to the casino. I had never been before and we thought it would be fun/funny to go and see how I did (Side note: I’m terrible at going to casinos. It’s a depressing place and I lost all my $20, hustled out before I did any more damage, and have no want or need to go back). They have a huge bathroom there, two rows of stalls, and when I came out and rounded the corner, I was startled by this skinny dark-haired chick coming toward me. As we got closer to each other, it was obvious that she was me.

I didn’t know her at all, and as I stood there washing my hands, I wondered how I would ever be able to see the fat girl I was and this new person as one and the same.

I’m two years into being “skinny” by outward appearances. All my life, I longed to be a skinny person. I wondered what it would be like to wear clothes of a certain size (it’s several, by the way: size S and M, size 7, 9, 10, 11, junior 13. They all fit me at different times and on different days). I thought, life would be so much better, easier, free-er! It would all change when I became skinny!

My life did not change because I’m skinny. I still have the same job, same house, same parents, same family and children. I still struggle with being introverted, with a messed up self-image, with wanting to eat things I shouldn’t. For a long time, I hovered at 143-145. Now I’m at 148.

It freaks me out a little and I’m struggling to cut back so I can be five pounds less again. So I’m not so worried that this is the beginning of a slow climb back to fat. I run my very first 5K tomorrow. I don’t know what, if any, feelings of accomplishment that will bring? I still hate running, but I make myself do it so I can prove “I can.”

Somebody said to me when I told them I was doing a 5K this weekend, “Oh, I didn’t know you were a runner!” I replied, “Neither did I. I was just as surprised as you are.”

I didn’t know there was a skinny person in here, either. I’m still getting to know her. It turns out, we’re a lot alike.

Have you ever achieved a goal, and it wasn’t quite what you expected? What was different?

Did you struggle with weight, image, a bad habit, or something more serious like drugs, alcohol (hey, gambling?) and now don’t?

Once you got through it, did it change your life or the person you thought you were?

I’d love to hear your thoughts . . . leave me a comment.

Grrr…. I know, that’s not a good way to start off, but if any of you out there have mothers, you might understand what I’m feeling right now. Who can inspire more guilt and therapy sessions that your own mother? I can’t think of much. And this weekend, I found out (casually, of course) that my mother said a doozy of a remark about me…behind my back…to my husband. Who then waited two weeks to tell me. The sad part of all of it is that despite the fact that I am almost thirty, my mother’s remark crushed me. How can she still do that? I literally have been depressed all weekend because of it, and avoiding her to boot.

So first, a little background. My mother is 5’5″ and about the size of a (very thin) toothpick. She teaches aerobics class and is almost obsessive about working out. Me? I come from my dad’s side of the family. If you put me and my mother together, we don’t even look like we’re from the same genus and species, much less from the same family, much less than the fact that the woman gave birth to me.

I am the spitting image of my Memaw, my dad’s mother. Which on the one hand isn’t bad. She’s almost eighty and looks sixty, at the most. She just bought her own house a few years ago and has a younger boyfriend. In all the (almost thirty) years I have known my Memaw, she has never changed, looks-wise. Seriously! So if I have those genes, I can’t complain too much. However, she has always struggled with her weight. So I got those genes, too. I remember first feeling self-conscious about being chubby at age 8. Since that time, I have done constant battle with my self image. I am all those things you would say… big boned, more to love, etc., etc. I am not a huge person by any means, but I am not skinny, and I have always been extremely conscious of the fact that I am not skinny. The number one person who makes me feel like a big blob of disappointment? Yup, that’s right, Mom.

Before I had found out I was pregnant with my daughter in Sept. of 2004, I had just lost 40 pounds. I was looking smoking hot, at least in my mind. It was the least I’d weighed since high school, and I worked very hard to get there.  Of course, as soon as I was at my lowest weight, I became pregnant. Well, let me tell you, it has all gone to hell since then. I have struggled ten times more with my weight since having Sophie than ever before. I am a size 14, but I feel huge. My 14’s don’t fit right, even thought they do fit. It’s like all my parts shifted around after I had Sophie. More thighs, more middle. Couldn’t it have all gone to the boobs? Anyway, enter into this my tiny, energetic mother. I know she judges my size. She always has, but never directly. I see it in the comments she makes to others and the looks she gives others. To her, fat people are disgusting. Although, some of her very good friends are larger people too. She just doesn’t say anything to them directly. So if fat people are disgusting, does that mean I am too?

I know how I look. I know how to eat right and exercise. I fell awful in bathing suits and shorts. I beat myself up about my appearance more than anyone else ever could. Why can’t I bounce back to my pre-pregnancy weight in 3 months like all those celebrities? Oh, that’s right, I have to work a full time job and care for a child, often by myself, and we’re not rich. Where it’s taken them three months, it’s taken me three years, with no change. Three years!! This is partly why I’m unsure about having more kids. I’m terrified of being pregnant again.

So here I am, largely feeling down on myself to begin with because it’s hot summertime and everyone is wearing less. I just want to put on a big sweater, but that’s not an option. Then we go on vacation with my parents two weeks ago. One day, we’re in the pool at the state park, and I take Sophie to the bathroom. Apparently, while I’m gone, my mom says to my husband, Chris, “Geez, Jaime’s really going to have to do something about her weight soon, isn’t she?” My husband replied, “We all do, you know. We’ve slacked off lately,” or something to that effect.

My husband told me this on this past Saturday while we were working on our budget. The subject of my mother came up (she has a thing with looking down her nose at our debt problems, too) and Chris mentioned what she said. I was so shocked and hurt that I almost burst into tears right there, but I didn’t want Chris to see how much her comment affected me. Even now, two days later, I am still unable to come to terms with it. First of all, I know why she said it to Chris. Because she would never say it in front of me. But I know she thinks it, so isn’t that worse? And second, doesn’t she think I know? Doesn’t she realize what mean, hateful things I say to myself day in and day out about how I’m such a failure at losing the weight? Does she think I don’t notice how I look? Or does she just think I don’t try; that I’m too lazy to do anything about it?

I guess overall, it doesn’t really matter. She said what I knew she was thinking all along. She confirmed my worst fears…yes, she is judging me, and she does wish I was thin like her. Does it kill her that her daughter is overweight? Is she embarrassed? Disgusted? Disappointed? All of the above?

Well, join the club. I think all of those thoughts, too. But she is my mother. Isn’t she supposed to love me unconditionally? Why do mothers hold the ultimate power to inspire hurt and guilt in us daughters? Why does it have to be so hurtful to hear those words coming from her, when they are the same words I say to myself? It just goes back to that awful mother/daughter dynamic that we have played out over the years. I am never good enough because I am not like her. That’s the message I’ve always gotten, isn’t it?

I pray and hope that my relationship with Sophie is different. Sure, I want her to be healthy and smart, but I will tell my future self right now: Don’t cut her down when all she’s looking for from you is love and support. Don’t go for her weakness just because you know what it is. Help her with her problems, but don’t make her feel like less of a person because she has them. Future self, treat your daughter like you wish you were being treated right now. You don’t have to live by the example you have just because it’s the only example you have.

There, I think I’ve said everything on my mind. I’m not trying to trash my mother, because I really do love her and she’s done a lot for me. It’s just that there are some bad relationship dynamics that are always there no matter how good the two people are individually. I just wish she’d see my talents and my humor and my goodness rather than my faults. It’s hard, isn’t it, when you have children and your whole perspective on your own mother changes. Has that happened to anyone else?