Archive for the ‘Body Image’ Category

Parallel Trilogy by Christine Kersey

I recently read a young adult series of books by Christine Kersey called the Parallel Trilogy.  While it’s a trilogy, there are two follow-up books to make a total of five books in the series.  The first book is called “Gone” and is free for the Amazon Kindle app at this moment.

In this series, a teenage girl runs away from home after a stupid fight with her mom.  Without giving away too many of the details, she ends up in a parallel version of earth in which it is illegal to be overweight.  Yep, you read that right.  It’s illegal to be overweight.  In this alternate world, every home has a scale and you must weigh in once a week. Each scale is connected to a government agency that tracks your weight, and to make sure that the right person is weighing in, the scale has a retinal scan.

If your weight continues to stay too high or you show an uncontrollable pattern of weight gain, then Enforcers can come to your house and take you away to a Federally Assisted Thinning (F.A.T.) Center.  Of course, the F.A.T. Centers aren’t anything like weight loss spas.

While the books have mixed reviews, and some rocky moments, I read all five of the books in the series and found them pretty interesting and slightly terrifying.

The author says this at the end of the book:

The USDA Regulation banning junk food from schools used in this story, as well as the weighing of children at school, is not ficticious.  Whether you agree with those regulations or not, they are a reality. Here are links to articles that talk about these new regulations.

Here are two articles about weighing children in schools:  esity-rates-muscular-people

Here’s an article about how the government wants to influence what you buy in the grocery store:

It’s the last two articles that the author listed that get to me the most.  I’m currently 38 years old. When I was a kid, my elementary school was apparently a testing ground for quarterly body measurement testing and reporting.  Not only did we have our weight measured, but also our bmi using skin caliper testing.  This was done in our gym class.  I can attest to the fact that instead of making kids healthier, all it did was give bullies additional ammunition against kids that were different and added further psychological pressure onto kids who were already struggling.  I was one of them and can attest to the fact that it just made me feel crappier about myself and contributed to life-long self-confidence issues.  All of our details were printed out on a piece of paper that we were instructed to take home to our parents.

So while the books may seem “out there”, with the current societal attitude towards obesity, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.

February 3, 2016admin No Comments »
FILED UNDER :Body Image , Books / Movies / Entertainment

Happy New Year & Facing the Music

Hello, my long lost friends.  Okay, we all know that it’s me that has been long lost, but here I am on this first day of 2014 to wish you all a happy new year.  Well, all of you that might still be around and I do hope some of you are.

2013 was an interesting year for me.  There was quite a bit of heartbreak at times, some health issues (including more than one bout of bronchitis), and a whole buttload of happiness.

First, I’ll face the music and get the weight thing out of the way as this site, while more of a general blog, has had a big weight loss focus throughout the years.  My weight is up.  Way up.

This was me at pretty close to my lowest weight.  Look how freaking skinny I was!  Please ignore the crazy Obama advertising.  I had just left his rally before he was elected the first time.  I refuse to turn this into a political discussion as to my current opinion of him. 🙂

And, sadly, this is me now (taken on Christmas day):

up blog

As you can see, most of the weight I’d lost has crept back on. Am I disappointed in myself? Horribly, sometimes.  Have I cried about it?  Oh yes.  More than once.  Have I been ashamed?  You better believe it.  Have I tried to get back on track? Lord, yes.  There were so many factors that went into me gaining the weight back. None of them are going to be a quick and easy fix.  I still blame the meds I was put on a few years ago for starting the downward (upward?) slide.

I haven’t given up hope.  I haven’t totally given up faith in myself.  There have been a few moments where I thought I did, but I’m still here.  I’m still alive.  And as long as I am, I have hope.

But you know what?  While what you see in this photo is a very very large woman, what you don’t actually see is that she is still loved.  Even by me sometimes.  Even at this tremendous weight.  Even looking like this.  I’m not some creature to be hidden and ridiculed. In this photo, I’m surrounded by loved ones.  My parents and extended family (grandma, aunt, cousins, baby cousins, etc.) are all in the room sharing Christmas day with me.  They gave me hugs and reminisced with me and laughed with me.  What you don’t see in this picture (except for a tiny little bit) is that pressed against my side with his hand against my back is my boyfriend of seven months who I truly love and who tells me daily (sometimes more than once) that he loves me.

For most of my life I often cried about and truly, deep down, believed that I could never possibly be loved.  Mostly because of my weight, but also just because of who I was.  I didn’t think I deserved it.  I didn’t think I was special enough or pretty enough.  Sometimes I still question it and wonder what he sees in me (as well as the other guys I’ve dated in the last few years), but for whatever reason, I am loved.  Even at this weight.  Even looking like this.  It’s taken a lot for my mind to wrap around it.

I’ve been very, very fortunate to have dated some wonderful men in the last couple of years who have helped build up my confidence and who have helped me become more comfortable in my skin.  Oh, I know that this should ideally come from within and I don’t need a man to validate myself.  However, for someone who was terrified to even show off her upper arms (I still am), there’s something about having someone see them and touch them and kiss them to help you realize that you aren’t a horribly disgusting monster.  Which is what I assumed for so many years that I was.  I didn’t think anyone could ever love me, and have been shown how wrong I was.  So if any of you still doubt you can find love, I hope you find some hope in my story.

I feel like I’ve grown up a lot in the last couple of years.  As I said, even though I’m so heavy again, I have a certain confidence and self-respect that I didn’t have when I was that skinny Obama-supporting girl pictured above.  I finally feel like a woman who is fighting to appreciate every bit of this wonderful (and sometimes torturous) life.

I’m going into the year 2014 with a new attitude and a new hope.  Yes, I hope to drop my weight over the course of the next year.  Do I want to get back down to the size I was above (I was about a 12/14 top and a 10 bottom)? I wouldn’t mind it – though not that quickly.  But if I’m never that skinny again, I’m okay with that.  I just want to be as healthy as I can be and not be hindered from things I want to do because of my weight.

I’m also going into the new year with a strong plan for getting my finances back on track.  I’m still trying to pay off a lot of stupidity from college and the years after when I was hardly making anything salary-wise.  I’ve already made some headway in this regard and have things set up to continue this.  I want to be able to have a secure future.  Pretty proud of what I’ve accomplished so far.

I’ve already started my decluttering project.  I have too much shit.  Seriously.  I have so much crap I don’t need that is just taking up space and making me claustrophobic.

I want to write on here more often.

I want to continue to have as many new and exciting experiences as I possibly can.  I want to appreciate every moment given to me this year (even if I don’t appreciate it at that moment).  I want to love and be there for my family and friends.  I want to continue to get to know my wonderful boyfriend and his beautiful little girl and cherish every second I have with them.

I have no resolutions, but a lot of hopes for this year.  Let’s make some memories, shall we?

January 2, 2014admin 6 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Body Image , Life in General

Working on Other Things

Hi folks! As has become the norm in my blog posts lately, I’ve come to alert you that I’m still alive. 🙂

Thank you very much to all of you who have taken the time to drop me a note and check in on me. I really appreciate it. It actually means the world to me and I’m going to do my best to get back to you soon.

I’m doing okay on the whole.  Hanging in here emotionally, etc.  Food-wise and Weight Watchers-wise…yeah, well, let’s just not go there. My weight just keeps creeping up. Though I did see a loss last week and a couple of weeks before that.  I’ve been really really struggling with staying on plan, however, and I’m pretty much not succeeding.

I do have a few Non-Scale Victories (NSV) to share.  Even though I haven’t been sticking to plan or losing weight like I want to be, I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to love my body as it is now.  There are a LOT of things that really bother me about my body.  Some things I like, some things that disgust me.  But I’m working on acceptance, because this is who I am now until I get my ass back on plan regularly.  This is the body I have to live in.

To that extent, I’ve made peace with a few things.  Last month, I bought a pair of shorts! Three actually. Bermuda length, right below my knee, but still shorts! I had a couple of pairs on my last journey down the scale, but they were at a much lower weight and I ONLY wore them when mowing the grass.  But this year, since the temperature has hovered somewhere around one of the circles of hell, I got sick of jeans and just decided I was being ridiculous. I got tired of worrying about what people would think. I’m not happy with my legs right now, but they aren’t grotesque (at least I hope not). There’s no reason why I can’t wear them out and about. And so I have been. And they have become my weekend staple.  The first day I wore them out was a day that my mom and I did a lot of walking around downtown Kansas City. We went to eat and to see the new Transformers movie.  It was so incredibly hot, but I felt a lot cooler than I would have in heavy jeans.  And I felt so free. It’s silly, I know, but no one pointed and laughed. No one stared. It wasn’t a big deal.  Not a good shot, but here’s proof (and no, we won’t discuss my huge-ass feet or my ghostly whiteness LOL):

My least favorite body parts are my upper thighs and upper arms. The years of rapid weight gain and the weight I lost have wreaked havoc on my skin that no amount of weight lifting is going to help (I know this from experience). But since plastic surgery is never going to be in my budget barring some miracle, I’m trying to make peace with it.  I will definitely never be wearing shorter shorts, however. And, sadly, to my deep regret, will NEVER (never ever ever) be going sleeveless.

I have, however, gotten a little more lenient even with my shirts.  Before, I would never wear a shirt unless it AT LEAST hit right below my elbow. Most of my shirts are 3/4 length. But I’ve bought two shirts that sit a little above my elbow and have actually worn them several times. One is a little higher than I’d like, and I cringe every time I put it on and look in the mirror, but I try to ignore those feelings. Though I do spend a good deal of time tugging on the sleeves. LOL But like with the shorts, no one has said anything.  No one has made fun of me.  No kitties have died as a result. Life will go on. One woman even complimented me on the shirt at a store one day.  But again, I will definitely not be going any shorter than that.

But it is a bit liberating in a way. Tiny ways that express that I’m starting to love myself even at my current weight. Knowing now that I have friends that care about me no matter what definitely helps.

So are there any hurdles you’re forcing yourself to overcome in an effort to gain self-acceptance? Any road blocks that you just don’t think you can get past?

August 9, 2011admin 3 Comments »


I’ve been beating myself up a lot lately.  Yes, there’s been a TON going on in my life lately and my eating plan has pretty much fallen to the wayside. I have been trying harder over the past week, however, and the number on the scale looks promising.  Of course, I gained last week, so it may just end up balancing out.  But we’ll see what happens on Tuesday.

Even though the number on the scale has been fluctuating a ton lately and I’m not happy with either it or what I see in the mirror, I’m still over 90 pounds down from where I started.  Of course, I then tell myself….well, it’s not the 160 you had lost.

But today, I got a bit of perspective.  Again.  And again, it comes in one of those every day moments that kind of wallops you upside the head.

You all know that my mom had knee replacement surgery a couple of weeks ago.  She’s doing better, by the way.  But today, I needed to get more ice for her to use in her ice pack.  I bought a 20 pound bag.  As I was lifting it into the cart and then into the car and then carrying it into the house and freezer, I found myself thinking, “damn this is heavy.”

And then it sunk in again.  I used to carry four and half of those on my body…every day…all day.

I can’t discount how far I’ve come.  I can’t discount the fact that I haven’t gained weight this year.  I may not be where I want to be, but I haven’t given up.  Even though I haven’t come as far as I’d hoped, this year was not a waste (waist? LOL sorry, couldn’t resist 😉 ) in the weight department.

December 5, 2010admin 8 Comments »

Body Image

This topic has been going around in my head quite a bit lately, and I figured that it’s been a while since I’ve written anything humiliatingly from the heart.  So why not?

I’ve always had body image issues.  I mean, I’ve been overweight since 3rd grade.  It’s no surprise.  I’ve spent the majority of my life comparing my body to other women and falling short.  (And yes, we all know what Brené Brown says about comparison – “[it] is the thief of happiness.”)

I firmly believe that there are many beautiful and many absolutely gorgeous overweight women out there.  I just don’t happen to think I’m one of them.  No, before you jump on me for being overly critical of myself, I’m just being totally realistic and honest here.  Yes, I think I have my pretty moments.  Yes, there are times I feel sexy and confident.  But those moments are almost always when fully clothed.  I’ve seen what my body looks like.  I’ve seen what the years of weight gain have done to it.  And a great majority of the time, I’m thoroughly disgusted by it and beating myself up about it, because I know that it is something I did to myself…something I’m going to have to live with for the rest of my life.

I wrote this post about weight and romance a while back and I do still firmly believe that I need and deserve to find someone who will completely accept me as I am, but there are times that I despair of that happening.  Even if I do, will I ever be able to overcome the doubt?  I mean, I can’t even accept me as I am, how can I expect someone else to?  But I have to learn to accept it.  Because this is what I have.  I just don’t know how.

I can’t remember who, but someone once mentioned in their blog that they look at the results of their weight gain and loss as battle scars.  It’s true, and I try to look at it that way, but can’t help feeling that when I go out and am dressed nicely and feel good about myself that I’m engaging in false advertising.  A “what you see now, is not what you might see later,” kind of a thing.  And since I’ve recently started throwing myself back into the dating pool, this has been going around in my head constantly.  I’m ashamed of my body and what I’ve put it through.

There have been a couple of men in my life lately (one in particular) that have made me feel pretty and dare I say it, sexy…but the doubts remain and I’m sure will continue to remain.  A few men from the dating website my friends coerced me into joining have called me beautiful.  Of course, I’m flattered, but I think…they haven’t seen me in person.  I got a message from one of them over the weekend that said “I just wanted you to know that I think you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen :)”  My first thought after grinning was “the poor boy needs to get out more.”  And then, “it’s probably just a line he uses on all women.”

This isn’t a matter of me feeling sorry for myself or beating myself up.  I’m just being honest about how I feel and my thought process.  I’m also not asking for pity or compliments.  I just know that I can’t possibly be alone in this.  I’m struggling through it.  I really am trying to work to accept what I’ve got and I know that no matter how much validation I may receive from a man, this is something that I need to accept within myself.

It also isn’t an issue of the weight I’ve regained…though that doesn’t help…because I felt many of these issues at my lowest weight.

So I have a couple of questions for you.

  1. Are you married, single, etc.?
  2. Regardless of your answer to number one, do you worry about being accepted as you are?
  3. Are you totally comfortable with your body? (no need to go into detail)
  4. If you aren’t, any ideas on how you think we can work on becoming more comfortable with our bodies as they are?
  5. What do you think is your most beautiful body part?

For me:

  1. I’m obviously single.
  2. Obviously
  3. Obviously not.
  4. I have absolutely no idea.  I think it’s all just a matter of acceptance.  Just haven’t quite figured out how to get myself there permanently…..even I have my moments of feeling okay about myself.
  5. I once had a friend tell me that she thought my lips were perfectly shaped, so I’ve always had that in the back of my mind.  I also like the shape of my eyes sometimes and my hair.

As I’ve been saying all along…I am and always will be a work in progress.  But even in this area, I’ve been making strides this year.  I’ve at least discovered that I can fake confidence somewhat decently if I try. LOL

October 25, 2010admin 10 Comments »

Progress Pictures Are a Bad Thing

Progress pictures (see link in toolbar above) are a bad, bad thing to look at at 3:38am when you’ve regained 80 pounds.

I look at that girl who lost 160 pounds (that girl in the picture to the right) and I can barely even remember what she felt like.

Yeah, there just aren’t words for this feeling (anger, depression, sadness, anxiety, fear, shame don’t even come close) and a few tears might be involved.

But I’m allowing myself this moment and accepting that these feelings are absolutely useless to me right now.

I know what I need to keep doing and I’m doing it.  I will make it through this weekend on plan.  I can and will do it.  I’m not going to waste another week by blowing it over the weekend.  Not again.

In an eternal battle that mother nature seems to be waging against me, it’s supposed to rain today.  But I don’t care.  I’m going walking anyway, even if I have to traipse through the mud.

I know I’ve been struggling for a while now, and I appreciate those of you who haven’t given up on me.

I’m determined to get my groove back (without going to Jamaica).

Tonight, I’m allowing the sadness its moment.  Tomorrow, I’m kicking ass.

March 6, 2010admin 5 Comments »

Kevin Smith

By now I’m sure all of you have heard of/are following the Kevin Smith Southwest Airlines debacle.  I’ve been following it here and there, but stumbled across a post of Christy’s that led me to Kevin’s blog.  And I love it!  I’ll be following it more in the future.  She also linked to this blog post at that I adored.  So thank you, Christy!

Flying has always been an anxiety-ridden experience for me.  The only couple of times that I remember not worrying about fitting in the seat were when I was in 1st grade and flying to Florida (I was a skinny kid and that was before I knew about body image problems) and last year when I flew to California.

When I was in college, I flew at least once or twice a year, and usually on Southwest.  On most (all) of those trips, I weighed quite a bit.  Supposedly this policy of theirs has been in effect for 25 years, but I never had a problem.  I was lucky, as most people would have considered me HUGE.  Unfortunately, I’m fairly close to the weight I was then now.  I could always lower the arm rests and buckle my seatbelt, but sometimes even I’ll admit it was a tight fit.

Every time I flew, I always remember crossing my arms over my chest and squeezing myself to try to take up as little room as possible.  I remember specifically one time in which the man sitting next to me (I was in the window seat) told me that it was okay, that I could relax.  I was embarrassed that he noticed, but was thankful for his kindness.

The common thread that I’ve seen throughout a lot of the blog posts about this incident is that nowhere is there an outcry (other than in those blogs) over the fact that the seats themselves (not to mention the leg room) have gotten smaller and smaller over the years in their effort to make human beings into sardines (as Kate Harding in the Salon article above mentioned).  It’s always about the bottom line.  You think, sure, yeah, well it’s a company, of course it’s about the bottom line.  But you see this trend in so many other areas – look at the food processing plants, etc.  Quality has continually been bumped to make room (ha) for quantity.

So what about you?  Do you worry about flying?  Have you had any bad experiences with Southwest or another airline?  By the way, I remember flying American Airlines coach to New York in 2003 (at about my current size –  maybe a little more) and thinking the seats were huge!  Anyone fly American lately?  Are they still spacious?

February 18, 2010admin 6 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Body Image , Media

The Enemy

Right now, my enemies are mirrors.  Really, any reflective surface.  I remember the days just a year and a half ago when I used to catch a glimpse of myself in a mirror, a window, a door, hell, even a spoon, and think “Who is that!”  Well, now I still do that, but it’s not nearly as positive of an experience.

Usually, my first impressions now are of “Ugh” and “What the hell is wrong with you?”  Not conducive for positive self-esteem or self-confidence, I can tell you.

But I’m trying to work on that.

Maybe one day I’ll get to the point where I recognize myself in the mirror and smile, regardless of my weight.

**NOTE:  Shortly after posting this, I was catching up on some blog reading and ran across this most excellent post.  I had to laugh at the coincidence of it all.

February 17, 2010admin No Comments »

Word Games

In browsing through the news yesterday, I came across this article:

British Schools Ban The Word Obese

It got me thinking about how I feel about the word and brought back horrible nightmares of my own elementary school years.

Obese, fat, overweight.  They all generally mean the same thing, but each word has a very unique connotation to it.  I despise the word obese.  I don’t quite hate it as much as I did before I started Weight Watchers, but the very word made me cringe.  Probably because it hit a little too close to home.  I also dislike the word fat.

And it’s not actually the words themselves that I have a problem with, because a word can’t be negative.  It’s the connotation itself that becomes the issue.  The meaning that people place on the word.  I feel that both of these words have become almost hate words or insults in the current world, when the words themselves were created to merely describe a medical condition.

As I said, this article brought back memories of my own elementary school days.  My gym class was a horror.  My gym teacher herself probably inspired multiple scary movies.  She was so proud of being “on the cutting edge” of physical fitness.  Every so often, we would have to go through these almost military physical examinations.  How much did I weigh, how tall was I, how many push-ups could I do, how many sit-ups could I do, how many pull-ups could I do, etc.  And then she would create these lovely computer printouts of data analyzing all of these test results, including percentiles.  Of course, after I started gaining weight, my test results probably saw a rapid decline.  In fact, maybe it was all of the pressure to excel that made me start gaining weight. There we go!  I’m going to blame my elementary school gym teacher for my weight problems.

The main issue I had with this was that she would hand out these reports to us in class and expect us to take them home to our parents.  I don’t remember actually handing them over to my mom, but being the good girl that I was, I’m sure I did.  In fact, they’re probably still in a box somewhere.  I’d love to find them some day.  But the problem with this was that in a class of 30-some kids, there are multiple sets of prying eyes.  Inevitably, everyone’s results would get out whether you intended for them to or not (which, of course, I didn’t).  So within a matter of hours, the entire grade would know how much you weigh.  I remember one time in particular that someone saw my weight and it became a source of ridicule for several weeks after that.  Okay, it never really let up.  I remember exactly one person standing up for me.

Of course, I have lots of other stories such as this.  Like the time in 5th grade when my nemesis dubbed me “beach ball.”  Yeah, I went to school with some great kids.  Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t all like that, but the ones who were were so vocal as to overshadow any good school memories I may have had of those years.  Needless to say, I hated elementary school.

To top it off, my school was one of the only schools in the area using the skinfold or caliper test for measuring body fat.  So during this portion of our exam, you had to stand there in front of the entire class while she pulled at your underarm fat or side fat and pinched you with those damn things.  Yes, traumatizing.  The idea is enough to make me shudder 20 years later.

So, that really long story was to say that while I’m okay with the word obese being used as merely a medical description, I don’t think that it should be said to the actual child.  As long as these letters are completely sealed and mailed directly to the parents, I don’t think I’d have a problem with that term being used.  With children of a younger age, I think it is the parents’ responsibility to decide how to handle it without devastating that child’s self-esteem.  In my case, if our exams had been handled a bit more tactfully, and those reports had been sent directly to my parents, I would never have had to face that ridicule from my classmates having known my weight.  Yes, I’d still get made fun of because it was obvious that I was overweight, but they wouldn’t have had that additional factual ammunition to throw at me.

Before I actually publish any post on my website, I usually go back and re-read it to make sure that it make sense.  Of course, many of them still don’t make sense when I’m done, but I still do it.  In re-reading this, the first thought that came to my head was why is this being placed in the hands of schools anyway?  They aren’t medical professionals.  This is a matter for the family and the family’s doctor.  Maybe I just don’t understand, because I don’t have kids, but if I did and a gym teacher ever put my kid through what my gym teacher put me through, that teacher wouldn’t hear the end of it.

Thoughts?  Comments?  Did you have to go through anything like this in your childhood gym class?  Any parents out there to put in their two cents or tell me I’m psycho?

August 8, 2008admin 2 Comments »

The Power of 10 Pounds

I’ve been extremely overweight for most of my life.  I remember being an extremely skinny kid, and then being a really overweight kid.  I don’t remember the in-between, for some reason.  It’s almost as though I ballooned overnight.

For most of the time that I was overweight, I’ve needed to lose well over 100 pounds.  Because of this, I’ve always had a hard time understanding when people have said that they need to “lose 5 pounds to get into this dress,” or “I need to lose 10 pounds”.  My first reaction (in my mind) was “so?”  I understand now that sometimes those last few pounds are the hardest to get rid of, but until recently I still didn’t understand what difference 5 or 10 pounds could possibly make.  I didn’t understand how only 5 pounds could keep you out of a dress size.  But that’s kind of understandable, because when you are as big as I was, it sometimes takes 20+ pounds to change clothing sizes.  I just couldn’t see how 5 or 10 pounds could make any difference, in a person’s appearance or otherwise.

Until today.

While I’ve been thrilled that I’ve lost the past two weeks and also by the mere fact that I am losing again, I’ve been rather discouraged by the fact that I’ve only lost about 13 pounds since January.  During the same period of time last year, I had lost 40 pounds.  Of course, that isn’t really a fair comparison because I also weighed 80-40 pounds more than I do at the same times this year.  But it has still been discouraging, nonetheless.

I just got home from an appointment with a woman that I haven’t seen since March.  One of the first things she said to me was, “my dear, you’ve been losing weight.”  After thanking her, I explained that I had actually lost quite a bit before she met me (last June) and that in total I’ve lost 158 pounds.  She couldn’t believe it and went on for several minutes about how great it was.  She then proceeded to grill me on how I’ve been doing it, and said that it’s encouraging to see a real person do it, and not some celebrity on TV.  She also said that she can tell a big difference just since the last time she saw me, especially in my face.

As I mentioned, it was in March that I saw her last.  I’ve only lost 10 pounds since March.  Apparently I was wrong, and a 10 pound loss is noticeable once you reach a certain weight.  I’ve learned a lesson today.

June 20, 2008admin 1 Comment »