Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Series of Thoughts: Body Image...

Oh so much has been going on in my brain...I can't exactly figure out where to start but I have several posts that I have been wanting to write lately but haven't figured out exactly what I want to say yet.  I think I'm going to start by which one inspires me most when I have time to write.  I've been working on this post for about three weeks and I think I'm just going to post what I have.

Many of you might not be aware but I have lost a pretty substantial amount of weight since I went on what I like to refer to as the Carmen diet.  It's a diet I would have never done for myself but because of Carmen's allergy needs I gave up everything milk, eggs, and peanuts for over 5 months.  I will freely admit that the first week I cried almost every night...I just didn't know what I could eat.  The problem was we had not up until that point been buying groceries with these allergies in mind so when I would go to grab something to eat most of what we had was on the list of food to avoid.

It took several weeks before I was able to find substitutes for some of my favorite foods so I didn't feel like I was giving everything up.  I didn't try very hard to find sweet substitutes but things like mayo, yogurt, peanut butter had to be replaced with something. I spent several years of my life drinking only soy milk so that was not a big change for me.  I now look back and realize that it was a blessing that I had done the switch earlier because if I had to while giving up everything else soy milk would be hated and not loved like it is now.

Through these months of giving up these foods and being a royal pain in the butt when it came to eating with others, I learned a lot about myself.  First I realized that I could sit in front of a chocolate cake and not feel like I HAD to eat a piece.  Yes, I wanted some but I was able to say no and be fine.  I knew that I was saying no for Carmen and that made the no so much easier.  And that brings me to the second thing, that giving things up for my daughter is SO much easier than giving them up for myself.  When I knew it was for her, I just felt like it was something I had to do and not something I was choosing to do.  I know many people just said why don't you just wean and do formula but that just wasn't an option for me in my head.  I'll go into that more in another post I have planned but my goal was to nurse her for a year and then let her wean and that is what I was able to do.

The third thing and what I originally started this post to write about was I learned I really didn't know how to respond to the comments people made about how great I looked because of the weight loss.  I have never in my life been what you would call thin.  I have gone through periods of my life where I felt I could lose weight and I know there were several times I wish I was thin but once I got past my mid-twenties I stopped wanting to be thin.   I want to be fit and healthy but not thin.  Getting pregnant I was not upset with the weight gain, my body was creating life!  I was proud of my body for creating such a beautiful little girl and being able to carry a baby to term and even though I ended up getting an epidural, I was able to labor without it for over 12 hours. I was proud that I was able to provide my daughter milk for a year...my body is amazing!  I love my body not for what it looks like but for what it has done and what it has created and where it takes me.

When people started commenting, I had to refrain from telling them what I felt but have stuck to thank you and to say that I can't eat anything.  What I want to say is that I wasn't unhappy with my body before the weight loss.  I wasn't unhappy with myself or unhappy with the way I looked.  I am a mom and I had gain those pounds with pride.  I knew they would come off when they were ready but I wasn't going to starve myself or workout incessantly or sacrifice the time with my daughter to lose them.

I know people may not understand where I'm coming from but I don't want my personal value to be based on how I look, I don't want to teach my daughter that looks are everything.  I want her to love herself for her.  I do plan to teach her how to be an active child and play sports and be healthy and fit but if that means she's not what society considers to be thin or beautiful then so be it!  I will always think she's beautiful as I will always think I'm beautiful no matter what weight I am.

A friend posted a link to a video today that describes what is going on in society today and it really pushed me to post this finally.  I was thinking of posting pictures of the weight change but I really don't think that's what this post is about...what I look like now.  It doesn't matter what I look like now.  I'm sure you can see pictures of my thinner self on this blog but this post will only have this video.

Happy Loving yourself!

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