Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Weighing In...

First of all, let me say that I have developed a strange and rather pervasive addiction to the so-called "Mommy Blogs." I have always read some of these, like Strangeafeet, Patrice's Baby Attack, and of course, Dooce. However, recently my horizons have expanded, and I have welcomed blogs such as Amalah.com, Sarcastic Journalist, Notes from the Trenches (formerly known as the Big Yellow House, Suburban Turmoil, and Miss Zoot* into my corner of the blogosphere. I really enjoy reading about these women's experiences with having children. I look forward to having children of my own someday (after getting things like, oh, a wedding and nursing school and paying off some debt over with), and it's fun for me to read about the crazy things that kids do. And there are some amazing writers out there who are blogging about the every day ups and downs and ins and outs of motherhood. So I am doing some learning and some laughing, all at the same time.

This week, there has been a bit of a scandal in the land of the Mommy Blogs (BTW - I realize that some people don't like to have their blogs labeled "Mommy Blogs." Let's not go there please. I am just using that term for the sake of description and also categorizing. It's not meant to push any buttons.). The blogger of Morphing into Mama authored a post called False Advertising. And with that, all hell broke loose!

Here's the gist of the post. If a woman is skinny when she meets and marries her husband, and if that same woman later gains a significant amount of weight without there being a medical reason behind it, MiM feels a little bit like it is unfair to said husband. Later posts on the blog further clarify what she means in some of the post, but the basics stay the same. Of course, this was met with a furor on the Internets. You can find some of the rebuttal posts here, here, here, and here.

Part of me (the smart ass part) thinks, "Ah-ha! Well, I have got this covered because I am not skinny, and I have never truly been skinny while with Bill, and he will be marrying in October someone who is NOT skinny, so at least I can't be accused of any kind of false advertising!" The other part of me feels bad about herself and thinks, "Well, I am not skinny, and I have never been truly skinny while with Bill, and he will be marrying in October someone who is NOT skinny, and what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-me-that-I-can't-stop-eating-already?"

Yeah. There it is. The two sides of the coin that represent my daily struggle with my weight. On the one hand, I just want to be okay being me. I want to feel that my weight has nothing to do with who I am. I want to be okay with it. I want to buy cute clothes in the correct size at Lane Bryant and not try to cram myself into society's idea of what I should look like. I want to believe my gynecologist when she tells me that I am not "that" overweight. And I want to move on already and realize that weight, like age, is just a number, and it is not what I have to measure myself by. On the other hand, I want to diet my way down into a size 10 and wear bikinis on the beach and run for fun and exercise and drink water because I like it and eat all my fruits and veggies everyday. I want to fit into society's idea of what I should look like. I want to be fit and healthy, and I want to be skinny. Or at least skinnier.

I am one of many women who struggle with their weight. I eat for the wrong reasons. I think that, in order to be doing it right, I should be eating when I am hungry and stopping when I am full. However, instead, I am eating because of the time of day it is (noon=lunch) because I am watching TV (crunchy and salty snacks at that time) because I am bored (a trip around the kitchen to see what I can graze on) because I am stressed out (chocolate, chocolate, chocolate) and because the drive-thru takes ATM cards now (although I have given fast food up for Lent, so this has been curbed). I am living to eat, not eating to live. I am not fueling my body. I am overloading it and bogging it down.

Generally, I am okay with me. Once in a while, on a particularly bad day, I may get a little bit down and look with a critical eye toward the mirror. However, for the most part, I realize that my weight does not define me. I am defined by my roles as a student, a health care worker, a fiancee, a future stepmother, a sister, a daughter, a friend, and a woman. I am not defined by the size of my pants or the number of chins I have. Remember, as you look at yourself in the mirror today, that you are unique and amazing and beautiful. And you are enough, just as you are. As Jill on Starting Over said on the occasion of her graduation a few weeks ago, "If I never lose another pound, I am enough." We are all enough.

*I went to a lot of trouble to overcome my lazy tendencies and include all these links in here. Be sure to check them out for some amazing blogging women who have a lot to say!


L. said...

Thanks for linking to my post! I just want to say, for the record, that my husband isn`t quite the asshole he sounds like, based only on this one post. I tried to explain it in more context, in followup posts, but the damage was done -- thousands of people had already read it. Oh well. Good thing he`s Japanese and finds it chore to read English, so he doesn`t read my blog!

Amy W. said...

I so hear you sweetie. A few years ago I lost 80 pounds before we went to a big Sig wedding/reunion in Maui. And I've gained it all back. You know who cares? No one but me. You know who loves me unconditionally, in fact prefers me heavier? My husband. So as long as you're healthy physically, know that you're beautiful regardless. So you're 100% right in that Bill loves you for who you are _now_ and who you will become as a wife and mother, skirt size be damned.

3carnations said...

I think anyone who gets married and thinks that the man/woman they married will be exactly the same (physically or otherwise) for the rest of their lives is just daydreaming. We are constantly changing, and the whole premise behind marriage is that your love won't change in spite of these changes. If in order to get that across to people we have to add "For thinner and fatter" to the standard vows, then so be it.

gunngirl said...

I haven't had any marriage proposals, but my share of men who think I'm pretty and I always think, 'hmm, I don't have to be skinny to get a man or possibly get married! Basically, I hear ya. I eat for the wrong reasons too, because it's there. LOL

But Bill loves you now and he knows what you look like. If he didn't like it he wouldn't have proposed. Diets are baby steps. At least for me. I do want to be skinny, I want slim thighs and a tight butt more than anything. I wish I wasn't so lazy to do the work for it.

Aarwenn said...

I'm dating a guy right now who has a belly (my friend described him as "portly", and he is) and when we hug or kiss, it bumps me! It surpises me every time! (Especially since I dated a rail before him.)

But you know something? I LOVE IT. Because I love being with him so much that I love everything about him, and that includes his belly, and I LOVE THAT!

That's not the point here, though: the point is CHANGE. You should clearly be with someone who loves you, not the physical you. Period, the end. Better to be alone than to be with a husband who bugs you to lose weight!

Bill said...

Every now and again, I feel a desire to chime in.

While I agree that if a person trully loves you, they will do so no matter what your weight is; I think that logic is nothing more than an excuse for eating poorly, not exercising, and maintaining a lazy physical lifestyle overall. I do think that we mainly owe ourselves to eat healthy and excercise and lose weight, we also do owe that in some small manner to our partners/spouses. I am now 20 pounds over the weight I was when I met Mary and it has increasingly bothered me over the past few months. I feel I owe it to myself to lose the weight by eating better and exercising more because it makes ME feel better. But, I do believe that I also owe it to Mary to be at my very best.

Maybe this is a stretch, but consider for a minute the alcoholic. He or she could (and do) use the excuse that...if their partner really loved them, they would do so no matter how much they drink. But, we all know that they utimately owe themselves and in an ancillary fashion owe their partner to aim higher.

Guinness_Girl said...

Really great post, Mary! While you and I might sit on different sides of the political fence, we're right on the same side of the mixed feelings about weight fence. It's such a complex issue, isn't it?

To lighten things up a bit - have you been on www.kiyonna.com? Beautiful dresses in sizes 12 and up. Just ordered one for my rehearsal dinner!