I have determined that this year will be the year of taking back my body. I first wrote about this resolution when I introduced the HCG Diet, a tool I intend to use over the next months to jump start my weight loss. I continued with a post about the optional cleanse you can use before the diet, followed by a post covering my first day on the cleanse, and then another post talking about why I quit the cleanse the same day. I even posted a "day zero" post that included "before" pictures! Of course, now that we're moving out of state in just over a month, the diet is on hold and I will have to take a second round of "before" pictures when I am settled in Illinois and ready to start my first round on the diet. Oh well, life's an ever changing adventure, right? *wink*
Taking Back My Body is not just about losing weight and getting healthy. It's not just about preparing my body for another round of trying to conceive our first child. It's not even really about poor body image; I have always been able to find the beauty in myself (and others), even when also aware of the not so beautiful. No, taking back my body is about tearing down the walls of fat, inadequate hygiene, and poor health that I put up as a defensive wall around myself when I was just a kid. It's about reclaiming my body, staking my claim on my personhood and individuality, and cultivating a lifestyle of self-acceptance and autonomy. More importantly, it is about learning how God truly sees me - what the Bible says about me as a person - and integrating that truth into my life and way of thinking.
I recently read a post by Single Mom @ The Mom Adventures that discusses her struggles with overeating, and how "eating her feelings" has affected her life. Her statement that she refuses to go back to the weight at which she started really resonated with me - I am at my "start weight" right now, and I am never going back to this weight. I refuse! Watching the spinner on the scale ratchet up to 287 stinking pounds was soul crushing!
I didn't gain weight on purpose; I didn't over-eat with the intention of blowing up like a balloon. Sure, hypothyroidism (onset at puberty, undiagnosed until age twenty-two) was a contributing factor - both to the weight gain and to the poor health, chronic migraines, and pretty muvh constant fatigue - but there were other factors. Compulsive over-eating, for one. Depression, for another.
Not all of my readers know that I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. Well, now you do. In the last few years with my father (it ended when I was twelve, with a police report), forced over-eating was part of my life. The only way I knew how to escape any of the abuse was to dissociate - to go away in my mind until it was over. So I did; I dissociated whenever my father made me eat and eat and wouldn't let me stop. And I learned to like it, this going away in my mind. It was safe there; quiet. And after my father was gone I still wasn't at peace in my world, and dissociating while eating came easy. A book, a bowl of Cheerios, and I could disappear for hours at a time.
You could say that eating fed a deep chasm in my heart for a long time. By the time I left for college, I was aware that I had a serious problem with food, but like Kimberli said in her own post about over-eating @ Finding My Way, when you weigh more than a pencil stub, no one tends to believe you when you suggest that you have an eating disorder.
During my first year of college, my life began to change. It was a Bible college, and you can't study scripture for nine months straight without coming face to face with God! And when that happens, it is inevitable that you will examine your beliefs, not just about the Bible and God, but about yourself. During that year of school, I began to realize how little I actually liked myself, and how much I really wanted to like myself.
It took a lot longer to finally figure out that I use my weight as a shield between myself and the rest of the world. I keep trying to lose weight, but ultimately, I see myself as safe right now! Silly, I know. But it's true - behind all this extra weight, behind the stereo-type that fat girls are ugly and undesirable, I feel safe from dangerous people - safe from my father.
I am done with this madness!! I am done living in fear!! I am done being overweight and unhealthy to protect myself from someone who can't hurt me anymore, and from situations and people I can't control. I am done denying that Christ has the power to save me from the scars of my childhood, by insisting I need to take care of myself, by myself! IT. IS. OVER.
I don't want to be a captive to my past, or to my weight. I don't want my husband to have to live with someone that insecure. I don't want to pass those burdens on to my children. The time for grief is over!! The time for living is now.