Weighty Issues

WEIGHT

How can one word that is regularly described by a series of numbers cause so many people so much stress and pain? How can one six letter word and the numbers associated with it turn in to an obsession for so many of us?

We are affected by weight at least somewhat from the time we are born, sometimes even before birth. During my pregnancy with my second daughter, I changed doctors because according to my first one I wasn’t measuring properly and she was concerned that my daughter was not growing properly. After a few weeks of repeated tests that just led to more tests my stress levels were getting so high that I was starting to be at risk of things like high blood pressure and preeclampsia. I should say that I ate healthily every time I was pregnant, that for me pregnancy is a time to give my baby whatever they need to come out healthy. My daughter did end up being smaller than her older sister, but she was still a healthy weight. I believe the reason I didn’t measure properly is because even before she was born she had more muscle than fat, therefore not taking up as much space as a baby that was mostly fat. She has continued to be a small yet muscular child, but there is no doubt that she is healthy and strong.

Then there is my older child who has always been a skinny child, expect at her birth when she was above average weight for a newborn. When she was two years old, we took her to see a new pediatrician who threatened to call social services if we didn’t force her to eat more so that she would gain weight. We obviously decided not to keep taking her to that particular doctor as I believe that force feeding her would not only be abusive, but could also set her up for an eating disorder later in life. No other doctor that we have ever taken her to has told us that we had to make her gain weight. She has been called anorexic by peers who don’t know her, only see what she looks like, and she has been told by some of those same people that if she wants to gain weight she just needs to eat more. As she has become a teenager, there have been many times that I have compared her eating habits to those of a teenage boy. Her size has never been connected to how much she eats, it has always been connected to a combination of high metabolism and lower estrogen levels.

Both of those examples help illustrate how sometimes we use weight as a barometer of health, but also that sometimes even the medical community focuses on the numbers too much. Yes, when we are either underweight or overweight, we might be setting ourselves for serious medical problems, but I believe it’s more important to look at how we got to those numbers. You can be naturally underweight or you can weigh more because you have more muscle than other people in the same weight and height range. Both of those realities are often interpreted improperly by snap judgements made either based on appearance or the numbers on a scale.

We also sometimes use weight as a barometer of attractiveness, which can create lots of issues, especially for females. There are many reasons why the numbers on a scale can be upsetting to females. For many females, their weight might be what makes them believe they are attractive. Then there are the women who are trying to change their weight whether they are trying to lose it or trying to gain it. For those women, if the scale doesn’t change enough in a certain time frame, they often feel like they are failures, even when the number on the scale might not even have anything to do with the effort they are putting in. Most females experience weight fluctuations connected to their hormones that have nothing to do with their health, but when the numbers on the scale are the focus, those fluctuations can destroy them. Obviously, I am not a stranger to this reality, and even though my issues go much deeper than the numbers on the scale, I know that truly being able to let go of those numbers will be the biggest sign that I am well.

As I said to a friend recently, we are all so much more than our weight and bodies. Let’s try to celebrate what makes us the unique individuals we are, and focus on how healthy we feel instead of a number or how we look.

encuentra tu lugar sano 

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Letting Go

A friend of mine recently said that it was hard enough to deal with his family having to let go of him, he didn’t want to put anyone else through that. His statement got me thinking about what it’s like to let go of people we care about and the many reasons why we might have to do that. I have had to let go of many people in my life for many different reasons, and most of the time it hasn’t been very easy for me.

One of the reasons I have had to let go of friends is because of moving. I think that might be the second hardest way to have to let go of someone. No matter how much you say you’ll keep in touch, it is a rare occurrence when that actually happens. I actually consider that to be one of the best parts of social networking. It has made it easier to keep in touch with people who don’t live nearby, but it’s often still not the same type of relationship anymore. I have let go of more friends through moving than any other way, and I still wonder about how many of them are doing today.

The hardest way I have ever had to let go of someone is through an unexpected death. I wrote about this in my earlier post Seven Years. Any time you have to let go of someone because of their passing is extremely hard, but when their death is unexpected, it becomes even harder to accept that they are gone. When you lose someone unexpectedly, there is no way to prepare yourself for not having that person in your life anymore. In the case of my friend, there are still times when I feel like she isn’t really gone even though I know that she is. There are times when I wish that I could still call her up to hang out or just to talk, and then I remember that I will never be able to do that again.

Then there are the simple ways of letting go of people. Some of those ways are things like breaking up with someone, or maybe losing a friend because of a fight you had. Then there are the times when you just gradually drift apart from someone. I don’t believe that those times are necessarily less painful, just that they are a common occurrence for most of us, and hopefully by the time we get to adulthood, we have figured out how to cope with those realities in a healthy way.

Then there are the times we need to let go of some of the people in our lives to be healthy. I’m actually at that point with some of the people in my life right now. The hard part is when you care about that person, and don’t want to hurt them, even when you know it would be better for you if you let them go. Then there are the times when no matter how much you know you need to let that person go, other factors keep you connected to that person anyway. If you’re lucky, you can find a way to be healthy even when you can’t let go of that person.

Then there is the situation like the one I’m in now with my friend who is trying to push everyone away. I know some of the people in his live are letting him do just that, but that is just another way of letting go. In some ways, that has been good for him. It has helped him narrow down who really cares about him, but it might also be making him feel worse. In that situation, I believe it is important to do what is best for both of you. You may have to let go if the situation with that person is really too much for you to handle, but try not to make the situation that person is in worse if you can. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to just let that person know that you will still be there when they are ready.

Sometimes, you are the one being let go of. If that happens enough, it might make you start to question why you don’t seem to matter. From my experience, that can be the most damaging part of relationships. It can make you feel awful when it seems like nobody cares if you aren’t part of their life anymore. That’s when you have to hold on to those people who remind you that you are worth it.

No matter how or why people are let go of, it’s never going to be easy, but hopefully everyone involved can come out of it whole. Hopefully, you can also learn to let go of the pain that can be caused by letting go.

aférrate a lo que te fortalece

 

Right Now

Image

That’s about how I’ve felt most of the last couple of days. I’ve wanted to escape, I’ve wanted to lose myself in exercise, I’ve wanted to avoid eating, I’ve wanted to eat until I can’t eat anymore (and I don’t really binge, that’s never really been a major part of my issues), I’ve basically wanted to everything I’ve ever done to not have to deal with my feelings.

The reason I’ve been feeling this way lately is because one of the people in my life recently told me that they felt like they were not enough of a priority in my life, like they had been replaced. I’m not trying to invalidate their feelings, and I’m not going to say that their isn’t any truth to what they said, but some of the things that were said don’t even make sense to me. The problem I am having is that it seems to me like the only thing that will make them happy is if I do things exactly how they think I should. This is not a new reality for me with this person, I’m just not willing to do it their way anymore.

The problem I’m having now is trying to figure out how to tell them that while hurting them as little as possible. This is not the first time I’ve tried to say some of these things to them before, and I never feel like I’m being heard, and I feel like the only way I can make myself heard is to saying things in a way that would really hurt them. The only problem I have with having this conversation is that based on experience, if I say some of what I need to say, I’m going to end up being told that I am wrong, and that it’s all my fault.

Some of the people in my life keep telling me I should just say what I need to say, and not worry about how they will react. My problem with that is no matter what I say it will affect more people in my life than just me and the person I say them to. All of these things are just some of the reasons that I am having to go through everything I have been going through in the last year. I do not feel like I am in a situation where I can just walk away from this person, or that if I tried to, it would actually be successful.

The good thing is that I haven’t done any of those things. Instead I have talked to people about how to deal with it. When necessary I have distracted myself by doing things that I used to really enjoy, like dancing, reading, or sewing. I just wish it didn’t affect me so much.

vivir tu verdad

Raising Girls

I apologize in advance if I offend anyone with this post, but I feel a need to vent a little.

A lot of the females in my family could be referred to as militant feminists, and occasionally it gets to be a little too much for me. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against feminists generally. I think feminism has done a lot for all of us, but sometimes I think that we are taking things too far.

One example of that is the current discussion of whether or not the Lego Friends sets are giving girls the right impression because they are pink and purple.  I personally think that if there is any way that Legos are messing up our children, it is by having sets that are supposed to be made in to certain things, especially with the detailed directions. I understand that some kids need that, I was actually one of them, but I feel like we are teaching our kids that imagination is not important.

Then there is the ongoing discussion that Barbie is bad for our daughters’ self esteem because of her unattainable figure. There are some people who even want to say that Barbie is one of the causes of eating disorders. I’m not going to say that isn’t sometimes the case, but I think it’s been blown out of proportion. Barbie is a doll, and as a doll, she has been used to represent many different careers, and through some of the special edition doll to help teach girls about other cultures. Mattel has also said they have never meant for Barbie and Ken to be married, they seem to want to keep Barbie an independent woman. Although, calling Barbie a woman is actually not accurate. When Barbie was first introduced, she was supposed to be a sixteen year-old fashion model, which actually explains why she has an unattainable figure, as most models also have unattainable figures without lots of exercise and following a strict diet.

The point of all my ramblings is that I believe that what really impacts how our daughters feel about themselves is not pieces of plastic, but what we as parents, especially fathers teach them about themselves. I have said for years that the reason my husband and I only have daughters is because he makes a great father for girls, and I think that is very true. He has and continues to teach our girls that they can be anything that they want to be, that their worth is not based on the looks or their size, but rather is based on who they are as people.

In my opinion feminism should be about teaching our daughters that it is okay to be themselves. If they want to play with Barbie or Lego Friends, that is ok. If they want to play with tool sets and trucks, that is okay too. If they want to be like Katniss, Hermoine, or Fiona, that is okay. If they don’t want to be a leader, a heroine, or a scholar, that is okay too. As long as they are being true to themselves, they are being the best female that they can be.

ser fiel a ti mismo