Sunday, October 14, 2007

Fat and Female.

Do you have days ( weeks?) when you look in the mirror and despair at yourself - you look fat?

Well, I'm in that mode right now.

Well, yes, I am fat - but I have lost weight and I am working on health and fitness and thus on losing more weight. At getting to my current goal weight...

So, why aren't I congratulating myself on the weight loss to date, the slow but gradual weight loss over the last few years? And why aren't I congratulating myself on my ongoing commitment to health and fitness?

Women, in general, have issues regarding weight and self image.
This article explores some of these issues, the reasons behind some issues and offers support.
Body image and weight management problems become serious when this affects other aspects of life, such as not wanting to spend time with others when eating is involved, regularly skipping social, family, or work activities to work out, or cancelling social engagements based on weight. Your role in life as athlete, friend, and family member will not be affected by more or less pounds. It will be affected by happiness and self-confidence. Feel good about yourself, and understand that occasionally questioning how you look is normal.

So, hey, I'm normal - even if I am somewhat fat! And at least I am fit - I workout every day, at a fairly high intensity. I love my workouts! A mix of cardio, kickboxing and weights.

They make me feel strong and powerful. Especially if I avoid mirrors!

Why am I sharing my fat thoughts? Simple because I know I am not alone - even people who are not overweight have weight issues. Body image is something we need to work on, as women and as mothers. We want to pass a healthy image onto our children, an emphasis on health and fitness and fun and not on appearance.

It is part of our mothering - looking at ourselves and at the silent messages we give.
And this blog is part of my "therapy" ~ it helps to write out thoughts and feelings. It is almost cathartic.


Faith said...

Hey, Leonie! Are you supposed to look fat in that picture, cuz you don't! You look great!

I have the same problem except I don't work out intensely like you do. And I know I got waylaid a long time ago and never continue with lean but not mean. But just recently I started going to Curves. Do you have Curves in Australia. They are great. It is a gym just for women. So I'm still trying to conquer this thing. Really though I just want to be fit and healthy. I want energy. I really don't care so much if I'm pleasantly plump at the same time.

Leonie said...

Hi Faith.

I'm with you re the fit and healthy - that is the most important goal, something I am telling my kids...I get waylaid into the whole fat issue and negative self image....We have Curves, here, too! Let me know how you find this gym - they have been doing a lot of advertizing locally.

(Btw, if you look at the picture carefully, you can see my double chin! Sigh. But I'm getting there....Repeats mantra to self...)

Anonymous said...

Hi Leonie-

Yes, you are so right, women get so many mixed messages about weight--- with the media saying to be stick then, the advertising ice cream and pizza! lol

I think you look very fit and healthy. And if you feel fit and strong that is what is important.

To me, the point at which I got serious about getting more fit a few weeks ago was when I realized I could not move easily. I was bulky and lost my balance and could not keep up with my family. PIctures told me, too, that I looked much older than I was.

Now working out is a daily thing, like it is for you, and the weight numbers are just a benchmark, when they are useful. But they can't be what we live for.

And yes, I love your quote-- if obsession is robbing one from engaging in life that is not good. But at my top weight I found the weight itself was robbing me because I had no clothes that fit me any more and it was hard to go out and do things feeling like that..unless I wanted to buy all new bigger clothes.

So it is a balance. I think also society is condoning the increased weight of people (again marketing dollars) as at least the US is a fatter nation. I don't like that it enables people to not be healthy. I think we each should try and have a healthy lifestyle.. our bodies are temples and moderation is always a good thing. (well except for when that bowl of ice cream really calls!)

It is balance.. as it always seems to come back to.

I think also today women's clothing styles are not as forgiving. I like old movies and see that back in the old days women wore dresses and aprons that hid a lot! Today's jeans, short skirts and shorts don't hide a thing! lol


Eileen said...

Hi, Leonie--your post title got me here fast! I feel your pain!!! :)

I went on my first diet when I was only 5, so I know only too well what you're talking about.

One thing I discovered, when I was in my teens: being bloated, or "feeling fat," however you got to feel that way, feels *exactly the same* whether you weigh 195 or 135. Been there. Done that, big time.

A lot.

One of the dieting world's best-kept secrets is that diets, no matter what kind or how steadfastly adhered-to, have a 98% failure rate.


I'll never forget the time I went to a Weight Watcher's meeting, fat and desperate yet again, and sat next to another generously-proportioned woman. I mentioned that it was not my first time trying weight watchers, and she said, "Did it work?"

Uh, no.

Anyway, this, like all crosses, are a one day at a time kind of thing. Naturally-thin people just don't understand what a burden this can be. And they certainly carry burdens of their own, that don't trouble me along the way, that I surely know nothing about.

I just wish this particular "cross" weren't so darn *visible"!!! :)

You're not fat. You're just not. And even if you were, so what? Do the people who love you, love you less? Do you love them more now that you're thinner than you used to be? I just try to ask for the grace to behave appropriately around food, and ask the Lord to direct my attention to helping someone else instead, even if it's just through prayer, or tossing in a load of laundry for my family. My problem is I think too much about myself, fat or thin...and I'm certain that's not where God wants my head! :)

Oops, this is way too long, sorry!!

(My experience with this is apparently too fat, too!) :)


Ladybug Mommy Maria said...

Love this post, Leonie...

I've struggled with weight my whole life and it's very, very, very hard not to feel judged. My dh and close friends see that I eat healthy but that my metabolism just isn't "there."

Since the pool closed for the winter, I've been having trouble finding my exercise niche...I need prayers for that...

And Faith said it well - you look GREAT!

Sabine said...

Leonie! No we didn't see your double chin but if you see it I learned this recently. When having your photo taken lean your face slighly forward, it's why models never have double chins LOL!

To me, it doesn't seem to matter what one's weight is, once a woman is above what she considers her "ideal" she considers if fat, even though others are seeing her in a much more positive light for the most part!

My family is blessed with a certian amount of leanness but it's still a struggle to maintian what I think looks good. I can see from my dh's family that my dc will probably have more difficulties than I haev. That should give me more of a drive to do the right thing for me now.

Susan <> said...

Hi Leonie,
I'm twice the size of you! So if you're fat, what am I????? lol But wow, do you look good?

I'm finally sick and tired of being this way. I think that having teens has motivated me as I want to keep up with them.

I'm only starting slowly with walking but it's better than what I have been doing for the last few years, which is nothing.

Good onya,

Leonie said...

Wow, everyone. Amazing comments. It seems like many of you can relate...Cindy, you are right, its about balance, something I find hard in this area....

Eileen, Susan and Maria - hugs and prayers from me - I am totally with you.

Sabine, thanks for the tip. ;-0

One of my issues is not passing on fat thoughts to my kids - I am known to see overweight people and to ask my kids if I am fatter than those people. Not because I am vain or because I think people look bad but because I just can't see myself and want a point of comparison. I also ask - do I look too fat in this, does my stomach stick out too much and so on and so forth. I need to stop cos it sends wrong messages to the kids...

But at least I am big on exercise and I hope that sends a good example!

Thank you again for the comments - lots to think about...

Linda said...

Thank you for sharing... I've struggled since my teen years. Will this be the year I slim down? I say that every year... I feel like now I'm on another kick of losing weight, hopefully it sticks! Congrats on your weight loss and sticking to it even if it seems slow at times.

Leonie said...

Good luck with the fitness this year, Linda!

Lisa said...

Hi Leonie

You look fantastic, well done.

There must be something about getting older, but I've decided to do something about my level of health and fitness too.
Dh and I have been getting up early and heading off to the gym, early days yet, but I'm starting to feel some changes..!!!


Leonie said...

Wow, good for you, Lisa - getting to the gym regularly. That's cool!

Thanks for the compliment - still feel fat and pretty depressed about the whole body thing...