I have struggled with my weight since high school. Most of us put on the “Freshman Fifteen” in college – I put on about thirty to fifty. I tried so hard to look past my own insecurities with my weight but always felt like there was a part of life I was missing out on.
I have never been great at exercising. I enjoy the occasional bike ride or the opportunity to pedal around on a pedal boat. But, when it comes to running (yuck!) or squats (not a chance, babe), I will be the absolute last person you’re likely to see at the gym. I don’t get that rush that all of the athletic folk get out of exercise – I’d rather just sit at home and watch a movie or read a book.
Recently, my son has started to complain about his weight. Not so much the actual number on the scale, but the shape of his belly, and how he no longer fits into his pants. I see him in the bathroom looking in the mirror at his figure, and it terrifies me. The last thing I want him to feel is self-conscious about his size.
The epidemic that is obesity has touched each one of us. Even you teensy ladies. Yes, I know that referring to women who struggle with gaining weight as skinny can be hurtful, but not to a chubby girl like me! I also know that referring to a heavier woman as chubby or fat would not be nearly as offensive to a woman trying her darndest to gain even a pound. Yet, either one of these descriptions can alter the way our children see themselves in the mirror.
I grew up with an amazing mom. For those of you that know her personally, you can attest to what a beautiful woman she is, inside and out. She used to be a championship arm wrestler when I was very young and worked out quite a bit. She has always been concerned with her figure and has been on so many different diets since I was a kid I’ve lost count. She was never obese, nor was she ever really fat. But I think, because of her upbringing, she felt that her worth lied alongside the lowest number on the scale.
My husband, on the same token, is constantly concerned with his weight. He’s likely going to kill me for talking about this, but he has the sexiest Dad Bod I’ve ever seen. I don’t care if he’s not svelte like a gymnast, or even if he looked like Homer Simpson. When you love someone, you look past all of their flaws and love them for who they are. Isn’t that the point, though?
When we look in the mirror, we see all of the things that are wrong with our bodies. We analyze and microscopically pick apart our appearance because society has set such an unreasonably photoshopped standard by which we compare ourselves. How is that fair? Should we not see what those who love us see?
When I see my son, I see the love and compassion he shows to everyone. When I look at my husband, I see a brave, strong, and brilliantly smart man who works very hard to help support his family. When I look at my mother, my sister, my dad – I see the amazing qualities in each of them that make them special, awesome, and beautiful on the inside. Maybe it’s time that we start to look at ourselves with the same eyes with which we look at others. If we begin to look a bit deeper into ourselves, past the visual, we can be sure that our children will learn to do the same.