Monday, October 1, 2012

Body Image...A Few Words

Over the past few months I have noticed that a couple of my favorite bloggers have written about their body image in relation to weight gain/loss. On so many levels I can relate to their struggle with this love /hate relationship with weight as most women in America can. The hardest part is deciding to be healthy (have a healthy BMI) or being accepted by societies standards. This seems like an obvious choice, but it is? Not. Even. Close.

Prior to having my g-tube placed I was commented on all the time about how lucky I was to be thin. Many oggled over my ability to wear a size zero at the age of 25. Yet, at that time I still felt as thought I could slim up a bit, exercise to flatten my stomach a bit more, etc. Fast forward to nearly 5 years of having a g-tube and at a healthy BMI of 21-22, I look back at photos of myself and am dismayed that anyone including myself thought I looked healthy. My hip bones, shoulder bones, elbows, knees all protruded and you could easily count my ribs. Healthy? Nope. It took a huge dive in my health, like emergency intervention, to get me to agree to the g-tube.

Let me be very clear. There are just as many health issues that stem from starvation, malnutrition and being grossly underweight as there is with being overweight or obese.

I am now a size 4-6 and fluctuate between 124-128lbs. I am still in the process of accepting my new body. I have days that I feel fat. I have days that I feel perfect. I have days that I don't even think about it. The best thing I have done to help my perception of my body image is to exercise regularly. I feel happier about the weight gain. I understand on a different level that my body needs fuel and a healthy percentage of fat to muscle ratio to function the way God intended.

When I am at a healthy weight I have more energy which means I can engage in my own life more. I have longer lapses between IV's and hospitalizations. My lung function has increased and become more stable. I can run more than a mile because my body has the physical means to do so because of the proper nutrition. ALL is good!!

I do know one thing, I never want to go back to being a size zero. I never want to go back to feeling absolutely exhausted all the time. I never want to feel as though my body is largely depleted of everything.

Such a tricky topic. Finding the happy spot for each of us entails a different journey for each. For me, finding and focusing on things that bring me joy and are healthy have helped tremendously. Wanting to be active in my life as a new bride was a large piece for me. Then, I added running and started to experience all the ways running has helped me transform my perception about my body. Then, over time all the wonderful health benefits I started to reap; better lung function and better diabetes control to name a few.

I am now in a happy place. There are times when the jeans fit a bit snug and there are times when the jeans are a bit looser, for me this is normal as my body is not one size day after day. Just like the seasons change so does my body. I have found a happy place with this and am willing to work with it. I am sure as I age, I will come to forks in the road that force me through the process of reaccepting my bodies lot in life. I hope that I can do so with grace and dignity and shear appreciation for all the incredible changes my body has sustained over the years and still functions.

I hope we all can someday find our own happy place. Our own form of acceptance. We are all beautifully made and made for a purpose much more important than what the scale or society tells us.

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