About Me

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Concord, California, United States
I am a sometimes-writer, everyday mama, creative failure and experimental cook. I am interested in living a beautiful life, spending time with my family and making things that I can feel proud of. When I'm by myself I'm usually outside. Don't bother calling because chances are that I didn't bring my cell phone because I couldn't find it. If you see me walking, it's because I lost my keys and if you see me with only one child... I'm probably in big trouble.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

If You Are Not Thin, Are You Fat?

My 7 year old daughter is overweight.  Since she was a toddler, she has been much larger than other children her age.  

The doctor's often marveled at how chubby she was.  At 12 months old she was about 30 pounds.  She was so roley-poley that she never actually crawled because it was tough for her to get her belly off the floor.  Our pediatrician said that she would likely be a late walker because of her large size, but low and behold, she was an early walker.  At ten months old she picked herself up and began moving.  

As she's gotten older, she has gained a real appreciation for food (sort of like her mama).  She likes buying it, chopping it, preparing it, cooking it and of course, eating it.  She's a pretty healthy eater also. It's not unusual for her to ask me to pack her a salad for lunch or to choose and apple or grapes to munch on as a snack and her vegetables are always the first thing she eats.  Just yesterday she was telling me that when she grows up she'd like to open a really fancy salad restaraunt with a huge salad bar (because I'm a responsible mom I explained to her that really fancy restaurants don't have salad bars ,to which she scoffed and said, "I don't care.  Mine does.") I'm not going to claim that she doesn't love her sweets, because she does... she's seven, after all.  But we don't have a house that is packed with candies and cookies.  

So, as far as her body goes, my daughter is probably always going to be a little bit overweight.  It's just the way she is.  And that is quite normal for her.  She is healthy, active and most importantly, she really likes herself.  

As a person who has struggled with her weight and who has let her weight define her value as a human being for all of her life, I am worried about passing my unhealthy perceptions and attitudes about weight onto my confident and happy child.  I suspect that my struggles with body image and self-esteem regarding my weight is one of the first things that people associate with me, sadly.  This quality in me has become, unfortunately, definitive across the boards.  

Many will say, "well, it doesn't matter what you do, because the world will make her feel badly about herself anyway..." and I have given this a lot of thought.  At this point, children have pointed out to my daughter that she's larger than they are.  All kids note differences.  And my daughter says things like, "I really experience the joy in being chubby," or, "I wouldn't be so cute without my adorable chubby cheeks," or (and I squirm as I write this,) "Look at my fat belly, it's from all those healthy foods I eat."  She is aware that she is a larger person and she truly loves herself and accepts herself.

So, everything concerning the way my daughter feels about herself and her health is wonderful, but the world is a pretty fucked up place for women. And I wish that I could take her to a different world where as she grows up, everyone and everything isn't going to insist that there is something wrong with her.

My child deserves to live in a world where she is ENTITLED to like her overweight body. My child is ENTITLED to feel beautiful at a weight that society has arbitrarily deemed "too much."  I deserved this as well, but it was not the hand that I was dealt.  I will be damned if my daughter is going to experience the shame that I have felt without seeing me in the front lines fighting for the preservation of her self-esteem.  

All of the women in the pictures above are generally thought of as big, thick, chunky, chubby women.  This makes me wonder, if you are not thin, do people think that you are fat?  If you are big, are you fat?  Is there anything truly wrong with being a little bit fat? Or, having some meat on your bones? Is it less attractive?  To who? Is it less healthy? According to who? 

Frankly, I have seen women who outweigh me by 100 lbs run faster and harder than I can.  With far better endurance as well.   

I am 36 years old.  I have 2 children.  I am 5'10.  I weigh 150 pounds.  I wear a size 8 to 10.  My BMI is 21.5 and I work out more often than I don't,  yet the world makes me feel like I'm a little bit big.  I am, in every respect, totally normal.  

Now, because I am on fire right now, I am going to do something brave.  I am going to post the bikini pictures that I took and intended to post after meeting my goals and transforming my body.   This is really hard for me to do.  Even taking the picture was diffiuclt.  I can not imagine going out in public while wearing this.

I am posting these pictures because I want to make the point that THIS is what normal is for me.  This is what healthy looks like on me.  Do I have meat on my bones, YES!  I have a little extra chub in a whole bunch of places.  I am also stronger than ever.  I am in better physical shape than I have ever been in.  I have a healthy diet.  I am a totally normal, average person...  and that, my friends, is not thin for me.

This is what average looks like for ME.  

This is what I look like.  This is how I wear "healthy."  

And I am really sick and tired of living in a world that says average and healthy is chubby.  

I want my daughter to live in a world where she can be her own size.  She can define what is comfortable with her and not be criticized and told that there is something wrong with her.  And because I can not take her to a different planet, it looks like I'm going to have to change the world.

And that starts with changing myself.  

And now I'm going to go and have a good, long cry.  

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