Saturday, November 6, 2010

Am I Stuck This Way?

Morbid obesity has profoundly and it seems permanently affected my life.  It has driven how I have thought about myself and the world at large for half of my life.

I read other blogs and see that their author's have these amazing attitudes about accepting themselves just as they are regardless of size or shape and I am dumbfounded as to how they are able to do that.  It isn't that I believe they shouldn't believe that about themselves.  They should.  It is the normal, well adjusted way to think about oneself.  I am just dumbfounded because I don't think I have ever been able to see or think about myself that way.

My struggle with obesity started long before I actually became obese.  I didn't grow up in a home that nurtured me.  I grew up in a home that made size 12 me feel like I was the most gargantuan thing to walk the earth.  I was forced to diet.  I was ridiculed for having a piece of candy or more potatoes than was deemed proper.  This is where my poor body image came from.  I don't say this to make excuses.   I say this to understand why I feel so badly about my body and why I allowed myself to balloon to the brink of 400 lbs.  When Jessica, from Biggest Loser 10, spoke about gaining weight to spite her mom I understood why she did that.  I did that.  I loved the snack bar at school more than anything.  I was free to indulge in all of the comfort laden foods that it offered free from judgment.  I kept a stash of candy and chips in my room at all times, moved frequently to avoid discovery by a mom determined to squash my rebellion and inflict even more shame upon the embarrassment that I had become to her and my father.

So size 12 me grew and grew and grew.  I didn't see the changes in my body occurring.  I didn't even notice the larger sized clothing that I required.  Size 12 me felt like she was 400 lbs.  I have a picture of myself at 15 posing to hide my enormous belly.  Looking at that picture today I am awestruck at how thin I was.  I didn't know I was thin.  I thought I was huge.

A lifetime of self loathing has followed me.  It has kept me hidden and ashamed.  Even today after losing over 120 lbs, I am unable to engage in normal social banter with anyone I don't already know well because I have an anxiety attack.  I can't look most people in the eye without severe discomfort.  I have to force myself to do it.  It hurts.  I have spent most of my life with my eyes cast downward because I have lived in fear of the shame that was forced on me during my most formative of years. 

So I worry.  Am I stuck this way?  Am I doomed to live a life of solitude?  Am I always going to be the awkward freak that I have become?  I want to be able to make friends easier.  I want to be able to fall in love.  I want the same things that everyone else does.  I just don't know how to get there.  The weight is coming off.  The shell is shrinking and is now at a socially acceptable size, but the woman inside of it?  She is scarred and unsure as to how to live this life.


PrincessDieter said...

What this is about is not food or diet or body size. Lots of fat people are sociable. Lots of skinny people have social anxiety disorders or extreme shyness or self-loathing or a combo thereof.

What it seems you need now is a good counselor/therapist that deals with social anxiety issues. Talk it out with someone who is trained to help people with this SPECIFIC issue. Losing weight fixes fatness and in some cases the emotional aspects of fatness. But there are sometimes other issues beyond that that need their own solutions.

No, you are not doomed. Just like you changed your body, you can learn to be social. It might require courage and persistence, but you can change. Humans are amazing that way, in the ability to learn new habits and ways of thinking that lead to different actions.

I have to work MORE on this. It's really easy for me to stay home, cause hubby and I love being together alone. But that's not healthy. It's good to have a broader circle. We used to when we were first married, friends from church, activities, fun stuff, support. But when I got sick and quit work and got in the habit of self-protecting/staying home. Then got morbidly obese and didn't wanna socialize. Now, I'm losing weight and want to get back to what I had before--fun stufff with good people and developing healthy relationshiops outside of family.

You can do it. Get help.

Mrs. D said...

This post absolutely jerked at my heart. I agree, it may be time to enroll a professional to help with this. You don't want to do all of this work only to have unresolved issues take you right back to start. I'm familiar with avoiding other's eyes, of shrinking away from social settings, etc. I don't think my mother was quite so harsh, but I can't remember a time when she wasn't concerned about my weight. Just like we have to change how we think about food, we have to change how we view ourselves too. Cliche, but no one else is going to see us as anyone other than "the fat girl" until we do first. I wish I had advice on HOW to do it, but I'm still working on this too. You are a whole lot of awesome, look at everything you have done so far!

TheWomanInsideMe said...

As I was composing this post I began to think that maybe I do need to get some counseling. I know that it isn't about the weight anymore. It is much deeper than that. It is tough for me to think about asking for help for anything because of being self-reliant for so long. Fixing the inside is a heck of a lot harder than fixing the outside. It is funny that losing weight is the easiest thing now when I never thought I would be able to accomplish that. Thanks y'all.

Katie said...

Wow! I found your blog on Blog Surfer. I really enjoy blogs that are interesting reading. Serious or funny. Your post tugged at my heart. And your progress inspires me to take back up the healthy life challenge! I lost 30 pounds a few years ago and have kept off 20 of it. But recently have been less vigilant. And still have 70 lbs. go go for a healthy weight. Ah... time to shape up :o) Your post reminds me how lucky I am to be a very social heavy person. At least partially due to a very close and supportive family which does not view size as relevant to personality. I'll be following!

Post a Comment

Talk to me!