Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Just the Way That I am

As I was enjoying a cup of coffee and visiting with friends this afternoon, the topic of weight loss kept coming up in the conversation. It was clear by the reactions from at least two of the ladies at the table that their weight loss struggles were a constant concern for them. They discussed the hardships they were experiencing with their weight loss, as well as different beliefs they had developed about their new eating patterns. I won't get into the specifics, but it was clear that the subject of weight was (and IS) HUGE for them.

I used to feel this way. I used to look in the mirror every single day and tell myself I was fat, ugly, and unwanted. I used to make myself sick just to squeeze into that perfect size jeans. I even went so far as to starve myself for a year, take laxatives, and sneak diet pills in any form I could get them... all in the hopes of reaching that "perfect" size. And the really sad part about all of this? I believed that I didn't deserve to live because I wasn't thin enough. Of course, I had my fair share of help in reaching those conclusions, but more often than not the world will willingly lend a hand to help a young girl reach that same conclusion.

As I look at my precious daughter, who is thriving physically and mentally, I fear for her ability to handle the pressures of this world. But it isn't just her that I fear for, it is the hearts and minds of all children in this day and age. How can young men grow to understand that women are so much more than a dress size when they watch their mothers starving themselves in order to look good? How can young girls not desire to be rail thin when all of their teenage idols are borderline Bulimic in order to maintain their image? How can young girls not feel encouraged to take on the enormity of calorie counting and diet pill popping when they witness family, friends, and mentors doing the exact same thing?

It truly is a scary reality... but its not a new one. I felt those same pressures too. I followed those same lines of reasoning twenty years ago. So how can we stop it? How can we stress the importance of health over the need for being thin? I believe it is up to women all around the globe. We have to pull together and begin to define what beauty really is...and what it most definitely is not. Now, I don't claim to be perfect at this. I most definitely fall into the trap of wanting to throttle my scale from time to time, but I am learning.

What I am learning is that it's not always about what I look like on the outside. Yes, we tell our children this little line every day, but do we demonstrate it to them? Instead of killing myself to lose weight, I am going to strive to be more self reflective, seek out God's love and approval ONLY, as well as teach my child to love and appreciate TRUE beauty. I am going to try my hardest to take care of this body that I have been BLESSED with and that has been left in my care. Yes, I know there will be days when I fail. I know there are going to be days when I stumble and slam down three brownies after sucking down a huge coke, but that is what make grace so very essential. I can throw back my head and laugh about how yummy those gooey treats were and try better at the next meal. Tomorrow is another day. God does not want me to beat myself up for not being a size four. I can look just as smoking hot to my hubby in a size 18 as I can in a size 4 (actually probably better). But most importantly, everything I do, everything I think about myself and my body, is reflected in my child's eyes. I can't think of a better incentive than that to love myself more.... just the way that I am.

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