When we put out the call for new contributors here at the Sisterhood, Rebecca from I Wanna to be a Domestic Goddess, emailed me immediately! We asked her to share her ‘ah-HA! moment with us, and she certainly delivered. It never ceases to amaze me that so many of us have these moments in childhood that mark us for life.
If you have a chance to stop by her blog, you won’t be disappointed! I love her ‘snack of the week’ feature, and the fact that she’s wild about Anthropologie makes me a little sad there’s not one within 100 miles of me!!
I always get a little nostalgic this time of year when the stores fills up with back-to-school supplies. The combined scent of crayons, loose-leaf paper, and pencils brings a flood of happy memories to my nerdy, school-loving self.
But it also brings back the sense of fear and anxiety that overwhelmed my senses when we had to line up in the gym at the start of the school year and weigh in under the watchful eye of the school nurse. In third grade, fresh off of a summer spent playing outside and reading every book in the library, I stepped on the scale and had the nurse tell me that I had gained weight and needed to do something about it. And she told me in front of my whole class. Because third-graders need more fodder for teasing.
Until that moment, I really had no concept of weight. I was always outside playing, always running around, always doing something. Never did I think I was fat. Until that moment. The very first Ah-HA! moment of a dieting lifetime.
Proactive little kid that I was, I marched down to school nurse’s office during recess and asked what I could do to lose the weight. I honestly cannot remember what she told me about weight loss but I will never ever, ever, ever forget this statement: “And if you cannot lose the weight, it’s okay if you are bigger than everyone else because you can carry off outfits with shoulder pads and they will not be able to.”
To this day, I live in fear of shoulder pads.
That was nineteen years ago. Nineteen years of dieting. Nineteen years of weight loss and weight gain. Crash diets and binges. Fat pants and skinny pants.
And two months ago—just as the school supplies began gracing the store shelves across America, two new Ah-HA! moment comments were made to me in the span of 12 hours that I hope will put an end to this period of my weight-defined life.
- “You have such an amazing personality; let’s work on getting you the body to go with it.” (From a trainer at my gym)
- “With your clear skin and blue eyes, if you’d get your weight under control, you’d be perfect.” (From my dermatologist…at least this statement had the backing of medical degree)
After the initial, nanosecond-long sting of these statements wore off, I realized that I would be a complete hypocrite to get mad at the statements.
Because I had had these same thoughts about myself. (And yes, I realize that I am setting the positive body image movement back about fifty years.)
Combined together, these comments have been the ultimate Ah-HA! moment for me. They set in motion a series of steps over the past two months that have me addressing my weight in ways that I have not before. First and foremost, I sought help. And not help disguised as a shoulder padded fashion tip. I have started seeing a dietician regularly. Much to the chagrin of my independent self, I have acknowledged that I cannot do this by myself any longer.
Second, I refuse to diet. Flat out refuse. Because I can diet and lose weight. I practically have a Ph.D. in it. But I never really learned how to eat or maintain weight loss. So this is not a diet; this is learning to listen to my body, make good choices, and eat accordingly.
And last, I refuse to let a scale number define the way my day goes. A higher than expected number usually sent me on an eating bender that left no item in my neighborhood grocery store safe. I have not seen my weight in well over a month and it is completely liberating. By request, I do “blind weigh ins” where I am weighed but only know if I went up, down, or maintained. No numbers. If I am down, I celebrate as though I am down five pounds, when in fact it could just be a half of a pound (or less).
Will this be the Ah-HA! moment that rights the weight struggle wrongs of years past? Well, it has only been a month. But in little moments, I catch myself doing things that would not have happened earlier this summer. A small candy bar treat no longer turns into a full candy bar buffet. I compliment myself more when I make a good choice. When I glance in the mirror, I feel my self-confidence ticking up ever so slowly.
And sometimes during these moments, I stop and think, “Ah-HA! I might be onto something.”
Thank you, Rebecca, for sharing your ‘Ah-ha’ moment with the Sisterhood!!
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