The Weight Problem I Never Had

Me (in blue) with my friend Debbie at 8th grade graduation.

Me (in blue) with my friend Debbie at 8th grade graduation.

As many of you know from either knowing me personally or reading previous posts, I have struggled with my weight over the years. I’m so tired of this issue I didn’t even want to write about it again. But I had an interesting epiphany that was so BIG I knew I had to share it.

I did not have a weight problem until I believed I did.

You read that right. I know it might sound strange, but I was looking at some old pictures and realized for the first time I wasn’t overweight when I started dieting. And I was shocked!

The picture above is what I looked like when I first believed I needed to go on a diet. I was 13. I was at the age when girls start to fill out and my dad said to me one day “Looks like you’ve put on a few pounds.” That’s my first memory of my body not being okay the way it was. And what I made that statement mean about me changed the way I felt about my body and myself.

I dieted all through high school and after I had my first child at 20. At no time during those years was I actually overweight. Crazy? Definitely! I didn’t start gaining weight until I’d been dieting for a number of years. I dieted myself into being fat.

For more than 30 years I have either been on a diet or off a diet. Not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about my weight, what I’m eating or how much (or little) I’m exercising. I labeled food as “good” and “bad” and judged myself by what I put in my mouth. “Good” food made me feel virtuous and worthy. “Bad” food made me feel guilty and full of self-loathing.

The pressure to be thin is ever-present and there isn’t a woman alive who hasn’t felt it. If it hadn’t been that statement from my dad, it would’ve been something else. You know the old saying…”You can never be too rich or too thin.” As a society we believe that’s true and we’ve created an entire industry around it. An industry that is now a $20 billion business according to this article on ABC News. And I wasted 30 years buying into it.

I’m not blaming my weight problem on my dad, or the diet industry or even society as a whole. I’m just wondering what might have been different if I hadn’t bought into other people’s beliefs about me.

The reason I think this is important is to show just how much our beliefs influence us. That one belief set me on a course that would dominate my life. The “problem” was an illusion. It didn’t exist…until I started believing it.

In the last 30 plus years I have rarely been happy with my weight. When I was fat I wanted to be thin. When I was thin I wanted to be thinner. And I can honestly say there is no bigger waste of time and energy than to wish things were different than they are. Thirty years is a helluva long time to obsess over something that wasn’t even wrong in the first place.

I’m tired of playing that game so I’m opting out. I don’t now if this will change anything as far as my weight goes. But I do know it will free up a lot of time and energy for other, more fun, things.

Please…take my advice. Don’t waste one more minute thinking about your weight (or whatever it is you believe is wrong with you). Don’t miss another moment of your life wishing you were thinner (or smarter, or prettier or more successful). I’ve been thin and I’ve been fat and I can honestly say my weight didn’t have any bearing on my life other than what I assigned to it.

What you believe about yourself matters because you’ll create an entire life around it. What beliefs are you buying into?

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

Tired of Being a One (Wo)Man Show

rosieI have been single for most of the last 11 years since my husband and I divorced. I’ve had a couple relationships go the distance. And by distance I mean about a year. One I thought would lead to the alter, but didn’t. There were a couple shorter stints too, and first dates too numerous to mention. But mostly it’s been just my kids and me.

When I was first single I was excited to be the independent woman I always knew I could be. Having been married at the ripe old age of 19, I felt oppressed by my husband who seemed to think it was his job to tell me what to do and be in control at all times. I wanted to show the world (and him) I didn’t need anyone and was determined to prove I could do things on my own. Afterall, I was a modern, self-sufficient woman. I took on the 70s mantra, “I am woman, hear me roar,” like it was my job.

But there’s a flaw in that thinking. And here’s where I’m likely to piss off any hardcore feminists out there. I realized <gulp> I have somewhat traditional values when it comes to male/female roles. Uh oh.

Despite having grown up in a very conservative household, I am liberal in many of my thoughts and beliefs. I believe in equal pay for equal work, equal opportunities for women, a woman’s right to choose. But there are certain things—household things—I just want a man would do.

I guess you could say I’m a liberal-traditionalist. (Is that even a word?)

I live in a neighborhood that’s mostly traditional families. I am one of the few, if not the only, single parent in this neighborhood. And I get somewhat wistful every time the sun is out and all the men are outside washing cars and mowing lawns. There is very little I miss about my ex-husband. But I do miss a clean garage and a well-manicured yard.

My last relationship sealed the deal for me. My boyfriend at the time could build, fix, remodel or restore anything! And I’ll admit I loved that. One Thanksgiving holiday when he came to visit he took care of some things around my house. Not because I asked him to, but because he wanted to. Imagine that…he wanted to! I gotta tell you ladies, there is nothing sexier than a man caulking your tub. And no, that’s not a metaphor.

Or maybe it is.

I just know I find it incredibly sexy when a man is doing traditionally male things.

That’s not to say I need someone to do things for me. I don’t. I know how to change a flat tire, get the lawnmower started after the winter, fix the dryer, put together furniture and replace the element in the oven. Our downstairs toilet was once out of commission for a month while I figured out how to fix it on my own. I’m proud to say I’ve done those things.

The problem was I used to be determined NOT to get help. Not because I didn’t need it or even want it. But because I thought it made me weak and needy. My intention was to prove to the world I could do it all on my own. I wanted to be able to say I didn’t need anyone to take care of me (even though I secretly wanted someone to).

I had to ask myself, “what’s so wrong with being taken care of sometimes?” And my answer was, “not a damn thing!” It’s actually pretty nice.

So the conclusion I’ve come to is this: I can do it, I have done it, I just don’t want to. And there’s something very empowering in being honest about that.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.

I Don’t Want to Be Like You

Somewhere along the span of my life, I got the message that who I was wasn’t okay. At the time I believed that without question. So I began a journey to try to change into the person I thought I was supposed to be. That person is you.

You are outspoken, charismatic, tidy, productive. In your closet the hangers all face the same direction and clothes are arranged by color. You love getting up early and checking things off your ‘To Do’ list. Sleeping in feels like you’ve wasted the day. You go nuts for a good organizational system. You have it all together. Or at least I think you do.

I am introspective, messy, a night person. I can completely ignore dishes in the sink, clothes on the floor, an unmade bed (it’s a superpower, really). I love to read and could spend hours lost in a book. My ‘organizational system’ consists of piles and post-it notes. I tend to over think things and am a bit neurotic.

I used to think there was something wrong with me that I needed to change. I’ve read the books, taken the classes, participated in the programs all in an effort to be like you. The person I’m supposed to be. Someone I think other people and society at large will approve of.

But I’m not that person. I think those are great traits and if the above describes you that’s awesome! But it’s not me. And it takes an inordinate amount of physical, mental and emotional energy to continue to strive for it. Not to mention, it’s hard to be happy when you’re always trying to be something you’re not.

Society and the media paint this picture of the optimal person. We see phrases like 10 tips to getting more organized, how to make friends and influence people, the early bird gets the worm. Wait. What? I don’t even want a worm. And if I did, I figure out a way to find that little sucker oh say, late afternoon or so.

All those sayings and instructions and lists did for me is help me buy into the belief that I’m not okay the way I am. That there’s something I need to fix. And I’ve been on a mission to do just that!

But I’ve realized that was a mistake. And frankly, a great big waste of time! As Ralph Waldo Emerson so beautifully said, “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”

So I’m giving up the quest. I’m outing myself right here, right now! Guess what? There’s nothing wrong with me.

This is not merely about self-acceptance. It’s so much more than that. This is about embracing, celebrating, and just plain rocking the shit out of who I really am. I don’t want to be like you. I just want to be me…messy, neurotic, amazing me.

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I’d love to hear your comments below. If you liked this post, then please ‘Like’ it and share with your friends. And don’t forget to click ‘Follow’ to get email notifications whenever I post something new. But most of all…thank you for reading and being a part of my journey.