The weight of it all

I have a love-hate relationship with my bod. Mostly, I love to hate it.

I am not qualified to speak for the majority of women in this town, this state, this country or even this world, but I am going to take a guess that many or even most of us feel this way. We look at a picture of ourselves and think, Sweet Mother of Mercy, where the hell did all that SKIN come from? Lord.

My love-hate relationship with the way I look has kicked into high gear these days. You see, according to  the scale the worst invention ever made, I currently weigh as much as I did in May of 2002. The problem with that? In May of 2002, I was full term pregnant with my first child. God.

Six weeks ago, Jim and I decided to start a weight lifting program. Which is good. But the problem is that to build muscle, you must eat the proper amounts of calories, which means, no deficit. But without a deficit, there is no weight loss. Simple science says to lose weight, calories burned must be higher than calories consumed. And not only have I been mostly even on my burn-consume ratio, but some days, I consume a little too much. Hence, I can now see muscles in my arms and my butt is starting to look better, but my actual WEIGHT suggests I have an 8 pound 3 ounce child in my uterus, which I do not. To sum it up — Ugh.

But the biggest problem, of course, is how this affects my daily life. Take for example, some memories from Lake Jordan (aka, the Happy Place) in Wisconsin this summer:


My sister Carrie took this photo, and it is freaking hilarious. That’s me, reading a smut book called “Goldie Locks and the Behr” to my son Hank (left) and my nephew Danny. The writer named the lead male character “Angus Behr,” probably for the specific reason of giving the book that title. Genius. Look at Hank’s face. LOOK AT HIM. He is absolutely fascinated at this deeply involved piece of American literature. But what did I see when I clicked onto this photo when she put it on the Face Page? My thighs, followed by my stomach roll.

And there’s also this:


This is a photo of grown people having a water fight. That’s Kelly at the left, shooting at Tommy (with the beer), Tim (the headless one) and me. Dudes… LOOK at my shoulders. I’m not even FLEXING. Dare I say it, but those are some sculpted shoulders. But nooooooooooo… all I saw when I spotted this gem was my back fat, my belly fat, my huge ass and those THIGHS again.

The worst offender is this one:


That’s me and my Pops. Isn’t he adorable? I love my Dad. He’s my hero. I want to blow this picture up to poster size and frame it on my living room wall. Dad = awesome. But when I saw this photo, did I think of how good it is? What a sweet and enduring memory it is? How I will be able to hold on to this as a memory of what a ridiculously good time we all had in our Happy Place this summer? No. I saw my big, fat, saggy boobs, trying to wrangle their way out of the picture and into the water.

What the hell? The worst part of it all, is taking a second look… I’m not even that big. I’m overweight. I’m not obese. Well, not yet, anyway.

Now, in my OWN defense, all of these photos involve me and a swimsuit, and it’s difficult to not be overly judgmental of yourself and your bod when wearing what basically amounts to second skin. And this little number is a Sears special, bought more for its ability to hold up my girls (though even in that respect it often fails) than for its high state of modern fashion. It’s a granny suit, frankly. Sure, they tried to make it hip with those sassy pink flowers, but still. There’s no arguing it when you bought the most chic suit available in the women’s section at Sears. I mean, really.

But still, my relationship with my own body is ruining my memories. It’s taking over the way I look at things. I show a picture of a perfectly happy time, and all I see is… fat. And I don’t know how to fix it.

I’m trying, these days, with weights. But let’s say a year from now, assuming I stick to my current program, my body is tighter, more defined. Let’s say I lose 20 or 30 pounds of flab. Then what? Then is it time to attack my stretch marks? Will I hate the size of my butt even if it is firmer? The lines on my face? The grey hair that I have recently embraced, will THAT start to haunt me if I tone up this vessel that carries me around this world? Somebody, for the love of God, tell me WHY? Why am I not good enough for myself?

I suppose that for women, it’s something most of us seek, but few of us ever find the answer.


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7 responses to “The weight of it all

  1. Marney are you reading my mind? Even after losing about 100 pounds I still look at my body and go “Ugh!” I have love handles and a pooch that will never go away thanks to back surgery that split me down the middle.

    But I hope there is a point where I’ll look at those pics and be happy I have the memories instead of criticizing the negatives. All I can do is hope.

  2. We all do this. Even the skinny girls do this. I don’t know what we can’t love what we see.

    It’s my personal mission to look ONLY at my face and the smile on it (in pictures) and just deal with the other chit later.

    Girl. You’re not even big, is the thing! I pray I’d look like that after 2 babies. Srsly.

  3. Jen

    How fitting. We both wrote about the same thing today. It just shows how present this is on the minds of so many women.

  4. Kayla

    Been there, done that. Sometimes I don’t even notice my beautiful child in pictures..

    You are a gorgeous, gifted woman!

  5. Meg

    I try and go with what Erin does and look at the good parts of me (and yes I have some) and try and not see the areas that need work and just focus on the emotion of the time, but yes, I struggle with this too, especially if I am showing pictures to others.

    Why can’t we just like ourselves?

  6. Brother Tom


    Could you give people a warning before showing half naked pictures of your flabby brother! I nearly spit out my Ballpark Frank when I scrolled down to that one. The sight was so upsetting that I had to lay on the couch and sooth my upset stomach with a double scoop of New York Cherry ice cream. I will probably have to start drinking again just to get the image out of my mind.

    I was too upset to even finish the article. I’m sure it was very insightful.

    Brother Tom

  7. Sister Carrie

    I feel so honored to have my photos offically published.

    And yes – Pop’s is adorable!

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