Friday, July 31, 2015

Backlash and Body Issues

I'm currently reading Backlash by Sarah Darer Littman. I will let you search out a more thorough summary if you choose, but the short version is that a formerly overweight teen, Lara, attempts suicide after an incident involving Facebook. Just like with Butter by Erin Jade Lange, reading a book about weight/body issues causes me to reflect on my own.

I was spared any bullying about my weight in school, although I was teased for developing early and for being a nerd, the latter now being a badge of pride.  I had self-image issues though, wanting to have one of the teeny size 2 model bodies. Of course, now I wish I could go back in time and hug my younger self and tell her she was beautiful as she was.

From age 17-21, I began the journey to obesity. The destinations included genetic factors and traumatic life experiences, but there was also a sedentary lifestyle and very bad dietary choices. I turned 37 this year.  I can't change the former, but If I refuse to change the latter, the consequences are going to be things I can't live with, quite literally, in fact.

This week, we received an email from school personnel to send in our shirt size. Even though I lost 44 lbs. during the school year and based on the way my pants are currently fitting, maybe a few more this summer, I almost listed the same size as last year. Why do we have a fixed mindset of our body image? And a negative one at that? This is clearly one of Lara's problems in Backlash, but even as an adult, I am susceptible to the same thinking. It seems ridiculous to put it this way, but I have taken the leap and listed a smaller shirt size. Sometimes the biggest backlash we have to overcome is the one from within.

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