Does this make me look fat? I hope women can learn to stop asking that question. It's something I'm working on. I struggled with my self image for a long time because of weight, my looks, and other issues. Today, I am at a much, much better place than I was many years ago. My husband is awesome and has only made me feel beautiful. Even when I was 9 months pregnant (all 4 times) he still wanted to snuggle with me and smack my behind and tell me how good I looked. He never expected me to lose the baby weight within a set period of time. He just loves me. I'm very blessed in that way!
As a kid I was a small to average sized girl until about age 16. Steadily, I gained weight and was much bigger than I wanted to be. Looking back, I now see that I wasn't huge, but I sure felt like I was. As a cheerleader, I was definitely bigger than the other girls on the squad. It really stunk when the super skinny girls would stand in front of the mirror and say, "I'm so fat." I'd think, "Wow, if you think your're fat, what are you thinking when you look at me?" You know they were just fishing for compliments and assurances that they weren't fat. I was a punk and would respond by telling them they could exercise more if they felt like they needed to lose weight. Rude! Anyhow... Aside from me having extra weight, I also was no head turner. My parents allowed me to date when I turned 16. My birthday couldn't come soon enough!!! Well, it turned out to not be so great. No boys asked me out. I finally went on my first date 3 months after turning 16, but it was just with one of my best friends, so it didn't really count. For the next 2 years I mostly just went on dates with guy friends and I didn't have any boys reciprocate my feelings of "like" toward them.
My Junior year of high school I attempted to lose weight by changing my diet. This probably went on for a year. Most days I ate Toasty Oats for breakfast, 1/2 of a plain bagel and some skim milk for lunch, and a snack after school. I generally didn't eat supper, or not much of it. I logged all of my calories and fat grams. Recently I read in my journal where I wrote, " I had 14 grams of fat today. I'm such a pig." I wish nobody ever felt this way. My obsession with all things Hollywood probably didn't help me build my self worth either! So, these are just some of the things that contributed to me feeling fat and ugly.
My first baby was born a year and half after my husband and I were married. As most pregnant women, I too, did not like gaining all of that weight. I was obsessed with losing the weight after she was born. By obsessed, I mean I complained about being fat, but did nothing productive to lose the weight. Somehow, I got back down to my pre-pregnancy weight, and then kept losing weight. I was skinnier than I had ever been. The lower weight was welcomed by me! I loved being skinny and having people tell me how good I looked. ( Now, I'm at a place where praise like that doesn't matter.) I had two more babies and the same thing happened. Then, I had baby #4 and I turned 30. I swear the day that I turned 30 my body changed in many ways! My baby is nearly 2 and I have yet to return to my skinny clothes. I never thought I'd be this way, but most of the time, I really don't care.
I used to feel the need to look my best, no matter where I was going or what activity I was doing. I needed makeup on and hair fixed. I was worried about what people thought about my double chin. What if someone saw me doing yard work with messy hair?! If my double chin was gone, how would that improve my life?! It took a long time, but in my late twenties, I came to the realization that most people are not looking at my hair, clothes, shoes, extra gut rolls or make up. And so what if they think I have on ugly shoes? I can't live my life with the goal of looking good so that others will think highly of me. Following Christ is my main goal. Clothes, weight, looks.. these things are so trivial when looking at the big picture. After I came to this realization, I did not gain 60 pounds, stop brushing my hair or stop wearing make up. I love cute clothes, jewelry, pretty shoes and looking good. I did however, come to a point where I now feel like it is okay to throw on a hat and some sweats to head to a garage sale. Bed head in the carpool line is just fine. In the past when I had bad hair days, it seriously frustrated me. Now, if it happens, I have an attitude of " oh well". It is so liberating to let go of those feelings. I don't want to constantly think about what someone else might think about me- good or bad. It's so UNimportant, not to mention exhausting!
I'm not at a perfect place, I still concentrate on looks more than I'd like. There are still days when I feel especially fat and let it get me down. I hate feeling this way. I couldn't care less if someone has frizzy hair or is obese, so why do I care if my thighs jiggle when I walk?!