Aug. 24th, 2008

"Mommy, why are you so fat?"

Thus my adorable six-year-old piped up last night, apropos of nothing, as we were getting ready for bed. Felt like a right cross to the side of my head, and it's still hurting like hell this morning.

I'm sure I'm not alone here in saying that I have issues around food. My mother, child and sister of morbidly obese women, spent every day of her adult life obsessing about food. She was beautiful and strong and healthy (except for that pesky cancer), but not a bite went into her mouth that was unexamined and free from guilt. She would dream about delicious food and wake herself before tasting it, for fear that it was real and she would gain weight. I don't want to be like that. I struggle daily with finding the balance between the pleasure of eating well and the harm that can come to me from eating the wrong things*.

* I'm not just talking about calories here -- I have a family history of diabetes and insulin resistance and problems with carbs, and it is always a challenge for me to eat in a way that doesn't make my blood sugar wobble uncomfortably.

I don't want to be miserable like my mom, but I don't like the way I look. I have a 5-months-pregnant-looking pot belly, and cellulite on my thighs and ass. I could stand to lose 15-20 pounds. Problem is, my body is remarkably similar in shape to my mother's body. If she looked like this while subsisting on 1000 calories a day and 40-mile bike rides and 2-hour tennis games, how much hope do I have for ever looking like a supermodel?

I exercise (usually by playing DDR), but not with the goal of weight loss; I exercise so that I will feel strong and sleep better and make a good example for my kids. I watch what I eat, but not with the goal of weight loss; I try to treat myself well, because food is a prime pleasure for me, while also taking care of myself by not eating stuff that is going to make me feel worse later. I would probably lose some of this belly if I went more strictly low-carb, but the last time I did that, I got so depressed from self-deprivation and frustrated from food boredom that I was worried about my mental state.

I want to pass on a healthy sense of self-acceptance and balance to my kids. I want them to learn to eat well, and move their bodies, because they know that's what makes them feel strong and healthy. Why do they think it's so interesting or funny or okay to tell me how fat I am all the damn time? And what the hell do I say to them when they do??

None of this is helped by the fact that I am going to the beach in two weeks. I hate walking around in a swimsuit. Bleh.

September 2009

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