Sunday, November 11, 2007

Does my me look big in this?

Yesterday my aunty walked up to me at Dadsy's 50th and told me I was 'looking pregnant' as she patted my belly.

I think my reaction was to laugh it off and suddenly look like something important was happening in the kitchen that I need to attend to. Granted, this was probably not the best location to have to be, but at least she didn't follow and I could avoid her for the rest of the day whilst continuing my self conscious habit of pulling my tops down. A lot.

I've long had a bit of a thing going with body image. Nothing major, I don't think, but it's like my little raincloud.

When I was younger, I was the beanpole - no boobs, no real wobble all through college and high school. I'd always been tallish and I was 48kg in year 10, 58 in year 12. Come uni I managed to do something somehow that gifted me with boobs and wobble, courtesy of an extra 15kg or so. So at least I've been pretty consistent since then, typically within 5kg of that - the only variations on the theme being my almost-year of waitressing where I lived on an apple for breakfast before 8 hours on my feet, a nap, whatever dinner my parents cooked and then bed. I also did well in my manic weight-watcher-ing, down 66 kilo's at the lightest.

The thing with me and my weight is that I'm typically in a 'losing' or 'relaxing' frame of mind, with extremes of both. I class my waitressing and WW'ing as extreme losing times - there was nothing healthy about it. I was solely focussed on getting skinny, feeling for my hipbones and checking to see how much I could push down onto my love handles before I could feel only firmness. Conversely, periods of extreme relaxing occur before I start another binge/fad diet. Where I think "I won't be able to enjoy this soon, I better have it even though it's the last thing I feel like".

And always there is this time where I look back on the past - where I look back at pictures of me and think to myself "I thought I looked good there - I looked terrible" or "I thought I looked fat there, I was actually thinner".

It's a terrible, terrible thing!

It's not only weight, but image. I spend a fair amount of time on Facebook, looking through people's photos, as well as my own. More often than not, I do think they look terrible. I can easily look at photo's of other people that might not be flattering for them, but do not bat an eyelid - is it because I know them? That I know they don't look like that all the time? Because I know that I might see it only for a second and it won't cross my mind again - that it's not anything massive in the grand scheme of things?

I can look at someone who might be dangerously unhealthy and underweight, and be envious of their figure.

I can look at someone who might be heavier than me, but see only my stomach might protude more, or my face carry it less well.

I can look at the facts and see - I am 177cm tall, I am in the healthy BMI range, a large amount of my thigh is muscle from martial arts and I believe my back and shoulders followed a similar course for a similar reason.

But why must I spend so much time cringing at my photos, shifting my clothing and stance around, running my internal monologue?

What do people really see when they look at me? What image comes to mind when they think of me? Are they thinking and judging in the same manner I am?

You know, just another Sunday afternoon's ream of thinking.


LaLa said...

Oh Enny, people can be such assholes sometimes. The same thing happened to me at the races, but it was a complete stranger who asked me if I was pregnant.

That was my day totally ruined and I spent half an hour weeping in the portaloo.

I don't think you look pregnant, I think you look lovely and completely normal.


I hate weight battles.

Amanda said...

I've seen the uncut version of this pic, and I think you look lovely- not in the slightest bit pregnant- just happy. It's hard to deal with body image issues, but I think it's something that everyone goes through, most of us do for most of our lives.I don't know what the solution is though :(

Mick said...

I don't know the answer enny, but what I do know is that we are always the biggest critic of ourselves and sometimes we just need to tell ourselves to shut the hell up.

You look great in that pic, and having met you, I can honestly say I would not even come close to 'looking pregnant'.

Bah. Silly family. Can't pick 'em can you?

I blame magazines, photographers, TV, media and all of those crap trashy useless wastes of paper that push images of people looking unhealthily thin.

You know they also use photoshop to make people look even more unrealistic nowadays. There is seriously something VERY wrong with that.

Wow...didn't know I could comment so long :)


Mick said...

You know I meant you, not me. I think I look pregnant all the time ;)

cristy said...

Argh family and their completely inappropriate and unhelpful weight comments. They really don't understand the damage such a seemingly small comment can do, do they?

I think you look great in that photo, but really it has more do to with how you feel than what you look like. In both extremes ('dieting' or 'relaxing') it sounds to me like you are alternating between punishing yourself and failing to look after yourself.

I know (from experience) that it is hard, but if you could adopt a new attitude of seeming deciding to look after yourself (eat food that is good for your health, exercise in a way that you enjoy and makes you feel good, get plenty of sleep, treat yourself to what you need - a massage, a piece of high quality chocolate, etc.) then I think that you would feel a whole lot better.

Easier said than done though...

cristy said...

That should say "simply deciding" not "seeming deciding"...

Must get more sleep.

Teej Mahal said...

My father went from saying "gee, you really need to lose some more weight" to "OK, stop losing weight now, you're looking gaunt" to me in a four week period.

The funniest thing? There was NO difference in my weight during that time. How you stand, what you wear, how you feel, how you carry yourself - that's what makes the difference. I can be 10kg less then I am now, and be slouchy and miserable, and people will think I look like shit, as opposed to being happier/healthier/heavier.

Weight is arbitrary, dude. It's what you do with what you've got.

Ampersand Duck said...

I hope your auntie is a model of perfection!

My dad used to make jokes about my bum and my legs. After a lot of years feeling bad about them I started to make comments back. Which weren't appreciated, but were deserved. So now we've agreed to like each other's blubber.

Enny said...

Thanks you guys :o)

lala - I know! AND I can't believe a stranger said that - why would that be a good thing?!!! I'm sorry you had such a terrible day.

amanda - I can see happy, but only because I know I was happy... But I also see awkward, you know?

Mick - thankyou - and I should spend more time being realistic and ignoring that sorta stuff...

Mick - I didn't even pick that up!!

Cristy - I think you're right - I'm very much an 'extremes' kinda person. And I'm about to address the last part of that comment...

Cristy - seems like everyone's having a typo day :o)

TJ - Always the voice of reason! My dad was like that during weightwatchers - when I had gained a little back he was preaching about how I should stop losing weight and looked too thin!

A'duck - She's anything but ;o) I have kinda let communication lapse between us, so she may have been acting out a bit on that. She's in her 60s...! And you? Blubber?! I DON'T SEE IT!!

Sarah said...

First of all, you don't look pregnant at all.

And everything you just wrote, I have wondered the exact things about myself, verbatim. It was comforting to know maybe other people might look at my pictures and not think the same things I think. Because I certainly don't think any of those things when I look it at this one. xx

Enny said...

Sarah - it touches me to hear you say that, because I always see you as so confident and content with you the way you are - so thankyou :o)

Racho said...

Wow, you're tall! Also YOU DON'T LOOK PREGNANT AT ALL. Based on that pic, you look simply fabulous!!

Enny said...

racho - thankyou miss, I really appreciate it :o)