So, some of you already know, but some of you don't, I have been dieting and losing weight for the past year (I've been losing for about three, but 2012 when I really started getting serious about it.) And I wanted to share a little bit about my journey!
So, my starting, starting weight, when I my husband and I started dating was 146. At 5'6" that put my BMI at 23.6 -just above the middle of healthy. Which was good! And doing online research, that was actually my ideal weight.
BUT - of course I wasn't happy with that, so I lost a few pounds for our wedding and settled at 142 and after our wedding I was at 136, which put my BMI at 21.9, which is right where it should have been.
I decided though, in 2012, that I really wanted to start getting control of my weight, because I simply wasn't happy with it, and I wanted to make sure I was making good decisions and I wanted to lose a little bit of my belly fat. I'm naturally apple/banana shaped, so my middle is where the bulge typically happens. It's not something I'm super happy about, but I can guarantee you pears aren't happy with their shape either, and the same for for hourglass people or inverted triangles or what have you. Most of the time, we simply aren't happy with what we are and want different.
I started a food journal, and started to seriously diet. I wanted to lose a pound a week and so, according to my exercise levels (none at the time) my caloric intake should be 1200. And I stuck to that, for a year, and actually a little into 2013 as well. I made very careful measurements on what I was eating to make sure I wasn't going over that, of if I did it wasn't often.
So fast forward a year...and having grown an inch, weird I know, I lost an additional 21 pounds, putting me at 115 at 5'7" with a BMI of 18. Whoops. Guess who's now underweight, still unhappy, still flabby and only eating the bare minimum? This gal!
It wasn't pretty. Honestly, I loved seeing that number, and my secret goal was 110, for a BMI of 17.2. The lowest a person can go BMI wise and still be considered healthy is 18.5. I've always fallen into the habit of wanting extremes and my weight loss and calorie counting was no different. The problem was, I was always moody, and my digestive system, which I'm fairly certain has inherited my dad's digestive issues was starting to really act up. I was just having issue after issue after issue.
So! Fast forward to a month ago. I started working out big time. I'm doing Billy Blanks Tae-Bo around 6 days a week, and I'm eating around 1400-1550 calories a day. I've gained five pounds, but I'm still getting thinner because I'm toning up big time, and for the first time I'm actually doing pretty good. It's bitter sweet because I've always wanted to be one of those "stick girls" because I never was, and I've always wanted to be considered super skinny, but the fact remains is that I know it's not healthy for me, and I know my husband was getting increasingly worried, and honestly I'm kinda tired thinking about food all the time. And interestingly, something I've noticed is that when I give myself more leway in how much I eat, I don't necessarily feel like I have to push that boundary all the time, which is nice.
I'm also trying to really balance my meals; we've cut out our sodium intake by leaps and bounds and my next goal is...you guessed it: sugar. Fat content has never really been an issue for us, but the sugar is really kicking my butt as of late and I'm trying really hard to eat my fruits and that be the only sugar I take in. I'm still tracking my intake with the food journal and their idea of sugar levels I think is a bit extreme, so I'm trying to be realistic about it all and not stress out too much; just cut out the bad stuff.
It's been a big struggle learning to accept that my body insists on nutrition, as dumb as that sounds, but looking through the ages and seeing how we have skinnified our society to the point where there is a complete and total misconception of beauty! It's so frustrating!
Beauty Ideals throughout history This is just a brief slide showing how much our perception of beauty has changed; the feminine figure has always been a struggle for people who were born with the natural version of it because we continue to expect the exception to become the rule. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with recognizing abnormally beautiful people and thinking they are beautiful, but to say to the person who wasn't born with the perfect combination of facial features, eyes, height, weight, breasts, that the anomaly is now their inspiration is unfair and unreasonable. Plus that, talk about pressure for the 'perfect' people out there! Kirstie Clements, a former top editor of Vogue Australia recently revealed that models ate tissues - you know, the stuff you blow boogers into, in order to stay full longer so they wouldn't succumb to eating! How ridiculous is that! And not only is that expected, it's accepted! How on earth can a person who's body is normal simply because she eats a decent amount of calories be expected to compare herself to the woman who hasn't eaten in three days other than tissue paper? That's like comparing chicken to a Macaw and saying the chicken is ugly because they weren't born a Macaw! And even that's not an accurate perception because at least the Macaw gets to eat, probably more than the models out there these days.
I visited a site called Modeling Advice while I was trying to find photos of the average modeling size and came across their article on Fashion Model Size. From their website it reads:
In checking around it looks like for Fall 2003 they are back to tall and very thin - 5' 9 to 5'10", size 2 to 4 but I think they would love size 0. If you are USA average of 5'6" size 10/12 forget about any hope of being a high fashion model this season.
...Am I the only one whose blood is boiling at reading that? Seriously?? "Forget about any hope of being a high fashion model this season." So basically, you don't fit in, forget it. And I understand completely that in the modeling industry you have to understand and accept that there are certain things that they are looking for in a person and that's the way it is. That's not my beef...I guess my problem is the fact that these extremes of what a human look like are being considered what is normal and to be aspired to. That's what the problem is.
Argh. I'm on a roll, sorry. This has been bugging me for a while. I understand it's natural to want to look good, but we need to change our perception of what "good" is. We need to understand that our bodies aren't meant to show our rib cage and we're not meant to eat tissue paper in order not to gain weight...it's so terribly frustrating. I've shared this site on here before, but I want to share it again. Healthy is the new Skinny because this group is bound and determined to help change the mindset of the too skinny model. Their goal, as stated from the website:
Healthy is the New Skinny (HNS) represents a platform for women to get information and support that leads to the evolution of each individuals mind, body, and spirit. The media defines women and beauty in a very narrow way, which has contributed to woman hating their bodies and themselves. You are the most beautiful when you are happy and healthy. You can’t love life if you do not love yourself. HNS is a movement to support women all over the world to love themselves and each other. We strongly believe by doing this we can shift the balance of love in the world through the strong love of woman. We believe women are the source of love in the world and we are unable to spread that love if we have no love for ourselves. We were not born to hate our bodies or to name more things we dislike about ourselves than we like, these things have all been taught through our culture and media. At HNS we view it as our responsibility to promote and protect that source of love and in order for us to change the world we have to start my changing ourselves!
I really believe that we need more websites and people like this. I've been finding myself more and more trying not to focus on that stupid little number on the scale and more on how I feel and how I look and how I'm perceiving myself. My husband has been a big help because he tells me when I'm starting to wallow in that nasty, "I'm fat" cycle and he'll tell me to eat when I don't want to. Having someone to help you through that is a big help and quite invaluable in my opinion.
I also am seriously considering starting to model simply because I want to be able to help the mindset that you don't have to be unhealthy skinny in order to look happy, healthy and model worthy. I've had a couple of people come up and talk to me about modeling, specifically because I have the long hair, and while I don't want a stranger to take my photos I am going to ask my husband to help with this...it might be small, but I hope it will help a little.
So that's my rant for now. For me, it just all goes back to being able to praise God for what you have and are, and learning to make yourselves as glorifying to Him as possible.