Friday, August 8, 2014

But you have such a pretty face....

         One thing that many females that struggle with obesity deal with is the famous backhanded compliment. This is such a tricky way to mess with ones mind and feelings. My favorite one was always having something said about my weight followed by "but you have such a pretty face". While it may have been meant as a compliment, I always took it more as a your "pretty face" is being wasted on such an ugly body. Of course as the weight piled on I finally stopped hearing that. I guess the so called pretty face got lost 100 pounds ago!
         Growing up in the Hispanic culture you learn two main things : people love to gossip and unsolicited advice is always available. Granted that happens in every culture , what sets the Hispanic culture apart (in my experience) is that people will be direct and blurt things right out regardless of how rude it may seem to others. Maybe that is the "passion" and " emotion" that runs through our hot blood haha.  When you gain weight in my home country, it's not unusual for people to flat out come at you and say "Oh my! You sure have gotten fat" or " Someone needs to lay off the ( insert fatty food) here before you get any fatter". You would think that knowing this one would be more mindful of weight gain, but it is unreal how easily you learn to shrug it off and ignore when you think it's not a problem.
          In my family, the person who is the perfect example of that is my mother. My mother brags (and she should be proud about) the fact that she's been working out since she was a teenager to maintain her figure, at 69, she looks at least 10 years younger and her figure is the same it's been since I can remember. My mom tries to take care of herself and worries constantly about how others see her. I realize now after becoming an adult, that she expected me to be the same. That in her mind, she couldn't fathom having a daughter who could care less about wearing fancy jewelry, making sure every hair was in its place or that she didn't have an extra pound of fat.
         Unfortunately for her,we are pretty much opposites. Where she is hyper I am more laid back, she is  an extrovert and I am an introvert, she's the life of the party and I'm happy to stay out of the spotlight, she craves attention while I'd rather do my own thing. While this is not going to be the long winded mommy issue textbook, suffice to say that me and my weight were always  a cause for fights and tension between us because no matter how much she wanted to be in control, she couldn't.
          My mom loves and needs to be in control. All.the.time.  She can be such a control freak and so weight obsessed, that she can tell you who ate what and how much of it by the end of a dinner party. Sneaking food into the house and binging without her being all over the top of me was quite the hassle, but the amazing feeling of accomplishment I had knowing I had done something food related without her knowing overshadowed any awareness of how I was hurting myself.
            While most teenagers rebel by sneaking out, cutting class or staying out past curfews, my way to rebel was to eat and eat some more. Those foods my mom frowned upon or didn't want me to eat were the ones I gobbled up like crazy. She didn't even know I was doing it,but somehow I felt like I was hurting her by doing it the way some of her comments hurt me. 
             It's taken me a long time to come to realize and accept all of that and I know without a doubt that my mom always had the best intentions. That even though the execution lacked empathy , kindness and positive reinforcement, she did what she thought was right. When I bring up a hurtful things she said years ago, she can't remember. I believe that she's somehow blocked it from her mind. I don't have any children but for those of you who do,remember that words can hurt as badly as actions and that forgiving is not contingent on forgetting, I don't blame or resent my mom for my poor choices, but I know that things may have turned out differently if she had taken a different approach.
             Ever heard of distance makes the heart grow fonder? It is definitely true. I moved to the U.S five years ago and it has done wonders for my relationship with my mom. Gradually, we have gotten closer and I have grown and matured more than I ever would have had I stayed. After much self analysis, I was able to talk to her about things that I vividly remember or hurtful comments regarding my weight that she made in the past. The talk happened a week before my 35th birthday and it was such a liberating moment. Like I mentioned before, she doesn't remember most of it but that truly didn't matter. The important thing was being able to get out all those things I have kept bottled inside for so long and by doing so allowing myself to let go and move forward. I believe this is what started the ball rolling to me getting the wake up call. I felt like this huge load was lifted off my shoulders and like I could really start over and make a change for myself. Because I am worth it. Corny but true,I know.
               It's been two months since then, I am happy to say that with small changes and a lot of effort I have lost 14 pounds! I have such a long long long way to go but every journey has to start somewhere. I am not worried about a number on a scale, I am looking to make a lifestyle change that will be beneficial to my health and my quality of life and I am looking forward to sharing it with you. Now as usual I leave you some inspiration. Until next time!

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