Friday, January 31, 2014

Mirror Mirror On The Wall


I was at the gym recently doing my best to keep up with the other ladies in my zumba class when something caught my eye. I turned and saw a trainer kneeling down next to a woman, quietly speaking words of encouragement. The client was overweight and struggling through a set of pushups. I was riveted by what I saw in the woman's eyes---determination and hope. My own eyes clouded with tears; her struggles mirrored so many of my own.

My childhood was a mixed bag of insecurities. I ran home from school often, cutting through neighborhood yards to escape the children who taunted me. I was a shy, pudgy little girl who struggled in school and dealt with an eye condition known as Mixed Dominance that required me to wear a patch over one eye. This made me an easy target for the bullies who thrived on breaking me down in order to build themselves up. The insecurities created from this situation festered deep inside me, causing years of fear and shame. Little did I know how damaging it would be to the quality of my life in the future.

The lack of confidence in my physical appearance prevented me from doing many of the normal things girls my age were doing---attending swim parties or clothes shopping at the local mall. I was incapable of confronting the body issues that plagued me---I had been cursed with a large frame and a chubby stomach that I despised and hid behind blousy clothing. I was also taller than all the girls at my school and yearned to be petite like them. My reflection in the mirror was a constant reminder of my shortcomings, and some days I couldn't bear to look at myself because I knew how bitter the self-recrimination would be. Outward appearances were important in the prominent family I grew up in. My father's convoluted view on weight loss in correlation to beauty was damaging not only to me but to my two, older sisters, who also endured his sharp criticism. Rather than growing up with a healthy attitude toward food, we grew up fearing what it would do to our waistlines. Ironically, my mother was a stellar cook, but food was the enemy that led to diet failure, and both my sisters and I feared we could never measure up to our father's expectations.

The message in our house was clear: the inability to lose weight signified a lack of self control.

If we were unable to control our bodies, we were weak. As a result, I spent my youth yo-yo dieting and binge eating, but was never able to escape my addiction to fattening foods. I obsessed about every calorie I put into my mouth. It was a vicious, destructive cycle that involved starving, binging and purging, and it would form the basis of a pattern throughout my adult life. Despite my husband's best efforts to compliment me and assure me that he found me to be beautiful inside and out, it wasn't enough. I didn't believe him because I didn't believe in myself. I was suffering not only from a binge-eating disorder but also from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, and was ill equipped to deal with either one of them.

My life was dictated by the numbers on the scale, which left me with a closet full of clothes ranging from the smallest to the largest sizes---a testament of all the years I'd spent dieting and failing. I tried every fad, gimmick and diet pill out there to lose weight and warily ignored researcher's claims that overeating is caused by a need to fill an emotional hole. 

There were times when my weight spiraled out of control, impacting my social life by causing me to isolate myself from people. I was playing a dangerous game of Russian roulette by engaging in episodes of mindless binge eating. For a brief period I thought I had found my salvation in the form of a little miracle drug known as Phen Phen. I jumped on the diet pill bandwagon and dropped weight effortlessly, which fed into my obsession to be thin. People told me stop losing weight---I was getting too thin---but their words only fueled my desire to keep losing. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of power over my body and freedom from my food obsession. But as is true with any diet, I set myself up for failure, looking for a quick fix rather than doing all the hard work on the inside first. In a few years, I gained back all the weight and more, further engulfing myself in feelings of self-loathing and disgust.

My biggest mistake was allowing my children to see that darker side of my psyche. While I was focused on building up their confidence and self-esteem, I busy tearing my own down. I failed to see how my depression and self-recrimination was affecting them----especially my daughters.

They grew up with a compulsive mother who calculated calories, categorized food as "good" or bad" and berated her appearance daily. 

Whenever my children slipped into bathing suits for a swim at my parent's house, I insisted they wear t-shirts over their suits because I wanted to protect them from my father's critical comments. In reality, I was passing down the same lessons that I had grown up with---shame and a fear of how others perceived them. My older sister died from the devastating effects of her eating disorder. She literally ate her way into an early grave. My sister had a binge-eating disorder, which researchers have now found is closely linked to anxiety and depression. The disease damaged her heart and her gastrointestinal system when she became morbidly obese. I was helpless to stop the self-destructive path she was on because I was busy fighting my own eating disorder demons. I handled her death the only way I knew how---I ate through the guilt and grief to punish myself. Stuffing down my emotions with food was an easy solution to filling the void that was left in my heart after she died. It numbed me, allowing me to ignore the pain. One day my husband handed me a picture he had taken without my knowledge and said, "You look so pretty in this blue dress." My eyes blurred as I stared at the overweight, middle-aged woman in the photograph; a woman I no longer recognized but one my husband still saw as beautiful.

How could I have done this to myself?

How could I have allowed my unhealthy attitude towards food and body image infect the lives of my children?

They are beautiful adults now but are haunted by low self-esteem issues and are self conscious about their appearance. I am responsible for their attitude because I didn't set the right example when they were young. They learned incorrectly from me that thinness equated beauty. Since the day I saw that unrecognizable woman in the photograph, I joined a gym and am learning to eat healthier. I no longer punish myself with grueling diets or berate myself every time I look in the mirror. Instead, I focus on my positive attributes and take pride in my workouts at the gym. Once I stopped counting calories and obsessing about the numbers on the scale, the weight started falling off. I have tuned into what my body has been trying to tell me all along; life is a gift and that every human being is a work of art regardless of size, shape or color. The path to confidence and self respect will not be an easy one for me, but this is a start.

I am determined to be the person I know I can be---for my sister, who gave up too soon, for my children, who need to discover their own, inner beauty....but mostly I am doing this for me. Life is meant to be lived; it's time I start enjoying the ride.  



78 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thank YOU for taking the time to read it. XO

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  2. Dear Marcia, congratulations on this courageous post! I am sorry you had to go through all of this. I remember what you wrote about your sister a couple of months ago. As strange as it may sound, these two posts are much more valuable to me (and maybe even to you?) than a dozen “fun posts”. Don’t get me wrong, I am not out there to read sad stuff, but I appreciate getting to know the real people. Consider yourself hugged!

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    1. Thank you, Tamara. I could use one of those hugs today. <3

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  3. Oh my sweet. You have struggled indeed. But please. DON'T blame yourself for whatever issues you think you've passed down to your own children. My boys are only 8 and 10 but I already struggle with that one; we are far from perfect as parents. We do the best we can in the moment, even if later we may reflect back and see that it wasn't the best. You have loved your children and that is at the core of all the need from you. Life can be damaging no matter what, lets face it. Life shapes them. Not their parents.xo

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    1. I can't tell you how much I appreciate hearing this. Thank you, Sandra! <3

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  4. Somehow without realizing it we transfer our insecurities to our kids. We continue to blame ourselves and find it hard to love ourselves just because we don't measure up. I agree, time to love who we are. It's taken me a while to accept that. ((Marcia))

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  5. Ohh Marcia there are so many of those Feels I can relate to. And it's so hard. I haven't let go yet, though I need to at some point, I'm just too busy enjoying being nearly in good shape for the first time in my life...

    If it's any help to know, my mum was never down on her appearance that I remember, and I still ended up screwed up about it. Mostly 'dad' stuff, but just to say that even with positive role modelling, he message doesn't always sink in. You might not be as responsible as you think for that one...sometimes it just happens.

    *HUGE hugs* to you for this beautiful, sad post and for the wonderful lady you are now. Enjoying life is such an admirable attitude :)

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    1. Thank you for this, Lizzi. I'm so proud of you for getting into shape---exercise really makes us feel better about ourselves. I'm glad I discovered zumba---it's helping with my self confidence. And laughter really is the best medicine for me.

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    2. It helps. It doesn't make the difference. The attitude and the perspective is the difference. and I still suck at that.

      I'm glad your self-confidence is on the up. And that you're medicating with laughter now, rather than anything destructive :)

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    3. Well…..I do like my white wine on the weekends…..LOL. No, but seriously, reading blogs, writing and talking to good friends like you, are what helps me get through each day.

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  6. Wow, I feel like I was reading about myself! This is so me, my whole life. I wrote a bit about it myself, when one day, like any other, I was complaining about being 'fat', etc, in front of my daughter. She started crying....because she felt if I was calling myself fat, then she must be worthless...paraphrasing, but omg, I stopped cold. Suddenly, it dawned on me why she did not believe she is beautiful. Her mom was always putting herself down! From that moment on, I vowed to never ever do that in front of her again. It doesn't mean that I don't still struggle and feel the same way, it just means that no longer will I air that in front of her! And yes, I am still working on me! Takes awhile to break a lifetime habit!

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    1. That's so true, Joy. I just kept ranting about how ugly I felt, in front of my kids for YEARS and it obviously had an effect on them. I regret it deeply but I'm glad you were able to catch yourself in time!

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  7. This is such a powerful piece. Thank you for it.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by to read it, Carol! XO

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  8. "Life is meant to be lived; it's time I start enjoying the ride."

    Enjoy the rollercoaster ride of life and know YOU ARE BELLA!! BB2U

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    1. Thank you soooo much for these sweet words, BB2U! XO

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  9. I am so so sorry about your sister. I can't imagine life without my sister - she is the ONLY person who truly, no-holds-barred, KNOWS ME, you know?

    I'm glad you have come back from that dark place and are moving into the light. You are truly a beautiful person (and I'm not referencing anything to do with how you look!)

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    1. Thank you, Kristen. I'll always try to stay in that light. You are very lucky to have your sister--hold on tight. It's such a special bond you share.

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  10. A brave, fascinating, IMPORTANT post! We are so much more than the image in the mirror. But how many of us ever actually see that? Thank you for this glimpse into you!

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    1. You know me---I like to keep things on the funny side but every now and then I have to open a vein and spill…..if it helps someone else struggling with these issues, then at least I know it was worth it.

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  11. A powerful life-story. I've read another side of you today, Marcia, to complement your humor. I wish you strength to continue your journey to self-acceptance, Take care.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Bryan. These are the things I need to keep reminding myself.

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  12. Double M (#2)...

    1st: Kudos to your Husband!!!

    2nd: 'Enjoy that Ride.' And Smile along the way...

    Happy Friday, Slu

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  13. 1. You are beautiful inside and out. Amazingly beautiful.
    2. I do the T-shirt over bathing suit thing, too. I need to stop.
    3. This post made me tear up a lil bit, I have 2 girls and I need to think about this stuff. Thank you! Beautifully written, as always.

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    1. Now I'm the one tearing up. Thank you for these beautiful words, Joy.

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  14. Marcia,

    This was a very honest, powerful post. You really tore down the walls on this one and opened your soul up.

    You're brave. You're beautiful. I love you.

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    1. What you've said here means so much to me, Starr. Thank you for this. Love you too, lady. <3

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  15. I know how difficult that was for you to write. I wish I knew that little girl, because we would have been friends and I would have supported her no matter what. No child should be subjected to what you and your sister were. You are a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you for sharing. You may open someone else's eyes to believe in themself too.

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    1. I hope I can--I really do. And yes, I'm betting we would have been the best of friends if we had met when we were little!

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  16. There is so much power in the words of this post. I know it could not have been easy to write this one so good for you. These words are going to help so very many people. Many reading this may have the same issues or perhaps know someone who does. These words are strength and hope. You have done good things here and I am happy to hear that you are on a healthier path. I'm inspired and though I only know you through your blog and social media, I am proud of you.

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    1. That is so sweet of you to say, Sandy! Thank you very much for the encouragement!

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  17. You really put yourself out there. You have overcome all these obstacles in a positive manner. You are also helping others who will read and share your post. Your writing will have an impact on this issue which is quite an accomplishment.

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    1. I just take it one day at a time and try not to let the negative thoughts consume me. Hopefully the post will resonate with a lot of people out there---women AND men.

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  18. I wish that I could not relate to any of this. You are brave and wonderful for publishing this, Marcia. Seriously gorgeous writing. I've gained some weight since going back to work and I'm so angry with myself for it. I completely relate to the feeling that being thin means that we are strong and that being unable to control our weight means that we are weak. I love that you wrote this. Will your children read it? I hope they do. And that everybody's children do.

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    1. Awwww…Kristi, another thing we have in common. I didn't know that about you. Yes, I made sure my kids read it so that they would understand, and they do. Sending you BIG hugs, Kristi. I think you're a beautiful woman inside and out! <3

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  19. This is an amazing post! It really should be published in many magazines. It should be read by parents and their kids alike.

    As a young kid I struggled with being overweight and unathletic. Was usually picked last to participate on teams in gym. Was teased. Had few friends. All the stuff that really messes with a young person's mind. It takes a lot to overcome, and sometimes I still feel the effects of that time in my life many years ago.

    As I got older things changed and I shot up in height and became bean pole skinny during my teens. It was then that I decided to start exercising and getting in shape. I went through both extremes you could say.

    This is an emotional and soul baring post you wrote here and I applaud it. Keep up the great work in the gym and with your eating lifestyle. Also, your husband is right, as you are beautiful.

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    1. Oh wow Phil, thank you for the compliment but most of all, thank you for sharing your story! It's not often people get to hear a man's perspective on body image issues. Thank you for baring your soul here too, my friend. XO

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  20. Our stories are almost the same! The cruelness of classmates stays with you always :( as does the judgement of a parent. All we can do is take a deep breath and quietly tell the memories to f off! In yoga they teach us that the past could not have happened any differently. we are where we are supposed to be. It says something that you did not end up with a judgemental man like your dad! keep up the good writing.
    tam@ spinstersnacks.com

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    1. I like what they teach in yoga--maybe I should start taking those classes. I know I can't change the past---I can only move forward and do my best to make tomorrow even better for myself and my family. It sounds like despite what you went through, you definitely came out of it a stronger and wiser woman! Thank you so much for sharing this with me!

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  21. This is an issue that I think a lot of women are dealing with. Me too! Like you, I've learned there is no Magic Pill. There is only positive thinking and believing in ourselves. Your husband is a GEM!!!
    Barbara @ www.allmylivesnow.com

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    1. Thank you, Barbara, I think I won the lottery when I got that man!

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  22. This was such a real and honest post Marcia... I think we waste so much time obsessing with the picture in the mirror... my ex step mother told me I was fat when I was 12 years old.. I was 5' 5" and I weighed 107 pounds... I have pictures, I was a rail... she passed on her unhealthy images to me.

    I do count calories, not obsessively but the difference in the weight loss this time for me is that I really exercise.. not as much as I want but I put in a great effort when I do and I love the look of my body in the mirror, I have a great shape and I am really healthy for being 50. I was on the way to losing my health when I took hold of my life...

    So happy that you are on the path to becoming at peace... :)

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    1. Thank you, Launna. I'm very proud of the progress you have made this year, too. You are really on the right track!

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  23. Such a well-written and poignant post, Marcia. You and I have many similarities re: body image and growing up with a father who placed too much importance on outward appearance. I wish I could say I've come to some sort of peace over it all, but I'm still a work in progress. I am glad I have a son, rather than a daughter, except he's bemoaning the fact that he's too skinny so it just goes to show it's always something.

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    1. I never knew that about you---I've seen your pictures and I have always thought of you as a true beauty. Sad how much our parents and peers have that kind of power over us when we are little. Sounds like both of us will always be a work in progress. I just have to mentally shake myself every day when I get down and think about all the positive things in my life.

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  24. This is a powerful post, beautifully written. Thank you.

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Chloe. I appreciate that you stopped by to read my post!

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  25. It must have been so hard for you to write this post and I thank you for sharing your story.
    I'm so glad I discovered the world of blogging where feelings are real and people are so loving and genuine. I had the opposite problem, way too skinny and not attractive. I remember the kids making fun of my weight and everyone that I came across would tell me to put some meat on my bones. Later on, when I came to the US, the kids would ask me if I was going to the bathroom after my meal. I didn't even know what that meant.
    I'm so sorry that your sister didn't get a chance in life but I'm happy that you're finally putting it behind you.
    On a good note, I'm more successful that most kids that made fun of me. I have the world at my reach, I just have to go for it. I'm positive that you're successful, a leader and a kick ass sexy mama.

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    1. Oh Manal, I am so glad you shared your story with me! You were on the opposite spectrum of the weight issue, but a problem just the same. Kids can be so cruel. You strike me as a very kind hearted, strong woman from the blogs of yours that I have read. You really are an inspiration! Thank you for spreading the love---this meant a lot to me.

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  26. I have never commented on your posts, although I read all of them. When I read through this, all I can think is "Wow". I, too, struggle with my weight, and my mother still comments on my weight, although she couches her comments to be things like "Oh, did you see what Dr. Oz had on his show today about losing weight?" or, "You should join a gym, you would feel so much better, and don't you want your clothes to fit better?". I remember, she "made" me join a gym several months before I remarried my wonderful husband, telling me "don't you want to look nice at the wedding?". This makes me so sad, and feel so bad about myself, at 50 years old...

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    1. Oh Robin, my heart ACHES right now at your words. I am so sorry you're going through this! I'm sure your mother means well, but just like my folks, they are from a different generation that put a lot of stock in being thin. I don't think their generation had to tackle so many obesity issues like we do today, and they just don't understand that it is truly an illness. It bothers me to look at old photos from when I was a teen---I thought I was so fat back then, but looking at the pictures, I WASN'T! Why did my parents let me feel that way?? I have tried so hard to shield my own kids from it, and they really ARE thin, yet they still complain about being over weight. They are like this because of my obsession. Next time your mom starts saying these things, please tell her how it makes you feel and ask her to stop. My sister didn't do that---she just ate her way through her anxiety until it killed her. You have to shut out the negativity and concentrate on the man who loves you for who you are. And you need to see yourself through his eyes and learn to love yourself as well. XO Please don't be a stranger---you are welcome to comment on my blog posts whenever you want---it would make my day!

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  27. What a life of ups and downs you've had MM and I'm sorry for the loss of your sister. So many people equate thinness to beauty when it should really be focused on whether or not someone is fit and healthy, eating the a balanced diet. Some of the larger women seem to be in better shape than those extra skinny skinny models. A little fat is not a bad thing in my eyes.

    It's also understandable that you would raise your children similar to how your dad raised you, but at least you know the error and damaged it caused, and you've got a chance to change that by telling them your mistakes. And it's an opportunity for you to share your experiences with many others who have suffered in the same way.

    You look absolutely beautiful, who can disagree?

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    1. Awwww…you are too kind, RPD.I am trying to amend the situation with my kids---I tell them every day how much I love them and how beautiful they are inside and out. I like what you said here about being healthy--that's what is important, NOT what a person looks like on the outside. If only people could see with their hearts and not just their eyes.

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  28. MARCIA!!! I'm so glad Starr did her weakly wrap -up or I wouldn't have known about this post! First of all, kudos for the bravery to write something so personal and raw. BUT YOU HAVE TO READ MY POST ON STARR'S BLOG!! We have so much in common I had chills reading yours!! I saw the words, "body dysmorphic disorder" and almost fell off my chair cuz ME TOO. OMG. I'm still freaking out.
    Mostly, I'm so so so sorry you've gone through this, too. You are STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL and I wish for you to believe that as well. I wish you inner peace. And I wish that for myself, too. Seeing someone like YOU has these feelings too actually helps me, because I see how ridiculous it is to tear myself apart!
    We both deserve to love ourselves completely. My heart breaks for you, my friend, but I'm also SO proud of you for sharing this.
    *MAD LOVE TO YOU* XOXO

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    1. Ohhhh Beth you made me teary-eyed here. We are like sisters in every sense of the word. I too, think you are beautiful inside and out and it makes me sad that you are struggling with the same issues. We DO need to learn to love ourselves, but I know it will take time. I just can't tell you how much your words mean to me. Thank you for this gift, dear friend <3

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  29. Powerful. Beautiful. Most heart-breaking too...

    Thank you for sharing this part of your life, yourself with us. I pray it touches many lives. I am so glad you were courageous enough to speak your heart, many have similar issues and histories consumed by this weight monster. And I hate that.

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    1. You are so right---many, MANY people out there dealing with these issues. Society & media has pressured us into this mode of thinking that we are not good enough or deserving unless we are thin. We need to break this cycle now.

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  30. Holy shit, Marcia, you consistently amaze me with your versatility. I can't even put into words how this post made me feel. From the very beginning, where you talk about the woman who was working with the trainer...my gosh, I got tears in my eyes just from imagining it. And the rest of it...WOW. You put it all so eloquently...you used your talent so beautifully here. So glad I stopped by today.

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by and shared this with me, too. You are so wonderful and supportive of me. Thank you, Shay! <3

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  31. I've already voted, and your numbers are looking good!!

    I'm reading the post, and I'm thinking, 'Is that her writing, or a guest poster?" I scrolled back up twice to see. I am so surprised!!! Really!! You are so amazingly gorgeous and your kids are too (I'm not just saying that, I really think that every time you put up pictures). Such a pity something so shallow as weight was such a big focus to your father, but I know that situation, in a different way, all too well (with my mom).

    I know about inadvertently passing on things to our children too, realizing it later in life, and doing all we can to try and make that better. I think that last part, 'doing what we can to make sure things are so good now' makes all the difference in the world. And high five to all of us smart enough to realize the importance of making that effort. :)

    I loved your post.

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    1. Thank you so much for these kind words of encouragement, Rosey! Looks like we all have inner demons we are fighting. Everybody has a struggle and much of it is trickled down from our childhood. I consider myself a work in progress at this point. I'm trying not to worry too much about my weight or what people think. It's a hard habit to shake, that's for sure!

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  32. This is truly amazing, Marcia and one that people need to read. I am so sorry for what you have gone through. The realization that our children are watching is a hard one too...I know I have passed on some things that I wish I had not. I really loved this post.

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    1. I'm really glad this resonated with you, Michelle! All we can do is keep reassuring our children that they are loved and to not put so much stock in how a person looks on the outside. All the matters is what is in the heart!

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  33. Hi Marsha! You know that I voted for you already. Go Team Meno!
    You really spoke to my heart. I also had a dominant parent (my Mom) who was very interested in having small daughters. I remember going out for fast food as a family, and all the girls having to put the bun aside, and eat the burger only.

    I have my issues with yo-yo dieting too, and I'm only now really trying to have a balanced attitude like yours. Food can absolutely be an addiction.
    I am so sorry for your negative thoughts about yourself, and how badly you were treated by your peer group. That kind of thing never leaves us, but we can turn it and use it for our own power. I think you have done that...big time. And you are characteristically brave about sharing it. And judging from all the comments, you have struck a chord with all of us.

    Your children will overcome, just like you have. They have your fighting spirit and honesty, I have no doubt. Thank you for being a blessing to me today. You constantly surprise me with your depth. I don't know why I shouldn't expect that, but I love it.
    Happy Super Sunday :)
    Ceil

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    1. One thing I have learned since posting this, is how many of us are out there---wounded souls---who need to learn how to love ourselves again. What you said about the hamburgers---wow--I remember doing the same thing. Glad this post resonated with you, too. Thank you for being here and sharing this with me, Ceil <3

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  34. What a powerful story. What a shame to have spent so much of your life on a lot of yo-yo dieting, although I can certainly understand why as kids can be very, very cruel. Marcia, you might like a novel that a friend of mine here in Toronto wrote..."Last Summer At Barebones"...her name is Diane Baker Mason. I read her book last summer, was able to get it here. if you can't get it in the States (it's out of print now and I've been encouraging her to get her rights back from the now-defunct publisher so she can put it out in e-book form) I can get my hands on it again, probably, and send you a copy. I think you would very much relate to Dee, the fat girl with the much thinner and prettier (and nastier) younger sister, (not that you ever had one), and Dee's friend Richard, a skinny dork no one likes and they're each other's only friends. It's a sad book in many ways but it's very, very good. It's based a bit on Diane's life...she was a fat kid like you, much abused, and has battled weight issues her entire life. We've talked about size bigotry a lot and some of our other friends have been having those battles, too. One of our friends used to be anorexic, others have been battling obesity.

    I really, really, REALLY don't understand why people can't just let other people be!!! Although it can work both ways...some folks seem to think that it's wrong to berate people (i.e., women) for being fat, but it's okay to make nasty remarks about really skinny chicks...and my feeling is that that's wrong too...that you can't be sure a woman who's really skinny has an eating disorder, just like you can't be sure a woman who's obese has a self-discipline problem.

    I was a fat or skinny kid when I was younger...I just got mercilessly picked on for being "ugly". I wasn't ugly, just dorky-looking, but the cruelty was appalling all the same. Kids really are evil to some extent and need a LOT more discipline and guidance than most of them get...particularly in the age of the Internet, when the capacity for cruelty multiplies a hundredfold.

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    1. Oh man, your comment nailed it! Yes! I wish people wouldn't judge others based on looks, and I hate that our society puts so much pressure on us to be thin and beautiful When I look at the beauty queens from the 40's and 50's, they would be considered overweight by today's standards. Meanwhile, I'm thinking they looked HEALTHY! Also---the cruelty of children--that stays with us for YEARS and is so hard to outgrow. I wish I could go back and change things but I know I can't, and I just have to accept it for what it was and move on. Yes, I would very much like to read your friend's book some day---sounds like it's perfect for me. Thank you for taking the time to stop by, Nicole, and share your thoughts with me. <3

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  35. Thank you so much for sharing your story. So many people have distorted views about their own bodies, whether due to a sick parent or society in general. If more people post stories like the one you told, maybe more people would accept the fact that we are all different. I think media is partly to blame, but I see a shift taking place, and I hope it continues. We weren't all meant to be Twiggy. When you look at artwork from different eras you see women who were quite plump – and beautiful. When did our definition of beauty change? I think it's time we paid more attention to what is on the inside – our spiritual beauty – than what everyone sees on the outside. GREAT post!

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    1. I think Twiggy is the one who changed it all back in the 60's. She introduced the skinny look, which quickly became fashionable. I remember looking at her pictures as a young girl and wondering if I could ever get that thin. You're correct about older art---the women in those pictures would nowadays be considered terribly overweight. I think I was born in the wrong era! With the help of full-figured celebrities like Beyonce, I think we are slowly getting the message out there that curves are a beautiful thing, not something to be ashamed f!

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  36. Thank you so much for this post. I believe you have found your inner beauty AND a way to express yourself outwardly so very eloquently. Loved this :)

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    1. Thank you, Astra. It's always so hard to dig deep and share these things but in the end if it helps someone else, then it was totally worth it!

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  37. What a moving post! I know many of us reading it can totally identify with it. I am middle aged now and still remember the stuggle I had with negative thoughts and ideas about myself. Thankfully, I am older and wiser now and hate to think of anyone else suffering like this. Your post made me cry but it also made me smile. Good work!

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    1. Thank you or stopping by for the read and I'm glad you liked it!

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