Here are some pictures of scrawny childhood and my smoking thick baby body on the beach ;) ....
Today I want to talk about body image and struggles with weight. Yes, WEIGHT. It’s such a touchy subject to most people, especially women. I find it so rare to come across someone who happily admits to being happy or satisfied with how their body looks. I myself am guilty of being vain… I have been losing weight consistently since transplant due to GI issues and I’m mostly attributing the recent loss in now having the norovirus for the FOURTH time since transplant. And I know for those of you who are trying to lose weight, believe me I know how annoying it sounds to see someone lose weight and complain about it, but just know that with the weight loss comes unbearable stomach pains, terrible nausea, vomiting and diarrhea… so not exactly a glamorous lifestyle. And with cystic fibrosis, the weight maintenance is so hard that sometimes a G-tube is placed and tube feedings are necessary to remain nourished. I have eaten a super high calorie diet my entire life to avoid that situation… and since transplant I’ve had a harder time with this, especially now that I can be more active and I am burning even more calories since I’m not attached to the oxygen on my couch binge watching Netflix (Just kidding, I still binge watch Netflix at night). So not only do I look in the mirror and go “meh… where did my boobs go?” but I also think “NO MORE TUBES!”, then run towards the fridge frantically (usually searching for cheese).
But I want to stress that the purpose of this pose is not a “feel bad for my pain” post… Because I mostly started thinking today about how terrible it is that as a society we focus SO much of our beauty on our weight and how our bodies look. We all have a degree of vanity in us, some are more in tune to shutting that off than others, but why aren’t we focused on how we feel as much as how we look? As a Dietitian, it used to be second nature to first and foremost ask height and weight (just to get a starting point on BMI, requirements for calculations, etc). This is necessary information, but I challenge everyone in the health field to FIRST ask “how do you FEEL”. It’s just so important to focus on feelings first… then dig into HOW we start to feel better. Personally I would rather add 20lbs to my body, buy a bigger bathing suit, meet less of societies standard of beauty and FEEL HEALTHY than frolic the beach with my ribs sticking out while my stomach churns worrying about when my doctor is going to start the “talk” about tube feedings. But that’s just me.
It’s weird because right after transplant I have immediately embraced and shown off my scars but it’s taken almost 33 years and I’m still constantly working on seeing the beauty as my weight fluctuates. I’m getting MUCH better at it but it takes work. I think it truly begins within ourselves and when I FEEL good, I am much happier at looking in the mirror and seeing myself as a strong, beautiful woman, whose body tells a great story… It’s like those mirrors in stores that have PERFECT LIGHTING. I encourage everyone to look in the mirror at yourself like you are in a store fitting room, every day!! ;) We have all earned every single ounce of our bodies and deserve the right to look in the mirror every day we are alive and say “daaamn girl… still got it!” (hahaha) because after all, confidence looks good on EVERYONE!