Plus size?

(This was a draft I came across from 2014 and I thought it was worth publishing)

I often wonder about societies ideals of body image. The fact that a woman who wears an Australian size 14 (US 10) is considered plus size is quite disturbing.  The average Australian woman is a size 16 making most of us ‘plus size’.

I’ve always been told I was too big. One of my earliest memories is being sung ‘fatty fatty 2 by 4, couldn’t get through the kitchen door’ – and this was by a parent!

The photo below is me and my sisters. I think I was about 14 at the time and I really thought I was fat. Looking at it now I think I looked pretty normal, although the bikini was a bit small!

3poolladies

I’m am trying very hard to get healthier. I’ve got a jawbone UP24 activity tracker and am aiming for 10,000 steps per day. I’m also eating healthier. My goal is not weight loss, it’s reducing my blood sugars, reducing my cholesterol levels and my blood pressure. Health goals, not body image goals.

As part of my diabetes assessment the nurse checked my BMI, which is 41, obviously obese. I know I need to be healthier so accordingly I would like to reach a ‘healthy weight’. For me, based on the past I reckon this is about 75-80 kg. The problem is that at that weight I’m still overweight. To be healthy and not overweight I need to be between 52-70 kg. I don’t think I’ve been 70 kg since adolescence!

I have spoken to people who have had lap band. All of them have lost weight but it hasn’t made them healthier. Many say how it is easy to eat unhealthy food as it goes down smoother. Others may be eating healthy but feel they can’t eat in company as they have to eat very slow to avoid regurgitating. This obviously has an effect on self esteem and confidence, how is this healthy?

I understand there is science behind these numbers but in reality that’s all they are, numbers. Rather than looking at weight on the scale, body mass index or dress size, we should be looking at overall health. The numbers that we need to be considering are the ones that indicate if something is not functioning correctly in our bodies.

I’m not saying fat is healthy but lets reconsider what is unhealthy. Focusing on body image and weight loss as the be all and end all to a healthy life is setting people up for failure.

 

Tired me

Two weeks down since my sleeve gastrectomy and I’m healing really well. Weight loss has slowed down thank goodness, only 1.7 kgs (3.75 lbs) this week. I’d much rather this happened slow and steady and gives my body some time to adjust!

I’ve started eating more solid food. I’ve been making the family stews then pureeing with extra water. I can only fit in less than a quarter of a cup but thats ok. I’m not hungry at all. I’m trying very hard to get in my 60g protein as well as 2 litres of fluid so it doesn’t leave a lot of space for much else at the moment.

I’ve also started on some liquid vitamins which seem to be making a difference. My tummy is too tiny to waste space on pills that it has to work hard to break down. I did try the BN chewable but they were disgusting, not to mention to high in iron for me since I have hemochromatosis.

Biggest issue his week as been fatigue. It actually started around day 8. I’m finding I need all my energy to get through the work day, it’s just exhausting. Thank god I have a thermomix as it takes no time to get a stew made and feed the hungry hordes, puree some for me and be in bed by 7.30pm. Tuesday night I stayed up working until 9.30 pm and then couldn’t sleep and then last night I had a board meeting that went until 9.30pm and again couldn’t sleep. I think I have to go to bed when I’m tired otherwise like a baby I get overtired and can’t sleep – which leads to crankiness.

I need to start walking at least half an hour a day but I just don’t have the energy. It’s something I’m going to try and work on over the next week. Note that goal – half hour walking daily!

I’m also running out of work clothes. I have a lot of beautiful plus size suits and dresses that now look like sacks. I’m still about an Australian size 20 (US 18) and the thrift stores are not overwhelmed with plus sizes that don’t look like baggy crap. I’ve decided I’m going to wear active wear as also have a good collection of that – not that I do anything much active – and it still fits ok. Not a super professional look but actually has no reflection on how awesome I am as an accountant.

So thats another week down 🙂

#MeToo

Me Too, because of:

  • The man that showed me what a condom was for at 5 years old;
  • The elderly male neighbour who grabbed me to him and kissed me at 10 years old;
  • The man that used my budding breast “to dial Ketchikan” at 12 years old;
  • The boy on the bus who viciously pulled my hair until I undid my jacket so he could see my breasts at 13 years old;
  • The man who told everyone in the room I spent my time “fanny flogging” at 14 years old;
  • The boy at the bus stop who restrained me, groped my breasts and gave me a love bite when I was 15 years old;
  • The man who said “sit on my knee and we’ll talk about the first thing that comes up” while fondling my bum at 16 years old;
  • The father of a friend who looked at my jumper with the Snowy Mountains across my chest and told me he’d like to climb my mountains at 17 years old;
  • The man that showed me his morning glory and told me his wife wouldn’t do anything about it at breakfast when I was 18 years old.

So #MeToo before I was even truly a woman.

 

Ambivalently Married

Today I will have been married for twenty years. Some of those twenty years have been happy, some unhappy, some hard some easy. Some of the time I haven’t wanted to be married.

When we got married I was not quite 21 and my husband not quite 25, babies by todays standards. We spent 9 months as a couple then baby one arrived and we became a family with all the issues that go with parenting.

We’ve had some tough times. A brother being diagnosed with cancer, an unplanned pregnancy, a child being diagnosed with a severe vision impairment, losing a brother to cancer, losing a 6 year old nephew to a swimming pool, my mental and physical health break down, and lastly two more children being diagnosed with the genetic vision impairment.

We’ve had some wonderful times. Children being born and growing into wonderful little people, through surly teenagers and into great young adults. Holidays camping in some sublime parts of Australia. The thrill of planting our own veggie garden and watching our own chooks fluff around our own yard, well ours and the bank.

We’ve fought, we’ve made up. We’ve wandered apart and come back together.

All up, marriage is hard. It doesn’t just work and I can’t honestly say we will make another twenty years, or even twelve months. Dealing with the conflicts and issues of sharing my life with another person, whose views are frequently poles apart from mine as helped shape me into the woman I am, for better or worse.

Although I can’t say I’ve been happily married for twenty years I can say I’m glad I’ve made an effort to stay married.

Spend time doing what you love or with those you love?

A very dear friend lost her husband in tragic circumstances on the weekend while pursuing his hobby away from his family. My heart is breaking for her loss and the little girls that no longer have their daddy.

The thing that struck me is everyone keeps saying “Well at least he died doing what he loved” WTF.

I’ll be honest, I think that at 45 with 4 little girls he shouldn’t have been taking unnecessary risks, regardless of how much he loved doing it. His pursuit of his own happiness has now left the 5 people who loved him the most devastated.

I understand that you must find joy in life but I think it is necessary to find balance. There are times when others needs have to be considered.

For me I want to try and find things I love to do that I can do with those I love.

Grief Stricken

I’ve had bad news today. I read on google that a 44 year old father of 4 from Bendigo had died in a skiing accident. My stomach turned but I tend to jump to conclusions,

Then on the 6pm news Ian’s face appeared. I felt disconnected – why was his face on the tv? Then it came rushing in – Ian Baker killed in ski boat accident, died at scene.

I lost my composure. I sobbed, Andrew yelled at me to calm down, he doesn’t cope well with grief. His family don’t display emotion.

I haven’t seen Ian or Joanne in years. Last time I had contact with Joanne was on my 40th in February when she sent me flowers. Both of us have busy, hectic lives as wives, mothers, workers.

That doesn’t matter. Joanne and I met on our first day of high school and have been friends ever since. Jo was actually visiting me at Uni in Geelong when she met Ian. Our friendship remains regardless of how often we speak, we know that we are thinking of each other.

Tonight my heart is breaking for her and my instinct is to drive to Bendigo to hold her hand. There really isn’t much else I can do. I can’t bring Ian back or turn back time so he doesn’t get on that boat. All I can do is be a presence for Jo, someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on, someone to make cups of tea.

I don’t know how you cope with losing your partner of over 20 years, the father of your four daughters.

Vale Ian Baker, taken way too soon.

To mother or not to mother

I have a friend, a smart savvy professional woman. She is younger then me, 31, but she has made a decision that she doesn’t want children. My immediate reaction is omg – you’ll get over it, your biological clock will start to tick loudly and you’ll change your mind. Then I stopped and thought – what a huge amount of courage it takes to make that decision.

It actually isn’t selfish (another of my initial thoughts!). Her reasoning is that whatever she does she wants to do wholeheartedly. For her, her professional career is an extremely important part of her self. Having a child would require compromise on both being a professional and being a mother, she isn’t prepared to be half hearted at anything.

In todays society we are often damned if we do and damned if we don’t. There is so much pressure to be a mother and yet we are also expected to participate in the workforce. For many of us financially we have no other choice but to reenter the corporate world after children, often in male dominated careers where it is difficult to break into the boys club when you have to make sure you get to child care by 6pm and then spend the evening cooking, arbitrating, educating and soothing.

Honestly, the more I think about it the more I applaud her decision. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids but I know I’m not a perfect mother and they have had to make sacrifices for my career. Unfortunately for them they didn’t get a choice. Hopefully, regardless of my intense mother guilt, they won’t spend years in a therapist office talking through abandonment issues caused by having a selfish career orientated mum. Instead they will celebrate the fact that they had a strong, inspirational mother who pushed them to be self sufficient and showed that with a bit of determination you can achieve.