The Many Sizes of Me

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My husband and I are very excited to be moving to the Peoria area later this month. It’s the perfect time to go through our belongings and get rid of the extra stuff in our lives.

I decided to start with my clothes. It was a really hard process for me, not because I loved the clothes so much, but because of my attachment to the body that fit those clothes.

Five years ago, I was a size 0 and weighed 115 lbs. I never had an eating disorder, let me be clear about that. But I was guilty of disorderly eating. I counted every calorie, ate fat-free everything, and only used artificial sweeteners. I was paranoid about everything I ate and honestly didn’t enjoy food much.

I was thin and that felt great. I never worried about how I looked in my clothes. And I could run fast, which only fueled my obsession over food.

But that kind of life isn’t sustainable. As someone with depression, I entered into a rough patch of life and turned to food for comfort. I would eat in hiding out of shame for my lack of discipline. I put on weight month after month until I was up to 150 lbs and a size 8. The extra weight made me self-conscious, ashamed, and even more depressed.

Things were able to change when I got married. I found the discipline I had been lacking, I could open up to my husband about my relationship with food which added a layer of accountability, and we started cooking healthy meals together. I finally felt like there was order back in my eating. Then I found out I was pregnant.

It was a really difficult time for me. I was tired of gaining more and more weight and was ready to lose it, but knew that this season of life required weight gain for the health and wellness of my son. I also was really sick, so I often had to eat whatever would stay down not what I knew was nutritious. As I watched the scale keep going up and up, I had to constant remind myself this was a good thing. At the end of my pregnancy, I had gained 22 lbs; a healthy amount for both myself and my son.

Which brings us back to now. At 6 months postpartum, I’m down to 137 lbs and a size 4. More than just the numbers: I’m fitting into clothes I couldn’t wear leading up to my pregnancy, I’m eating healthy and enjoying food, and finally have a good relationship with food. I eat cheese and peanut butter without fear and have kicked the artificial sweeteners.

So back to the clothes. I was sorting through the piles and piles of clothes in my closet. The ones I had held onto for years in hopes that one day I would fit into them again. I was tempted by them. I thought about the ways I could restrict my diet and how hard I could exercise in order to fit back into them. But as I stared at it all, I had an image replaying in my head. It was my younger sister standing in front of me with tears in her eyes telling me she was afraid to hug me because she thought she would break me. I love my sister and I love hugs. I never want her to feel that way again.

Those clothes were a reminder about a time in which I was not kind to myself. A time in which I caused a lot of concern for my family. A time in which I compromised my health for a size on a tag. It was time for me to give them up if I was ever going to truly reconcile with myself. So I bagged up the clothes and the emotions that were so heavily tied to them.

My body is still a work in progress. But whatever size I end up, I will be healthy–emotionally and physically. It takes time, and I’m facing things one step at a time.

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3 thoughts on “The Many Sizes of Me

  1. Jenette

    Melinda, thank you for sharing!! That was really brave. I want you to know that you have – and continue to – inspire me (and others) to be the healthiest they can be! Not the skinniest, the healthiest. There is a lot of “peace-making” with your body as we age, as we have babies, etc. And you are doing great! thank you for the reminder to let go of the clothes and emotions… I’m sure it feels great!! I have a few boxes of pre-wedding skinny clothes, myself, just waiting!!) Best wishes on your move and your mommy-ness. We will always think of you fondly as our barista, trainer and friend! Love, Jenette and Brian

  2. I like reading your “blog”…you share some “vulnerable” aspects which I think, for most of us…are actually easier to relate to=) I like the step by step part of your writing/story as life is a journey and each of our steps leads us to a “new” place…I look forward to these stories…Love you Aunt Mags

  3. I know we’ve never met, but your words mean a lot. They describe my life in college: very slender but with disordered eating, strict calorie counts, and anxiety attacks at parties where I might go “off plan”…after I gained the weight back, it wasn’t until I worked at a hospital that I was reminded how my healthy and high-functioning was a gift, a grace that many don’t get to experience. I’m grateful for the words you share here. Sometimes we need to remember the golden rule a little backwards: God asks us to love *ourselves* as much as we love others!
    Lastly, Have you read the book “Eat with Joy” by Rachel Marie Stone? I *highly* recommend it to anyone who thinks a lot about food!

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