Weight shame limits self-growth, wellness
Labels are so subjective and they easily come and go. They might bring some order into our lives, but the opposite is also true. So, for some reason, these two images keep resurging in my thoughts the last few days …
The First One: I am 10 years old. We used to hang clothes up to dry them up. So, my jeans are hanging out there, drying up.
My super skinny and unhealthy slim mother walks into the room and shakes one of the pant “legs," saying: “Really. I could have fit into ONE LEG of those my whole body. You are so fat.”
And that is it. A “problem child." Shame on me. (Little did I know that skinny does not mean healthy back then).
The Second One: I am 11 years old. My grandma’s and mother’s friends invited the three of us to their place. We never visited much, but somehow, we made it to their place. We are in their living room on their couch. I vividly remember every detail.
The woman tells me: “You look too heavy for a 5th grader.” Then, she insists to bring a scale from her bathroom to weigh me in front of herself, her husband, and my mother and grandma.
They all look with trepidation as the arrow of the scale climbs too high for their liking.
With disbelief, they say the number loud (in kilograms, as it was back in Poland): 62 kg. I still remember. Then, the woman and her husband tell me that I am too heavy and “no one will want you like this.”
Poland being Poland, and different social circumstances around, my (skeleton of the) family nods in accordance with their friends’ disbelief and tells me there and then that yes, that kind of weight is really not acceptable.
None of the consideration being that I was a kid fed the wrong food and exempted from the PE classes by the letters of my mother. A “problem child” again.
The weight shame is stored in us from the past, as we did not manage to fit into the square box of the weight stereotypes, and the anger toward the persons who ashamed us.
Shame and guilt are equal opportunity.
Once we get labeled (and most of us get labeled within our initial family), we tend to stay labeled, which limits our self-growth, wellness, and weight management. We don’t think we even can lose the damn weight.
We don’t question why in the first place, the excessive weight happened to us (in my case, my sick mother believed that sweating was not good for anyone and kept writing a PE exemption note year after year… in fact, I did not participate in any PE classes over my young lifetime… I guess this s why I need to catch up, but I digress).
“They” impose that unwanted certain label on us and we stuck to it, as we feel labeled that particular way. While we do not need nor want to. We want our self-image impervious to the attack. Intact.
In my mind, we vulnerably need to open about our imperfections and wounds. That only brings healing and creates some sense of the safe space.
Did I live up to those labels? No. Did I embrace them? No. Did I desperately fight them with words or actions?
YES ... I went ahead – even if initially, portraying myself as that false happy colorful image that back then I was not, but I try to be by now.
You fake it till you make it, right?
We are all creative and can get there. I am here for you, call me if you need or want.
Your life is YOUR choice.
Magdalena is the owner of the Be Fit Fit Personal Training Studio (www.befitfit.biz) and the Top 5% Chairman’s Board Realtor® at the Russ Lyon Sotheby’s International in Sedona. Visit her “Be Fit Fit” blog at www.verdenews.com.
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