A tale of two bodies

The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it

-- Omar Khayyam

I have nattered on and on about my weight many times in the history of this blog. Long story short - I was once a lollipop and rapidly evolved into something halfway between a pear and an apple once I turned 19 thanks to PCOS and depression. It's your standard, garden variety weight gain drama.

I have spent the past eleven years wringing my hands and being miserable over the matter, without, for the most part, actually trying to do something about it. My body paranoia has prevented me from going to social functions, as I can't bear the thought of getting dressed in clothes that will reveal rolls of fat spilling over the top of each skirt or pair of trousers. I worry that people will look at me and think how glad they are that they do not look like this. I don't eat in front of people other than at restaurants, and if I am in a situation in which I can't avoid eating in front of others, I'll be sure to eat very little and very healthily.

I avoid being in photographs as if I'm Amish. My daughter is two and I suspect you can only find photographic evidence of me a handful of times. This, above all, makes me the most sad. I have wasted two years of her life because I have let myself be at a point that I am so ashamed of. If anything were to happen to me, she would have virtually no record of my appearance. Blogs are plastered with photos of happy mothers and their children, but I know that will not be me, not yet anyway. I have attempted such photos, but the resulting images are enough to drive me to heavy doses of Nyquil and endless days of extreme self-loathing.

I'm sure some of you are reading this and thinking I should just get over it. I think this all the time, and The Dude has been singing that song for a decade. This post is just to say that the enlightenment has begun. I have reached a saturation point of disgust with my body, and for whatever reason, I know now that this can't continue. I think about all of this wasted time - over ten years of miserableness just because I can't automatically have the body I want.

Much of my weight-focused melodrama has been over the fact that I am so angry that I have to cope with this bounty given to me by PCOS. I am a healthy eater, I don't drink, I don't smoke, I walk everywhere, and I lug a 23lb toddler up and down four flights of stairs every day. Somehow, this does not result in any kind of weight loss, so the thighs stay fat, the face stays moonish, and the boobs still threaten to take over my entire body with their repulsive voluptuousness.

Most women do not have such issues. These women decide they want to lose a few pounds so they cut out some refined sugar. Two weeks later, et voila - five pounds lighter! In this decade (I must keep reminding myself how very out of hand this has all gotten), DECADE of dithering I have let this issue overpower my will to do anything about my weight. Instead of focusing on what I could do for me to improve my life, I've worried about why other people have it so good. What is the point in that? I did the same when I was infertile - I obsessed over the notion that most women did not have problems conceiving, so why did I have such difficulty? Why me and not them? As we all know, there is no answer to this. It just is. The difference here is that I can do something about being heavier than desired, and I have control over the outcome.

I am not the woman who has a baby and is lower than pre-pregnancy weight within a month post-partum. I am not the woman who walks 20 minutes twice a week and loses weight. I'm the one who fails to shift baby weight, still occasionally wearing a pair of maternity jeans more than two years after the fact because the elasticated waist is just so damn giving. I'm the one who will need to run at least 30 minutes four times a week just to break even. It is what it is. Why it has taken me so long to realise this, I don't know.

This is the dawn of a new Pru. I cling to my Couch to 5K like it's my new religion, and I like referring to it as The Programme so as to sound like a level 4 thetan. To prove my dedication, I got up before 7am this morning to go for a run. I, lover of sleep, shunner of early rises, got up at the ass crack of dawn to put one leg in front of the other at a fast pace. I lift weights and do ab exercises every other day, and I make sure to walk at every opportunity. I have cut out refined sugar during the week, though I allow myself the odd sweet thing on weekends. I have even cut down on my coffee to two cups a day, which is tantamount to self-flagellation.

My new perspective has extended into my personal and professional life too. I have made a conscious decision to be more efficient and focused, as I am totally lazy and easily distracted by shiny things. So far it's working, and my productivity has increased greatly. I'm becoming a wifely clone of The Dude, who might possibly be the most organised and productive person ever. Help.

So why am I telling you this? I don't really know. I suppose I'm just proud of myself for making a change after all of this time and knowing that it isn't a temporary measure. I've been happier within the last month of the new me than I have been in years, and I know that is something worth holding on to. I want to be a good role model for P, and most superficially (and embarrassingly), I want her to be proud of me and not so ashamed that she pretends her hot 16 year old cousin is her Mum.

I was going to put a photo up of P and me that my Mom somehow managed to snap on holiday. The rolls are out there for all to see, as are the monster tits and the gigantic moonpie face. I thought, even at this early stage in Project New Pru, that I was ready to put it up for all to see so as to wave goodbye to that person in the most public manner I could think of. I've spent the last 10 minutes occasionally clicking back to the folder to look at it, and I'm not there yet. Perhaps when I have a new picture of me, smiling and holding my daughter without the spectre of "FAT FAT FAT" looming ominously over my head, I will. For the first time ever, I can actually envision that this may be.


Defiantmuse said...

ah. you know, even though I do post photos of myself I cringe every single time I look at one. No matter how much weight I lose or have lost in the past 15 months since Monkey was born (which, btw, is only half of what I needed to be back to my pre-pregnancy weight) it never seems like enough. I struggle with it constantly. So...I understand where you're coming from. And it sounds like you're really making some headway there. And that, my friend, is awesome :)

Aunt Becky said...


Brigindo said...

Wow that sounds like a big attitude change. I'm glad you're enjoying your new regime and your body's many abilities. You'll be ready for the photo one day (and I don't mean because of weight loss) and that will be cool too.

So many of us struggle with body image issues and there is always the mythical other women out there who can drop pounds easily that makes us feel like we're doing something wrong. Don't let them get you down. Focus on the ways you enjoy your body. P will benefit from your attitude far more than from a lollipop body.

Anonymous said...

You go girl. Write about it often -- I find blogging about things makes me keep my promises to myself.

OvaGirl said...

Wow pru..congrats for the brave post and the big changes you have embarked upon. I agree that it's the attitudinal shift that will be the big prize and frankly all the rest is low fat gravy.

Jenn said...

I feel your PCOS pain. So not fair, but there is nothing you can do about that.

I'm proud of you :)

Eva said...

Good for you for taking action! I think the big thing is for us to feel satisfied with ourselves, no matter what that is. I really haven't been since J&S were born. I'm jealous sometimes of other women who wear bathing suits that show some fat while I'm still wearing t-shirts or maternity suits to cover things up. I need to figure out how to feel comfortable in my own skin. I want to teach my children to be satisfied with how they look, but I need to model that as well! Hopefully you can find ways to get there, too!

gold star said...

yo, good for you. congrats. that shit isn't easy.

Kristi said...

Great post. I have friends with PCOS and I know what a struggle it is to lose weight. And I say post the photo. I have a feeling you're beautiful.

Meg said...

Oh, good on you, Pru. Not easy.

I think you do have an advantage in that you used to be athletic, though. Presumably you used to like it on some level.

Although until pregnancy I was naturally quite skinny (cigarettes had something to do with it I imagine, I have always always hated exercise. I still don't know how to overcome that. I have been entirely avoiding dairy so I don't have to exercise. That's saying something.

May said...

Oh, how I could have written this exact post. Good for you!!

electriclady said...

Good for you for taking charge and doing what it takes to feel better about yourself. You know I think you're gorgeous just as is, but the important thing is whether YOU feel happy and healthy.

Sizzle said...

I've talked about my very own struggle on my blog so my heart goes out to you on this. Way to take control of your life though! I am inspired.

I hope you find a way to love yourself completely!

Anonymous said...

Rock on, MsP. Rock on.

calliope said...

amazing post.
I have heaps of body issues, but I feel like a mental shift is what I need to happen first. And it sounds like that is what is going on with you.
loves you

Heather said...

It's one thing for people to tell you how you *should* feel, but it's how you *do* feel that matters.

Calliope is spot on, you have to get to that point in your head where you know you will never go back -- when you're ready. And you are. Good for you.

Anonymous said...

You are quite right. You, me & May really DO need to get a house. The Dude, H & Hairy will just have to Cope.

You speak for me and my rolls of fat, utterly stalled in their descent towards a size 12.

However! You have inspired me to try harder... well, actually, just to start trying a little would be an improvement on the last month.


(Cry of determination. In case it wasn't obvious.)

elizasmom said...

Rock ON with your bad self, woman! I am so glad you are getting inspired. Not because everyone must be thin, but because it sucks to be at war with your body. I look forward to seeing a photo of you and P, smiling and confident together.

Tash said...

We sound somewhat similar. I have "mild IR" (as opposed to full-blown PCOS, I guess), but even with the healthy eating, I need to run to maintain. And I haven't been able to run regularly now in two years (one for pregnancy; one for feeling like shit and then blowing out my plantar fascia). I keep old clothes in some vain fantasy that I'll fit into them again someday. I watch people on weight wachers eat all the things I'm not supposed to and melt pounds. And I also don't photograph myself anymore.

Guess I need an attitude adjustment, too. Good for you. Keep talking and maybe you can turn me around as well.

Major Bedhead said...

Great post, Pru. I can relate to just about every last word. Good for you for getting to that point. It's a good feeling.

Lut C. said...

You can be my role model as well!
Weight loss AND better productivity!

I hope you see results sooner than expected.

Kath said...

Dear Pru, I've got completely caught up now -- a most enjoyable extended visit (although I admit I didn't watch *all* the videos, tee hee) -- and am full of admiration at this post. Congratulations on your change of attitude -- I know those are so hard to accomplish, and make such a difference when they do happen. May your efforts be crowned by success, but most of all may you be comfortable in your own skin again.

tonya said...

Oh Pru, I so admire you! I can completely relate to the self-horror perceptions, and I hope your mental modifications help get you to where you'd like to be.

rockmama said...

You kick that blub's ASS, Pru! I will be attempting to do the same not very far from you. Do write if you need encouragement!