Negative results

What woman doesn’t have angst over their weight at some point in their life? Unfortunately, many of us suffer from poor body images and let’s face it, extra pressure or criticism from a mother or daughter doesn’t help.  In this popular post, we shared our own issues with weight and how it’s impacted our relationship.  Any of your own stories to share?

Ellen…

My friend Kim, who went from couch potato to marathon runner in a few years, never tells her two young daughters that she took up running to lose weight; she tells them she exercises “to stay healthy.”  What a thoughtful, modern mother she is to understand that subtle difference in message!  If I had been that contemplative as a young mother, I probably wouldn’t have complained to Jenna all those years about “how fat I got” or “how my pants are tight again.”

Yes, of all the insecurities I have about my appearance, weight definitely impacts my self-esteem the most. My body consciousness stems from my childhood when I was overweight and teased by the boys in school. However, I don’t ever remember my mother criticizing me because I was chubby; she was always supportive and ultimately helped me lose weight by following the Weight Watchers diet.

Like most women, I’m self-critical. But I think I’m even harder on myself than most when it comes to my weight. In fact, I look at pictures of me when I was a thin-as-a-rail teenager and remember how “fat” I thought I was. Although my weight still influences my self-esteem, in recent years I’ve learned to gauge myself more on internal character traits than external physical ones and have come to really like myself.

Jenna followed a similar path as me in that she was heavy as a pre-teen and then transformed into a slender young adult. Although, I don’t think she was as preoccupied with her weight as I was.  Let’s find out!

Jenna…

I’ve always thought my mom was beautiful. But growing up, I do remember her struggles with weight loss. While I never in my life have considered my mother to be heavy, I know she felt that way and tried every fad diet under the sun to feel good about herself. When I came home on college breaks, she would always ask me if she looked thinner or heavier. Funny thing is, to me, she always looked the same! It’s hard to know how much this impacted my own self-image, but I’m sure it played some role in how I viewed my own appearance growing up.

It’s been great to see my mom change her eating habits and her mindset over the past few years. She has learned to make healthy choices by eating vegan and no longer gets rattled when her weight fluctuates – I think these days she is happier and that inner beauty shines through.

Similar to my mom, I was a heavy kid who was never happy with my appearance. I remember my grandmother criticizing my weight and constantly trying to fix my hair or buy me clothes to make me more presentable. That certainly didn’t help my self-confidence, and I remember feeling fat and ugly in high school. However, as I entered adulthood, I became more health conscious and active. This helped me view myself more positively and become comfortable in my own skin.

Interestingly, I experienced my greatest weight issues while I was in college when I lost, rather than gained, too much weight. When I studied abroad in Rome, I scarfed down pizza, pasta, gelato, and wine; yet, somehow I came home 15 pounds lighter than when I arrived. Clearly something was wrong.

I went to several doctors but no one could figure out what was causing my weight loss. Simultaneously, I was receiving criticism and concern from my family and friends about being “too skinny.” I became extremely self-conscious and this time around, felt ugly for being so thin! Thankfully, I have sorted out my stomach issues and feel better than ever. After this experience, I have come to believe that beauty equates to health and happiness: if I am feeling good, staying active and enjoying time with the people I love, I feel beautiful.

Does weight gain or loss plague you and/or your mother?  Any stories to share?