Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Weight Needs to be Over

The first picture you see on your right hand side is
me at Alpha Phi Formal in May 2010. I was around
108-110 lbs that night and had a fabulous evening.
The second picture is from New Years Eve this 2010. Still a happy face, but much a thinner one.
This has been the story of my life for as long as I can remember. A little too big then a little too small (even a lot too small). Never perfect. Never satisfied.

Looking back, I think ever since entering the most wonderful University of Texas, I have struggled with my weight. It started by drinking too much, eating queso and wings late at night after fraternity mixers, and all the sudden, I was the heaviest I had ever been.

After months of kidney failure, I began to LOSE weight. Sounds great right? I can eat burgers, cheesecake, pasta, CHEESE ENCHILADAS. Except when you are ill, none of those things sound good. I would go through the Luby's line and have a cup of strawberries and some orange jello as my meal. My body was telling my brain to avoid protein rich food to keep my kidneys healthy as long as I could.

After my transplants, some of those habits stuck with me. I still rarely eat meat, unless its a hamburger. I pick seafood over meat every day. I love most all fruits and will eat any vegetable (even brussel sprouts, which are amazing roasted in the oven). But it's a tough transition. It used to be that any I had a craving, I was instantly granted what I wanted because I desperately needed the calories. Running out for a burger at 10:30 had gone from a way to avoid a feeding tube to a way to make my jeans not zip over a 5 month period.

Now I'm on that same yo-yo deal again. I felt I had gained too much weight after my kidney transplant so I cut back on what I ate, joined a gym and went 5 days a week. Though my weight was slow to come off, my body looked better. My clothes fit different. I felt better, not great, but encouraged. Until July, that is.

Once the rejection set in, followed the CMV, pneumonia, and pulmonary emboli, my weight loss became rapid. In the late summer I was around 110-113 lbs on a given day. Today I range in the high 80's. Nothing fits. Skirts just fall off. Shirts that once fit like a glove look borrowed from another, bigger, girl. All my dresses have to be taken in.

I used to always think my arms were chubby, bat wing arms. Now they disgust me in pictures. I feel like the same girl in a foreign body with no derriere to speak of. No hips or thighs to distinguish me from that of an eleven-year-old boy. And as for breasts, well, I've got a couple ant-bites where those should be. But it's always been that way so I can't blame that on illness.

I wonder if this discomfort in our skin is something we all feel as young women, wanting to be perfect. Or maybe, because my years that were so important to the development of a young woman have been so unstable, I have never been able to acquire the positive body image that other girls have by now. I'm skinny today but will I wake up in 6 months and be chubby again? And then what will I wear? How will I look? Will anyone find me pretty?

These are important questions when you think of dating, marriage, career, public portrayal, self care, etc.
However, I need to remember as I obsess over my weight that what comes first is my health. And IF I could just be healthy forever, I would have the biggest, most gracious smile on my face all of the time. And what could be more pretty than that?

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