Never Good Enough

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SCAN2755I wish this were just about me.  Unfortunately, it isn’t.  If you start looking, I suspect at least 20% of women in this country have the same story.  Shame and humiliation does not allow the story to be told.  If you would only lose weight, you would have such a pretty face.

Yep – that’s me – the day I turned 18.  I wasn’t good enough, and was on a perpetual died.

I was looking at photos of me, when I was in high school.  I wore anywhere from a size 9 to 11.  Yet, I was not good enough.  It all started when I was in the 2nd grade.  The chart on the doctor’s wall said I should weigh about 20 pounds less than I did.  At the time, I weighed about 75 pounds, and was 4 feet, eight inches tall.  Today, that would be just about perfect, but then, I was put on a diet.  I was only 7 years old.  Every morning I was weighed.  My weight was written down on a calender.  I was not allowed to drink water with my meals.  My intake of carbs was restricted. I was allowed melba toast, and could eat hamburger steak.  I gained weight.  When I was in the 3th grade, once again, I was on a diet.  By that time, I had achieved my total height of 5 feet tall. I weighed 92 pounds.  Today, that would be perfect.  Instead, I was put on a diet.

When we were allowed to go to McDonalds for our annual birthday meal, my mother would pull most of the bread away from my burger.  I was not allowed to have the milk shake. If I wanted mashed potatoes, I would end up crying for them.  I was still not allowed to have cold water with my meals.  I love cold water with my meals.  I could, though, drink hot tea and have a life-saver to prevent hunger.

I craved soda and chips.  Of course I did.  My mother was the food police.  Our meals were perfectly balanced without a hint of desserts.  No sweats were allowed.  We were required to eat breakfast, which I still do not like.

It was good enough.  New clothes, for me, were predicated on weight loss.  There was a wonderful dress shop in Greenville.  I was never encouraged to find something in a larger size.  If I wanted a cute dress, I was required to diet into it.  I never did. Very rarely did I live the shop with something new to wear.  Instead, I would leave in tears, humiliated.

When I started high school, the dress I wore was a size 9.  I was still on a diet.  A year later, when I landed a job in a local dress shop, I finally had clothes that I wanted, when I wanted them, because I bought them myself.

I would diet, lose weight, then gain it all back, and the some.  I wore a size 11 and 13 when I started to college.  I was told I was too heavy, and, once again, I dieted my way through school.  It was the story of my life.  I would diet, lose weight, feel good about myself, then gain even more weight.  There is a name for it – YoYo Dieting.  It literally dooms the person to a never ending cycle of loss and gain until you system is so destroyed, normal food consumption equates weight gain

Because of this, I ache for children today.  They are to be humiliated and reminded of their weight.  Never mind just telling girls they are beautiful, and teach healthy eating – without food deprivation.  Girls like this end up losing their baby weight.  Those who were never good enough, always on a forced diet like I was, rarely do.

Not only that but it starts us out wrong in life.  We’re imprinted with the notion that we aren’t good enough, and never will be, until we’re the perfect weight.  It starts us on a life doomed to failure because we weren’t good enough to lose weight.  It taints the way we see ourselves, our approach to relationships, and to life in general.

We are not good enough.
We never have been and we never will be.

This is the lesson of today’s anti-obesity campaign.

I was watching something the other night.  The woman had battled her weight all her life.  Her mother kept telling her that she would have such a pretty face if only she lost weight.  A good 20 years ago I had someone tell that to me.  My reply was that if I had a pretty face, weight would make no difference.  If I did not, being thin would not matter, either.

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