View Full Version : Struggles

01-19-2006, 09:02 PM
Can I borrow your ear?

I spent my childhood and teen years being the chubby "fat" one. I got into college, and promptly gained quite a bit. i think I ended up being close to 170 and i didn't want to admit it, but I needed a larger size than 14 (walmart 14, not the mall 14 :p ) I figured that was my lot in life. i liked sweets and eating too much, I tried the gym (funny, even then, i used the stationary bikes!), but found myself "allowing" icecreams and other sweets into the diet more than before, so it was doomed to failure.
Then one summer, I got sick, bad sick. It was 3 weeks before I could start eating. I lost weight. A trick I'd never thought was possible. i liked it. People complimented me I followed the smaller serving rule then. i lost 20-25lbs that summer. I went back to school, and was consious of my eating. I started "commuting" about 1.5 miles to school. the next summer, I got a job which required me to ride 6-8 miles one way 2-4 times a week. that summer taught me to like 110F temps and to like riding in them! :eek: :p hey, 110 is better than 117! :D I also thought I hated the bicycle by the end of the summer. Little did I know....
started up school again, moved 4 miles away from school. all over this time I lost another 10lbs, much slower, and healthier, though a little weight cycling, which I begin to think is impossible to avoid.
that 4 mile commute was fun. I was shocked to find it so. few lights, and a route that was kinda in the "wildnerness" in the middle of 2 large cities. I got a new job which I was so excited about - 8 miles from home!
I joined a bicycle club, got clips, and a road bike (in that order).
I've lost a few more lbs, and done some fat for muscle exchange, and also some disappearing muscle (what happens when you mash with a heavy hybrid, then get a road bike and begin to learn spinning? my legs haven't fully sorted themselves out!)
the end results is a flip flop between 125 and 130lbs. (I'm 25, and 5'6") My friend's told me enough times that I finally believe I'm cute. i know, i'm not fat. but then I look in the mirror.
I can't see any beauty. I definitely see the fat! my body stores all of it on my thighs, buttocks, and tummy, my legs are significantly thicker, all the way to the ankle than my roommates, who weigh more than me, and my mom, who weighs much much more than me. yeah, i know cycling puts on muscle, but there's a layer of vibrational flesh on top! :p the bonus is, I don't need as much leg warming action as other cyclists, even those of a heavier weight:cool:
it does bother me, that, even though I can see ribs i sometimes feel that area is too wide. those thoughts freak me out actually. I remember in high school hearing that many anorexic girls thought they were fat. I don't want that. and don't worry, I'm not there, I just worry sometimes that i might step too far. but i suppose if i did, I wouldn't be able to ride as well, so I'd notice. so, i may not have as much danger. (don't worry, yes I can see ribs, but i've got a tummy that hangs out over certain pairs of undies, as well as a fine toosh for padding any failed attempts at roller skating! lovely imagery there... :rolleyes: )

I hate this. I know that males find me attractive, and I know i'm not fat, but when I look, i can't see it! i've stopped looking. I do still want to lose a little of the insulation on my lower body, to end up in the 120-125 range. I think i can do that and be healthy as according to my elbow, I have a small frame. (but big hips i think :D , i can handle width:cool: )

sometimes I worry. I've found myself obsessed with what I eat. Eating too little is not an option. I did that for a week, and my cycling performance dropped incredibly. Now, I make sure I get good foods, but because of boredom at work (I told my boss! he said he'll keep me busy:o ), i've been eating some not so good stuff. however, this obsession seems to be getting worse, and I don't like the thoughts of being leashed to always watching my food, and it bothers me that I still look fat to myself, even though I know I can not possibly be. I know that is part of why I am so concerned with what I'm eating. i just wish it would stop sometimes...

i'm hoping to locate a decent nutritionalist, so that i can get some professional advise, and hopefully cut out some of the guesswork. I don't suppose anyone knows a good one in phoenix?:p

thanks for listening. I imagine there are many women who struggle with self image. if anyone else cares to share, please do.

01-19-2006, 09:51 PM

Thanks for trusting us and sharing your story, it's great that you can talk about it like that.

It's also great that you've realized that you don't need to loose weight and that it's a baaaad idea to eat less in your case.

There may be changes you can make to your body image and others that you can't. You've already changed your body a lot, and it seems like the way others see you has changed too, and it's great that they nicely commented on this.

Maybe doing more core strengthening would make a small difference. But maybe not.

(reminds me of some running shoes advertisement: "some say I have big legs. yeah, these legs run marathons." or something in that range)

More than trying to get rid of that small (which is probably VERY small, considering your height and weight!) layer of fat, you could try focusing on body parts that you like more. Look at these more than you look at the others. I've never especially been enthusiastic about my boobs - I mean, what boobs??? - but have always loved my legs and butt (even more since cycling!) and appreciate that more instead. I don't know of any women with a body that's perfect according to current standards of fashion, mine isn't either, so what? It gets me places, and is a lot of fun to be in. It has played tricks on me in the past sometimes (been seriously sick once or twice), but generally I'm nice with it, feed it good food, smile to it, and it seems to be grateful for the love I give it.

Our little body defects make us more charming. Perfect people are annoying, aren't they? :D

01-19-2006, 10:04 PM
you make me glad I posted. thank you so much for the encouragement and solutions! :)

01-20-2006, 01:27 AM

I, too, have a petite frame. I'm 5'5" and probably weigh about 130. I don't get on the scale---if my clothes fit, I don't worry about it.

Now that I'm almost 43 years old, I realize how much energy I wasted in my late teens/twenties/early thirties worrying about weight. I've never been obese, although I was chubby for a couple semesters in college (too much junk food and alcohol).

Grog is a wise lady and I agree completely with her reply to you.

My opinion---you are being too hard on yourself. You never will be perfect and that's OK. Perfect is boring, in my opinion ;) Sounds like you're healthy, active, have a full life, and are attractive. Enjoy what you have -- I predict that, in 20 years, you will look at photos of yourself at your current age and think, "hey, I looked GOOD." Remember that as a woman, a little padding is normal and will protect your bones.

01-20-2006, 05:58 AM
hey lady jai,

I could have written most of your post myself! I'm an inch taller and 5lbs heavier, and also used to be close to 170 (about 3-4 years ago). I am still very unhappy with my body-thighs in particular. I have these odd fat pads (totally genetic) that make buying pants literally impossible. I can only buy drawstring waisted pants, and even that can be difficult.

Even if your mom doesn't carry fat a certain way, chances are some female in your family does, and there's little that can change it. Have you had your bf% tested? That's the best measure of how much change is possible. Adding weight training is a good idea for injury prevention, bone building, etc. and might help your body composition as well.

Racing is what keeps me from an eating disorder. I can't race to win if I'm not eating enough, and I'd be letting down my adventure racing team mates if I'm not at peak performance. It sounds like you've got the same perspective, so I wouldn't worry about it-that only makes you more obsessive!;)

I'm young too (23), and it's especially tough to see "skinny" friends who look great in a bikini but couldn't ride 2 miles if they tried. That's what society expects of 20 somethings, to which I (try) to say $%#&@ society-I'm strong and can do kick *** stuff that is a helluva lot more fun than being ogled at the beach. Of course this goes out the window when I'm in the dressing room trying on the 12th pair of pants, but I try for a positive attitude 70% of the time. :D

You're young, fit, and I'm sure look great! I think I've rambled enough now. :D

01-20-2006, 06:18 AM
yeah, my grandma did, and i am lucky to have ankles, as she didn't!

thank you!! I have been feeling down, and it's nice getting a wise perspective from other women. I don't want to fret away my years concerned with weight and such

01-20-2006, 11:10 AM
My last husband obsessed over those cute little aerobic bunnies on the morning exercise shows to the point I went on a starvation diet to try and look like them. Bottom line: He's now an ex!! and I'll Never look like them!! It's taken me close to 6 yrs to recover from the self-image damage done during that time, and some days I'm not over it. But I learned the advice Mick gave - if my jeans fit and I can ride 5000 miles a year, then who cares what I look like! I even keep 2 jean sizes in the house so on those days when the smaller size doesn't feel comfortable (things like water weight, last nights food binge, whatever), I just switch out jeans.......I don't see it as a setback - it's just another place my body is at right now. and I amaze myself that I'm in better shape and more active now at 47, 5.2" and 140-150 (I get heavier in the winter lol) than I was at 27, 5.2" and 125. and I have Yet to have a dr tell me I need to "lose a few more pounds" when they see my exercise/workout schedule! If you're fussing over the junk you're eating at work, bring in your own foods and/or go out for a lunchtime ride/walk. See if that doesn't help you over the "binge" craving. Whatever, don't stress it, your accomplishments Shout for themselves, embrace them for their worth!! :)

Oh and clothes size: it's just a number as you said, one brands 10,12 whatever is another brands 12,14 or 8,10, I don't even know half the time what size I'm wearing, but I know they're comfortable! ;)

01-20-2006, 12:38 PM
Great advice here from the ladies.
All I will add is to say think of yourself as a whole. Its hard not to concentrate on what we lack or feel we lack in our physical attributes but you are so much more to people than how you look. Pick out the things you like most about yourself or what you have accomplished in your life and be proud of those. When you are fifty your friends wont be impressed by tales or how great your thighs looked when you were twenty but they will be impressed by all the other amazing things you have done.:)

01-20-2006, 05:09 PM
When you are fifty your friends wont be impressed by tales or how great your thighs looked when you were twenty but they will be impressed by all the other amazing things you have done.:)


it's so true, so wow.

gals, between the posts here and the one in V's... I can't express how much I thank you. I really needed to hear this, and... your words mean alot to me. my original post was a subtle plee for help, and you rose to the occassion and exceeded... i can see this topic is dear to many of you, and I'm loving where it's going. I see there are many roll models here, and I'm glad to get inside a little of your minds.

this is a wonderful forum, that's for sure!

01-24-2006, 07:19 PM
i've been in the same boat too. When I finished high school I hung out at home for a couple of months and gained quite a bit of weight from bordem eating. Ended up around 160lbs on my 5'9'' body. Working at summer camp brought me back down to 150lbs, and then at college, being on a regular diet and being active I came down to 140lbs. But it was always more fat than muscle. Now that I'm training I'm usually around 130- 135lbs, but I too get worried about my thighs and butt.
But the other day my BF was complementing me on how hot I look now that I'm in such good shape, but said he liked my butt... told me not to lose that because it looks nice the way it is. Besides, in Montreal I'd freeze if I lost anymore fat!
Don't forget that fat gives us those curves that are so attractive, and that women need at leat 10-12% body fat to maintain proper health.

01-25-2006, 07:39 AM
Ladyjai -
It's a very positive thing that you are willing to share your story with others! :) I, like runnergirl, felt like I was reading about myself in your post. I'm 23, 5'5, and around 128 lbs, the only difference is that I've had 2 children...I've always been obsessed with my weight (even to the point of bulemia in high school), but I never made any real POSITIVE changes in my habits until after I had my first daughter. I tipped the scales at a good 220 lbs when she was born (talk about DEPRESSING!). I gained so much weight with her, I think, BECAUSE my idea of body image was so twisted. In highschool, I was a cheerleader, and I was popular, but I wasn't the size 3's and 5's that my friends were. As women, we have this messed up, cheuvanistic (sp?) view of the perfect female body STUFFED down our throats from the time we're old enough to sit down and watch tv. We're told (in a round-about, but very clear way) that this is a man's world, and we have to struggle to gain status, or even recognition for everything we do. This is why I think that eating disorders and obsessions are more about control than body image, really.

I've heard it said that we are very accepting of others, but we "hold ourselves hostage in the mirror." Something like that, I think everyone knows what I mean though :) Ladyjai (and everyone else here), I've been all those things - I've been "fat," skinny, bulemic - and healthy. I'll tell you now, healthy is the best way to be. I still stand in front of the mirror sometimes and whine about the little pudge I have at the bottom of my belly from having 2 children, or the tiny bits of cellulite here and there that I inherited from my Mother :mad: lol...but I've been through all those struggles, and I've worked hard to get where I am, and I'm proud of myself. My legs still get me where I need to go, my arms still pick up my children - remember that there are people out there that don't have whole, functional bodies - be grateful for what you have.

It sounds to me too, that you are healthy, pretty, and you at least make an effort to take care of yourself - so quit beating yourself up! Listen to your friends when they tell you how cute you are, and accept it! :)

Corsair Mac - How wonderful that you've gotten rid of a bad influence on your self image, and bounced back! :) *cheers* I really hate to see women let people - especially their husbands, how awful - put them down. I've been there, too in a way, I got pregnant with my first daughter not too long after I met her Daddy (which, btw, is still my husband, of 5 years now :) ), and at the time, he was pretty insensitive to that kind of thing, especially considering that I was pregnant and felt like a beached whale anyway! Fortunately, it didn't take long for him to figure out that his statements and "jokes" were hurting my feelings, BADLY, and he stopped. Now he tells me every day how beautiful I am :)

and you are ALL beautiful! Don't let anyone ever tell you any different (even if it's yourself! :p )

Love and light,


01-25-2006, 10:43 PM

After reading your post i can identify with what you're saying. I've always been big and never been able to see the beauty in my body. Prior to purchasing a bike, i was a size 16 almost 18 (that's nz/oz sizes which are a bit diff to the us) and wondered if i'd ever get rid of some of the bigger bits.
I ate & had a hard time controlling my weight. I found out later that my hypothyroid didn't help and needed to take the medication regularly..not sporadically....:rolleyes:

I sort of liked my body but somehow thought I needed to get rid of some of the excess to be liked more.

Well, we bought bikes & it's done so much for my confidence- body wise. I'm slowly getting there but feel much happier looking at my body than before. Ian often worries i'll go a bit nutty & try an extreme diet but i know how it would affect cycling. He's been very supportive and love the fact he tells me I have a shape.

I'm sure that you're a beautiful lady and who cares if society says we have to be a certain weight. Stuff societal norms...I may have a bigger body but I can mountain bike down freaky hills & do triathlons even with the fear of being stung by jellyfish....