Yesterday Dillon had a well child checkup and the doctor provided the usual growth percentile information. He is 12, starting 7th grade and was in the 97th percentile for height and 66th for weight. They even told me his BMI was excellent. Obviously he is taller than the majority of his classmates which brings back memories so I decided to do a little comparison.
I whipped out my scrapbook when I got home…and yes I really do have my height and weight documented from kinder through senior year…and as I was beginning 7th grade I was in the 94th percentile for height and the 79th percentile in weight. I was a “big” girl for my age. You see, I was always taller than the majority of my classmates from the time I was 3. Over and over throughout my life I can remember people saying “wow, you’re big for your age”. Not too harmful at 3 but once I entered about 5th grade and could no longer shop in the young girls section I really began to notice how different being a “big” girl was. Let’s just say it wasn’t a positive in my mind. Of course it didn’t help matters that braces and glasses also entered the picture at this time and I became extremely self conscious about the number on the scale. It’s crazy how we have become so driven by a number on a scale and on comparisons to others. As early as 7th grade I specifically remember ordering a book off the weekly reader list about health and beauty and it gave so many suggestions on how to cut calories from your diet. I really don’t think a day has passed since that time that the amount of calories I’m consuming doesn’t cross my mind.
Here I am at 13 years old, midway through 7th grade….I look at this picture now and I just see a young athletic girl (with a bad hair style). Nothing about this girl looks “big” to me.
It was about this time that the crazy cycle began. For the next 7 or so years I battled between starving myself or participating in a bulimic lifestyle just trying not to be what I saw as big. I was athletic and played volleyball, basketball and softball. I enjoyed being active but I just could never seem to burn enough calories to be the size I wanted to be. When I graduated from high school I was 5’7″ and 120lbs….what I wouldn’t give to see that number on the scale again! But was I healthy? Absolutely not…not mentally or physically.
For years in my 20’s and 30’s my battle with the number on the scale continued. I saw it go up and down with pregnancies, divorce, more babies. I have tried many quick fixes and fad diets but at some point my perspective shifted. Would I love to be a size 6 and never have to worry about wearing my yummi tumi panties to hide my muffin top? Absolutely! Is it realistic to think I will ever see 120lbs on the scale again? Not really. I am 44, have blood pressure that averages 110/65, super numbers for cholesterol and blood sugar and my average body fat is 22.8%. What about the number on the scale? I would lie if I said I didn’t have a clue but I will say it is not the number I focus on anymore. The scale was put away as I began to focus more on the numbers that really matter….the ones that measure my health.
These days I eat “real” food the majority of the time and while I am conscious, I do not let the food rule my life. I work out not to cancel out the food I’m eating but to improve my strength and my mood. In my mind I will always consider myself a “big” girl but I’ve learned to embrace my height and my curves for what they are. I am exactly the size God wanted me to be and my job is to take care of this body the best I can and be the very best me I can be!