End it Now ~

What the hell is wrong with our society? We have 7 year old CHILDREN going on self-imposed DIETS – I didn’t even KNOW what a diet was until I was at least 12. There are reports of anorexic KINDERGARTNERS for F’s sake.  How did we manage to get here? How do we move away from this madness?

I was a heavy kid – I know what it’s like to be given a treat by a loved one only to hear them asking why I was allowed to get fat. That kind of stuff doesn’t leave you. It stays forever. It makes you feel shameful; it makes you feel confused – it makes you spend an entire lifetime obsessing over food.

Of course there are other issues attached to my weight – but that’s not what I want to talk about. What I want to say is that we need to stop this madness in our own lives. What my grandmother said to me when I was 7 is the past. To move forward is make a decision and try to stick to it.  It wasn’t a vow to never eat sugar again or to work out every day of my life – that’s too hard and only leads to abject failure. Change needs to be sustainable –

What I did was to vow to stop calling myself ‘fat’. Three years ago I made the only New Year’s Resolution I’ve ever made. It was the best thing I have ever done for myself.

I ended it – right then and there. I will not look in a mirror and call myself names. I will look and be honest if I’ve gained weight – but I won’t call myself ‘fat’. I won’t spend my time talking about how ‘bloated’ I feel or make disparaging remarks about my body.  I won’t list off all the foods I’ve eaten in a day. I just won’t.

Ok, so doing that didn’t make me thin, it didn’t make my issues with food disappear, it didn’t speed up my metabolism. But it did do something. It made all of that emotional baggage a bit easier to carry.

You may think what you like about me and my body – but you will never hear me say anything bad about it and I will not beat myself up.  I work too hard to be healthy to throw it all away because my stomach is not flat.

It has to end and it has to end now.

This post was inspired by SaraDraws and Madame Weebles ~ two very awesome and beautiful women who I admire a whole hell of a lot!

John Waters is my ultimate hero for making “Hairspray” – the movie where Tracy Turnbland WINS –

One of my excellent friends, Vicki, posted a very thoughtful and detailed comment –

I believe the same thing applies in one saying “I’m old”. I’ve noticed that people my age who constantly say this …..actually do appear older and they also seem to act older…… and they DO actually seem “older”….. and compared to others in their same age group. So I vowed I wouldn’t fall into that trap myself! As Ruta clearly knows and also points out …. WORDS and THOUGHTS are very powerful…… both individually and then exponentially so when both words and toughest are also combined. Words and thoughts are the beginning of “manifestation”. When one starts saying things like I’m fat, I’m stupid, I’m an idiot, I’m unlucky, I’m a victim, I’m crazy, I’m old, and the like…..you’ll notice these oftentimes become a form of self-fulfilling prophecies, This happens to us as adults all at the time……and is striking.

Then all becomes even MORE powerful whenever these verbal messages are given….. and then are also naturally received by a child. Children are more malleable, more open, more innocent, and even more vulnerable to any/all these words and their “messages”. As children grow, they are forming their self-image….. which is heavily based on the mirror of others…..and especially one’s family……since these are the ones who obviously “know” you best. This is why it is CRUCIAL to carefully watch you say to and what you tell your children….and be mindful that you are assisting in the creation of that child’s self-image and self-esteem. You are helping to guide that child and to help that child grow in body, mind and spirit.

Instead of criticizing, ignoring, or giving negative and/ or mixed messages to our children….. we should let our children see our faces light up and our eyes shine when they enter the room or are in our presence. Parents and other adults need to tell that child that he or she is lovable and special….. and let them know that they are pretty wonderful just exactly how they are. Adults should acknowledge, praise, support, and encourage their children when they achieve their goals or if they succeed in their efforts and/or when they have done their very best. Adults should also remember to praise them when they do good and/or kind things….or loving things. It is amazing how much these simple acknowledgements will help build their self-esteem…. and so they can withstand the inevitable efforts of others to tear them down throughout life. It will help provide them the strength to overcome the words and effects of other’s opinions that simply do not match their own perception of themselves. They will emerge stronger human beings that can survive the sometimes cold and even cruel world. When they make mistakes and the adults or parents in their lives are understanding, forgiving, compassionate, and loving…..then they will be become secure in being themselves and will ultimately ALSO become compassionate and loving beings too. Finally, when one feels good about oneself in body, mind, and spirit ….they will also love themselves in a healthy way. With healthy self-love…..then I believe people will also automatically think, say, and DO the things they need to do to become and to stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

Also, I learned much of this one day when I realized that every time I made a mistake……even the tiniest thing, like forgetting the milk at the store, or dropping a piece of bacon on the floor ….I’d internally say to myself “You idiot” and would say with such venom too…..Suddenly I realized that I am being rather harsh with myself. I began to realize that I would NEVER say (or even think) that someone else who did the same thing….was an “idiot”.! So WHY was I so hard on myself, and way harder than I would be on anyone else…..and I definitely would not feel such disgust and hatred towards another (known or unknown people) if they forgot the milk at the store or whatever.

In that instant I realized that it is only fair that I should AT LEAST be as nice to myself as I am to others. I should maybe have at least the same compassion and understanding for myself that I seem to often have in abundance for others. I suddenly understood that self-love is NOT the same thing as being selfish or self-involved or narcissistic……it simply means ‘LOVE THYSELF AS YOU WOULD LOVE OTHERS”……. and also as A SORT OF “REVERSE GOLDEN RULE”, PERHAPS.. So since that day, I have learned to stop any thought and not allow my inner voice to call myself names anymore….. I learned to stop saying…. “You idiot” . I also learned the same applies to “I’m fat”, or “I’m old”. Words are VERY powerful……thoughts are powerful too. They are the building blocks for creation…..which has some very exciting possibilities too…..(when you think about it!)

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About Rutabaga the Mercenary Researcher

I'm a research librarian for Public Television, story teller, bike commuter, baker, music fiend, lover of reading & books, mother, wife, friend - and many more descriptive adjectives and nouns.
This entry was posted in Childhood, Children, Eating, Food, Health, Injury, Mental Health, Random Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to End it Now ~

  1. I liked my own post after I added Vicki’s comments! I can do that – it’s MY blog!!

  2. Vicki Wright says:

    GREAT post! You have touched on some pretty powerful issues.

    I believe the same thing applies in one saying “I’m old”. I’ve noticed that people my age who constantly say this …..actually do appear older and they also seem to act older…… and they DO actually seem “older”….. and compared to others in their same age group. So I vowed I wouldn’t fall into that trap myself! As Ruta clearly knows and also points out …. WORDS and THOUGHTS are very powerful…… both individually and then exponentially so when both words and toughest are also combined. Words and thoughts are the beginning of “manifestation”. When one starts saying things like I’m fat, I’m stupid, I’m an idiot, I’m unlucky, I’m a victim, I’m crazy, I’m old, and the like…..you’ll notice these oftentimes become a form of self-fulfilling prophecies, This happens to us as adults all at the time……and is striking.

    Then all becomes even MORE powerful whenever these verbal messages are given….. and then are also naturally received by a child. Children are more malleable, more open, more innocent, and even more vulnerable to any/all these words and their “messages”. As children grow, they are forming their self-image….. which is heavily based on the mirror of others…..and especially one’s family……since these are the ones who obviously “know” you best. This is why it is CRUCIAL to carefully watch you say to and what you tell your children….and be mindful that you are assisting in the creation of that child’s self-image and self-esteem. You are helping to guide that child and to help that child grow in body, mind and spirit.

    Instead of criticizing, ignoring, or giving negative and/ or mixed messages to our children….. we should let our children see our faces light up and our eyes shine when they enter the room or are in our presence. Parents and other adults need to tell that child that he or she is lovable and special….. and let them know that they are pretty wonderful just exactly how they are. Adults should acknowledge, praise, support, and encourage their children when they achieve their goals or if they succeed in their efforts and/or when they have done their very best. Adults should also remember to praise them when they do good and/or kind things….or loving things. It is amazing how much these simple acknowledgements will help build their self-esteem…. and so they can withstand the inevitable efforts of others to tear them down throughout life. It will help provide them the strength to overcome the words and effects of other’s opinions that simply do not match their own perception of themselves. They will emerge stronger human beings that can survive the sometimes cold and even cruel world. When they make mistakes and the adults or parents in their lives are understanding, forgiving, compassionate, and loving…..then they will be become secure in being themselves and will ultimately ALSO become compassionate and loving beings too. Finally, when one feels good about oneself in body, mind, and spirit ….they will also love themselves in a healthy way. With healthy self-love…..then I believe people will also automatically think, say, and DO the things they need to do to become and to stay healthy in body, mind, and spirit.

    Also, I learned much of this one day when I realized that every time I made a mistake……even the tiniest thing, like forgetting the milk at the store, or dropping a piece of bacon on the floor ….I’d internally say to myself “You idiot” and would say with such venom too…..Suddenly I realized that I am being rather harsh with myself. I began to realize that I would NEVER say (or even think) that someone else who did the same thing….was an “idiot”.! So WHY was I so hard on myself, and way harder than I would be on anyone else…..and I definitely would not feel such disgust and hatred towards another (known or unknown people) if they forgot the milk at the store or whatever.

    In that instant I realized that it is only fair that I should AT LEAST be as nice to myself as I am to others. I should maybe have at least the same compassion and understanding for myself that I seem to often have in abundance for others. I suddenly understood that self-love is NOT the same thing as being selfish or self-involved or narcissistic……it simply means ‘LOVE THYSELF AS YOU WOULD LOVE OTHERS”……. and also as A SORT OF “REVERSE GOLDEN RULE”, PERHAPS.. So since that day, I have learned to stop any thought and not allow my inner voice to call myself names anymore….. I learned to stop saying…. “You idiot” . I also learned the same applies to “I’m fat”, or “I’m old”. Words are VERY powerful……thoughts are powerful too. They are the building blocks for creation…..which has some very exciting possibilities too…..(when you think about it!)

    Thanks again for a GREAT post….and for allowing me to share my thoughts provoked by your brilliant posting!

    • Vicki – YOU ARE FABULOUS!! I love this comment – and it’s pretty much an entire post! You hit everything right ‘spot on’. Why would be call ourselves idiots for forgetting something when we’d never say that to another person? I might have to take your comment and put it in the body of this post – it’s BRILLIANT!! THANK YOU..and again – you should be posting… In fact – if you would ever like to be a guest on my site – I’d love to post a piece that you’ve written – ANY TIME! You know my work email and facebook email… and i’m serious about it.

      • Vicki Wright says:

        You are really too kind, Ruta….

        I didn’t intend to write such a long comment…..your post just touched a chord, OBVIOUSLY ! LOL It turned into somewhat a form of “stream of consciousness” writing, actually. And my grammar and auto-word/spellcheck both betray me. I assume a good blogger writes things that provoke thoughts and/or emotion in their readers….and you certainly accomplished this ….as evidenced by the many comments! Actually, I should say ALL great WRITERS do this ……and great writer, you ARE, my friend!

        I always really enjoy reading your posts. It is your sense of humor mixed in with such HONESTY is what moves me most. The authenticity in your writing as you relay your stories is perhaps the most attractive to me….and is what keeps my interest… and all the way to the very end.

        Thank you for the invitation to do a “guest post” on your blog sometime too …. I am truly honored! So….. I’ll be in touch … as I don’t yet know how all this blogging thing works exactly….and have some questions, etc. And thanks so much again! 🙂

  3. robincoyle says:

    That’s the spirit. No calling yourself names. We don’t call someone else a name, why do we think it is ok to call ourselves names. Awkward sentence, but do you get my drift?

  4. The Hook says:

    Beautiful work – my beautiful friend!

  5. Brigitte says:

    It is sad the ideas young girls and women have of what it is to be pretty or perfect or beautiful. I don’t read “beauty” magazines. I love your attitude, Ruta — it is a healthy one and if all women did this, the “idea” of beauty would change. There are all kinds of beautiful in all shapes, colors and sizes. It’s how a person loves themselves that shines through and makes them beautiful which is what you are saying here. Bravo. We all need to do this.

  6. unfetteredbs says:

    I love this post– what a great message from a wonderful person. I am raising two daughters who are built completely different. I guess that is what happens when a pea mates with a giant. It is so very hard and I had a conversation with my 15 year old the other day that I knew would be coming . I was dreading it, and yes it broke my heart. Girls/women and their self perceptions. I am guilty of self negativity —

  7. Pingback: Searching And Fearless | monsteratmyheels

  8. Even when parents do the “right things” like focusing on healthy eating and lifestyle, and not weight, and letting their children know that their size is not what counts and they are loved just the way they are, even when there are no childhood traumas…….these kids are still up against our society and the media and their definition of beautiful, and even acceptable. I think kids need to be taught, from a young age that advertising, and air brushing, and most media they are exposed to are lies and are not real. THEY are real and they are valuable, no matter their shape, size, or appearance. We know that; we just have to make sure they know it too.

  9. saradraws says:

    All this fat hate is mired in misinformation and people’s desire to create division between us and them therefore excusing their innate prejudice.
    There is no link between weight and lifespan. In fact, heavy people are proven to have average to above average lifespans.
    You cannot tell by looking at someone what they eat, how much they eat, how much they exercise, how healthy they are. Anyone who hides behind the “health defence” when criticizing fat people, despite good intentions, are ill informed.
    It’s ok to be fat. It’s ok for kids to be fat. It’s ok for kids to be thin. Or short. Or have ADHD. There is no epidemic. Fat people to not tax the system any more than any other demographic. In fact, I would guess that seniors and pregnant women are much bigger “burdens” on health care.
    Ok, I’ll save the rest of my rant for my own post.
    Well done, Denise. I could learn from you.

    • I cannot WAIT to read your post!!

      I’m offended that people think we should make heavier people pay more for health care – what kind of crazy is that?

      I’m also offended with the wedding dress industry – that they size the dresses smaller – than charge you for a dress sized 12 or bigger b/c it’s ‘plus’ size… what a crock of crap.

      DOWN WITH PREGNANT SENIORS! BIGGEST BURDEN EVER! Oh wait…

      You inspired me Miss Draws!

  10. Bravo! What we say to ourselves has real power~ so it needs to be power for good, not evil!

  11. Good for you! I am a recovering fat kid, too. It’s incredible the damage that a well-meaning relative can inflict. I will ALWAYS be that fat kid. I just need to learn to like her.

    • I bet she was really cute, that kid! We can’t escape the past but we can make peace with it.

      I ended up losing 60 lbs because my health was at risk after my pregnancy – and that was a wake up call. But I still saw myself as I was for years. I’d see a picture of myself and wonder who was that normal body looking person? And now I’m good with who I am – but I still have to learn to go easy. Thank you for writing!!

  12. Diane C says:

    Thank you for this post. I have walked in your shoes my whole life but I am not yet where you are. I no longer call myself names, but if someone I care about talks to me about my weight in a negative way I fall apart. I’m not there yet, but I will be. Thanks again.

    • I think many of us share these shoes – and it is so hard to shed them. We are taught in this world to say good things about ourselves is to be vain/prideful etc.. it is not vain to accept ourselves as we are – and expect the same respect and love from those around us. It is our health that is important not the size of our pants. I still struggle every day with all this stuff – and I fall apart too when I feel defeated – but it’s nice to know there are others out there to help me get up when I’m down. Have a beautiful day and smile at yourself in the mirror ~ you are beautiful.

  13. Do you ever watch Amy Poehler’s YouTube channel Smart Girls? It is geared toward young girls on all kinds of tricky girl issues (LIKE THIS) and it makes me want to hug her. Those things do stay with you forever and ever. You can’t put the words back in your mouth!! So make ’em count. Good for you for staying positive and refusing to hate on yourself. That is poison.

  14. mairedubhtx says:

    You are correct. We have to get over our body image issues. I was rather heavy and I’ve lost all my excess weight but I still “see” a heavier person when I look in the mirror even though I know I’m not heavy. It’s a trick my mind is playing. It’s insidious. I need to get over it. I’m fine the way I am. In fact, I’m too thin, the doctor tells me. But my mind won’t believe it. This has to end, now. I’m trying to end it, now.

  15. Having kids made me a lot more forgiving about my body. It helped me see what’s really important. I’ll never be completely satisfied when I look in the mirror but I agree with you. I’ll never call myself names. I made a vow to never speak negatively about a person’s appearance in front of my kids either. They’ll never hear me call someone fat or ugly, something I heard come out of my parents’ mouths regularly as a kid. If it has to end, it starts with us.

  16. Tez says:

    My Motto: No, I’m not fat, I’m pleasantly plump. Now piss off!

  17. MissFourEyes says:

    I found this 9 year old reading a health article “top 10 high calorie foods that you want to avoid”, he then proceeded to tell me about his new diet. I don’t think I knew what calories were at that age, let alone knowing that I had to avoid them. Its so sad. Why aren’t we letting kids just be kids? I was a heavy kid too, I heard all those remarks that you heard too. It wasn’t great having to listen to them but I’d take that over dieting at age 7 any day. The worst part is when I finally lost all that weight, people began making remarks about how skinny I’ve gotten (I really haven’t), will it never end?

  18. This doesn’t surprise me at all. I remember when I was in 5th grade (so, 9 or 10 years old) overhearing girls talking about fat free milk, low-fat cheese, and boiled chicken breasts. They kept talking about how healthy it was, and how you’d be skinny if you ate “lite” versions of things. They were so confident in talking positively about the type of diet that is unhealthy for anyone, let alone growing children.

    I’ve never had a great relationship with food, and I’ve given up on having one. I’m managing now, and I really think that’s the best I can ask of myself. It makes me sad to think there’s an entire of generation of girls who will grow up and be in this position.

  19. TAE says:

    I wonder about the “as the portions get bigger, thinner becomes more attractive” thing. It seems we “admire” whatever we consider to be harder to attain (like pale skin back in the labor day), things which often coincides with being wealthier.
    It’s so hard to find the middle ground for me with this topic. I see pictures of really overweight actresses lately, but I can’t get myself to “like” them or to say “she’s beautiful”. Some people are so heavy that beauty isn’t the first thing that comes to my mind but health. And there’s the other side of the spectrum that’s equally bad and self-destructing.

    It sure ain’t easy to be a girl.

  20. Denise,
    Great post. It’s insane that kids that young should even think like that. It really can be hard, once you get that “I’m fat” stuck in your head. I always considered myself fat growing up, but I see some pictures now and I wasn’t even close. This is Freshly Pressed material my friend, great job..

  21. YES. Ugh, well, you know how I feel about this. It’s a big struggle, especially when you have family members who associate fat with lazy and other degrading things. It’s just one more way to be prejudiced against someone without getting in trouble for it. You can say “He’s fat” but hey, it’s his fault, and he’s ruining his health, blah blah. What do you know about it? Maybe he or she has struggled their whole lives with the condition. Maybe they’re just built differently. Maybe they had medical problems. Just, arghhhh. And enough of the obesity epidemic news cast. Yes, it’s sad that some young children are obese, but the constant coverage can make kids with just a little baby fat feel like they are fat too. They absorb this stuff. Meanwhile anorexic looking Victoria’s Secret models display on T.V. as something to aspire too. Pisses me off.

  22. RFL says:

    Great resolution and a powerful post. It does need to stop. My niece told me she thought her thighs were too chunky when she was nine, and after I spent the rest of the car ride telling her how beautiful she is I wept privately. We have to find a way to stop the negative self-talk.

    • I don’t even think I was AWARE of my thighs at age 9 – in the way your niece is.
      For a 100 positive remarks – it’s the one negative one we hear that sticks with us. That’s what’s so hard to comprehend about the human mind – why all the bad seems to stick but the good just goes thru our ears.

      Negative self talk is the worst kind of ‘self violence’ as my friend Kim termed it – and it fits.

  23. Carrie Rubin says:

    It saddens me when I see a young girl who already has body issues–7, 8, 9 year olds who think they’re fat when they’re not. Seemingly innocent remarks made by others can trigger these issues, and studies have shown that negative comments (“Oh, looks like someone’s getting a little pudgy”) by brothers and fathers can be especially triggering. So frustrating.

    • I’m guilty of it too – which I could kick myself for now. I found myself saying things that were said to me by family members and it’s horrifying to realize how quickly it comes out – so innocently but so devastating.

      There’s two issues – the kids that think they are overweight and so not – and those kids that struggle with weight – and how our society makes them feel –
      I would love for all the buffets, fast food places, microwaves and sodas to just explode out of our lives…but that’s not likely to happen -so how do we navigate in this world of food!

  24. twindaddy says:

    I don’t even know what to say to this. Society disappoints me an plentiful ways, but this is just sad.

  25. Lisa says:

    Right there with you, as you know. Even after losing all the weight I did, I still tend to question my body. One of the biggest ironies, now that the weight is off, my Mom had questioned whether or not I’ve lost too much weight. It’s as if there will always be something wrong with my body!

    • CRAZY!! I got something similar when I lost weight too – but I think it’s because people aren’t used to seeing you in a different body so they think it’s not you – it must be wrong. It took a long time before I stopped ‘seeing’ myself as a heavy person that lost weight – but just as a normal looking person.

      What I found so interesting is that anyone that meets you post-weight loss, to them the way you look now is how they will always think of you – (and I mean ‘you’ in general not you specifically).

      It’s not always about changing our body but changing what goes on in our heads.

  26. Good for you, Denise. I’m proud of you! It’s about a positive relationship with your body. You have only one body and it needs respect. I don’t know about our society. It must be a confusing time for kids, huh? They get so many mixed messages about what to eat and how to appear to look, what’s acceptable. Tough!

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