Body Image

So I was reading Kelli’s most recent post, and just really wanted to comment. Body image is a very interesting thing to me. Especially, since it’s so much about your brains chemistry. There are so many things that can influence it, and an outside source that can cause one kid to become wildly anorexic can have no impact on another.

I was always a good weight growing up. As a child I got fed a ridiculously balanced diet with almost no snacking or junk food (yes I’m one of the carob and sesame snack kids). Probably too good. When my Grandmother came to visit she’d buy us like $100 worth of junkfood and we’d binge for the entire time she visited. We got so sick. When I hit puberty in the Soviet Union there wasn’t a lot of protein, plus I had a fantastic case of Amoebic Dysentary so my body was not absorbing things particularly well, so I hit 6′ while weighing 120 pounds. I think my body’s been struggling to put on weight ever since then. I’ve had a metabolism that doesn’t quit. In high school I’d eat half a bag of oreos in one sitting. I’d often just eat an entire plate of pasta to “fill in the cracks”. I left high school 6’4″ and weighing somewhere between 130 and 140. My diet was not conducive to reliable weight measurement.

I didn’t actually start cooking until my first year of marriage to Julie. I got to the point where I couldn’t eat one more chicken breast, marinated in salad dressing and cooked on the George Foreman. My grandmother had recently started sending Julie a subscription to Gourmet magazine and so I started cooking recipes from that. I quickly moved towards being the only one who cooked in our house since I actually enjoyed it. Two years ago I realized that I was actually putting on weight. I had started to get rolls around my hips and a slight pot belly. Nothing particularly exciting, but for someone who has never been able to put on weight in their life it’s a pretty massive life change. So I started running. I initially said I was running so I could eat whatever I wanted. And I did. And it was fine. But eventually I realized that I was running these fantastic distances and I could eat 3500-4000 calories a day, but to what end? Why was I churning through this massive amount of food? And was I hurting Julie’s weight related goals just so I could be a glutton? So I started trying to cook better. We tried reduced portions for a while which worked, but made you feel like you were really working to eat healthy. Now Julie’s doing weight watchers (as am I by extension), and it’s been good to see that I should be eating about 2/3 more than her. Which is definitely not how we were doing things before.