This is how my friend Teresa started a conversation with me the other day, “Ms. Maria…you only eat salads?” A little part of me giggled at the thought and a bigger part of me felt sad at the question. Teresa went on and humorously described how each child she had gave her a little more body…and a little more…and a little more. In her mind, since that did not happen to me then I must only eat salads. Also it must be something to compliment in a person.
May I take this opportunity to let a cat out of the bag? After my first son, David, was born I developed a small thyroid issue. I don’t know where it came from, nor do I really even know what it is but my thyroid numbers are always off. Two things I do know about it: 1. It is not serious and 2. It has made me “smaller.” In many ways, for me, it is unexplainable and you might think it is enjoyable…but its not. Not for me anyway. Not anymore.
It makes me so sad to have these conversations with women and they happen a LOT now. They look at me and ask, “What are you doing to look like that?” or “Wow, you must work so hard.” or “Oh are you really careful about what you eat?” NO! I am me, beautiful and content with just the way I am…thyroid condition OR not. Size 8 or size 1000. I so badly wish it didn’t matter so much and I so badly wish “working hard at whipping your body into submission,” was not so praiseworthy. If they only knew.
When I was a teenager it wasn’t about working hard it was about diet pills. When I took them, I lost weight. When I lost weight the compliments came. “Wow you look amazing!” “Wow look at you!” To a young woman these compliments only fueled my already obsessed fire. I literally cried in fear of going off of the pills and gaining weight, yet I hated being on them. And what about the Maria that was 10 pounds heavier? Was she not praiseworthy? Was she not beautiful enough for physical compliments? She must not have been…because people only compliment smallest versions.
Please don’t misunderstand. I am not at all saying it is not healthy, important, good, even Godly to take care of your body. Someone very dear and near to me right now is diabetic and is on a full force “carbohydrateless” diet. I pray for them everyday, that this journey might bring them to healthier place. A healthier person…not a smaller person. Yes, taking care of your body is of some worth. But, it should be one of life’s accessories and not the entire wardrobe.
So, to answer the question, no I don’t only eat salads. I focus on family and not food. I focus on health and not weight. I focus on strength and not numbers. With my compliments too…I focus on the substance and not the size.