If the dress fits…

As if the weekend shopping in Chicago wasn’t torture enough, the girls and I went shopping again a few days later.

We didn’t intend to go prom dress shopping that day. Back when Angel was a junior in high school, the going rate for a prom dress was $600. We decided to go to a bridal/prom store just to get some ideas. Thankfully (due to internet competition) the going rate for a prom dress is half as much as it was a few years back.

Estelle, our foreign exchange student from France, fell in love with a dress on the mannequin. It shimmered white like freshly fallen snow. Once she put it on, she didn’t want to take it off. It was the second dress for Clara, our foreign exchange student from Germany. However, my daughter Arabella tried on dress after dress until the sky grew dark and the cows came home in Wisconsin.

Last year right after Arabella’s 16th birthday she decided to go on a diet. She was over 250 lbs. Since then she lost around 45 lbs. Sadly none of the weight fell off her chest with a cup size halfway through the alphabet. None of the dresses fit her body shape. It’s been a problem since middle school. I was really concerned she might not find a prom dress in a dress store full of options.

Arabella found a dress she liked. The store took her measurements and said they may be able to special order it in her size. I was concerned that the dress, although pretty, would not fit her right even in her size. By this time the other girls had their dresses purchased and were in bags. The clerk looked up the dress she wanted to order and said it wouldn’t be delivered until April, the week of prom. Apparently shopping three months in advance is not enough.

At this time Arabella was close to tears. The clerk kept bringing out more and more dresses, big sizes that were 20+. I’m so sorry for you bigger girls out there. The dresses were hideous. Seriously, who wants to go to prom looking like a zoo animal?

Then Arabella found ‘the dress’. It looked like something Cinderella would wear to the ball. It was shimmery light blue, size 16. I was worried she would be crushed if the dress didn’t fit her. She was already close to tears. Thankfully it fit and she looked like a princess in it.

One last thing the prom store does is make sure that no other students from the same school wear the same dress. Before leaving I had to make sure the dress she loved was still available. The clerk said even if it wasn’t available, she could buy it. The clerk felt bad dress shopping was so difficult because of her body shape. The other girls had an easy time because they have an average body type. I never appreciated being average as much as I do now.

Later that evening Arabella begged me to allow her to get reduction surgery. She hates her body and how she looks. For this, I feel sad. Body image is hard enough for a teenage girl as it is. Reduction surgery is a major surgery and at this point I don’t think I want her to go ahead with it until she is an adult unless she is having serious back problems. Parenting can be hard when you don’t know what you are doing.

 

Pound away

My daughter wants to lose 100 lbs.

She blames me for her weight gain, and for part of it I blame myself. She was pretty settled into her life when everything changed. I told myself that she would be able to adapt since she is the one that likes change. Plus it was a positive change. Change for the better should be easier, right? To think I thought that the pets would have a harder time adjusting than the humans.

She always lived in the same small house up to that point. She went to the same school where she knew everyone since 4k. She had a group of friends that she fit in with. Plus we weren’t moving far away so she could still see them if she wanted to.

When we moved, everything changed. Arabella started her sophomore year at a new high school. I told myself that it is a nicer school and it is. Some of the kids from her old school decided to go to that school out of district. It’s a bigger, better, and richer school with more resources.

When I drop Arabella off at school, I would say that half of the cars in the student parking lot are nicer than mine. Of course, that probably doesn’t make it easier to fit in.

She doesn’t have as many friends as I hoped she would. She only had two friends over for an hour or two and only went to one friend’s house since school started. She hasn’t been invited to any sleepovers or birthday parties. Meanwhile, her old friends are having sleepovers that she wasn’t invited to.

Arabella eats when she is lonely and bored. She gained about 40 lbs since we moved less than a year ago.

She is right around my height and needs to lose 100 lbs to be right around my weight. I never knew what to do about it. I never had those kind of struggles. We don’t have a lot in common. Sometimes we don’t get along. It seems like we either get along great or don’t get along at all.

It’s really not fair, I have so much in common with my older two children. They never struggle with their weight. In fact, I think my oldest two children are too thin. I haven’t had to deal with this issue before.

It is frustrating because I just want to tell my daughter to stop binge eating junk food. But I know it won’t be that simple. It would be like her telling me not to worry when I am having a panic attack.

I just can’t relate. I’m the type that doesn’t eat much when stressed out. The last thing I want to do is give her a complex by saying the wrong thing. She is loved no matter what, I just want her to know that even if nothing changes.

Last night Arabella and I met with a coach for a weight loss program. What a racket that is! Since she is a minor, we have to get the doctor’s approval first. She wants to start with the most restrictive diet for her weight loss plan. It would involve cutting out dairy and fruits. I am all for it if she has the stamina for such a rigorous routine.

I really hope this works for her. But I think it will be a lifelong struggle. Right now she wants to go to school for culinary arts after high school. I just want her to be at a healthy weight. Right now she is not healthy. She is starting to have back pain. The heavier she gets, the harder it is for her to be active. As a runner and someone who places a high value on health, it is hard for me to watch her struggle.

I am happy that she has decided to take a step in the right direction and will do anything I can to help her achieve this goal. I have no doubt this is going to cost a lot. But it could cost even more not to do anything at this point.

 

 

The big skinny on weight loss

My 13 year old daughter is on a diet.

I never thought that I would be buying weight loss products. What a racket!!

Now before I get a lot of nasty comments, let me explain. I am not the stereotypical mom depicted on TV. Although I am lean and athletic, I don’t harp on a middle school daughter that has a barely bulge. I don’t replace her chocolates with laxatives. I don’t tell her that she won’t be loved unless she is thin like me.

If I am guilty of anything, it is ignoring that there is a problem. I honestly don’t know what to do. Would you? I have never had issues with my weight before. Sure, there are times that I feel fat. What women doesn’t?

The only time that I struggled with my weight was during pregnancy and right after. Most women do, except for an enviable few. I distinctly remember looking in the mirror after my first baby was born. I felt like I got hit by a truck. I probably looked like it too. But I took a strange pride in my body that was able to produce life. I felt a  connection to my ancestral bearers of life before me.

The most I ever weighed was 186 lbs. That was right before giving birth to my almost 9 lb baby. This is how much my 13 year old daughter weighs right now. She is a few inches shorter than me. Her BMI is borderline obese. Arabella gained 20 lbs since her last physical.

Kids pick on her and call her names like Arafatta and Fattie. It never seemed to bother her before. She even nicknamed her stomach Jab. She was always hungry. She made comments about having to feed Jab. She would eat seconds, snack, and stockpile candy. For her birthday, all of her friends bought her candy. A lot of her weight gain was behavioral and some of it was genetic.

After the kids had their physicals last week, Angel talked Arabella and I into getting measured for body fat, muscle, and metabolic age. I won’t bore you with the details. At 42, I got the body age of 28. At 13, Arabella got the body age of 47 (her dad’s age). She has 10 more inches around her waist then I do. She is over 50 lbs heavier than me.

Arabella wanted to try their weight loss products. Over the weekend, she spent a lot of time exercising and eating healthy. She lost a total of 4 lbs. She said that she feels healthier eating healthy foods.

So here I am supporting my middle school daughter’s weight loss. I don’t want her to have a complex. I don’t want her to tip the scale in the other direction. But I don’t want her to be obese, have health problems, or be ridiculed. The body image of a teenage girl is delicate enough as it is.

I have found with children that I can try to force them to change, but until they really want to change there is not much I can do.

I am happy that Arabella is starting to break bad habits and has decided to make healthier eating choices. The best thing I can do is support healthy decision making. Hopefully, this has more to do with starting healthier habits versus trying to be skinny.

Marathon training, 3 days to go

I was feeling great and ready to run my first marathon after taking some time off to “relax” before the race. Then I got this great idea to read blogs about marathons. Hmm. I was horrified to be reminded that I might lose a toenail or two. I picture myself running with blood seeping out of my shoes. Good thing I will be throwing those shoes out right after the race! The soles are worn. Believe me, that is not the only sole that is run down. Doubt started to penetrate my soul. 

As a 40 something person, do I have what it takes? Someone compared running a marathon to childbirth. It was a 30 something year old man, so really what would he know? You see, I have never been good at the childbearing part. Not once has someone exclaimed joy over my birthing hips. After having 3 children via c-section, you could say that I suck at this part. It could be a lot worse, I know. My grandma died during childbirth right around the age I am now. 

When I started this journey into adulthood, I was considered thin. I wanted to exercise to build muscle, not lose weight. People said that since I was thin, I really didn’t need to exercise. Lies! I was 120 lbs when I got married at 23. Shortly thereafter, I got pregnant and gained 66 lbs. 66 lbs! Afterwards, I lost all but 10 lbs before getting pregnant again. I gained 45 lbs with my second pregnancy. I stopped counting the lbs by my third pregnancy. I wanted to work out, but I didn’t have anyone to watch my kids. I tried child care at a fitness place and didn’t like it. I once forgot something and went back in after dropping my son off as a baby. They wanted to know why I was hanging around a baby. Hello, that was my son whom I just dropped off. Scary! 

People told me that I could never have nice abs after having my muscles cut after 3 c-sections. More lies!! I started doing crunches anyway. I worked my way up to 75 crunches three times a week, later adding weights. It was something that I could do without leaving the house. After working out my abs, and lately after losing 2 inches around my waist during marathon training I have no problems wearing a bikini. I am less than 5 lbs away from the weight I was before kids, with a lot more tone. I am not going to lie and say it wasn’t a hell of a lot of work, but it is attainable. If I can do it, why can’t you? Don’t ever believe that you can’t do something until you fully test your limits! 

So, before you sign up for your first marathon, I will let you know if it is anything like childbirth! Until then, I will be sitting around trying to relax in horror wondering what the hell I got myself into.