I got off really easy for the first 24 years of my life. In regards to body weight, that is. I had other body image issues, but a naturally good metabolism and being constantly nauseated in my early twenties kept me on the low end of the ideal weight for my height. I wore size 6, then size 8 jeans pretty consistently for years. (There was one point when I was so sick, I was underweight. That was scary.)
Then something happened. I don't know if it was getting married, being happy and healthy more often than sick, hitting the 25 mark, or just indulging in too much sugar on my first year living away from my parents, but everything changed. I gave up wearing jeans for months because none of mine came close to fitting me. I tried to loose weight, but kept getting sick too consistently to manage a solid exercise routine.
On Tuesday, I was in a thrift store and decided enough was enough. I needed new jeans, time to try and find some that fit. I ended up with one really stretchy size 10... and one not so stretchy size 14. I also realized that the new weight was consistently in my tummy. I no longer have the teeny almost Scarlett o'Hara waist of my younger years - and I don't have the excuse of prior pregnancy.
And yes, I KNOW I look thin. Thin arms, narrow shoulders, long legs, and curves a Victorian would envy. It's an illusion, folks. I have a friend who is five months pregnant and my tummy is almost the size of hers - and I'm definitely not pregnant.
I haven't given up hope entirely. Being sick and unable to regularly exercise is something I can't control any more than I am already doing. I have great confidence that my body will continue to heal and eventually I'll be able to trim some of that fat away... but I have no idea how long that will be.
I'm not writing this to complain. I'm writing it to say that "I get it now." I get why telling a lady who has mathematically irrefutable too much weight "you look great!" can either come as a compliment, or can be frustrating because what you want is not affirmation, but rather recognition of an issue you are struggling with. Today I don't want compliments. Today I want recognition.
Nor am I looking for suggestions of what else I could do. I've got a good health support team and right now fixing my health has to come first and that will solve part of the weight problem and allow the exercise problem. (Yes, I am really cutting down on sugar and dairy, and I'm trying to trim out as much excess grain consumption as I can. Yes, I eat good fats and stay away from bad ones. Yes, I try to move and not sit in front of the computer all day - costuming is actually pretty physically demanding).
Some of you will read this and most likely be annoyed because you're dealing with even larger size issues. I understand this - I feel the same way when someone with a DD cup complains about being 'too big'. But I try to be understanding of their issues, even if they're smaller than mine, and I'm thankful that they understand my struggles as well, even on a lesser scale. I hope that this 'confession' of mine will do the same for you.
This isn't a fun experience, but I do appreciate that it's bringing me greater understanding for the struggles so many of my friends have dealt with for years.