Wednesday, February 16, 2011

a new me. finally.


That's a really big word, isn't it.  It's not a word that you hear everyday -- guilty is a much more popular word.  Shame is more powerful than guilt, a more saddening word, really.

Shame is what I feel every single day when I wake up.  Oh it hurts to write that, but it's true. Every day when I wake up, I remember the day before I did not diet like I wanted to, so I feel shame...and disgust.  That's another big word.  These two emotions visit me every single day and

I remember in an earlier post I wrote about how I briefly thought about titling a blog, 'Sick of Weighting.'  I want to write about more than my weight and really, I wasn't ready to do that.  I wasn't ready to highlight my failures, I wasn't ready to be honest in such an accountable way to people who I did not know their intentions towards me.  You see, I know that some people will read my words and have empathy and understanding.  They will want more for me, for me to be happy, but not punish me within their minds for my shortcomings.  But others...will they look at me in disgust?  Will they wonder what the hell my problem is, just DO IT already!  But here's the thing - no one can look at me with more disgust than how I look at myself.  And anyone that has any kind of understanding about addictions in general, will understand it's not just too many cookies and not running around the block enough.  It's so much more.

When I was a child, I wasn't allowed snacks.  It really was kind of ridiculous, because when my dad was a child he also wasn't allowed snacks, and it was not healthy for him either.  Once he shared a memory of his mom chasing him down the street because he took a piece of bread.  And yet, I would stow away food in my closet for when I got hungry, knowing I wouldn't be allowed to eat.  I would eat that food not only when I got hungry, but when I would hide in my closet, listening to my dad have an episode of anger towards my mom or brother.

ok this is getting heavy, but I'm ready now.  I want to grow, I want to move on from this.  Please just dismiss this if it's not your cup of tea.

I don't want to speak ill of my dad, he's dead many years now.  If he had lived, I want to believe we would have reconciled some of the issues from my childhood that made rifts in our relationship.  I don't blame him for everything.  I am accountable for my own choices, but habits are hard to break and I am explaining how I became the person I am today.

Anyway, in grade school I started noticing I didn't have skinny legs like my friends.  But there was much stress in my home life, and food was my comfort.  I have many memories of my growing-up years that I wish I didn't have...and attached to those memories are more memories of how food made it all better.  So as much as I wanted to have the skinny legs, I needed to eat.  Then came the middle school years, and so then came boys.  Still, I needed the food more.  I wasn't very heavy, but heavier than my friends.  It became something I thought about all the time...and yet, it was still less stressful thinking about my weight, than the problems at home.  Thinking about weight and food, albeit negative thoughts, was still a respite from thinking about home.  Does that even make sense?  It's like it still gave me reprieve from what was going on behind our closed doors.

The summer before going into high school though, I wanted to be like all the other girls.  So I starved myself, and lost about 25 lbs.  That was the thinnest I ever was in my life - 118 lbs was my lowest weight (well, since grade school), but I slowly started inching back up.  I started dating that year, and the feeling I got from the affection from boys was better than food.  (Can you imagine?) I just didn't really think about it that much and the slow weight gain actually didn't bother me, I don't remember why, except that I was so preoccupied with boys.  Not having a lot of boys mind you, thinking about them. :)

In November of my sophomore year I think I weighed around 130lbs and that is when I started dating someone steadily, we dated through the remainder of my high school years.  My senior year he was away at the USNA as a plebe, and that was a very stressful time for me.  We didn't manage a long distance relationship as well as I wanted to, I still loved him dearly, and my home life still had stress as it always had.  So without the comfort of a boy to ease my emotions, I went back to food full throttle.  And some drinking.  By the time I began college, I weighed around 150 - and felt very, very fat.

By the time I graduated from college, I weighed around 160.  10 lbs in 4 years wasn't too bad, and that was mostly gained my sophomore year after dad died.  I got married, and by the time I got pregnant about a year and 1/2 later, I was in the 180s.  What?!  I still don't know how that happened - well, duh, of course I know how it happened - but although that was a transitional time in my life, I wouldn't say it was a stressful time.  And with Kevin, I have certainly never had to hide food in the closet to eat later.

I just want to interrupt myself to say that this is one of the things I love most about my husband.  He met and married me at a very different weight than I am now.  He knows it is the stronghold of my life, it is bondage really, and he has never contributed to my shame and disgust, not once.  He has never looked at me accusingly, he has never made a single remark, he has never made me feel anything but accepted, supported and wanted.  He makes the same kind comments about my body to me now, as he did 10 years ago.  I just wanted to give a shout-out.

Not that he reads this.

Anyway, I got pregnant in the 180s and gained almost 40lbs with Bailey.  That put me in the 220s...which I was losing when I got pregnant with Taylor when Bailey was 15 mos old.  I was in Weight Watchers with my mom and we both were doing good, I was back in the 180s with a goal to get at least to my marriage weight by the end of the year.  Instead, by the end of that year, I was back in the 220s with a very unhappy baby, a busy husband trying to work hard to provide for us, and a 2 year old with CF and bowel issues.  So I never lost that weight.

Excuses, excuses?  Maybe.  But these last few years have been very difficult for me, and I want to validate to myself how that did have something to do with my eating.  And on my mission to a new me, I'm going to try something different - being kinder to myself.  See, I am not only sick of my weight, I am sick of the way I treat myself.  I'm sick of all of my damning thoughts.  I'm sick of thinking so much less of myself, than how I think of a perfect stranger.  I have done some good things in my life, and for the 2 seconds I reflect on those things, I spend hours reflecting on my shortcomings.  I'm sick of being nervous every time I walk into a room, worried what people think when they look at me.  I'm sick of worrying what people feel about me, wondering if they just think I'm one big failure.  Because I'm not.  And if they think that, then those aren't people I want in my life anyway.

I want to be strong.  I want to be confident.  I want to be healthy.  I want to be a good example to my girls.  You know, my children - as far as I know - still have no clue about weight and body image.  So far, neither of them have made any comments about themselves or others that have given me pause.  Well, except for the one time Taylor, looking at me while I was bending over, said I have the biggest heiney ever.  In front of my gorgeous, teen beauty of a babysitter.


Anyway, I feel like this is the perfect time to renovate myself, before they take notice that I am at an unhealthy weight - or worse, that I don't love myself.  I take pains in keeping that from them...I even stride around a water park in my bathing suit, just so they don't catch wind that I don't feel worthy of doing so.

Said bathing suit has a skirt on it by the way, something else I'm sick of.

So here's to today.  Here's to health.  Here's to loving myself, instead of hating myself.  What a leap!  I'm ready.  There will be times I fall, times I don't make the choices I should have.  Times that those damning thoughts creep back in, with a vengeance.  But I am praying, and I am confident God will help me.  He wants me to be healthy, He wants me to be the best example I can be for my girls.  I have joined Weight Watchers, and if you're interested, I can log my progress.

Can you do me a favor?  If you read this post, can you leave me a comment in the comments section?  I want to know if I should pursue sharing this topic further, or perhaps there's no interest there.

Thanks in advance for the love and prayers.


  1. Brynn, I just wrote a long message that I somehow managed to delete while, I'll write to you another time.. But, I just wanted to say thank you for sharing from your heart. I truly love and admire you, and I think you're one of the most beautiful people I've ever met...inside and out. Please do continue sharing in this journey, as it's an encouragement to the rest of us as we battle with our own issues - many of them self-image and self-confidence issues. We're not in this alone. And, we have a God who wants so much more for us than defeat!! I love you, girl! Tech

  2. Lots and lots of squishy love. That's what I have for you.

  3. Brynn, I commend you for the bravery and strength it must have taken to write this AND share it with the world. So many women, (including myself-more times than I even want to admit) feel like this and experience life with a constant focus on weight and appearance. You mention shame, and as I sat in my room working today, eating chocolate that is exactly what i was feeling...shame. I can't tell you how sick I am of worrying about how much I weigh and what I look like but I have yet to find a way to move forward. Thank you again for sharing, you are awesome.

  4. Dear Brynn,
    I think you are extraordinarily brave to tackle such a deeply painful topic, one that runs deep for many. I truly have confidence that you will conquer this. You are a strong, loving woman of Faith, and with God's guidance and trust in Him you can achieve anything. I am also heartened to hear that you recognize the need for a greater sense of self-love and worth. It is vitally important for your daughters to see a woman that loves herself. If we could only love ourselves as God loves us, even for a moment...

    I would encourage you to continue to write about the trials and triumphs with your weight, especially if it will help you work through the underlying issues and hold fast to your goals, and also as a source of emotional support. And speaking of, you will be in my prayers as you undertake this journey.

    Also, I can't thank you enough for helping to welcome me into MOPS and into the community at HOPE. You've been so gracious, and that welcoming, nurturing spirit reflects true of the heart. - Paris

  5. My sweet Brynn, I so appreciate you tackeling this subject!! I know that no matter how big or small a woman is, I have yet to meet a woman who doesn't wrestle with this issue, and the larger issue of loving oneself. One of my favorite scriptures dealing with shame is Psalm 34:5, a constant reminder to me that when my eyes are on him I can reflect nothing but His radiance, it is only when my eyes fall that I can be covered in shame.

  6. Brynn......I love your blogs!! This one is especially empowering and so brutally honest. Kudos to you! Their isn't a woman I know who doesn't have weight issues. I remember when I was 115 lbs and wanted to be skinnier! I can only wish for those days now. The word shame is so true! I feel shame too when I don't want to workout and would prefer to eat candy for lunch! You are a beautiful and wonderful woman!! Here's to being matter what the scale tells us! Michele Mulholland

  7. Wow, it's not easy sharing stuff like this. I really admire you. You always come off so cool and confident. When I think of confident, I think of Brynn. You always seem so" this is how I am am-take me or leave me." I respect that a lot.

    I am in Weight Watchers, too. I joined in January, so if you ever wanna dish about it, you've got a friend in me.


  8. You never have anything to prove with me. I think you're awesome. love, Sarah

  9. What I want to know is how you find all this time to update your blog, like, every day!

  10. Wow, thank you all, such dear souls you all have. Thank you for the encouragement and words of affirmation. As I write this, I am enjoying a fruit smoothie to tide me over until Kevin and I eat later tonight, instead of eating the kids leftovers! That's a start, right?! Love to all of you!!!

    @Sarah - Bailey is in school full day, Taylor's in 1/2 much cleaning can I do?! Um, not much because I can spot cobwebs in 2 out of 4 corners of this room. This is more fun!

  11. Sweet Brynn,

    I have just adored you since the day we met! You are so much more than the way you see yourself! You are an amazing mother, wife, and friend. You give so much back to all the women of MOPS and God has placed you in this ministry for a reason. He has placed you here with all of your life struggles so that you are a REAL women that REAL moms can relate to! I just love you and think you are so beautiful! Having struggled so long with eating disorders and food issues I do know your pain and struggles. God made us to crave Him, to seek him. But life and the sinful world has a way of wearing even our best intentions down. Let me know if you want to talk. Please make your goal to get healthier. Because you are so worthy of strutting around in that bathing suit because you are a child of the King!!! Hugs, Lisanne

  12. Brynn,

    I understand. Perhaps you and I can become prayer partners for each other for this specific issue. Write me on fb and let me know.


  13. Miss Brynn, You are so brave. I will be praying for you to be a healthier and happier you, but don't be so hard on yourself. You are beautiful inside and out!

  14. Beautiful Brynn,

    I read your words with great empathy and identified with your plight. Let me first say that the number on the scale does not define you...and you know that because you want to do this for your health and for your daughters and husband and for all the right reasons. I have struggled with the same things my entire life and you won't find a bigger cheerleader than me. When you are struggling turn to scripture because God has alot to say about this subject. But most of all know how very much you are loved....xxxooooo

  15. Brynn...we've never known each other well, but I have MUCH respect for what you just posted!!! You put into words what most women think and are too "ashamed" to admit. Thank you for being honest with your story...because that's my story of self-condemnation and strongholds that hold me captive and keep me from a life of true freedom...the life Christ died to give me. Please keep being honest and hopefully that will allow others of us to do the same.
    Jen Garber

  16. You are beautiful, courageous, brave and so admirable. Your honesty is infectious Brynn. Praying for blessing as you venture unabashedly into this next chapter of you. So thankful for all this web 2.0-ness so we can connect again. :) xoxo

  17. As always, I love your openness and humor. I love you and appreciate you more than I can say. Thank you for being you! I am glad you are trying to love yourself the way that God loves you and pretty much everyone who knows you does. Love, Stacey

  18. I hear you and I get it. You know I'm on a very similar journey. Love you.

  19. Brave, honest, beautiful:)

  20. Brynn,
    Some people have thorns that are invisible, some have thorns they can hide. But when you are heavier than you would like to be it feels like your weakness is on display that you are somehow exposed. I think our culture values thinness because thinness means you have control and we esteem control as a god. We know in our hearts that we shouldn't judge others or ourselves but it is so programed into our mindsets that we can't help but do it. Being overweight seems to become our secret shame identity and every thought is prefaced or concluded by how it could be, would be or should be different if only we were....well thinner.... but take it from one who fights your fight every day of my life and read your post as if it were an excerpt from my very own journal I hear you and know your struggle.... But I am also gently reminded that His power is made perfect in our weakness, and times I think this struggle is what has kept me tethered so tightly to him.
    But sometimes we need to leave the old behind and it seems that this is your Bravo to you for dismissing the shame by bringing it out into the light. We should get together sometime and share our struggles, its good for the soul.
    Keep writing I have soooo enjoyed your posts.
    God's Best to you