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Sexing the Political: A Journal of Third Wave Feminists on Sexuality

Krista Jacob

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©Krista Jacob, 2004
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Volume Three
Number Two
May 2004

After having two children in 15 months my body had went through a serious double whammy.  Prior to having children I was a sharp dressing vivacious twenty-something woman in her prime.  I took joy in shopping and made a point to always have my hair and nails done.  Every time I walked out of the house I had on make-up of some kind, at least lipstick.  I was confident and took pride in my appearance and looked forward to shopping and buying clothes.

Somewhere between changing diapers and fixing bottles and searching for Barney books I lost myself. I was lucky if I did my hair twice a month.  New clothes—forget about it. I was too fat to even enjoy getting dressed every day let alone shopping for new clothes.  On top of that, shopping depressed me.  I had gotten so big I could only shop at plus size stores or in the plus size department of my favorite stores.  Wouldn’t you know that the tops that you like are never available in plus sizes.

I really took an “I can careless” attitude toward my appearance.  I would make sure the kids were as cute as a button and I would load up the double stroller and hit the road.  As long as people noticed that my kids looked nice, who cared how I looked. Surely, every young woman who noticed my shabby appearance could understand that I was taking care of two small children and didn’t have the time or energy to put forth effort into my personal appearance.

The turning point came in late 2002.  One of my best friends from college came to visit me.  As friends, shopping at the mall was something that we had always enjoyed.  I accompanied her on a shopping trip and we went to The Gap among other stores.  As she was trying on jeans I was envious.  At 205 pounds and just a little over 5 feet tall, I had out grown The Gap.  I couldn’t fit any of the women’s clothes in the stores—unless you count the over sized manly looking tee shirts.

The weight was really bothering me.  Although my husband assured me he loved me at every size, I just didn’t have the confidence that I once had.  And with my confidence shattered, so was my desire to even put forth effort into my personal appearance. I felt fat.  Even when I did get my hair done and felt cute, once I saw a picture of myself or caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I often felt down. I hated how my butt was so big it was like another person following behind me.

I tried to make peace with the big me.  I would say to myself, “Now is my time to concentrate on being a mother.  When the kids get older, I’ll focus on me again.”  Or I would think, “Most of the women in my family are big this is how I am supposed to be.  Black men like their women big, I shouldn’t trip off of the weight.”

The major thing that was getting to me was the clothes I would see on television or magazines. I would see the most adorable tops and low rider jeans and I knew that I could never wear things like that. At one point, I was almost up to a size 20 although I hate to admit it.

After the shopping incident at The Gap, I gradually started an exercise plan and I lost 10 pounds.  Down to 195—not much to rejoice about in my book.  I just stayed at 195 for a whole 10 months.  Then came the TRUE turning point.

At 28 years old I had a tooth shatter in my mouth.  Just shatter, break in half.  Not a small tooth, we are talking about a molar. I went to the dentist and he suggested a crown, but the tooth was literally cracked in half.  I told him to pull the tooth.  What was I thinking.  That was the most excruciating pain that I have experienced in my entire life.  I felt like my soul was being ripped from my body and this was from a woman who had given birth to two kids and survived pancreatitis.

The week following my trip to the dentist, I couldn’t eat anything but soup and take Darvocet for the pain.  Not that I am suggesting soup and Darvocet as a weight loss plan, by weeks end I noticed I had lost 5 pounds.  Encouraged, I decided to put my fat behind me once and for all.

I had to change my eating habits.  For years and years macaroni and cheese was a staple in my diet.  Kit Kat bars, Jolly Joes, Gummy Bears and candy could always be found in my home. Not to mention I always had a 24 case of Coca Cola in my cabinet.

I traded in the candy for lightly sweetened rice cakes and starting baking or grilling my food verses frying everything. I started to purchase Diet Coke, and I even limited those to 1 or 2 a day and started drinking more water. I added exercise to my life, I would exercise on my glider or my air bike almost everyday.  Seven months later I was 40 pounds lighter and was wearing a size 12 again. 

Whereas the old me would leave the house looking frumpy and use my two kids as an excuse for my poor appearance, the new me always looks sharp as a tack when I leave the house.  I make sure that I wear nice clothes and that my hair and make up is done.  I even take the time to accessorize, wearing cute earrings and necklaces.

It really was a life style change.  I am content being a size 12, although I know some people would freak at being in the double digits but I feel confident and sexy again.  I am experiencing a feeling of rebirth.  I can once again shop at the mall.  I can take pride in how I look.  Now that I have a true exercise program in my life and am eating right for the first time in my life, I look and feel better than I did 10 years ago.

Now when I am at the mall or play group I hope I can be an inspiration to the other moms.  Just because you have kids doesn’t mean you can’ttake pride in your appearance and feel sexy.  I know I do.  My husband loves the new me and so do I.

Addendum:This is not a piece to condemn plus size women who are comfortable with their size.  However, if you are not happy please take my story as an inspirational one that you can change your life without crash diets, pills, or surgery. This is about one woman's life style change to feel better about HERSELF.  I do feel that adopting a healthy lifestyle with healthy eating habits and exercise can boost morale and esteem, but if you are happy the way that you are, you can be sexy at any size.

Dorrie Williams-Wheeler spends too much time trying to do too many things. She is an author, educator and web designer. She completed her Masters of Science in Education from Southern Illinois University in 1999. She completed her Bachelors of Science degree from SIU also in 1999. She is the author of The Unplanned Pregnancy Handbook- Real Life Stories, Resources and Information To Help YOU! The Unplanned Pregnancy Handbook features a wealth of resources about pregnancy, abortion and adoption. Women of all walks of life also share their real life stories in The Unplanned Pregnancy Handbook. She is also the author of Sparkledoll Always Into Something, Be My Sorority Sister-Under Pressure, and she writes for the Teen and Rap Music section of the popular women's site Bellaonline.com. Dorrie is a stay at home military spouse and the mother of two young boys. You can visit Dorrie on the web at www.dorrieinteractive.com

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