We’ve all heard the comments, whether it was heard indirectly, directly or as an observer. “You could lose a few pounds,” or “I wish I could be a twig like you and eat whatever I want!”
Most of the body image issues we face involve weight, however, that’s not always the case. Whichever way we look at it, it gives us a negative outlook on body image.
There are three different body types: ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs.
An ectomorph tends to be slim and has a low fat storage. People of this body type tend to have a small waist and long muscles.
It is more difficult for ectomorphs to gain weight than other body types.
Mesomorphs are a sort of medium ground for body types. They are characterized by wide shoulders and a narrow waist. Mesomorphs can build muscle, but cannot store fat.
Endomorphs have a high fat storage and wide waist. This body type may find it more difficult to lose weight.
I am an ectomorph, so it has always been difficult for me to gain weight. I also have scoliosis, which has caused me to have a low body mass index.
It wasn’t until the fifth grade that my dad and I began going to the doctors to correct my “S” spine curvature.
When I was diagnosed, I was only slightly nervous. There were a few visits for MRI’s and blood tests.
My curvature was too severe for a back brace, so the only option I had was surgery to prevent a hump from developing.
There was a very minute chance of me dying during the surgery, but that was enough to scare my dad and me at the time.
Fixing the Curve
I can remember sitting in the hospital at 5 a.m. on Dec. 11, 2002. My dad and I were exhausted, waiting for the nurse to greet us and usher us in. I was playing Snake on my dad’s Nokia phone at the time, which was of course the coolest thing ever at age ten.
Once we were greeted, it was time for the anesthesia. All I remember was feeling very giggly at the time. It was easy for me to fall asleep right away since it was so early in the morning.
I woke up, nearly thirteen hours later, alone in a room in the Intensive Care Unit.
I was extremely nauseous, and didn’t even realize that my entire back was numb from the procedure.
My dad rushed into the room once he heard me moving around, handing me ice cubes to soothe the nausea. I was hooked up to machines for days, I couldn’t eat solid food, regardless of my strange cravings and pleas for bacon, and I dreaded physical therapy.
We stayed in the hospital for a few days so that I could recover. It felt like a boulder had been placed on my shoulders, and I couldn’t carry it. But I endured the physical therapy and was fortunate enough to begin walking again.
Limitations or Opportunities?
After the surgery, I had strict orders to stay home from school for a month, not to participate in vigorous physical activity and to avoid roller coasters. I am still unable to bend over or backward completely, and I am incapable of doing sit-ups.
These appeared to be limitations for me at the time, but now I look back on the surgery as an opportunity that allowed me to indulge in other activities, such as playing guitar, writing and drawing.
I am slightly self-conscious of my posture from time to time. It is something that I am asked about often, whether it is a comment about how straight I sit or that I have good posture. I try to take it as a compliment now instead of being on the defense.
Along with some confidence after a few years, the surgery left behind a 15-inch scar that goes straight down my spine. It’s something that I am proud of, no longer ashamed or embarrassed of.
Sure, I’d love to be able to bend normally or be a few pounds heavier. Gaining weight can be just as difficult as losing weight. But I have grown into my body type, learning to feel comfortable and confident as the years have gone on.
It’s all about our attitude, how we look at ourselves in the mirror. Regardless of the media or opinions of others, we only get one body, which we should treat it with love and respect.