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Unexpectedly Awesome Body-Positive Images!

30 Nov

I am in love with the Fruit of the Loom “Fit for Me” commercials running right now.  Images of sexy, confident women with breasts and hips and tummies and thighs, preparing for and being on dates with gorgeous men who are obviously smitten with them, all set to a sultry song.  I love it!  Body positivity!!!

Also, we were watching some silly movie on the Hallmark Channel a couple of days ago – with Jonathon Taylor Thomas of all people – and one of the characters was about a size 24.  She was described by her husband as “one of the most beautiful women on the planet” or something similar.  He groveled at her feet, apologetic about something stupid he’d done.  It was one of the most body-positive couplings I’d seen on TV – she looked gorgeous!

YAY! for positive images of beautiful women who are not itty bitty stick figures!!!

Beauty

25 Aug

I don’t usually repost links…  But since I don’t think anyone who reads my blog reads Big Fat Deal (though there are a lot of good reasons to), I have to  post this link that I got from them. 

It’s antique photos of beauty queens.  Before you think, “oh, how weird”, just check it out.  Look at how our world’s perception of beauty has changed over the last hundred or so years (they are fairly sure these photos are from the 1920s, although they were not marked).

It’s really stunning.  And this is my favorite.

missargentina

By the way, my crazy numbers of working hours are done for now.  Which means I (theoretically) can post more! 😉

“Oh, you lost so much weight!”

25 Jun

Note: this rant about weight is NOT in any way related to any discussions with friends, etc.  It stems from this discussion I had a few weeks ago and I’ve been bouncing around in my head how it was going to be written for a while.  I was reminded this morning that I wanted to write it (by something a friend posted), but if you’re reading this, trust me, you have not offended me in this way.  Even so, it might be something to think about the next time you tell someone she’s lost a “ton” of weight! 😉

 

A few weeks ago, I went in to get my legs waxed.  I don’t always go to this salon, so it had been a while since I’d seen the waxer.  The first thing she said when I came in was, “Oh, you’ve lost so much weight!”  I usually just laugh it off, but for some reason I decided to argue with her.  Silly, I know, but I hadn’t actually lost weight – in fact I’d gained it.  She argued back that I had lost “LOTS!” (insert emphatic gestures here).

Um.  Thanks.

Here’s the thing, everyone.  We all do it.  “You look great!  Have you lost weight?!?”  A lot of times it’s flattering.  It’s a compliment – you look fabulous!!!

In my case, though, I’ve gained about 15 pounds since my wedding.  About 14 of those are due to stress (contrary to what you might think when you see the number of posts on rich foods here on my blog, I actually eat a lot of fruits and veggies and overall have a balanced eating pattern…  and since the end of April – read: the end of the super-stressful period – I’ve only gained a single pound, despite not being able to get active because of my ankle).  I can feel it in my middle (a sure sign that it’s stress weight) and when I walk I feel differently than I used to.  It’s really unpleasant.

I am self-conscious about it; not enough to go on a crazy crash diet, but enough to feel offended when you insist that I’ve lost gobs of weight.  Because I haven’t.  Right now, at this moment, I am at the heaviest I have ever, ever been.  Which means that when you say I’ve lost all sorts of weight, I think, “Geez, why would they say that?”  I feel like somewhere along the line, your idea of how I looked got all screwed up and blown out of proportion, and you had this picture of me as a hugely fat person.  Which I am not.  I have never been hugely fat.

When I had lost a ton of weight – 30 pounds (through a rigorous healthy-eating plan that left no room for anything fun, obsessing over the scale, and working out, actually not more than is healthy, but bordering on it) – my mom’s cousin (who we were visiting in England at the time) commented that I “really must have been chubby before.”  I wanted to reach out and strangle him (he was driving, so I restrained myself, but I didn’t talk to him for basically the entire rest of the trip).  He was implying that since I was so “chubby” at thirty pounds less, I had to have been a HUUUUUGE fatty before.

I will not use the word I almost called him (in front of my parents, no less).  But suffice it to say that it’s not appropriate for network TV.

Likewise, during that same time period, my dentist (who’s known me since I was a late teenager) raved, “You lost a whole person!”  Um.  No, I didn’t.  If I’d have lost a whole person’s worth of weight (even a very small person), I’d be the weight of a fourth grader.  I was never that fat to begin with.

Way to make a girl feel weirdly conscious about her weight.

I don’t know a single woman who isn’t self-conscious about her weight, whether it’s gone up or down.  I don’t own a scale (on purpose – when I did, I was checking my weight five or six times a day) and I don’t usually know how much I weigh, but I’ve been to the doctor several times over the last six months.  I hate stepping on that scale and seeing the number.  It hasn’t jumped in a while, but it’s still this number I never thought I’d see.  And when you ask if I’ve lost a ton of weight, it makes me feel even worse about it.

Weight loss – or gain – is a very personal thing, with very personal reasons.  It might have a million different factors – from stress to a lack of time to cook fresh and nutritious meals to an illness to a really awesome new trainer to an eating disorder.  I’m not saying not to talk about it – in fact, I know that it often helps keep people motivated to do so – but keeping a lid on offhanded comments about people you don’t know all that well is probably good (ahem, waxer-lady!!!).  And by the way, I probably weigh 40 or 50 pounds more than you do, at your “fat” weight.

For the record, my weight gain – just like the scars from my car accident – is a part of me right now.  It doesn’t mean I like it very much – just like some days I look at the lumpy scar where they had to take out the bleeding intestines and think “this is so ugly it hurts,” or I feel the silver-dollar-sized crater where they had to scrape away dead tissue after my back surgery and gag.   And it doesn’t mean I don’t think about what might have happened had I not gotten totally stressed out and put on cortisol-induced poundage – just like some days I wonder why my mom didn’t pull over when the brakes felt a little strange, or why the light was red, or why all of the lanes had other cars in them, or why I was sitting at the angle I was, or why the back seat buckled when we hit the back of the other car. 

But overall I have accepted it.  I am okay with how I look right now.  In fact, some days I think I look pretty awesome (other days, I think I look like I’ve been run over by an 18-wheeler, but that isn’t actually related to the whole weight issue!).  So I’m not going to stress myself out further by trying to take it off quickly (since of course weight loss is always slower than weight gain). 

I hope to be able to start actually walking again next week (not 5 miles at a stretch yet, but assuming that my ankle is well enough I feel like a mile or two every other day might be in order).  In fact, I miss walking – and it’s not even about my weight, but how the endorphins make me feel.  I want to walk.  And you know what?  If I walk and walk and stay the same weight, I will be okay.  My weight doesn’t have to go down for me to be happy.

But please, for the love of God (and waxer-lady, I’m talking to you!)…  Don’t rave about my weight loss unless it’s actually happened!!!

A Few Words on Self Esteem

8 Jan

I wrote up this whole post about self esteem and deleted it.  I sounded really preachy.  I just wanted to say this, because I’ve had four separate groups of friends discuss this with me lately, how horrible they feel about having gained weight, or put on weight that they didn’t have before.  So in case you are one of the people who have been talking to me about this, please don’t feel weird – I just have to say it to all of you.

Love yourself.  Remember when you were a little kid and they gave you that self esteem talk?  The one about no matter what other people say, you’re special and unique and beautiful, like each delicate snowflake that falls?  Give it to yourself today.  When you feel the pressure to be perfect – which is a given in our society – remember how uniquely beautiful you are, already.

Guilt and shame are no way to live, especially about something as integral to our beings as our bodies.  Instead, pride and confidence should be our answer, and the feeling that we are special and sexy and wonderful.  Being “perfect” won’t make anyone happy – it’ll just lay on a whole new set of rules and regulations and things to feel badly about.

Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself how beautiful you are.  Even if you don’t feel it – fake it till you make it, if you have to.  Nurture that little part of yourself that remembers the delicate snowflake.  Don’t abuse your body with crash diets and years in the gym.  Enjoy it in every way you can (one of my favorite things in the world?  the feeling after I finish a long walk…  and I’m no big exerciser).  Feed it in every way you can – from beautiful fresh wholesome food to excellent wine to pampered spa days to lots and lots of sleep…  And love yourself.  You’re the only “self” you’ll ever get.

My New Year’s Resolution? Ignore Weight Loss Commercials.

5 Jan

Have you ever noticed how many weight loss commercials show up right around the New Year?  We’re being innundated with everyone’s favorite New Year’s resolution: losing weight.

But don’t be fooled – these people are making money off of you.  They want you to buy their fake food (“it’s so easy!”), or join their club (“for just a dollar a day!”) or try this brand new (read: the same as it ever was, with a new name) weight loss program.  In one day of watching television (stuck at home with the flu), I’ve seen commercials for Nutri-System, Weight Watchers (both online and in-person), Curves, Bally, 24 Hour Fitness, SlimFast, and SlimQuick Hoodia, to name just a few.

I’ve also noticed something that distresses me: every single person they feature in these commercials is either: a) not the same person featured in before-and-after photos or b) NOT in need of a weight loss program.  I think it’s the commercial makers’ way of guilting those of us who could stand to lose a few pounds into thinking we’re really porky.  I mean, if this little skinny thing needs to use this product to lose weight, how could I possibly be healthy doing anything else?

So I’ve decided that there’s a resolution I need to make this year.  I refuse to be guilted into thinking I need some expensive product.  I am not a skinny thing – but I guess that means that I can be healthy myself.  I’ve got a plan: ignore weight loss commercials, eat as healthy as I can, and walk with friends.  I think it’s far better than any fancy plan or gym or “supplement” or “lifestyle program”.  And it’s all me.

Homework

22 Dec

I figured since I was on this body image rant lately, I would give everyone in need of a body image boost some homework.  I was told several years ago by a very dear friend of mine (who is a curvy, sexy, gorgeous woman!) to read this book. 

It’s truly inspirational and a good, fun read too.  Maybe it’ll make you think a little bit differently about your own body image.  If nothing else, it’ll stop you from reading those diet books or fashion magazines that only cut you down and depress you (because, after all, without low body image the diet industry wouldn’t be in business and the fashion magazines wouldn’t sell nearly as many copies!).

The book is called A Fat Girl’s Guide to Life, by Wendy Shanker.  You can get it on Amazon, here: http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Girls-Guide-Life/dp/1582344280

Happy reading!

Are you Sexy? YES!

21 Dec

I can’t even say how many women I know who have said that they don’t like their bodies, that they are unhappy being their current weight or size or shape.  That they don’t feel sexy or desirable – and many of these women are in long-term relationships!  Sure, we all have bad days – days where nothing fits, where nothing feels good.  But to live in a constant state of revulsion at one’s own self…  It’s just not good for anyone.

 

Certainly, we can all stand to eat a little less junk and a little more good stuff.  We can cut down on the soda and up the water intake.  We can work out.  But it’s only going to do so much.  Without strict and extreme changes in our lifestyles, it’s next to impossible to make a size 16 body fit into a size 8 dress.  So many of us choose to hate ourselves and our bodies for our failures to be skinny – and to feel like it inhibits our abilities to be desirable women.  But does it?

 

When I was in my younger years, I used to go out dancing every once in a while.  Not all the time – I have never been a huge party girl – but once a month or so.  For a while, I’d stay in the background, let my friends attract the attention.  I would wear sort-of party clothes, but I didn’t feel comfortable dancing sexy or having real fun – after all, I was the big one in the group, the obligatory fat friend around to make the other girls look cute.

 

One day I was going out with friends for a someone’s birthday.  In fact, I had forgotten completely about the party – so I was in plain old regular jeans and a sweater, not even a V-neck.  No showing off the cleavage for me.  But for some reason I decided that since I already looked schlubby, I wasn’t going to stress myself out about being the fat friend.  In fact, I relaxed.  I danced.  I got hit on.

 

It was the first time in my life I’d actually been grabbed in a club.  A gorgeous man with an extremely well-built chest and smooth ebony skin and a Jamaican accent saw my butt-shaking and decided I looked like a hot and sexy Italian woman.  He stayed by me the whole evening and gave me his number.  He also said some incredibly suggestive things.  I had no intention of calling him, of course (especially at that point in my life, suggestive things freaked me out!), and gave him a lame excuse about having just moved and lost my cell phone (which was, of course, sitting in my purse on my arm).  But that attention gave me such an ego boost that evening that after that I decided to look at going out a little differently.

 

I went out some more, and got hit on each time.  Sometimes more than once in an evening.  Most of the guys were sleazy (it was a club, after all) and I didn’t give anyone my number until I met my husband.  But I got asked.  A lot.  I still dressed basically the same – usually a shirt and jeans and boots – when going out.  I still weighed the same – in fact, I met my husband while dancing in a club downtown at my very heaviest.  But what changed was my attitude toward myself.  I decided that I moved well.  I felt sexy.  I was sexy.

 

Most of us can’t change the way our bodies were made.  And if we try, we only become frustrated and angry, disappointed in our inability to be a perfect size two.

 

  

What’s the solution?  To accept and learn to love ourselves, every last roll and bump and curve.  Girls, repeat this after me: I am beautiful.  No, honestly, say it.  Think it.  Mean it.  Do you think you have to look like Scarlett Johannsen before your husband or boyfriend will want to see you naked?  Try it.  I think you’ll see he loves that love handle and those bones that jut out.

 

Believe it.  You are beautiful.  You are unique and special and beautiful.  If you proudly enjoy that your body is your own, and don’t beat yourself up about your small breasts or your big belly or your size 16 (or 12, or 8) jeans, if you own it…  Then you will feel sexy.  You will be happy.  Losing weight or gaining boobs won’t make you happy.  You will make you happy.  You have the power right now to change your body image.  It’s in your head.

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