Monday, January 5, 2009

Body Image and the Beast

First I must make two statements:
Women struggle with body image
I am a woman


I am a person who has been very fat. And a person who has been relatively thin. Here's what I have learnt from my experience:
- I have felt fat and ugly at both a size 6 and at a size 16
- I feel strong & powerful & sexy when I exercise regularly no matter what the scale says
- I know the difference between healthy, wholesome foods and junk
- I often choose to ignore what I know

A while ago (after taking a piece of chocolate) I confessed to a friend that I knew I would be much happier if I just lost these last (nagging, persistent, resistant, frustrating, infuriating, want to crawl under the covers and cry) ten pounds. Did I mention that I was eating chocolate at the time? This friend looked at me like I had suddenly taken all leave of my senses - he looked at me like I was completely crazy. He sighed, paused and then said very carefully (being married and therefore having some experience with female sensibilities) "If you will pardon me saying so - you are perfect. I mean lose weight if it makes you happy . . . but to me, and probably to a lot of people - you are just perfect." Now it was my turn to look at him as if he had completely lost his senses.

Now here's the thing. This is a good friend that does not lie and does not say things to make people 'feel better'. I believed him. Kinda. For about three minutes I actually believed that I was better than okay, better than fine. But one good look in a full length mirror later was all it took for the ugly beast of insecurity to rear its head again.

I know so many women like this! I know so many beautiful women who think of themselves as average, so-so or even ugly! A good friend that is one of the most beautiful women I've ever known who hates her own thighs; another beautiful woman who despises the size of her hips; another that feels if she could just 'fix' a certain facial facial feature she might just be pretty. What the heck?!? These are all gorgeous women - what is wrong with us?

I wish that all women would turn that focus into living positive lives.

Eating to sustain and nourish instead of eating our emotions. Exercising to build muscles and strong hearts rather than to burn more calories. Loving and taking care of ourselves a little bit more instead of harping on our flaws and taking care of everyone else.

Boy that sounds good. I just hope I can take my own advise to heart!


annaliese said...

Wow. you speak the truth. and yet,as a female, it is SO hard to believe that life would not be better minus a few (or many) pounds.

it would be amazing to not feel that way--should we go get hypnotized?!

on a happier note: we got stronger and healthier today!...but, um, you were right, that inner thigh thingy was too heavy of weight! ouch...I am really feeling it...

Big Red said...

I'm clapping whilst reading your blog! Thank you. It is very inspirational - sometimes with all the images we're bombarded with, it's easy to focus on the external. I know I drive my husband insane with, 'Wanh, I need to lose 20 lbs, and can I get rhinoplasty?'.It's easy to forget that we can be strong, healthy and beautiful on the inside - so I say, please keep the coming and well done!!

dotoner said...

L, I so hear you! And NO you do not need to lose weight and get plastic surgery!! You are too beautiful to fall for those trappings! Thanks for reading my little blog - hope to karaoke with you again one of these days!

snazzykc said...

I love your thoughts and I am trying to change my thinking too. It is hard and programs like America's next top model and project runway can't be helping much!

Thanks for the reminder!
Look out not in...

Jaynie Roberts said...

Well, if I could eliminate the padding that has developed around my middle, I would find it much easier to fasten my shoes.