Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Re-blogging Body image and the beast

I have a few things I want to blog about but never seem to find the time!! So here is a reposting from last year. It is still applicable and something I still think about. Also it occurred to me - I really don't have weight problem - I have a depression/body image problem that I medicate with food. hmmm . . . . something to think about. What about you?

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!


Amy said...

You're right -- it's a body image problem and I think most women have one. People always say they wish they were small like me, but I find all kinds of flaws when looking in the mirror. Losing weight really doesn't fix the true issue which is that we all could do with more confidence. You are *BEAUTIFUL*, D! :)

StefRobrts said...

There are very few people in my circle of friends that I think have a weight problem, and you two are definitely not on the list. Not to mention you are both so talented and wonderful in other ways that how you look is not something you should even worry about being judged on!

I know I am overweight, but it doesn't bother me so much because I am about the same size I always have been. I would certainly like to lose some. But then I see friends who are small, or who have lost weight and become small, and are still unhappy with their body. Sometimes I think if you can be so small and still be unhappy, you're right, it's not about the weight at all.

I have also had a lot of friends who lost a lot of weight, particularly on fad diets, pills, or impossible-to-stick-to programs, who have gone right back to their regular weight when they quit.

In fact I don't know anyone who has had a major weight change and kept it off for any period of time (except you, D). That kind of makes me think that our bodies, have a set weight and will return to it after any form of 'dieting' that doesn't involve major, permanent lifestyle changes. And the rewards for those changes can't just be losing weight, because that's not enough to sustain it. No matter how much we like the idea.

As you can guess, this is something I think about a lot, but obviously not enough to have figured it out yet.

dotoner said...

Me too Steph! I spend waaayy too much time thinking about it. And sadly this year it's those last, nagging persistent 15lbs instead of last years 10lbs. So now I am calculating 5lb gains every year for the rest of my life . . . . arg! The other thing about you Steph is that you eat healthy and are one of the most active people I know - seriously I dont get it. I think you are right our bodies want to be what they want to be.

Amy- you are PERFECT! Seriously how crazy is this world that someone like you could find flaws???

Mer said...

I was caught off guard at work the other day when I saw the cover of a magazine peripherally and thought, "What a beautiful dress!" on closer examination, it was actually a colorful piece of cloth wrapped around a horribly undernourished old woman. I mean, she was skeletal! How could I have thought that this National Geographic (no doubt featuring an article about starving natives somewhere) was a fashion magazine?!

Clearly, my concept of beauty has been dangerously skewed.

Having been overweight before, and now going on about four years of keeping off that extra 30 pounds - I still find flaws in the mirror. But I agree with you, Dorinda, when I am exercising and eating right, I do feel better.

I think it is important to have friends around (including husbands) who can give us a reality check about how we appear. Because we don't seem to be able to objectively answer that question for ourselves.

Thanks for (re)posting!