There is no shortage of love that I have for myself.
However, I do not love that I am 160 jiggly pounds of fat butt, smooshy belly, and generous love handles.
But I don’t discuss weight issues publicly for a few very complicated reasons. For starters, I know how to dress myself in public so that my flabby belly is flat and my thunder thighs are contained in those beautiful things we women know as Spanx. I know if I wear a skirt, I need to wear hose and flashy heels to draw attention away from the width of my ankles. I know if I wear something form fitting it needs to have a high waist and a belt to give the image of a slimmer figure. I know how to dress myself. So if I say anything about weight, my friends look at me like I’ve grown a third eye.
Secondly, I don’t discuss my weight because I don’t want people to look at me and go, “160 pounds! You’re uncomfortable at 160 pounds!? I weigh 200 pounds, are you judging me?” Let me take a moment here to say, “No.”
I am not judging anyone based on what they weigh. I judge people, sure. I judge people based on how they treat other people. And dogs. I definitely judge people by how they treat dogs. But that’s another story for another day.
Third, I don’t discuss my weight (or shape) because I don’t want my daughter to feel like that’s normal. I don’t want her to feel like when women get older, they focus on their weight. I want her to see me focusing on my dreams and my goals and my passions. Not my weight. I want her to see me working hard when I work out because it’s what I want to do, and not because she’s heard me gripe 20 times a day about being fat. I want her to see me work for what I want, not complain about what I don’t have. The same goes for my sons. I don’t want them growing up thinking that a woman should be uncomfortable in her skin. I want them growing up thinking that a woman works toward what she wants, and look for a wife who’ll do just that. I want my kids to grow up seeing that women reach for what they want because they want it, not because they feel bad about themselves.
And lastly, it’s become very taboo to not like your body. Everywhere I turn, people are throwing out these pictures of larger women with lines such as “Real women have curves” and “Love your body.” Women who have committed to being healthy and strong are mocked and called names, labeled as “unrealistic” and everything about their morals is questioned.
It has become socially unacceptable to be publicly uncomfortable about your weight. This goes both ways! I absolutely despised it when I heard my husband reference an especially thin girl as “That one who needs to eat a hamburger” (and he knows it now, because I might’ve yelled at him one day about it. He hasn’t done it since). We’ve gone from a society with an unhealthy obsession with stick-figure girls to a society with an unhealthy obsession with telling people to love their bodies.
I will NOT love my body if I don’t want to. I’m so tired of this current fad of people saying, “Love your body.” What that says to me is, “Your feelings are not valid.” It says to me, “Society thinks you look fine the way you are, and so you shouldn’t change.” It says, “We get to determine what looks good on you, not you.” Does no one see a problem with this?
I don’t know, maybe I’m the only person alive who feels this intense pressure from society to love my body. I don’t love my body, and I’m tired of feeling wrong about that.
If I want to go on a diet and exercise program to fight my way back to my glory days of 126 pounds of flat and muscled stomach (oh but for the days when they called me “Washboard Jones!”), then dangit, I will! And I should get to be proud of that and flaunt my journey just like the girl next to me with an hourglass figure who’s finally gained enough weight to be content right where she is! Yes, I know such a girl, and yes, I am so proud of her for loving the body she’s worked for.
But I’m done pretending to love my body. I’m done thinking that these “Love your body” memes are helping people. I’m done letting society tell me that being on the edge of being overweight is okay.
Three years ago, one of my doctors took me off a medication I’d been on for the previous year and a half used to treat seizures, and I blew up. Within the next year and a half, I put on 25 pounds- without changing a thing about my diet- and I gave up. The following year and a half I just sat, stagnant at 160 pounds, tired and miserable, carrying around the extra weight.
I didn’t want to focus on my weight then because I was achieving other dreams. A radio personality gig here, a novel written there, a trip to DC and a new job, and then another new job and a volunteer gig… I didn’t want to worry about my weight because I was rocking life everywhere else.
But now that life is beginning to settle into a routine (a crazy and hectic one, but still a routine), I’m ready to address the weight issue. I’m ready to fit back into my jeans and wear women’s t-shirts that aren’t XL or men’s large shirts that hide the belly. I’m ready to stop being embarrassed for my kids when I take them to the pool.
I’m ready to be uncomfortable and not love my body enough to find my way back to the body I love.
So stop telling me to love my body, because I don’t. And for me, that’s a great feeling to have. Because it means that someday, with hard work and perseverance, I will.
Many Kind Regards,
Read how writer Rebekah encourages a healthy lifestyle to combat the obesity epidemic.
Original Image Credit: David Cedrone Flickr