“We are all different ages and sizes and that’s the beauty of it. We’re real women.”
~ Nicola Griffin, 56, 2016 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue model
Growing up, I wasn’t skinny but I wasn’t overly big. For many years while I was in my early twenties my weight was a constant 100 lbs. I exercised regularly, ran 5Ks and biked all over my neighbourhood so after putting on more than a few pounds while pregnant, you can bet I was super happy to go back to my ‘ideal’ weight almost immediately after giving birth.
A new sedentary job with long hours saw me weighing in at 138 lbs. I was appalled! When did that happen?!! Out came a renewed interest in exercise but no matter what I did I couldn’t seem to get past 130 lbs. I decided enough was enough. It was expensive but after changing jobs yet again I signed up for a diet and exercise programme which ‘guaranteed’ results. The focus this time wasn’t on weight loss per se but on losing inches and boy did it work! It was hard but at 115 lbs I was wearing clothes I hadn’t worn in years and I was loving this improved body. I worked out and worked out which basically translated into I didn’t have to diet that much; in a nutshell, all was well with my world.
Fast track to today, where after five years of trying to deal with menopause, added responsibilities at work, a haphazard meal schedule and a hectic travel itinerary, I find myself weighing 140 lbs – the heaviest I have ever weighed. Was this a big deal? Yes.It.Was. Who gets accustomed to ‘fat, big, thick, thunder thighs’ comments? How do you respond to clever remarks which end up highlighting you as the big ‘butt’ of jokes? When do you decide you can no longer ignore the surprise expressed at the startling amount of weight you have put on? How long should you keep trying to explain when approached that your weight gain was not due to a lack of trying to eat right, exercise right or ‘look’ right (according to the rules of the world)? It.Was.Hard.
What motivates women to insist on updating you on your body image? Who mandated the criteria that results in us being described as fat or thin, wide or narrow, attractive or unattractive? Does not age or life situations matter i.e. how can a mature divorced 50 year old mother look like or have the body of a single childless 20 year old female?
I am not advocating here that healthy life habits are not important. Far from it! Nourishing our minds, body and souls properly is very important. Yet my current life story has led me me to share the following two thoughts.
The first one is this: I am very proud of Sports Illustrated for “breaking the rules”. How can this magazine tell us that plus size women are beautiful? Or that older females are unbelievably photogenic? BECAUSE.IT.IS.TRUE.
“This year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue is breaking all the rules. After news broke on February 9 that the mag would feature plus-size model and body activist Ashley Graham as one of its five rookies, now comes an announcement that an over-50 plus-size model will also grace the pages of the glossy.” Read more
The second thought is a more interesting one which I came across via the Can Anybody Hear Me blog. Here is an excerpt:
“The tagline of my blog is “uncovering myself one pound at a time.” For most of this blog, I’ve spoken strongly about how my relationship with food and myself was what caused my weight struggles. I stand by that. The thing is, the symptoms have resolved faster than I’ve been able to treat the deeper disease. I’ve lost the weight, but I’ve failed to uncover and learn to truly love myself in the process. Truthfully, I have no idea who I am without “needs to lose weight” being one of the primary parts of my identity.
This is why I have not been posting…because this blog is not about weight loss…it’s about life gain. I could not bear to post here about the beautiful things one can gain in life by learning to love yourself while, in the background, hating myself so hard while the weight melted off. Progressing on the outside while regressing internally. Because, that’s the truth, readers. The last stretch of this weight loss hasn’t been healthy OR happy: it’s been agony. It’s been sad. It’s been an exercise in mourning.” Read more
We live in a harsh exacting world which demands perfection. We are encouraged to strive for the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect family, the perfect job, the perfect spouse, the perfect body with perfect skin, hair, nails, breasts – the list is endless. I can only speak from a female perspective, but I would like to suggest that women are not perfect; women are people. We are human beings with hearts and souls and minds and feelings. We are special. We love hard and cry hard. We can create miracles out of nothing. We are awesome. However, we are NOT the number we see on our scale. We are NOT what people think that number is when they see us. We are NOT our external body image. We are NOT representative of stupid insensitive labels.
I may never be a size four or six anytime soon but that doesn’t mean I cannot look professional, cute or sexy in a size eight or ten or even twelve. Besides, my body didn’t betray me per se and my larger mass does not mean I cannot contribute positively to society while loving my family and performing my job to the best of my ability like many others do … because women are beautiful on the outside and on the inside. Period. So let’s all go out today and love our bodies; I’ve already started 🙂
“I know who I am. I am not perfect. I’m not the most beautiful woman in the world. But I’m one of them.”
~ Mary J. Blige
“Some people say I’m not a very pretty woman, but I’m a very beautiful woman inside.”
~ Anne Ramsey
PS: What do you call a woman who is not a plus size? Do we label her as a minus size? What if she is more of an in-between size, what then? Hmmmm …. could be something more to think about for a future post.
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