Instead of trash talk, let’s fat talk…
Isn’t if funny how, we, women immediately have negative comments about our body image. It is rare to find a woman who will accept a compliment without putting herself down and if it has anything to do with: body weight, size, shape, etc. one easily can find fault. It is a way for women to bond and get comfortable with one another. By talking ourselves down it humbles us and allows the other woman to commiserate and connect.
The hubs made me sit and watch a segment on the Today Show on this topic this morning.
The never-ending question of Do I look fat? frustrates my husband. He has taught my sons to never give a negative answer (even if it is true) and instead, redirects with a question. Have you weighed yourself on the scale? I’ve realized my constant jibber-jabbering on this topic with my hubs has been witnessed by my three sons and has, indirectly, formed what they consider a normal body image. My tweener has recently been mirroring my comments with I need to lose weight as his body stretches and stalls with his growth spurts and hormones. Sadly, my negative body image towards my own body has impacted my sons’ views of their own.
Interestingly enough I quickly reprimand my boys if they ever comment on any other person; especially themselves. But I have excluded myself from this diatribe. A trainer friend commented on my strength and endurance but when I lamented on my body’s appearance and BMI (body mass index) my friend noted that one does not always appear lean and trim to be fit. He coined the term, fat fit, which has stuck. Should I consider this flattering? I thought not and as we argued about it he was quick to point out that our society has a very unrealistic view of what is beautiful and fit. My BMI truly tells the story (and I am on the high end of the scale, mind you). And that’s when I quit resistance training (muscle is heavier than fat) to change my weight number on the scale against my friend’s advice.
This is a sad state of affairs and it has pervaded my mindset for quite some time. It has just resurfaced, recently, as I verbally lamented to my girlfriend, while camping, about my lack of work-out time. I hadn’t been able to verbalize it before but I think our years of history allowed me to share my discontent. My other dear girlfriend has also been grappling with this issue and shared a link of how being lean with 10% body fat is not healthy or even sustainable in normal women. Both of these girls personify the epitome of fitness and beauty but also can find fault with their own appearances. For women who grapple with these issues you start to wonder if, in fact, this ideal of beauty is even attainable at all.
I admit, I burn-out many-a-time. I easily get bored with routines and have run the gamut from: jogging, group classes like aerobics, spinning and zumba, bootcamps, cross-fit; you name it, I’ve probably tried it. But once I get bored and plateau; that’s it. Since I am transitioning I am allowing myself, grace, and have realized as I’ve grown older that my appearance isn’t the end-all, be-all; though it would be nice. Lately the hubs has tried to motivate me with P90X and my beloved treadmill motor has been replaced (thanks to Horizon) and is available once again. While it has been repaired I have taken to walking in the mornings amongst the many hills in my community. But age is my enemy. My metabolism has slowed and aches and pains are starting to become prominent within my body. It’s working against me here. In my mind I think to my body, You’ve defected against me! All these years I had taken care of you and in a few months we’ve regressed! I have resorted to attempting to eat less and to remain grumpy.
Now that I got all that out (LOL) I have to change my mindset before it is too late and becomes ingrained in my kids’ psyches. Instead of vocalizing this, every day, maybe I should blog it and be done with it. It has been repressed in my mind for way too long. I doubt the day will ever come where I’ll be completely satisfied with my body appearance; but then, that’s really how life is. What person is truly happy with their life and can call it perfect? And who defines what perfect is?
I was given a great book to read entitled, The Invisible Woman. Don’t we all feel invisible at some point and seek validation? Some find it in serving and works but seek praise and glory, others use their children or husband’s accomplishments to define their self-worth. Others display this in material ways. And several women I know go to great lengths to preserve their beauty with surgery or augmentation. But does this guarantee we are seen or heard? Does skinny and big boobs define my character? Owning the newest and fanciest doodad? My fitness level? Shall I be happy being fat fit?
This is something I grapple and argue with my spouse almost daily. You don’t hear me! The laundry fairy magically places the clean, folded clothes in the drawers; though this same fairy harrasses children to place them in the wash. It has become a running joke in our household since the cooking fairy creates wonderful meals which tempt the laundry fairy to eat more portions, (darn it). Do you see me? I constantly need to be affirmed that, yes we do appreciate what you do. But again, that is not sustainable. Serving should not be for the purpose of receiving praise. Parenting, marriage, work… this is life. And if my character is defined by what others think of me; I am doomed.
God sees. That should be enough. I will never be happy, truly happy with myself, unless I shrug society’s burden and definition of perfection. I am a temple for something higher and bigger than myself. And I defile it each and every day unless I remember to be thankful for what it is that I have. What I am.
What do I stand for? And what do I want my kids to stand for? Though my answer continues to elude me I feel like I’ve got my pulse on it; it’s becoming clearer. I hope it becomes crystal. Let’s see if I can put it into practice.