Friday, June 10, 2005

I've Been on my Laurels for Long Enough

So I have been thinking about body image lately. I stopped going to the gym for almost two months because Hubba-hubba needed to increase his workouts in order to qualify for a fitness bonus at work. You'd better believe I would suspend my gym outings in order to ensure an extra $300 a month!

I am planning on beginning again next week, as things are a little hectic here. I had noticed a weight gain, or perhaps I just felt ungainly. It is kind of funny though, how even though I have gained lots of weight over the last few years, I do not have a bad body image. When I look at myself in the mirror, I do not recoil in horror, or wince at the various bulges.

I can't really say if that is a good or bad thing! I do need to lose weight, and I think for some reason, my mind plays tricks on me and I see my former thinner self in the mirror. Kind of the opposite of what a person with anorexia would do. But it is also a good thing because I know how many women beat themselves up over fairly insignificant amounts of weight. I do not have that particular problem.

Perhaps part of my attitude comes from the experience of a close friend of my mother's. They had gone to nursing school together, and stayed good friends for over 20 years. Since we had known her, D had always been heavy. She was the kindest, most wonderful person you could hope to know. About 6 years ago (can it be that long?) she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. After various treatments, the doctors' only choice to possibly save her was to remove her stomach. Completely. She had perhaps a few inches of tube that connected to her intestines, and that was all. Needless to say, D lost all of her extra pounds. I remember her coming over to pick my mother up, and I was standing with one of our neighbors who also knew D and her cancer diagnosis. When she got out of the car, I literally did not recognize her. We chatted for a moment, then she went to the door to get my mom. My neighbor whispered to me, "Doesn't she look great without all that weight?"

I wanted to practically scream with outrage. Here she was, still a very sick woman who was battling for her life, and all that person could think about was how she now wore a size 8? Is that all we are to some people, the total of our clothing size? It saddens me very much to say that D lost her battle, and passed away not more than 6 months from the day we saw her.

I think it is true that we place too much emphasis on weight. People tend to judge based on the number of bulges you display. I understand that it can be unhealthy to be overweight, and if you are heavy enough that it puts you at risk for other diseases, then by all means focus on your health. But your health is what it should really be about, not about if you can get into a size 0. I think it can be unhealthy to focus too much on your weight. I even read an article recently that said that mothers who are insecure about their bodies pass it along to their daughters without even knowing it.

Even if I lose quite a bit of poundage with my gym visits, I will never be stick thin. I just don't have the build for it, and I happen to like my curves. As long as I am a healthier, more fit person, I don't have to be as thin as Lindsey Lohan to feel good about myself. Besides, Hubba-hubba likes them curves of mine anyway, so the war is half won already!


Anvilcloud said...

In my dreams I am young, handsome, and haired. In real life I am usually okay with what I am.

Heather said...

Great attitude! It's encouraging. You're right about the kids picking it up - I keep trying to remind myself that I have to be okay with my body for my daughters' sake if nothing else.