Saturday, July 14, 2012

I'm done with the shame

I have decided to stop body-shaming myself. I've made a concerted effort to love my body, no matter what it looks like, to get out of yo-yo dieting (and dieting all together) and just

Unfortunately, there is still a rather large world out there that has been brought up on body shaming, and they still look at me and think, "there goes someone who could stand to lose fifty pound."

Kate Middleton was scrutinized for days after the royal wedding for being too thin, but if she had been even a pound heavier, she would have been called "Weighty Katie" instead of getting everyone's sympathy. This is just the way the world works. Heck, Alicia Silverstone was called "Fat Girl" in a tabloid when she started looking like a normal person rather than an anorexic Hollywood actress. And now recently, Ursula from The Little Mermaid has been slimmed down. Because she needed it.
Poor unfortunate soul

So here's the thing: no diet works. Weight Watcher's criteria for what constitutes "successful" weight loss is so lax that all you have to do is lose five pounds and keep it off for a few months to be considered a success story by them. Even famous people like Rickie Lake and Carnie Wilson had great success after gastric bypass, but ended up gaining it all back. I was surprised when someone as thin as Gunnar Nelson decided to go on Biggest Loser to lose a few pounds, after already admitting to having liposuction, despite the fact that he was pretty much an ideal size. Heck, even Jared from Subway gained back quite a bit of weight.

Gunnar is the one on the right. Like you'd really kick him out of bed for eating crackers. (Hi, Matthew. I still have that crush on you.)
When gastric bypass came out, it was the miracle cure-all, which is one of the reasons why I think Al Roker, Rickie Lake and Carnie Wilson gaining their weight back was so upsetting to everyone. Here are famous people who have chefs at their disposal! How is a normal person who will rarely have anything like a normal schedule supposed to do this if these guys can't? Not to mention, there are huge, life-threatening consequences to the surgery.

What's a person supposed to do? The media tells us that we're less than human if we're not stick-figures and we are surrounded by fatophobes and body shamers, and a lot of those people are heavy themselves! We can't win.

So, I just stopped. I took The Fat Nutritionist's advice and just stopped dieting. I also stopped caring. Then I started looking at myself in the mirror and trying to love what I see. I stopped seeing myself through society's eyes, and started looking at myself as whole. Yes, my breasts are DDD-large and not some size C-cup perkyness. But they're actually really pretty and well-shaped and not flat and floppy. I've started not worrying about what I'm eating and found that it's actually helped me to eat better. I don't feel like I "have" to eat a treat when it's there because I don't know when I'll have another one. I was in the south and I ordered pecan pie because that's what you do, and I only ate a few bites and saved the rest for later. It lasted me three days. In my dieting phase, I probably would have eaten it all and then felt horrible about myself afterwards.

I do yoga when I get home from work (with Mr. Checkhov, who's idea of yoga is rubbing around me while I'm in various poses, trying to see if I can both balance and pet him at the same time) and I jog on the treadmill when I feel like it. Since I've stopped looking at exercise as a means to be thin and started looking at it as something I enjoy doing, I want to do it more often and for longer. I want to be healthy, I want to be me. That means giving up the idealization of what the media and you and everyone else in the world thinks I should be.


  1. Quite right too. You are beautiful.

  2. *hugs*

    You inspire me. (And you are wonderful JUST as you are, and I'll thrash anyone who says otherwise.) I should take a page from YOUR book, in all honesty.

  3. Bless you, most Western women know exactly how you feel. We are judged by how we look, over and above anything we achieve or what virtues we embody. But remember this - we are judged by how we look by those that have a vested interest in keeping us paranoid: by big business, by the media, by insecure men, and by women that have already been beaten down. We are not judged by how we look by the people whose opinions actually matter.

    One day it came to me that why should *I* care how I look (as long as I do people the curtesy of being clean and covering up the bits the law requires me to cover up): I don't have to look at me. What matters to me is how I feel. Am I enjoying the physical sensations or the emotional reactions of what I am doing? Do I feel spiritual fulfilled and more resilient? Did time fly because I was engaged in something fascinating? Did someone I love's face light up with delight? Did I help a stranger when they needed a kind stranger? Do I feel the satisfaction of a job well done? Do you see where I am going? Ten thousand years ago that's what women concerned themselves with.

    We do NOT have a moral duty to look sexually attractive to men because we were born female. I weep when women post a picture of themselves on fb or forums and actually apologise that their body doesn't fulfill the current Hollywood definition of sexually attractive. Even to other women.

    It's nice to glam up and look fab for fun at certain times, but for day to day the important factors are what we are doing, how we are behaving, how we are feeling. If other people don't like it, fuck 'em.