‘Real Women’ and Weight Loss: My Story
Last week, I put on my favorite Claudette bra and realized that I was absolutely swimming in it. I thought the back must have stretched, but a tape measure confirmed it: I’m now a 32 band. Still not convinced, I went to the scale. I’ve lost five pounds. For the first time in years, I’m solidly under 180 pounds.
If you chat with me on Twitter, it’s hard to miss that I’ve been on a serious weight loss campaign. It started after the holidays, like most do, and I’ve continued it in various ways throughout this month. For one week I did serious calorie counting, and couldn’t do it. I finally came to the decision that I was going to eat better and exercise more and see what happened. Apparently, minus five pounds is what happens.
There’s been a lot of talk about this whole “real women” debate, so I guess this is my chance to weigh in. Mostly, I believe that discussions of weight and body size are far more complicated than people make them out to be.
Like many women, I was a skinny teenager. I was about 15 when I hit 125 pounds and my parents started telling me to watch my weight. At the time I was a serious dancer and didn’t take much notice. I eventually quit dancing, but the weight pressure didn’t let up from my family. Every time I ate something, I felt guilty. Mostly, I rebelled and ate it anyway.
At 26 years old, I’m 177 pounds. I know exactly where this puts me on the BMI scale, and I want to get down to a clinically healthy weight. I’m not a comfort eater, and I eat a reasonably healthy diet. I also feel like I look pretty nice at this weight, and I truly can’t imagine myself at anything the BMI calculator shows as a healthy weight. Whenever I do, everything from my teenage years comes back and I want to crawl into a hole. And then there are the days when the major doubts set in. What if I’ve just convinced myself that I look good at this weight because I’m lazy? What if I’ve just talked myself into feeling confident? If I really got to 125, would I be a slave to calorie counting for the rest of my life?
I know that this is all compounded by the fact that I haven’t had a single conversation with either one of my parents in ten years that didn’t involve my weight. And the teenager in me feels like losing the weight will make them right about my morbid obeseness all these years.
Working and blogging in the lingerie world means that you’re constantly confronted with your own body. I spend hours each day staring at pictures of all sorts of body types and comparing them to mine. It means confronting your stereotypes about what is beautiful, and generally expanding them. You’d think that would have helped me see where I fit in on the scale, but it hasn’t.
Here are the reasons I want to lose weight:
-I want to be at a healthy weight for my height.
-I want to be able to fit into more clothes and lingerie.
Notice that “because I hate my body” isn’t on this list. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I think lots of women feel pressured to be a different body type, no matter what weight they are.
When you talk about “Real Women” (which is a silly term in itself), I think this is what unites us. We’re all struggling to accept ourselves and reconcile all things people tell us about weight and size. To really discover our ideal body, we have to put aside everything else we’ve heard about what a “Real Woman” looks like and figure out what is right for each of us.