Monday, August 27, 2018
My "New" Body
This body that I spent 60 years trying to reshape via dieting, fasting, diet pills (years ago), working out, and god only knows what else. Fortunately for me I never had an eating disorder, although I've had a "fat/thin" perception disorder since I was a teenager. (A fat/thin disorder is when you're thin and you look in the mirror and still see yourself as fat.)
Like many women my age, just shy of 70, I was brainwashed to believe I had to be thin or else... Or else what? I wouldn't find a man, would always be rejected, could never really get on with my life as long as I was heavy.
If I could recapture even 10 percent of the time I wasted in my life being obsessed with my weight, whether I was thin enough, whether I could squeeze into a smaller size, whether or not I was the heaviest girl/woman in any group, feeling not as worthy as my thin friends, feeling outcast and sidelined because of my plumpness, holding myself back from so many things because "heavy girls need not apply," ad nauseum.
And it's taken me this long to reprogram myself to stop thinking there's something defective about me because I could never stay a size 8 or 10, or even a 6 at one point. Every time I lost weight, eventually I gained it back, and then some ~ like everyone else who's been on this merry-go-round for their lifetimes.
So not long ago, I just stopped with all that bullshit. I am now the size I would have been anyway all those years if I hadn't been trying in vain to be smaller than I naturally was. And now I'm celebrating the body I do have. I'm zaftig and I really always have been. I have my father's body; he was a big man although not fat or obese. I wear an average woman's size now. I'm not obese and never have been (although I was told that I was when I was just a teenager). Many heavier women would give their eye teeth to have the body I have now.
The only way I was ever really able to control my weight and become thinner, was to practically starve myself. I actually decalcified my bones back in the day when my modus operandi was to do three- to six-week juice fasts periodically. Today I'm healthy, I have no chronic illnesses, and I'm pretty much eating whatever I want these days, albeit mindfully. Because after all these years, I trust myself.
Thank god the social climate has changed to some degree from when I was younger. A lot of younger women these days are wearing their flesh like badges of honor. There's still a long way to go to create any sense of equity for women in our culture who aren't model-thin. But it's better now than it used to be.
This just came to mind: I was following a page on Instagram for a while, something about style or wisdom in over-50 women. But I stopped because every single one of the women in their photos were thin. What about us less-than-skinny women? We have style too, we have wisdom to share, why are we still being left out of the conversation, in 2018?
A very good old book that I recently reread is The Obsession, On The Tyranny of Slenderness, by Kim Chernin. It's from the 80s but is still highly relevant today. We women have been brainwashed by years of our culture telling us we needed to be other than how we naturally are. If you're caught in this trap, as so many women still are, I recommend this book for an overview of what our culture has done/continues doing to women. We don't need to buy into it anymore. We need to reclaim the bodies that we were given, take excellent care of ourselves, and just be who we are.