It’s the new year and a time when a lot of people are making New Year’s Resolutions, and a common one is always dieting.

I, on the other hand, have never been big on dieting. I love food and I find when I try to count calories that I just end up obsessed with food 24/7… in addition to being hungry and grumpy. So I try to eat vegetables and to only eat “junk” foods in moderation.

It works mostly well, though I am sometimes thwarted by stress or hormonal fluctuations or chocolate.

That said, I gained 30lbs during my second year of graduate school and it doesn’t look like that’s changing any time soon.

I had broken down and bought some new jeans last winter, and I just broke down and bought some more pants recently because the pants I had that fit aside from jeans only marginally fit, and not comfortably.

And even though my new pants fit well and are bright, pretty colors, the negatives of having to buy new pants are currently outweighing the positives in my mind.

I’m a feminist, so I know that my culture has taught me to view my body differently and more harshly because that body happens to be female.

And I try so very hard to not get hung up on whatever number might be written on the little tag inside my pants.

But when I graduated from college I had finally managed to get down to a size 14 and I was so proud of myself. It took dance class three times a week and better meal portioning, but I did it.

And now I’m back up to 16-18, depending on the clothing in question (because we all know the sizes of women’s clothes are not standardized).

It’s like Margaret Cho said in one of her stand-up routines (and I’m paraphrasing) – “Being one size smaller is a full-time job for me.” The same is true for me and I already have a full-time job.

As much as I’d love to be thinner, a part of me knows that all the effort and stress and time I would have to put into it would just make me unhappier than I am currently, as well as more vain and obsessed with my appearance.

And there are plenty of things more important in the world to spend my time focusing on than how my body looks.

Besides, I’m tall and legitimately big boned, so when I tell people my weight, they are always surprised. I’m glad I carry it well.

But I guess I had always told myself in the back of my head that I wasn’t fat because I weighed under 200lbs. And now I don’t.

And I’m lucky to circulate in communities that value my body type rather than the cultural mainstream of thinness we see in magazines and still on a lot of TV.

But sometimes when I look in the mirror it’s hard for me to be happy with what I see.

And I hate that.

I am heading back to yoga and have been trying to walk some on my lunch or break at work.

I am focusing on being healthier because I know it’s dangerous for me to get too obsessed with numbers.

And don’t get me wrong, I’m not always down on myself. I am happy with my appearance a lot of days.

But it’s hard to have clothing that you love which just doesn’t fit right anymore.

I guess I will just have to find new clothes to love.

Maybe this is a lesson about not developing attachments to things or wrapping your sense of self too tightly around any particular possessions, or numbers, or facts about yourself.

Because change isn’t always a bad thing.

And my cat Angel really likes to knead my stomach, so I suppose the fact that it’s big and squishy is good for something.

One thought on “My Body, Myself

  1. It can be very hard to like ourselves, when we’re so saturated in a culture that values only a very narrow idea of what a ‘pretty’ woman is supposed to look like. I think striving to be healthier in general is a great way to go about life; there are all sorts of studies out there that basically refute the entire idea of dieting to loose weight. We’re pretty much all going to be the weight we are, and spending time stressing ourselves out over it is unproductive (especially because stress leads to more cortisol, which leads to fat gain in the belly and thighs… sigh.)

    I think the only way to get get to that ‘Hollywood’ ideal body size and shape is to literally starve yourself into it. If you strictly limit the number of calories you take in, massively increase your activity levels, they yeppers, you’ll wind up skinny. But the second you stop that regimine, you’ll gain it all back, and let’s be honest here: why in the world would you want to starve yourself? Talk about a hefty load of self hate there.

    So, a nice balanced diet, lots of veggies, some protien, a touch of oil or fat… spice it up with some salt and spices for flavor, a little bacon because it’s in it’s own food group, drink water and walk a little every day. Voila. Keep your heart in good shape by getting some cardio three times a week (or more if you’re into that sort of thing)… I like to dance naked to loud music while singing. If I sweat, my heart rate’s up high enough, and I call it good. Get a little sun on your skin, both for the Vitamin D and for the anti-depression benefit, and you’ll be getting some exercise there too, if you’re moving around a little.

    But then, you know all that. Duh. Of course you do, you’re an adult. Which never really explains how so many people have problems with the basic formula. Heck, I forget sometimes, and wind up eating an unbalanced diet (too many carbs, not enough green veggies, not enough sunlight, sitting still too much, and so on), until I get sick or down or blue or Bean starts looking at me with the sad eye and I remember. Oh yeah. Body is a temple, freaking make some sacrifies to keep the facade looking good and bring in some offerings to keep the spirit gleaming.

    Oh, and over 200? No freaking way! 😉

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