Weight loss is a sensitive issue because while it is clear and physical on the outside, the inside holds so many more unexplained, undivulged complications. People will know if you succeed or fail and unfortunately, they judge you for it. What they don’t know is what that unbearable feeling of food guilt does to you, too much, too little, or just right. They don’t know that you can’t stand yourself being within this body, too big, too small, or just right (for you). They don’t know, but they might share the same feelings. It’s just difficult to understand another’s when the feeling is so personal. I get that.
It doesn’t matter if you’re too heavy, too light, or normal sized. It doesn’t matter if you can eat a lot without gaining an ounce or if you can eat a little and gain ten pounds. It doesn’t matter what plagues you. It’s all in the semantics. If it bothers you, it matters.
I could go into a long spiel about how the media and our culture has tarnished the female and male body, but I won’t. If you want more researched, better thought out, and more well-said information, read Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, recommended to me by my college writing professor. I won’t get into it in too much detail, but I will agree that it exists and it is dangerous.
Every so often, I enjoy picking up a fitness magazine here or there to get new workout ideas or healthy recipes. I appreciate when these magazines write things like, it’s about “fitness” not “skinny.” It’s true. What you look like, so long as you are healthy and happy, providing yourself with life’s necessities, such as good food, exercise, mindfulness, kindness, and forgiveness, then it doesn’t matter what you look like. This is something I have to remind myself every single day when I look in the mirror or look down and see the extra skin still hanging loosely off of what should be a well-toned, healthy body.
Wait, excuse me. I do have a well-toned, healthy body, which I work hard for every single day. I still battle food guilt and overindulgence from time to time, but I am only one girl and I have to coexist with chocolate. The fact that I have this extra skin might look like I am not as well-toned or healthy and unless you want to come and squeeze my muscles, then people I see on the street or even know regularly may not know. But that has to be okay because otherwise I’ll go crazy.
One of those fitness magazines refused to show a woman’s weight loss success story because she wanted to wear a bikini. They told her to put clothes on because they didn’t want to have a picture of a woman looking anything less than well-toned or healthy. This woman is plagued with the same irksome problem bothering me for the past two years, extra skin. It doesn’t matter that she worked her ass off, changed her habits, and made herself happy and healthy beyond anything that she probably could have ever imagined. She felt awesome, well-toned, and healthy because she is, and she was damn proud of that.
The stance of this fitness magazine seems to be saying that weight loss, and health and fitness in general, is not about how you feel or how healthy you are, but how you look.
I say, how dare you.