No, I’m not looking for attention or for my friends to say, “You’re not fat, Claire.” I’m not even looking for advice or the secret to weight loss because I know what it is. It’s about working really, really hard and thinking consciously about your decisions.
Wait. This blog isn’t even about weight loss. Now I’ve confused myself.
Anyway. A conversation in the teacher’s room at school sparked my brain. That doesn’t happen every day, so I’m going with it. I realized something: I will always be fat. I will never be the 115 I graduated at. I will never fit in a size 3. I don’t even think I want to.
But still, that’s not what it’s about either. There, now I’ve confused you.
The realization I hit was that we are living in a culture that your best is not good enough. A healthy lifestyle is not good enough. Fitting in a run whenever my crazy schedule allows it is not good enough. Being a size 10 is not good enough and when I fit into a size 8, that won’t be good enough, either. Because I need to be a size 0 to look like the people in my magazines. I need to be smaller than I was when I graduated. I need to be smaller than I was when I was 14 to be perfect. I need to have perfectly clear skin, voluminous hair, and it wouldn’t hurt if I were blonde. I’d have to get rid of my double chin (which I had when I was 115) and lengthen my legs. I’d have to get rid of my stretch marks and the belly that my son so graciously helped me grow. I’d have to get braces again, and really, my fingernails are weird, so I could change that, too. Oh, there’s more people, but you get the hint.
Mind you, I started this list of things I needed to change about myself before I was 15. I have been wishing and criticizing for over 15 years now.
But here’s the thing: my idea of perfect is not realistic. I look around me and I realize that nearly every woman I know and talk to has a list of things that they would need to change to be perfect. We all spend so much time down talking ourselves that we don’t truly see what’s good about us. We will starve ourselves and create a list of “I cannot eat these foods” when we should be creating a list of “I need to eat these foods” and “I absolutely love the taste of these foods”.
As summer comes, I cringe thinking about all of the grilled meals and pasta salad… just kidding, no pasta salad, I can’t eat gluten. I think about hamburgers and hot dogs (sans bread, of course) and corn on the cob. I think about ‘rita’s and ‘rona’s (oh wait, there’s gluten in those) and I think about the joy of summer food and drink but the feeling of guilt after eating it. I hope to find a balance between enjoying, and I mean really enjoying, the foods I love and knowing when to stop. A balance between hard work and relaxation. A balance between constant action and no plans whatsoever. That’s what summer needs to be. A balance.
Now all of you women who pine for the weight you were when you graduated school and have a top 10 list, David Letterman style with the jokes and all, stop. Tear the list to shreds. Stop looking to others’ ideas of perfect and find your own. Don’t buy into quick diet hypes; love food, enjoy it, but know when to stop. Learn what to eat to keep you blood sugars level through the day, don’t starve yourselves then binge, just live life. Don’t over plan, just be conscious of what’s going into your body. Find something you love to do, even if it’s car watching with a glass of wine, or coffee, or water. Find an activity that you just want to do all the time like running, or kayaking, or juggling.
Stop making excuses to hate yourself and find reasons that you’re proud to be yourself. Be you.