Recently, my husband got me thinking about my motives for weight loss and led to my trying to figure out what I want. This last fortnight was beset with a workload requiring two, ten day weeks (thank god for freelancers), battling a tube strike, failing trains, flood, rain, stroppy commuters and eleven hour days. The upshot is that, as WordPress keeps telling me, my weekly posting goal was not met. Nor was the weekly diet and exercise goal. I felt under siege enough without adding famine to the above list of challenges.
In terms of my motivations to lose weight, it boils down to this: the only defined reason I want to lose weight is clothing. Not ‘fashion’ exactly, but clothing. Being able to go into every shop on the high street, should I want to, and find clothing my size. Currently, this is possible, but not easy. It’s made harder by my taste which can run to this, which is hardly mainstream, high street clothing.
I have had to accept that even high street clothing will not fit me well, even at my current size. I have boobs to be proud of with a clearly defined bust line; most plus size blouses are square tents that turn a curve into solid square block. I have a steep curve at the small of my back, it makes my arse stick out something rotten, but apparently that’s attractive albeit a bastard when it comes to finding trews that fit. Most clothing makes me feel like I have unnaturally narrow shoulders, short arms, short legs, hobbit-like feet….the list is endless and made all the more vexing when the national average size is 16.
An important change for any woman to accept is that the only person with the power to be critical about their bodies is themselves. We inherit everything we have, wether we like it or not. We learn, or allow ourselves to be taught, to view our bodies with disdain and criticism. We work to achieve goals that our individual biology and genetics render unattainable and berate ourselves for failing. We opt for surgery to achieve boobs/noses/cheekbones/fat levels/whatever the media tells us is currently desirable, or to hang onto a view that only youth means beauty.
Many moons ago there was an advert on UK tv, if you can find it in the intraweb ether, well done. In the meantime, this is the American version. I remember it so vividly because it’s true. How often do you hear men judging themselves by their dress size? How often do they ask if they look fat, or hate their thighs?
Hating your physical self will not help you achieve a media-perfect body. The key, I realise, is to accept everything about yourself, to stop being afraid of what others think of your body, but to carry it with pride. It’s you, after all. Your feelings about your body will be reflected in the way you move, this will speak volumes to others. Instead of giving them a message to look for the problem you perceive about yourself, then pick up on them looking, interpreting their feedback as a harsh criticism of whatever part of your body you are unhappy about, give them a message that you are confident and assured. And bollocks to their opinion. Who are they to tell you how your body should look?
So I wear clothes that skim over the lumpy bits, fit at the flattering bits and draw the eye to an overall good presentation. I wear black, head to toe, every damn day. I wear spiky, pointy shoes that women love and men find intimidating; sometimes they are red. Makeup is scant, hair is straightened (to avoid the super-sized comedy moustache fringe). And I’m happy with all this.
And the only opinion on this that matters is mine and my husband’s.