I felt like I should post the conversation I've been having with some of my friends as it touches the tip of an iceburg that I feel strongly about. This was my comment in response to a friend that feels embarrassed that she has committed to losing weight and really feels ready to do so.
"Some times we feel that we're "buying in" to something unsavory when we start taking care of our bodies, as if only our size matters and the fashion/beauty industry is right. Making a commitment to YOURSELF and about yourself is not the same thing in my opinion. That is not to say I don't understand the feeling and I have experienced it myself, just that taking steps towards achieving your idea of your best self has a lot of emotions tied in to it and it's not an easy ride. Honestly, I feel the biggest thing that helped me lose a good amount of weight twice is the internet (resources) and blogging (support). It really helps to have others cheering you on or offering practical advice because they've been there too."
And then my lovely, wonderful sister-in-law responded: "'Some times we feel that we're "buying in" to something unsavory when we start taking care of our bodies, as if only our size matters and the fashion/beauty industry is right.'
damn. it's like a light bulb just went off in my head! i have always, always, always felt guilty about losing weight. wow. that's really mind-blowing. i wonder if that's part of why i allow myself to so quickly sabotage my healthy efforts - if i'm not losing weight & getting fit, i'm not buying into the magazines and the conventional stereotypes of attractiveness and all those other things that make people feel bad about themselves to sell more products. (of course, i DO buy into them because i judge myself by them and feel that i'm falling short while simultaneously railing against those ideas.)
wow. i'm feeling rather foolish right now."
And finally I answered and got a bit more than a little emotional about it. "I think it's only natural to rebel against the idea that women should be smaller, quieter, less of a presence, easier to forget, hedging towards non existence. To me that is what a great % of people, at least in the good ol' USA strive towards witht he desire to be so small as to be able to wear children's clothing. Distorted bodies with childlike shape if you ignore the painfully stretched skin across their implants. Rail against that, please do and I will join you. For years I liked to say I ate anything that tasted good to me and that was my only requirement and you'll never see me ordering a salad in a restaurant, that's for THOSE girls, not someone real like me. I came to realize I wasn't doing myself any favors, the one flight of stairs to my apt left me with burning lungs, my thighs chafed in the summer until close to bleeding, my acid reflux was so bad I started wearing lacerations in my stomach...I could go on but even though I never made it past around a 14 or so what I was doing to my health was terrible. My idea of what is sexy and beautiful is actually pretty far from what a lot of folks think. Most of the actresses on teevee look sick to me, for awhile I couldn't even watch a few shows because of the visible chest bones, referred to as "the ladder" by hollywood. Lovely to have a nickname for it, eh?
I'm trying hard to battle apologizing for myself all the time. My first tendency is to apologize for caring about what I eat or that I want to talk about yoga or riding my bike or just the fact that I talk a lot. I think women in general (sadly) feel the need to excuse ourselves to the world too often and it is my belief that the best thing we can do for ourselves is to stop being sorry."