In a running joke in the film Defending Your Life (1991), the food tastes unbelievably wonderful in the afterlife and you can eat everything you want without ever gaining an ounce. Because that’s pretty much everyone’s idea of Heaven.
When I saw the film, my first thought was, “But what if you go there fat?! You’ll never ever be able to lose any weight!” It freaked me out.
I’ve come to the decision that I am done waiting to start my life becuase I don’t like the size of my body. How sad to imagine that Heaven is the end of dieting.
I am 41. I have wasted two and a half decades on this shit. I don’t have enough left to throw away.
A Facebook acquaintance posted a hand-written calendar of her planned fitness routine for the month. It reminded me of the one I drew up at the beginning of the summer and procrastinated until the days ran out. I should have just filled pages of blank calendar boxes Day 1: berate self for not working out. Day 2: berate self for not working out yesterday and today. Day 3: berate self for not working out today or any of the last three days. And so on.
Her fitness calendar reminded me of the kind of thinking I am simply done with. Setting outrageous, punishing goals that set me up for failure and placing all of my worth as a human upon their completion.
I am meant to see a photo like this, so often placed beside an ad for a weight loss or fitness product, and feel less than. The woman who owns this ass (probably half my age) is a success at life and I am a failure.
Lindy West of Jezebel.com has famously stirred up controversy with her writing about rape culture and fat acceptance. In an interview, she said “this paradigm of me being broken, me not doing womanhood correctly because I don’t look like a girl in a catalog has defined my whole life and not in a good way. And I’m not doing it anymore.” This speaks to my soul.
I have handwritten journals totaling thousands of pages of my plans. Even here on my blog: “The Bloom Project”, “Flourish: The Housewife Project” have both come to naught. Actually, that isn’t true. Both have served well to make me feel like an utter failure and lowered my self-esteem. And I’m not doing it anymore.
The hardest part for me, looking back on a misspent youth is that I’m not even fat. I look mostly like this (give or take a few pounds) In the Renaissance, I’d probably have many suitors competing for my dowry.
I really like those purple yoga pants.
I’m done with all of this obsessing about how I look. I’m pretty enough. My body works. It doesn’t look perfect, but I like it fine. I will exercise because I want to live a long time. I will exercise because I love the feeling of endorphins rushing through my body. I will exercise because I want to be strong. I want to feel better, but I’m done trying to look like this:
Because I can’t. I could work out every day until I vomit like a “The Biggest Loser” contestant and I would never look like this.
And why would I want to look like the woman Ben Affleck is tired of fucking?
Oh, how I needed to read this today. I’ve spent the last couple of days berating myself for not looking exactly the same way I did before I fell pregnant with my now 6 month old. This blog post is such an encouragement. I will take a deep breath and relax about my new body. Thank you so much.
Six months? Oh, honey. Nine months up, eighteen months down. Enjoy your little one.
I encourage you to take a look at the Fast Metabolism Diet by Haylie Pomroy. I’m an admin of a Facebook support group for it. There are 1250 people (many of them in their 40s and 50s) losing weight and making lifestyle changes. It’s not just about the exercise, it’s about what you feed your body too.
I am never reading another book with the word “diet” in the title or subtitle. Thank you for the advice, but I am done with this kind of thinking.
Well, while it is supposedly a “diet”, it really is a lifestyle change. Eliminating all the damned chemicals that food companies are determined to cram down our throats is the first step…because most of them make you gain weight and your body can’t properly process them.
That said, I can’t blame you though 😉
I didn’t know about this book but I feel the same as Mrs Odie, I am done trying to follow the latest fad dietand trying to convince myself that my body will look that good if I lost whatever amount of weight!! Thing is I will never look a supermodel, my body shape wont allow it!! A year ago my hubby and I made a decision to cut out all processed foods as much as we could after I read an article on what is added to commercial white bread … enough said! We changed our eating habits totally and even though it can be more time consuming when preparing meals or making our own bread we are happier now that we are in control of what we put in our bodies! We haven’t lost drastic amounts of weight, a few pounds but we feel and look much better. It is hard work at the beginning until you get into the way of what to shop for but after a while it becomes second nature and to be honest I don’t miss those frozen meals, or McDonalds etc now…our taste buds have thanked us thats for sure and we feel much better mentally, (my mind feels so much clearer) and physically!! Great post Mrs Odie!
I’ve been a vegetarian for 20 years and one of the best decisions I ever made was to cut out processed “meat replacements.” Sure, I will eat some soy hot dogs or “Soyrizo” from time to time, but I’m pretty much a whole foods eater. I’ve just wrecked my metabolism with 25 years of yo-yo dieting. Bread gives me heartburn, so I don’t eat it much. When I’m sad or stressed, I go for the sugar. That’s the killer for me. I also love dense-calorie treats like cheese and nuts. My challenge is to listen to my stomach and not my brain. It takes very little food to fill me up, but I can consume a whole bag of pistachios if I’m stressing out or lost in a novel and mindlessly shoveling it in. Thanks for the feedback!
THANK YOU! (Sorry for the all caps.)
I’ve had body image issues my whole life, it seems. Growing up and into adulthood I was always too gawky and skinny – people used to ask me to my face if I was anorexic (assholes), and a boss of mine used to joke and tell everyone that I had a tapeworm (dick). Then I started popping out offspring and my body image issues changed. I’ve been trying to make peace with my Mom Body (and an aging one, at that) for several years now, with little success. I mostly hate the way I look, all the time. And it sucks. I wish I could let go of it.
Our society allows people to ridicule thin people. It’s one of the last allowable groups to openly mock. I’ve never been “skinny.” Not to say I’m fat or have been fat. I still have baby weight on me, but except for some short periods here and there (post high school, post college — I guess getting degrees makes me binge) I’ve been in a normal weight range outside of my pregnancies. I thought it would be easier to lose it afterwards, but the metabolism slowing of middle age is no myth. I have great hair. I’ll focus on that.
I love this!! Amen Sister!
Bravo Mrs O – I wasted so much time & effort over the years, hating my “endo-mesomorphic” carcass when it didn’t conform to modern beauty standards until I reached middle age & actually DID tip over into obesity…
But fuck it, I’m living my life without any more apologies!
I can relate. What really pisses me off is I’ve seen photos of myself at 13, 23, 33 and I was LOVELY. What a nice figure I had. Stupid, fucking waste.
Ok, a couple of comments from the male constituency (well, constituent): with regard to the last sentence of your post, I have a co-worker who said a few months ago “show me a hot chick, and I’ll show you a guy who’s tired of fucking her,” so, you’re probably spot on with that comment (I wouldn’t know–ok, there’s no way to gracefully, or safely, back out of that).
As far as your body image, as well as my wife’s (see her comment above)–and you seem to be on opposite ends of the spectrum (at least in your heads), if we love you, you all look like Victoria’s Secret models to us, or at least the Sears’ models you used to see in the sunday papers. So, be cool. We dig that and you look better to us when you’re cool. I swear that every year my wife looks more beautiful to me.
Finally, I have a theory–well, a working theory–that we have not yet reached that point in our own evolution where we can so easily diet and swear off certain foods. If you think about it, it probably wasn’t all that long ago (in the grand scheme of things) that we had to eat whenever we were presented with whatever edible items we could find, and that food was all natural and not made from dehydrated soybean oil, or in a factory. Especially in these United States, we are so inundated with factory created delicious crap that our species has not yet caught up to the need to avoid or moderate our intake of them. Some people can do it, but it’s work. Hence the diet books, reality shows, etc.
Anyway, it’s about damn time you posted something. I was checking out other mommy blogs.
But see, you’re defending the notion that our sense of worth, our good feelings about ourselves, should come from outside, not inside. If our husbands or significant others think we’re hot or beautiful or whatever, that should be good enough, right?
Shut it. I have 167 teenagers in my life that I didn’t have a week ago.
My husband assures me that he finds me both sexy and beautiful. When I was about to color my gray roots a week ago, I showed him the two boxes of hair color I had purchased and asked him which he preferred. It was either the medium auburn I usually do or a darker auburn. He replied that he didn’t care which color my hair is, but I definitely prefer to be very red and when I feel like I’ve “got it going on” (his words) he finds me irresistible. I asked him if he’d choose to have sex with a different underwear model every day or just with Rosario Dawson forever, he responded “I’d choose you because I love you and you’re my wife.” My husband is a smart man.
I think the joke is originally from a movie. I’ve also heard “No matter how beautiful a woman is, somewhere out there is a man who’s tired of her shit.” Same goes for men. I’ll bet Angelina is tired of Brad Pitt’s farts (and probably his weed breath too). Odie said it well in the heat of an argument once. “I get it. My shit is tiresome. You know what? YOUR shit is tiresome. Everyone’s shit is fucking tiresome!”
Put that on a t-shirt.
I feel best about myself when I’m doing what I love. So I promise I’ll post more. If Lisa can have seven children and be a prolific writer, then I have no excuse. (Remember when you had TWO?!)
Wait. You let your husband pick your hair color. Ok, let me rephrase that: you give your husband a choice on the two outfits you picked out for him to wear to school? Lisa, do you see this? I don’t get a say in my wife’s hair color at all. I feel repressed. I now understand suffrage.
Now, answering my wife’s question about whether I’m affirming the notion that a woman needs to look outside herself for approval of her looks: no, I’m not saying that. I could say to you “beauty comes from within'” or if you love yourself blah blah blah. Then you’d say I’m condescending, if not patronizing. But I can’t and won’t tell you ascribe to such platitudes; I’m merely saying, as Mr. Odie, I mean Odie, does “you’re hot to me without you thinking you need to be this or that.” In other words, you are perfect the way you are. most of the time.
If I let you pick my hair color, you’d pick gray. No thanks.
I’m sure Mrs. Odie doesn’t want her blog to become a stage for you and me to work out our marital issues. No matter how entertaining it might be.
YES! YES! YES! BRAVO! I adore you!
This reminds me of an episode of a show called HEX where this ghost was saying it was great she could eat all of this food and not get fat but if she would have known she was going to die she would have lost a few first.
But yea this post is great:)
This reminds me of an episode of HEX where this ghost was saying it was great she could eat whatever she wanted now and not gain weight but if she had known she was going to die she would have lost a few first.
But yea, great post 🙂
Have you thought about having a professional photographer privately photograph your nude body in an artistic way? I’ve seen photos like that and really find different body shapes portrayed beautifully. I’ve considered it for this very reason.
I never have. I’ve seen that wonderful website “The Shape of a Woman” but I cannot imagine wanting photos of my nude self to exist.