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’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?