Physical body image is an issue I believe all women struggle with in one form or another. We all have at least one part of us that we would like to change. We may want our thighs to be thinner, our butt to be smaller, or our breasts to be bigger, or our tummy to be trimmer. Often woman think that if something were different about their body and if they received their ideally thinner thighs for instance, they would be happier and live a better life. In some cases, I think this is true. If you are overweight and make the healthy lifestyle changes such as exercising and eating better to get those thinner thighs I think you will be happier because you will be living a healthier lifestyle and this will affect you positively all around.
However, physical changes that are actually problems with our self-esteem, will only make us happier for a little while. Then, other problems will arise that can make us disgusted with our body image. Suddenly, you may have trimmer thighs but now you really want to weigh as much as you weighed in high school so you become unhappy about your weight, instead of focusing on the goal you did achieve and that you do have trimmer thighs. It can be a sad cycle, improving one part of yourself, only to be disappointed by one of your perceived other flaws later on.
For me, body image has often been a struggle starting from about the time I was in Grade 1. My mother never overfed me, I had little to no junk food, and I had plenty of exercise but I was still a pudgy girl. Boys were especially mean to me at this age calling me fat and bullying me even though I was just a little pudgier than the other kids. By the time grade 6 came around I had lost all my baby fat and now many of the boys liked me. I maintained a weight I was happy with until I finished my Bachelor’s degree.
When I was 23 years old I got my first job as a receptionist and suddenly I was putting on weight due to copious amounts of food around the office. I threw myself into exercising 40 minutes for 3 times a week on the elliptical at very hard pace, and weight lifting an hour along with each of my elliptical sessions, until I suddenly fell ill with depression and lost 25 pounds in a month.
The problem with losing so much weight at one time is you gain it all back and then some. I sky rocketed from 161 lbs. to 191 lbs. over the next 3 years due to medication, inability to exercise, and perhaps, the fact that I was so no longer 23 years old anymore and was naturally putting on weight. I managed last year to lose 10 lbs. on Herbal Magic and even though I have quit the program I have kept the weight off. I never reached my goal weight of 165 lbs. although, it seems that no matter what I do my body sits comfortably around 180 lbs.
For me height 5’6,” my weight is a little heavy even though I have always been about 10 lbs. heavier than what is recommended by doctors for my height. I would dearly love to be thinner so I could buy smaller clothing and have my body look the way my body looked in university. But if I think about it, I have always been unhappy about my weight, it is just one of my hang ups. Even when I had no reason to think I was fat, I was unhappy about my weight and when my weight didn’t bother me something such as the condition of my skin would.
This is my point that we will always find something in or on our bodies to be upset about, to fantasize how happy we would be if we didn’t have that flaw. But the thing is our flaws make us who we are. I may have a bigger tummy now and have gone up to a size 12 from a size 10 in jeans but I know have bigger breasts – this is a plus. Not to mention, I am never stuck in-between sizes as I was often before. I fit a size 12 or a size large and in most stores those are the sizes I am, I never have to guess.
In addition, I have a boyfriend who loves my curves. He liked them when I met him and I was 191 lbs. and he likes them now that I am 181 lbs. He would like them if I got bigger again or if lost weight and got smaller. He is one reason I really have learned to love my body. People have tastes for partners in all shapes and sizes and just like our partners love our bodies we need to learn to love them too, to be self-confident, and self-confidence is sexy. Curvy is in even if most of the woman we see in the media have thinner body types.
There are celebrities that I admire that are in the entertainment business that are bigger than the average Hollywood sized 0, 2, or 4 woman. Sara Ramirez for example, who plays Callie on Grey’s Anatomy, is said to be 160 lbs. She was a size 12 when she began acting on Grey’s Anatomy and I feel very proud when I see her act as she is both talented and weighs a weight the average woman can relate to.
Someone else I really admire is Lizzie Miller, a model who for Glamour magazine posed “jiggly bits and all.” In her picture, you can clearly see a tummy on Lizzie miller who is 5’11” and considered too big to model even for plus size. Yet in 2009, there she was bearing it all, flaws and everything. Lizzie really inspired me and made me think that it was okay that I have a have a tummy too, I always have. Some of us are never going to be model thin and Lizzie personifies beauty in any body weight. Woman are beautiful and worthy to be loved with tummies, thighs, and butts that are considered too big, so are woman who are incredibly thin and wish they had curves, and so are those woman who are somewhere in-between in their body weights. We are all monumentally blessed to be who we are and have the bodies we do have, of this I am certain. To read a fascinating article on Lizzie Miller you can go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1210814/Lizzie-Millers-Glamour-magazine-shoot-How-models-picture-shook-world-flabby-tummy-all.html and read all about Lizzie’s brave model shoot in 2009.