Quick note on what this post is about: It’s about me. I think there are many types of beauty in the world and it is very important for us not to compare ourselves to each other. So when I talk about what I like about my body, it’s not to say there’s anything wrong with other body types. Quite the contrary. We need to stop this futile practice of comparing. Putting someone else down will not lift you up. All women are real women, not just curvy ones like me.
I am not a small woman. I’m 5’9″ (as of my most recent physical) and currently weigh around 175 pounds. According to the BMI chart, I am slightly overweight. Compared to the women I see on the TV and in magazines, I am a giantess. My thighs can barely fit into a size 12 these days, though my waist remains size 10 or 8. Therefore, I own a lot of belts. My feet are size 9 1/2. I’m a solid D cup. Probably a DD in some brands. When I buy tights, I buy the ones marked LARGE/TALL and sometimes they are still too constrictive. Button down shirts do not fit me well without alteration. I have substantial arms, full with both muscle and fat. I have a big butt. I love my body. People write songs about my body. I’m a Brick House. I’m built, I’m stacked, I have all the curves a man likes.
Once upon a time, it was my goal to be thin enough that nobody would ever be able to think I was fat ever again. I thought that the only way I would ever accept myself was if I fit into the standard of beauty I was presented. I don’t talk about those days much anymore because they are but a distant memory to me now. But I think it’s worthwhile for people to know I have not always been the way I am now. There were a few years in my early 20s when I was about the size I am now or thinner, and I got that way by eating 1 meal a day and walking all over the city of Philadelphia like a maniac. I used to go on the Pro-Ana sites and “motivate” myself by looking at the thinspiration presented there, and read tips about how to starve myself. Yes, I did that. It is not an easy thing to admit, because I have a difficult time showing that I am imperfect, I have had bad times and made bad decisions. I have not always done the wisest things in this life. Who has? Would I say I ever had an eating disorder? Yes, I actually think I did. Between the binge eating and the crash dieting, there was definitely something wrong going on with my relationship with food and myself. No matter how thin I got, I was never going to be thin enough to satisfy my requirements and accept myself. On some level, I always knew that.
When I set out to lose weight in 2009, this was at the back of my mind all the time. What if I found myself in that situation again, losing over 100 pounds and still feeling like I was horribly fat and miserable in my body? I liked my body better when I was fat than I did when I was thin and barely eating. When I was fat, I just said “oh well, this is me. Like it or don’t like it.” and I did my best never to think about it. It was surprisingly easy never to “see” myself. I still, to this day, cannot remember the experience of looking in the mirror at a 300 pound woman. It was only in photographs that I would see my size, and I would quickly stop thinking about that.
I convinced myself to be realistic. I even told my boyfriend that if he ever thought I was going crazy about my weight or eating, he should not hesitate to tell me so. I don’t think he ever saw that as a real possibility. He only knows me now, not me then. And I think he knew before I did that I was not that person anymore.
I set my goal weight at a very reasonable 180 pounds. I said to myself, “I do not want to be skinny, I just want to lose the excess weight and get in better shape so I can walk up the stairs without feeling like I’m having a heart attack and be able to wear a size 12 or 14 so I can shop somewhere other than The Avenue or Lane Bryant.” It took me 18 months to get to my goal weight and a surprising thing happened along the way. I found that I really did like my body. I liked it at 240 pounds. I liked it at 200 pounds. And when I got to 180, I had long since realized that loving your body is not about size, it’s a choice. Instead of wishing I was someone else, I started embracing reality. This is me. I am who I am. I am seeing myself clearly, and I like what I see. And I lost more weight, getting down to 161 pounds, the lowest weight I have ever been as an adult. I really pushed myself at the gym and the result was weight loss. I kept my weight around 165 for nearly a year, by weighing myself daily, adjusting what I ate to compensate for small gains, and working out 6-7 days a week.
Then I moved. Since I moved 10 months ago, I have gained about 10 pounds. I reduced my workouts to 4 days a week. I experimented with my eating habits. I always wanted to get back to 165 pounds, just because. I never really asked myself why. Then again, I never really tried very hard. And I never asked myself why I wasn’t trying either. I think the answer is that I wasn’t motivated because there was no good reason to get back to 165, it was just arbitrary.
After I injured myself last month, I had 5 weeks where I did not work out. I haven’t really gained, but my range is a little higher. Maybe I gained 2-3 lb. It seems to have all gathered in my breasts though, so I’m not really complaining. Actually it struck me that I like myself better now. Being truly objective, not thinking about anyone else or whether the number of pounds I weigh should be lower, aesthetically, I look better to myself now. I don’t post half-naked pictures of myself out of modesty, so you’ll have to take my word for it that the appearance of my skin on my stomach, thighs and breasts is greatly improved. I feel a lot sexier. I’m keeping it! I have put 165 out of my head and now I think, my initial goal weight of 180 pounds was the right one. Am I thin enough that nobody would ever be able to think I was fat? Nope. Hell, people call celebrities fat who are tiny, in my opinion. People have a really messed up idea of what “fat” is. This isn’t about them though, it’s about me. Do you think I am fat? That’s nice. Do you think I am thin? That’s nice. Do you think I am curvy? Me too. You’re entitled to your opinion, but it’s not my problem and really not of interest to me what your opinion of my body is.
Will I someday weight less than I do now? Maybe. Will I someday weigh more? Maybe. Life is not static. Things change. I will not hold my weight in a stranglehold anymore. Someday I will probably work out more than I do now, and that will change things. Someday, I may do another No Packaged Foods month or change other things about my eating habits and that will change things. Being happy with myself was always the goal, and I made it to that goal and beyond. I continue to understand that there will always be more to learn and ways to grow. I continue to enjoy the journey.