Historically, I really don’t like New Year’s. First you have all these expectations about what a fan-ferkin-tastic time you’re supposed to have on New Year’s Eve and never, ever live up to them. And p.s., hearing “Auld Lang Syne” makes me want to kill myself.
And secondly you get all melancholy thinking about resolutions, which really just boil down to a) shit you don’t have and think you should by now, b) things you think you should change about your personality (which is impossible – because your personality is who you are) and the biggest one, c) how much of a fat ass you think you are.
So, to get in front of all that, I thought I’d post an excerpt from an article I wrote once upon a time about body image. Read this before you wake up hung over on New Year’s Day, hookers. It might save you a ton on therapy and diet pills.
I've been absolutely starved for inspiration since the New Year. What do you write about when everyone is on a diet and every magazine is littered with bold headlines with the likes of, “The Wheatgrass Mold Diet!” and “Drink Your Own Urine to Lose 10 Pounds!” My favorite foodie websites feature nothing but lightened-up recipes and salads. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good salad but who wants to eat cold greens when it’s freezing outside? Cuddling up by the fire with a bowl of frisée just isn’t hitting it for me.
Everyone around me is on a diet and, by today’s standards, I suppose I should be too. I’m overweight, I can’t fit into any of the clothes I wore before I had kids, sometimes I knock things over with my butt, when I have to bend over for something I always give a quick scan to see if there’s anything else in reach I can grab while I’m down there, blah, blah, blah.
By every modern standard of measure, I should hate my body (and myself!) but I don’t. Actually, I’m kinda proud of my body. I’m healthy – the doctor even said so. Actually, at my last physical, her exact words were, “Mrs. Rivers, if you don’t mind me saying so, you’re the healthiest 230 pound women I’ve ever seen.” My cholesterol is good, my blood pressure is good, my heart is strong and all my other important stats are spot-on where they should be. I’m tall, flexible, strong, have good reflexes, have good skin and don’t have any bizarre glandular or facial hair issues.
My body has done everything I’ve ever asked it to do. It makes love to my husband, who, bless his soul, still responds to it eagerly. It carried my babies and kept them nourished and healthy and then endured the miracle of their births. It cooks, cleans, plays, swims, runs errands and throws a baseball. I still feel pretty when I get dolled up and every now and then, I even get flirted with (though it takes me a second to process what’s happening).
I’ll continue to do the best for my body and my family’s nutritional health by choosing not to fry foods often, buying whole wheat pastas and breads, keeping fruit and nuts on hand rather than cookies and chips and insisting that every meal be served with a green vegetable. I’ll safeguard our health in the ways that I can but I won’t be a slave to today’s standards of beauty and I won’t raise my children to judge themselves or others against them. I’ll encourage active lifestyles and activities and teach healthy eating habits but I will not eat salad in February!
Right after this was published I got to thinking… I’ve been on a diet my entire life. My parents had me enrolled in Weight Watchers when I was in the second grade. And for what? What has 30+ years of dieting done for me? I still look like I always have. Maybe this is what me is supposed to be like. So, what if I just stopped worrying about it?
And that’s exactly what I did.
That was three years ago. And do you know I haven’t gained a pound since? Actually, according to my doctor’s office, I’m 18 pounds lighter (I wouldn’t have known because I threw out the scale).
The moral of the story? Maybe it’s a good time to start accepting yourself the way you are. Maybe you’re already really awesome. I think you probably are.