Your Opinion of My Body is None of My Business

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 love my body, but that doesn’t mean I hate yours.

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.

It’s true.

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.

Today, 175 lb, messy hair, messy house, keepin’ it real, doing it for me.

 

27 thoughts on “Your Opinion of My Body is None of My Business

  1. K8y, you look amazing and I’m so proud of you. You have been one of my inspirations from day one. I hope you are feeling lots better since the injury. Hugs!

  2. You’re looking great as always,messy hair and all!! I enjoy your daily posts and blogs and true motivational photos. I am so glad that I stumbled upon your page. You keep me going when I think I can’t. I hope one day I will be able to look in a mirror and say “God you’re beautiful the way you are”. I’m working on that now! Thanks again for being there.

  3. All I could think as I saw this picture was: Wow she’s beautifull! Like the nice mum next door that throws the best birthday parties :) I don’t know how to put it any better, that was the first that came to my mind…maybe because you look so cheerfull as well

  4. Hello-I am so grateful that someone sent me the link to this blog! Today is Monday and of course I am determined to start another diet – but more importantly, it is to start feeling better about myself and stop beating myself up for my “failures”. Your words really encourage me to strive to work on my inner beauty – to love myself no matter what the size. By the way – you look amazing! Thanks again.

  5. I know this is right but I am still working on loving my body as-is. I’ve lost 100+ lbs 3x in my life now and I truly believe that this has been the missing element all along (not the perfect diet or the perfect workout or just being perfect in-general). I also appreciate your modesty. In the end, pictures are not necessary to share your message :)

  6. Hi Kate,
    Excellant blog post! It’s so very hard to accept our bodies for what they are. I spent way too many years yearning for that ‘perfect’ body. I started dieting at 11, 3 of my older siblings were overweight and I saw their pain and my mom’s anguish at their pain too (she was not overweight). I remained small my whole life except in pregnancy, but i ws NEVER happy. I don’t know what came first, my blog which my first post was about that damn scale, or my realization that i was wasting my life away yearning for something i already had…good health, a healthy weight and a lifestyle that is comfortable.
    Then we 5 did ‘No Weigh in April’ and that helped me kick my # to the curb!
    I am happier focusing on good, healthy food with a little ‘treat’ and researching ways to improve my health and my future selfs health! That means my mental health too, which is where my fitness comes in. That’s my meds…
    Denise

  7. I just wanted to say Thank You for posting this!! Your story hit home to me more than you know! I too am 5′ 9″, 180 lbs., DD and have definitely heard the term, ‘built like a brick house’! LoL I have come to terms with the fact that I will never be what most people term ‘skinny’. But that’s ok! I’m happy. I’m healthy. I’m ME!! This is a wonderful article and you are an amazing inspiration to others!! :)

  8. Just on the note of songs are written about different body types… I heard Maya Angelou recite this line from a folk song and just loved it:

    The woman I love is fat
    and chocolate to the bone,
    and every time she shakes
    some skinny woman loses her home.
    :-D

  9. Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I am a participant in Get Fit Topeka Style in Topeka KS. I worked hard to become a participant beating out over 120 people to be one of twenty. It has been hard work and at times frustrating for me. I’m in my late 50′s and have reduced lung capacity due to illness and a severe asthmatic with arthritis. Simple summer cold floored me and knocked me off my workout schedule. I’ve been struggling, losing 30 lbs then gaining 4, then dropping 2. The past 6 mos have been a see-saw of emotions as I’ve changed my diet, worked out and lost weight. Some weight. Not as much as I had hoped. But reading posts like yours help me keep my perceptions realistic and my determination surging.
    You DO keep it real. You DO inspire. Thanks

  10. This is wonderful. I’m so happy you’re inspiring people to love their bodies at every weight, shape and size! I find you’re honesty refreshing. I also really appreciate that you tend to appreciate ALL shapes and sizes, not just your type. I read a quote the other day, “comparison is the theif of joy” (Did I read that on Angie Gooding’s facebook page???) and I think you actually live out that quote…I think I’m getting there slowly too- letting go of years of being a competitive dancer and fitness competitor takes a little time to unlearn the habit of comparison but I’m making progress.

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  12. Thank you for your blog, for it inspires me and helps me keep perspective about my own body image. I’m really beginning to love my shape, despite the fact that I will never be skinny.

  13. Thanks for sharing a picture of you with your messy hair and your messy house. I sometimes get overwhelmed by trying to have a picture perfect home, work, cooking for both my husband and I, trying to do church things and living our personal lives. It is gratifying to know that I’m not the only one that at times says forget it and let the mess be. Sometimes I wonder, how did it get this way if it is just both of us and no kids, but is the daily life. Thanks for inspiring us, and for keeping it real. Thanks for letting ME know that it is ok, to let it be.

  14. The “did I ever see a 300 lb woman in the mirror” comment really resonated with me. I had a similar experience – I was detached from the body in the mirror. Did I love myself? Maybe. Did I love my body? Not at all, I could barely look at it. I felt like a hostage at times – wanting to take part in activities that I just couldn’t physically achieve. I’ve lost 165 lbs – I had a vertical gastrectomy. Dramatic and risky – maybe, but it worked for me. Not the right choice for everyone, but I’m ecstatic. I’ve kept the weight off for almost two years now… well unless you count the 165 lb I gained in the form of a husband who is my best friend and love of my life.

    Anyway, I find your blog and posts on FB to be really inspiring. I think what you’re doing is fantastic.

    Oh, and I think you’re gorgeous. Your lovely spirit shows right through in the photo above.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.

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  16. I love this post. It’s so refreshing to see someone really put it out there that our bodies belong to ourselves. Whatever your size, shape, fitness goals, or body image, they have nothing to do with anyone else’s!

    We don’t have to put each other down to feel better about ourselves, and we don’t have to be perfect, either.

    I was trying to get at these points you made in an old post of mine, but I was feeling reactionary. You did a much better job :)

  17. I love this post! Especially this part: “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 struggle with the fluctuation of weight, my ability to work out, eat well, etc. and often get hung up on how I think I “should” be. This was refreshing and inspiring to read.

  18. i got here via a friend’s blog, and i’m so glad i did! this is a fantastic post, i love everything about it. your body is your business and nobody else’s! keep being fabulous. : )

  19. I really needed to read this! I’ve been struggling with my ED for years now and lately it’s been bringing me up to my highest weight ever. I started an exercise program today in the hopes to “blast the fat,” but I see I’m already injuring myself this way and I’m very concerned for myself (I have injuries on my feet/ankles from the excessive running I used to do) yet also feel conflicted about my weight. I want to get back to my “thinnest,” but I’m so exhausted of this cycle already.

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