Society and weight...

I've been very honest with my weight struggles over my lifetime.  A 40-year eating disorder that started in my early teens has turned my metabolism into a non-functioning nightmare. Add in this hormone-crazed time called MENOPAUSE, and my weight, like the stock market, has been steadily climbing. The stock market may have in-place corrections, my menopause metabolism does not, so while the market gets, well, corrected, my weight continues to spiral upward, no federal trade ceiling mandates to stop it.


My eating disorder bloomed out of a random statement my father made to me when I was 12. A little backstory is needed: My parents divorced before I was born. My father's mother had been a very famous fur model in the 1940's and 50's in NY. My father had even been a child model.

So, back to me.

When I was 12 I was the tallest kid in my class and had been since second grade. My father is waaaaay over 6 feet and everyone thought I'd gotten the tall DNA as well. I didn't, but we wouldn't know that for another two years. Anyway. I was going out to dinner with my father and his wife for my birthday and my father made the comment that if I lost a ton of weight and got my teeth fixed, I could try modeling like he and my Grandmother had.  There was no market for overweight models, he said, so if I wanted to earn some easy money, I'd need to drop pounds. Now up until this time no one in my family had ever made a comment about my weight. While I was in no way obese, I did have a few pounds of chubby, pre-teen fat on me. That one comment - and the implications inherent in it, namely that I wasn't good enough, sent me into an out of control weight reduction and yo-yo dieting and eating spiral that plagued me for decades - and is still present even today.

And it seems my father wasn't the only one who thought that being a little over the usual weight limit was a bad thing. Look at every magazine cover geared for women from the 1950's until the present day. While the emphasis has switched from anorexic to fit and healthy, you still don't see a NORMAL shaped, sized,  and weighted woman on any of those covers. Nor inside the pages.

Some headway is being made, like model Ashley Graham's emergence on the scene. But she's still considered a "Plus sized model" and not just "a Model." The distinction screams a lot about how designers, magazine owners, and the fashion and beauty industry still feels about women's bodies and weight, doesn't it?


I was at the gym recently and I overheard this conversation between two women whom I know are in the same hormonal throes as I am. They'd been giving the stink eye to a gaggle of fit and fabulous 20-somethings who were getting changed after their workout. Not one of them had broken a sweat. They were makeup perfect, too. Once they were gone, this is part of the conversation that ensued.

Woman 1 : Remember those days? 
Women 2: Eat all you want, stay out all night partying, pretend to exercise, and still look like that? Have every guy staring at you? Yeah. I do.
W1: This is ridiculous. I'm here 6 days a week, 90 minutes per day, and I still can't get rid of this belly fat.
W 2: Hear ya. I tried cutting my calories but got so hungry I ate everything in the pantry that wasn't expired! My ass has its own zip code.
W1: I tried Paleo, Weight Watchers and now I'm doing Atkins. I'm never hungry but I'm not losing any weight either.
W2: I think I'm gonna try that cool sculpting. Freeze the Godd**m fat off, once and for all!

Okay, full disclosure here: I wanted to scream DON'T DO IT, but it's been something that's crossed my mind a few times as well. It kinda feels like cheating, tho, to me. I'd rather this belly fat ( and ass, hips, back, too) would just burn off from all the exercise and calorie counting I do.

57 years old and I still hear my father's voice berating me - subtly- about my weight. You'd think at this advanced age I would be over the hurt and shame of not being perfect. You would be wrong.
And I don't think I'm alone in this, as evidenced by the above conversation.

Why does society make it a crime or a sin to not have the perfect body, be the perfect weight? And who decided what those were, anyway? A bunch of insurance adjusters sitting in a dark room? The fashion designer icons who view women as objects and not living beings?  The so-called beauty industry whose sole focus is to prove all women need to be changed ( read: Makeup) to be better and beautiful?

I'd like to say I'm over it. Over the shame of not being perfect, over the eating disorder, over the feelings of total inadequacy. But I'm not. I really don't know if I ever will be, especially when everything I do is for naught.

I sound like I'm whining. I'm trying not to.
I sound like I'm bitter. I kinda am.
I sound a bit resentful.You got that right!

Stay tuned...this subject's gonna stick around for a while ( like the jiggly fat on my inner thighs and butt!)

In my other life as a writer, I'm a little more positive and less hormonal! You can find me here:

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Comments

  1. Excellent post! I've also struggled with a few extra pounds. During adolescence one of the Italian relatives commented: "Che bella polpettina!" (What a lovely meatball!) While it was meant as a compliment, I recall starting a diet the next day.

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    Replies
    1. Gesu!!!! Joanne, I, too, have been compared to a meatball by the Italian relatives. Only the ommtted the CHE BELLA part!!!! Why do family members always believe they have the right to say such things???

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  2. Lady Bug, I feel your pain. On so many levels, it's kinda scary. Hang in there. I went on a serious diet to shed some menopausal weight...let's see, it'll be two years ago this summer and, thankfully, I had some good results and have been able to keep the weight off. I am in NO WAY saying you need to do the same. I think a person's weight has to do with what THEY feel comfortable weighing and not anything else. Least of all the fashion industry. That being said, the diet I went on was given to me by a friend. If you want to hear more, I'm happy to share. PM me on FB and we'll chat. Love ya.

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