Sunday, January 13, 2008

Diet Craze

I have never been a skinny girl. Maybe before the age of 10, but I'm not even sure about that. I have never experienced a flat tummy, a size 6, or a significant period of time during which I truly didn't think about what I was eating or how I looked. That's a big confession for me. I'm a critical thinker and a feminist. I try everyday to not buy into the beauty myth. I am philosophically opposed to the corporate machine that tells girls and women that there is something wrong with them in order to make them feel bad enough to spend money on whatever product *guaranteed* to make them thinner, less frizzy, less splotchy, less wrinkly, and more "beautiful".

I eat better than most people. I don't eat meat other than fish, I avoid sugar and dairy, I haven't had a cream sauce in years. I choose baked over fried, I eat my veggies. I cook most of our meals, and they are almost always vegan and full of whole-grains and fresh vegetables.
I try to exercise regularly. Maybe not often enough, but I'm by no means sedentary.

The thing is.. I'm still not a skinny girl. I've been a (mostly) vegetarian for 12 years, I've been a health foodie for the last 5 years or so, I've had a gym membership for many many years, with periods of increased activity (and periods of hardly any). I go months without any refined sugar passing my lips. And I'm still not a skinny girl.

My logical, critical, educated, feminist brain tells me that this is my body. This is the body I'm supposed to have, it's happy at this set point. I have not gained or lost significant weight in years. Sometimes my pants get a little tight. Sometimes they fit a little looser. That's about the extent of my fluctuation. No matter if I'm sticking to a strict healthy diet and exercising daily; or eating less healthy foods and barely exercising at all. This should tell me, unequivocally, that this is my body and I should accept it. Even be happy about it, as it works pretty well. I can run, jump, climb trees (hypothetically, I haven't really tried in a while). I am mostly pain-free, which is a blessing and the topic of another post. I should carry and wave the "Every Body is Beautiful!" banner proudly. Some days I can.

Some days, though, are tougher. Right now I'm "dieting". I've never really dieted. I don't believe in fad diets, only realistic, sustainable, lifestyle changes. But right now.. I'm dieting. And I'm dieting to lose weight. Not to be the healthiest me ever.. although I say that to myself and others, and I even believe it from time to time. Being the healthiest me ever will be a nice side effect of being thinner. Right now, I want to be thinner. I want to look good in a bathing suit. Just once. Just once in my life, I want to know what it feels like. I want to maybe even wear a bikini. I never have.

Right now, it feels like defeat, because it's not really the person I want to be. It's not what I would teach my daughter, if I ever have one. It's not the way I want the world to be.

So, I'll go the gym, I'll eat baked whole grain crackers instead of chips, I won't even buy the snacks and sweets that I still crave. I will be healthier, and there is a real reward in that. But I won't fool myself.

Right now I am just trying to be skinny.


Maggie said...

My heart is like, wailing right now.

If not you, than who?


I guess you're joining this very, very large club. Maybe true self-acceptance - self-REJOICING - is not something we can teach ourselves, despite our best efforts. Maybe it's something that only comes with time. Maybe it's one of those great follies of the Universe, you know? Those ah-ha moments on our death bed that come too late. I don't know.

All I know is you're not alone.

theHBlady said...

at least you're being honest with yourself. i always hide behind wanting to "be healthier"/"feel better about myself" and then when i don't quite make it to skinny, i don't feel so bad. maybe i should just shoot for skinny, and quite kidding myself. well girlfriend, stay healthy about it, k?