Sandi Tomlin-Sutker, Editor
The photo above was taken when three women friends and I (we call ourselves the Yoga Girls because we have taken the same yoga class together for years) celebrated a birthday at the Grove Park Inn. It was delightful to dress up a bit for a change (working at home as I do I’m usually in my PJs most of the day).
I have to admit that I used to be quite a “clothes horse.” In my twenties I sewed constantly in order to have the kind of wardrobe I couldn’t afford otherwise. In my forties I opened a clothing store and often laughed that when I shopped at the trade shows it was “one for the store, one for me” quite often. In my youth, clothes were often a way to accentuate my body as well as project a certain identity.
I still have a nice stash of great clothes, including some I haven’t been able to get into since going through menopause and its consequent weight gain. A few years back I worked with Sunny Kruger (of Alliance for Weight Loss) and easily took off quite a few of those pounds, but proceeded to gain most of it back this year when I wasn’t coping well with the stresses of my life. During these past number of years, I still loved clothes, but they were more a way to camouflage a body I was no longer comfortable with.
These days I’m feeling very motivated to take off the rest of those pounds, mostly because I’m concerned about my health, want to be strong and agile into my old age, and yes… I’ll admit it, I think I look better without the extra poundage and the clothes I love just “hang” better!
This issue on Our Bodies, Our Selves reminds me, again, that we do all come in various sizes and shapes. It took me years to accept my very womanly hips and thighs (even when I weighed in at 120 I was still a classic “pear” shape).
In fact, I was so set on accepting myself “as is” that I didn’t even try to lose weight until recently. I didn’t want to be caught by any societally mandated perceptions of what is attractive. So, combined with my tendency to eat comfort foods under stress, I gained a lot of weight.
But as I’ve read more about the health problems associated with belly fat, as my knees began to weaken and I found swimming didn’t take the pounds off, I decided to take a look at my reactive attitude.
What I found was that my diet was not healthy anymore; too much salt, carbs, etc. And I found that as soon as I returned to a diet that feels good to me (more protein, lots of veggies, very little dairy) I started to lose weight (I also am taking HCG but that’s a story for another day).
As I think about My Body, My Self, I see the contraditons I have about my body and realize that it is not easy to overcome the images we grew up with. In fact, as someone once said, it’s like bathing, you have to do it every day.