But I Want It NOW!
As a woman who is admittedly overweight, I definitely struggle with body image.
While this includes the usual doubts concerning my appearance and whether or not I’m attractive, my struggles go even deeper. In fact, many times when I am out and about, I wonder what other people see when they look at me. My concern that they only see a chubby-cheeked woman with a muffin top belly and large behind is so great that sometimes I don’t want to leave my apartment.
More often than not, however, this isn’t an option. So, I shower as usual. I get dressed and walk out the door, hiding my insecurities as much as possible behind a smile that occasionally wobbles with its lack of confidence.
How many other women, I wonder, experience this same type of agony?
For that’s exactly what it is – agony. Always wondering what people think when they see you, silently asking if the waitress is snickering because you ordered (and finished) a heaping plate of food, shopping in the corner of the department store reserved for “plus size” women - it saps your confidence and makes you weary, even of yourself.
For me, these feelings are jumbled with a shameless envy of slim and toned women who effortlessly order salads at lunch, exercise after work and have not so much as a jiggle around their middles. I want desperately to reside among this group, but I don’t. And that just makes me hate my body even more, because if other women can be slim, surely it stands to reason that I can, too.
Adhering to a strict diet and exercising every day, however, is hard work.
The worst part is that I want results NOW.
I’ve never been very good at waiting, and failing to see the fruits of my efforts is nothing less than discouraging. So, this week, I’ve slipped and even resumed many of my old habits. It goes without saying that right now, I’m feeling pretty discouraged. Recently, I haven’t lost any weight at all.
Moreover, the longer I continue trying to “diet” and improve my health, the more convinced I am that I will never have what America considers the ideal body. Regretfully, I lack the will power necessary to permanently change my habits and lose 60 pounds. It thus appears I am destined to live forever in my size 16 body, afraid to don a bathing suit and ever fretful that my bulging stomach is evident beneath my shirt.
All of these thoughts have brought me to this terribly unanswerable question:
Why can’t I – and others like me – just be happy with ourselves the way we are?
In part, I’m terrified the path I’m on will lead me to gain even more weight, especially as I get older, and one day I’ll wake up twice as big as I am today. Of course I don’t want that, but I feel trapped in an ugly cycle of self-recrimination, pity and hopelessness. Rather than sitting around and indulging these thoughts, I should probably get on my exercise bike and at least make an effort, especially with summer coming.
Or maybe I should learn to be happy as I am and show the world beauty doesn’t have to be rail thin.
While I’m pretty sure these moments of doubt will pass, and I’ll emerge relatively unscathed, I can tell you this: embarking on a path of self improvement is not all sunshine and rainbows. It’s safe to say I even feel frightened sometimes as I examine myself and my shortcomings, and yet I know this process must be finished. So tomorrow, I think I’ll resume the diet and try again.