Like every other woman alive, I would imagine, I have been on my share of diets in my life. I generally go on one a few times a year for short periods (a month or so) when I notice I’ve put on a few pounds. These moments tend to coincide with trips back home, since apparently even just being in proximity to mother-produced baked goods causes me to gain ten pounds. Because I was home for Christmas and the mother-produced baked good were well and truly in abundance, I’ve been on a diet and exercise kick since New Years. I’ve been easing off a bit over the last week or two, mainly because I lost the weight I gained but also because being on a diet sucks gigantic amounts of ass.
Seriously, why do we do this to ourselves? I was getting up at 6:30am for six weeks to work out every day before work AND also working out most days after work too. I realise I am a bit insane. I also realise that that level of motivation and dedication can only last for so long because I’m totally NOT a masochist and I also tend towards lazy, given the choice. I like being active and while I feel virtuous and ‘good’ when I’m working out a lot and watching what I eat, I also never in a million years believe I can keep it up forever. It’s a short term thing to reach a goal and once I reach the goal (or get close enough to it to feel like I’ve accomplished something, at least), I usually slack off again. Which inevitably leads to a slippery slope to weight gain and then I go on the diet again.
I was getting dressed this weekend and I noticed that my stomach is getting a bit soft again and I immediately thought, ‘right, better get back to the 6:30am workouts.’ But then I thought, hold on a second. Why?! Why do I have to make sure my stomach is flat? Who is even SEEING my stomach these days other than me? NOBODY, that is who. I’m single and nothing is happening in my bed these days other than taking long naps, so who cares what I look like? It was a bit of a shock to me to realise I had totally swallowed the message of ‘you’ll never find a man if you’re FAT!’ thing that I HATE and that is patently untrue anyway. I suddenly had this huge flash of realisation, this glimpse of the rest of my life on diets and constantly worrying about gaining ten pounds and feeling like I’ll never be lovable until I get my damn stomach to be flat and it was HORRIBLE.
Wow, that was a lot of shouty words there. I apologize for that.
The more I thought about my diet cycle though, the more I realised that I was doing it in some sort of effort to be ‘hot’ or ‘sexy’ or ‘attractive’ in an effort to better attract men. And there’s always that little voice in my head, every time I diet and lose a little bit of weight, that keeps saying ‘you know, just keep doing this for another few months and you’ll get REALLY skinny and you’ll be SO hot and you’ll finally meet the perfect man!’ Of course I never do it. I’m lazy, as we’ve already discussed. But the DESIRE to do it is there. And that desire is based on the belief that I’m not already sexy enough as I am, that there’s this whole other additional level of hotness that I can only achieve if I lose weight. And that’s pretty damn messed up, if I do say so myself. WHY is that messed up? Well I’ll tell you!
I actually thought about this logically. Ok, say I DO lose a ton of weight and get all skinny and find a man who is attracted to said skinny body. I know my body, I know how it ticks and I know what it would take to achieve and maintain a body that is significantly slimmer than I am now. It would take A LOT of work. It would take multiple daily workouts, for the majority if not the entirety of the week. It would take a very VERY strict diet. It would take me focusing more on the foods I’m not allowed to eat than on enjoying I am. It would take dedication and time and commitment. It would mean that even if I DID find a man, I’d have to spend more time on my workouts and diet than I would on spending time with him. Sounds hot, right? Everybody wants a girlfriend like that. Not to mention that thinking about food all day would just about drive me crazy.
But see, the thing is, any man who got together with super-skinny me would just be getting an ILLUSION of me. Because honestly, I know me and I know I wouldn’t be able to sustain that for the rest of my life. And what if I get pregnant? What about if I gain weight and can’t lose it? What if my metabolism slows down and my bad knees finally give out (like they have in every other member of my dad’s side of the family, from where I get my knees) and I start getting rounder and rounder and rounder? Ultimately, I want to be with someone who I know won’t care if any of that stuff happens. As silly as this sounds (and it may be untrue also, I totally admit that), I think a man who finds me sexy as I am NOW, thighs and all, will be more forgiving of a few pregnancy pounds or some bad-knee weight gain than someone who is attracted to crazy-but-skinny me. And I know that if I just stay as I am now, without killing myself to be someone I naturally am not, I’ll be a much happier and better partner. THAT is more attractive than anything.
So I’m going to go have a cookie now and enjoy my softer stomach and rounder thighs. Because they’re ME and that’s ok. In fact, that’s pretty damn fantastic. Besides, I can balance a lot more cookies on my thighs for future consumption the way they are now. THAT is a result I can believe in.