(TRIGGER WARNING: There’s a lot of FAT talk in this entry. If you are not comfortable reading about bad self-esteem and weight-loss, please don’t read any further.)
(STOP: By reading below this disclaimer, you are allowing yourself to read a stream of conscious and potentially nonsensical rant. You were warned.)
I’m sure some of you have noticed that I don’t spend a lot of time talking about my weight-loss journey on this blog. This is unusual for a healthy living blogger- typically, if one is aiming to lose weight and they blog, progress photos and pound for pound weight-loss entries are the norm. I respect those who choose this method of chronicling. I admire it. But that’s not the point of my journey.
Yes, I’m on Weight Watchers. I must admit, I am a true convert to the Weight Watchers philosophies- I have definitely consumed my fair share of the Weight Watchers kool-aid. Since starting up again, I’ve steadily lost weight every week. In fact, this week I lost nearly 3 pounds.
I don’t want my weight to start dictating my progress. In the words of the great French philosophers Daft Punk, I want to be Harder, Better, Faster, and Stronger. Being Harder, Better, Faster, and Stronger does not always mean being thinner. Yes, I want to lose weight so I can move faster. So I can run better. So I will be stronger than I’ve ever thought I could be.
But I like my body. I think I’m hot. I think (nay, KNOW) other people think I’m hot. Yes, I have days where I can’t reach this conclusion (just like any other person in the world). But I’m afraid of the media. I’m afraid of models. I’m afraid of what they do to the minds of everyday people who look beautiful just the way are.
Why am I thinking about this now? Well, it’s finally spring break and I’m absolutely thrilled to be away from school for a few days. I have the opportunity to head to the beach for a short vacation, and I’m now contemplating the idea of wearing my bathing suit.
I don’t have a problem wearing a bathing suit. I’ll wear it all day long. The trouble is, I haven’t purchased a new bathing suit in over five years. This may seem especially odd for a girl who loves shopping and practically lives in Forever 21. My old bathing suits are too large- I grew out of them quite some time ago. They are stretched out, and in desperate need of a trade-in. So why haven’t I bought a new suit?
Because of this:
This may just look like a scant piece of nylon to you, but this swimsuit has become my kryptonite.
You see, when I began my first Weight Watchers journey, I told myself I would be wearing a swimsuit similar to this one once I was within 20 pounds of my goal weight. I had extraordinary willpower. I could do it. I made the swimsuit photo my desktop background, I pasted it on my door, and I prepared my body for the time when it would be “ready” to wear this suit. And in the mean time, I refused to buy a new swimsuit. Why buy a bathing suit I’d be too small to wear by the end of my journey? This was my dream suit. And I was going to wear my dream bathing suit.
Since that initial proclamation (a little over two years ago), my vision of the world has shifted. My understanding of the concept of Fat has morphed dramatically from where it was at the beginning of 2009. I’ve shifted my goals to non-scale victories only, achievable through physical perseverance and mental training. However, somehow my vision of myself and the bathing suit has not changed at all. For all my self-confidence, I still feel too Fat to wear this bathing suit. To be honest, I don’t know what amount of shame is more mortifying- my shame over actually feeling too Fat, or the shame I imagine I will feel upon donning this suit before reaching my goal?
Recently, this conundrum was put in even sharper focus. I have been lucky enough to begin a friendship with someone whose weight-loss journey is unbelievably inspirational to me. This person has battled the odds of losing weight while in college- she has achieved an astounding weight-loss (through weight watchers) in a fairly short period of time. Her current weight is significantly less than my goal weight, and I think she looks wonderful (for the record, she looked fly as hell BEFORE she lost weight, but that’ s neither here nor there ). Basically, this person is my personal weight-loss hero.
However, she is still ten pounds heavier than her goal weight. And, in her mind, those ten pounds make all the difference. Recently, we discussed how those ten pounds have kept her from purchasing a bikini. Yes, she’s always wanted to wear one. But she’s felt that a bikini was out of her reach until she reaches her goal weight. Do you know what I did when she told me about her internal struggle?
I judged her.
I judged her because she didn’t have the ‘wear anything, do anything’ resolve I’ve acquired. I rolled my eyes at her body issues.
I am such a hypocrite. Here I am, rolling my eyes at her body issues because of my own fat positivity, and I can’t bring myself to buy a new ONE PIECE BATHING SUIT.
I’d love to say that I had an epiphany at that moment. I’d love to say that I immediately went out in search of a polka dot monokini to wear at my first swimming opportunity.
I didn’t. Even at this moment as I live, breathe, and type, I can not convince myself to wear this swimsuit. It’s not all about weight- part of me just wants to complete my goal and reward myself properly. But there’s a substantial part of me that’s embarrassed to wear this bathing suit at my current weight.
To be honest, I’m actually overcome by my self-disappointment. I don’t have a resolution to this problem, but I think it helps to actually admit that I’m not as bulletproof as I may appear. In spite of my best efforts, I must show solidarity with every person who fears a certain clothing item- whether its jeans, bras, or any other dreaded piece of cloth.
For every fat girl who rocks a bikini regardless of society norms, I applaud you. YOU are my superhero. But as much as I want to be, I’m not there yet.
And as much as I hate to admit it, even confident, fat-positive girls get the bathing suit blues.