I have had many conversations with my co-conspirators (read: women) about our body image, which usually falls under one category:
1. One of us ate super healthy item / did not eat super unhealthy item - PRAISE US!
2. One of us will outline a day of overeating / specific item chow down (looking at you, bread), and the other will reassure the binger that it is not only perfectly normal, but damn well deserved. Alternative: the supporter will tell the binger that it in fact did NOT count for some perfectly good series of reasons.
3. We will together plot a never-before-thought-of AMAZING plan for how we will trick ourselves into losing weight via strategies that feel very gratifying to plan, but much less gratifying to enact (read: not drinking on weeknights, eating only one carb-heavy side a day, planning out a meal plan for the month a la Real Simple magazine).
4. Usually after a glass of wine, one of us will throw out the following: "You know, I don't look that bad, anyway! Plus, when I was 21 I thought I was enormous and look how good I think I looked now by comparison - I look SPECTACULAR to my 40-year-old self right now, so there you have it. ::insert grated cheese into mouth::"
I keep thinking back to Jim Gaffigan's sagely take on working out in his Mr. Universe special:
5. We will decide to just stop trying altogether. Really, we put way too much time into this. We will be spectacular women no matter WHAT size we are, dammit! Take THAT Photoshopping fashion industry! Plus, when we get pregnant someday, it will undo all of our work anyway."And I'm one of those people whenever I do work out, I immediately have grand plans. 'I'm gonna work out every day.' Then the next day I'm like, 'Well, not EVERY day. I gotta let my muscles breathe a little. I'll work out every OTHER day.' Then the next day I'm like, 'Eh, I'm happy with the way I look.'"
|How I feel after an average weekend - Image Courtesy: http://moniquill.tumblr.com/|
So when I picked up the audiobook for Helen Fielding's new Bridget Jones installment, Bridget Jones: Mad About the Boy, and got to the following section, I practically had to pull my car over from laughing. It is the best summary of the over-the-top, weight-centric-without-actually-feeling-awful-all-the-time woman.
"Am never going to gym again. Am never going to lose the weight, never and don't bloody well care. Was consumed with rage whilst lying on front with bum in air failing to lift weight bar with ankles. Looked round to see everyoen contorted ludicrously in machines like Hieronymous Bosch painting.
Why are bodies so difficult to manage? Why? 'Oh, oh, look at me, I'm a body, I'm going to splurge fat unless you, like, STARVE yourself and go to undignified TORTURE CENTRES and don't eat anything nice or get drunk.' Hate diet. Is all fault of SOCIETY. Am just going to be old and fat and eat whatever I like and NEVER HAVE SEX AGAIN and WHEEL MY FAT AROUND ON A TROLLEY."
The unsurpassable Bridget Jones (read: Helen Fielding), everyone.
I do truly believe that all women of all sizes are beautiful, etc. etc. etc. Whether or not I apply this to myself is almost directly correlated to my level of bloat.