Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Great Weight Debate

Ugh... Okay, I'm gonna be real here.  I'm not super thrilled about this topic.  More than just the whole superficial "what woman wants to talk about her weight" thing is the fact that I have incredibly mixed feelings about this issue. 

On the one hand, I have spent a significant portion of my life fighting for my self-esteem in the face of having a lifelong struggle with maintaining a healthy weight.  Professionally I work with people in developing a more positive attitude and belief system around  body image no matter their size, culture, age, ability level, health status, or anything else.  I don't just believe in this as a theoretical construct - I live it!

On the other hand, I am human.  More than that, I'm a woman living in America.  (I can't speak for other countries, though I know that some are more progressive on this issue than others.)  Although I may do my best to be personally and professionally insulated from the unhealthy and often offensive images of women that exist out there, I am certainly not immune. 

And the wedding world (blogosphere and otherwise) is a part of that culture.  Being the over-researcher that I am, I'm constantly inundated with images of beautiful, dreamy, "I want that!" weddings.  But I've been hard pressed to find images of brides in those weddings that look like me.  Is it because they don't exist?  Unlikely.  More likely is that they aren't as prominently featured in blogs, advertisements, magazines, etc.  But seriously, who wouldn't want this:

So here's my dilemma...  It's hard to have a foot on both sides of this argument.  Trust me, I've tried.  I can tell myself I'm losing weight for my health, and that wouldn't be a total lie.  Or I could tell myself that I'm making an important personal/political statement by staying exactly as I am right now, and that wouldn't be a total lie.  Both are true, yet neither is the whole story, ya know? 

Here is a current pic:

Me (right) and Mr. NM

And here I am 4 years ago:

in lovely Hawaii... aah...
And here I am 6 years ago:

random camel in a cruise boat casino

As you you can see, this is not my first ride on the lose weight/get healthy merry-go-round.  It's hard work - mentally, physically, and emotionally - for me to stay on top of my weight, but I recall it feeling amazing.  In the past few years I've foregone that hard work for other kinds of hard work, specifically my career and my relationship, and seeing those things succeed also feels amazing. 

And that's where I find myself.  No clear and simple answers.  Just the eternal struggle to be true to myself.  But how to do that when "myself" is such a contrary mix of thoughts and feelings. 

Can anyone else relate to this?

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