Saturday, February 5, 2011

I think Barbie ruined me

I've always been thin. I was blessed with high metabolism and a love of exercise, so I have never had to deal with the yo-yo of diet and weight gain that so many women deal with constantly. Normally my weight only fluctuates a few pounds when I am training hard for a long-distance race -- besides that, it has stayed pretty much the same for the last ......well, I don't know how many years .....maybe since college.

Until this past year.

In the last year I lost between 15-20 pounds, starting with my last marathon-training and ending with the stress of divorce, quitting my job, and moving twice. I didn't have any extra weight to lose, but I lost weight, anyway. And since physical activity is the main way I deal with stress, all the running, cycling, rock-climbing, and mountain-biking I did to deal with stress burned off any ounce of fat that I had. I became nothing but bones and sinewy muscle. I was down to a size 2 -- at 5 foot 7, that's too thin.

So now that I have gained back some much-needed weight, why does it bother me so much?

Georgian food is anything but low-fat. Since all the food consumed at the house where I live is produced in-house, it is all-natural. Anything made from milk is made with whole milk -- and since it is plentiful, dairy products are a part of every meal. With all the cheese, yogurt, and butter I eat, I have gained back the weight that I had lost. One part of me is glad, but another part of me doesn't like it one bit. I don't like looking in the mirror and seeing a little bulge anywhere. Even though I know in my brain that I am still thin, my eyes don't agree. What I think I see doesn't match what I know to be true. My lenses are warped.

I know that it is ridiculous to feel this way, but I am having a difficult time with it nonetheless. I hate that the standards of society dictate that thinner is better, and I have fallen prey to that thinking. How many times have I talked to other women and teen girls who think they are too big and encouraged them to be okay with the way they look as long as they feel good? Many, many, many times -- more times than I can count. And now, I can't take my own advice. Blasted Barbie! That American icon of every little girl's fantasy figure -- a completely unrealistic figure, at that -- and now that's what I think I should be? Asinine! I don't like being influenced by the shallow society that I so often refute, but it seems to be so ingrained in the fabric of my being that I hold myself to that unrealistic standard..... for what? For whom?  Who am I trying to impress? Who do I think wants me to look that way?

I don't know.

But I do know that I need some new lenses through which to view myself. Not the warped ones that American Society has forced upon me. So, since my clothes still fit me, I know (intellectually, anyway) that I am still okay. Hear, that, Self? I'm still okay.

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