Monday, April 19, 2010

Weighing Heavily On Me....

The following is not intended to offend. It's intended to enlighten and inform about the importance of healthy eating and exercise. It’s intended to shed light on certain prejudices and assumptions. It’s intended for us to stop, think, and get real about things. I’ve worked with numerous women, young and old, in this particular area. Please know that it is written out of love and concern…..

Marie Claire magazine now has a section entitled Size Matters. This month’s focus, called Big Girl in a Skinny World, offers slimming hair and makeup techniques for ‘full-figured gals’. That’s all well and good, and I do not have a problem with the article whatsoever – it’s well-written and informative. I do take issue, however, with the Big Girl in a Skinny World title. I find the Skinny World reference ironic given the fact that the obesity rate in this country has skyrocketed. We don’t live in a skinny world; if anything, those of us on the thinner side of the spectrum now face certain prejudices and all-out snarky comments because we don’t fit in to what now seems the norm.

I know what it’s like to be a big girl. My weight fluctuated for years due to inactivity and poor eating habits. It was difficult to lose the weight, and it’s not always easy to keep it off. I made a commitment about ten years ago to live a relatively healthy lifestyle, one that requires me to rise each morning at 6am, work out for at least 45 minutes, and repeat the process the next day. Yes, that’s seven days a week. I don’t do it merely to stay thin; my focus is on wellness, and we are not well if we are carrying extra weight.

Now, I’m not a food prude by any stretch of the imagination. We all have our vices (I type this as I sip my third cup of coffee). I enjoy a glass of wine in the evening. Should the state of Texas decide I must be executed, you can bet your sweet boots that my last meal will be the biggest enchilada platter Café Adobe can provide. For the most part, however, I stick to the good old veggies, fruits, protein, and healthy carbs method. It’s all about moderation when it comes to food and drink.

With that being said, let me get back to what I’d originally wanted to say: we are far too focused on weight. For the most part, our weight and our general health are choices. Please don’t tell me it’s genetic; one may be prone to weight issues from parents who also suffered weight issues and was not taught at an early age moderation and the importance of healthy eating. Please don’t tell me it’s because you’ve recently been divorced, widowed, dumped, or fired – those are merely excuses. Please don’t tell me it’s because you don’t have time to exercise, particularly after having relayed to me what’s happening on Dancing with the Stars, The Apprentice, or whatever else consumes your evenings. Wellness, and maintaining a healthy weight, are choices that require a commitment on your part.

As women, we do see fluctuations when we step on the scale, thanks to childbirth, menopause, and that special, full feeling we get prior to Aunt Flo’s monthly visit. Again, we must focus on wellnes, rather than a number, and wellness includes good nutrition and exercise.

And how about the reaction that thinner women receive now from some of our heavier sisters? Accusations of eating disorders get tossed about, as do snide comments about easily being able to shop for clothes (FYI – it’s not easy, for any of us, thanks to sizing and manufacturing these days – don’t trust the number on the tag – try it on, and prepare to have something about it altered!) I’ve been on the receiving end of such comments from virtual strangers in the gym locker room to know this for certain. These types of comments are just as hurtful as any that have been thrown the way of a full-figured gal. No one wants to be called scrawny. No one wants to be questioned about why she’s thin, as if it’s a fault. No one wants to feel bad simply because she’s made the choice to live healthfully.

Big Girl in a Skinny World. How about Nice Girl in a Healthy World? Let’s stop focusing on numbers (particularly those that belong to other people) and focus on living healthy, happy, and well, shall we?

Beth Newman
Image Consultant/Life Coach
Newman Image
Look, feel, and LIVE your absolute best!

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