A year ago I set a goal to be fit by 40. If you’re a guy then you might mistake that statement to mean, fitness as in survival of. But if you’re a woman, you know that’s code for “skinny”.
Actually both definitions aren’t too far off because if you’re a woman, skinny is the expectation if you want to survive in this day and age. Skinny means beautiful, smart and disciplined. It means that you’re worthy. It means that you’re good.
Good is important, because to get skinny you have to be good! Very, very good. You have to eat good foods and be good about exercising (at a good intensity level damn it) if you want to keep your girlish figure.
Girlish is another important part of skinny, because the majority of skinny females that exist in nature are girls that haven’t gone through puberty yet. Girls without breasts, hips or the flesh stores required to populate the planet. Inexperienced girls, trying to decipher their world and tap into their destiny. Girls working toward becoming confident women that, lets face it, really aren’t welcome around here anymore.
In The Good Body Eve Ensler postulates that the billion dollar weight loss industry is designed to keep women small, literally. When women focus all of their attention on being “good” in the context of body image and weight loss, they have no time, energy or patience left over to live a great life.
She’s right. When women starve themselves down to a zero, they ultimately become one on all sorts of levels. They regress back to being girl-like instead of owning their womanhood, which is perfect because besides having curves, real women have opinions, ideas and (gasp) demands so we wouldn’t want them taking up too much space.
Truth be told, lithe girls with low blood sugar levels can be pushed about and easily distracted by a snack cake. Hungry gals calculating the fat percentage of a serving of almonds, don’t have time to cure cancer or balance their check book for that matter.
Now I know this all sounds militant and extreme, but if you think about it – it’s not far off base. By creating an unreachable ideal, women are so collectively distracted they can’t accomplish everything else that needs to get done. When you add to that the fact that many women put their lives on hold until they become skinny (that same skinny that’s impossible to reach) well, you see the dilemma here.
I’ve spent the last year diligently working towards weight loss. (Click here, here, here, and here if you don’t believe me). I’ve honestly been very good. I’ve cut calories, increased my movement, created fitness goals, signed up for races, lifted weights and cooked healthier meals only to fail by most standards. Eleven months of healthy choices should have resulted in a lot more than only 9 lost pounds and looking better in a tank top. But an interesting thing happened on my way to 40 – I got smarter.
Now the old (or should I say, younger) me would have quit many times this past year. I would’ve gotten frustrated,then given myself permission to binge until I felt guilty enough to start another diet until I got frustrated again – yada, yada, yada. But this past year was the year I made promises to others. By being forced to continuously tweak or change what I was doing rather than giving up, I finally figured out what worked for me which to be very honest, is quite different then what the experts say.
It’s been an interesting year and I’ve got a lot more to say on this topic, but for now, here’s what I know:
- I definitely know more about myself than I did 365 days ago.
- I have finally figured out a “maintainable” system of food / movement that works for my lifestyle.
- Although it’s taking a hell of a lot longer than I had expected, I’m fitter than I was this time last year.
- I have no idea what Fit at 40 looks like because I never actually see her in magazines, on TV or in the movies. So I stopped looking there and starting looking for her in real life and interestingly enough she’s a lot less perfect than what the weight loss industry wants you to believe.
- Because of this, all I can do is what works for me and stop sweating the outcome. More importantly, I have no attachment to the outcome what so ever because I’m sure as shit never going to be a zero. In fact, if I’m ever a size zero, pray for me, because I’m close to death and something very terrible has happened.
- Good has nothing to do with this. I know I’m good. In fact, I’m damn good.
- For the first time in 4 decades there’s no drama involved in getting dressed.
- After spending a year being “good” only to not reap the promised results, I’m seeing the whole weight trade as the bullshit, anti-woman industry that it is.
So this year the gift I’m giving myself is to simply continue doing what I’m doing, trust the process, let go of the outcome and frankly – enjoy taking up a little space in the process.