I made it through the danger period of smoking without putting on 20 pounds. I carefully watched my habits because I knew I was going to want to put something in my mouth and that something couldn't be a cigarette. Then, about a month ago, my vigilance took a holiday. Suddenly I was ravenous and only for the very worst things. I began looking at loaves of bread as an appropriate meal and packages of sweets as a single serving size. This has not been kind to my physique. After confronting the number on the scale which, in retrospect could have been far worse, I have determined to be more considerate of my body. It does not hurt that in four weeks I will be on a beach.
I'm confronted with a problem that, if popular thought is to be believed, is unusual: I eat because I like food. A lot. I don't eat more when I'm happy or more when I'm sad. I occasionally eat more when I'm bored (see former job and Reese's peanut butter cup 'issue'). I don't eat because my parents didn't love me or because I program myself for failure or even because I have one of those thyroid disorders that once you get medication for you become thin. I simply think food is fantastic. Eating is a hobby. If you'd ask me which I'd prefer to spend money on, a dress or a great meal, I will gladly take the great meal and show up to it in yet another jersey dress from the Gap. I don't understand people who DON'T love to eat.
Sadly, what I love to eat is almost never vegetables (which I believe are merely a butter delivery service) and, as such, I have some challenges in the svelte department.
But there came a time, after the horrors of overweight adolescence when I simply could not ever bother to think I looked good that I realized something: in the world where I get to a healthier weight I will still look nothing like Michelle Pfeiffer. As such, perhaps I should look to different women for my style choices. Enter a delightful fascination with Sophia Loren, a woman who, at a healthier weight, I stand a much better chance of looking like. Armed with this knowledge, I bought my first two-piece bathing suit at 17 - I haven't bought a one-piece since. I got rid of bulky clothing and anything that didn't hug or flatter. I started playing up my legs by wearing higher and better shoes. This revelation is why my wardrobe is stylistically very similar to my wardrobe senior year in high school: I found what worked.
But before you start loathing me for being so incredibly smug and self-aware, I give you The Former Job Years. Former job and I did not get along and I suffered cosmetically for it (I also maintain that my health suffered, but I'm no scientician). I didn't care what I looked like and didn't really notice how little my clothing fit. I replaced pencil skirts with voluminous ones and form fitting dresses with those empire-waisted things we've all been wearing for several years that make us look both pregnant and comfortable. When I look in my closet now, though it's full, there's nearly nothing I want to wear (and, here's the Catch-22, don't want to buy a new wardrobe while I'm not at a permanent weight).
I have always maintained that confidence cures most things, and I think this is especially true for body image issues. Even when I'm not feeling confident, I try to project confidence. I stand up straight, I walk with a sway to my hips, and I smile from beneath half-lidded eyes - or at least that's what I think I do. It helps to camouflage an extra five pounds better than any support hose I've seen.
But I won't say it's not difficult to look around and not see any woman in the public eye that I could share clothing with. I won't be swapping sweaters with Angelina Jolie; or, on the other side of things, with Kelly Clarkson. Except one.
Dear Christina Hendricks, thank you so much for reminding me why I stocked up on pencil skirts and tight sweaters once upon a time. Thank you for encouraging me to put on the black, form-fitting mock turtleneck dress this morning with black stockings and my new red shoes for no reason other than I wanted to look beautiful. Thank you for being in a show I enjoy watching so that I get an opportunity to get some style pointers from someone who looks like I look. This enables me to be less bummed that I look ridiculous in a Polo shirt, and it motivates me to get to a weight where I want to buy clothes again.
So I'm doing my best to "work it" today, as the kids would say. I think a lot of women would be surprised how much head turning a girl can generate simply by behaving like a woman who turns heads. Forty pounds be damned!
5 days ago