So, I’m listening to Cheryl Strayed on her podcast, Dear Sugar, address a letter from a man who suggested to his girlfriend that she hit the gym a little harder because he wanted her to be healthy.
His questions was basically, “Did I just totally eff this up?” And Cheryl’s response was a resounding HELL YES. Girl got mad. She chastised him on the air, suggesting that he find someone thinner to love if he was so interested in the poundage on his girlfriend. I was ironically exercising when I was listening to Cheryl attempt to keep her head from popping off, and I wondered, Does Bear ever think about my needing to drop 5 when I am in one of my “heavy eating” phases?
So I asked him.
His response? “I really don’t care.” I think that’s as far as it goes for him. He loves me and he would love me if I weighed a little more. He also threw in a caveat. “If you get really unhealthy, I’ll probably say something, though…” Fair enough.
For women, our weight is just such a huge piece of our value, our worth. I’m sure this is true for men, too, but I’ve never been a man so I don’t know. But how can any woman attract a loving man, a good job, lasting friendships, if her worth hinges on how much she weighs?
I dunno. But mine does. At least sometimes.
I know that people look at me, 5 feet tall and just over 100 pounds, and they scoff. They resent me when I mention my need or desire to lose weight, tone up, or eat less. They get mad when I eat a salad! The truth is, that just adds to my issues!! There are days that I actually order the burger or the mashed potatoes as a side so that people won’t question my not eating enough for their comfort level. Not only do I feel a little fluffy sometimes, but I feel badly for feeling fluffy because I’m not fluffy enough for fluffy people to consider me fluffy!
WHO DIED AND MADE YOU THE FLUFFY PATROL?
It doesn’t matter if you’re overweight or not, you’re going to face issues with your body that cause you to struggle with your own worth. Go listen to the podcast if you want to analyze the “why”, but for this blog, it’s just the truth:
Body = Worth
I don’t suggest that you congratulate the woman who chose the salad, or the woman who appears to have lost weight, or the woman who announces she’d begun exercising again. I actually suggest you take Cheryl’s advice at the end of her podcast: tell her she looks great. Whether she looks great, she doesn’t look great, she’s working on looking great…tell her she looks great! Who doesn’t love to hear they look great?! I’m talking to you, women. Share that with each other. And men? I kinda think the same message applies. Tell her she looks great. Because if you love her, then it’s not a lie. It’s a kindness. It’s a simple gift, and we don’t always get gifts when we most deserve them.
(BTW, if you, as a man or a woman, can’t give someone else that gift of “You look great”, then it’s probably time to begin doing some self-examination. Are you lacking some self-worth somewhere that you can’t affirm someone else?)
(Second BTW, how awkward is it when you compliment someone and they DENOUNCE your compliment?!
“You look great!”
“NO I don’t!”
Practice saying, “Thank you.” Just thank you! And then shut your mouth.)
I’m in a constant battle with my stomach. Sometimes I can see abs. Sometimes it literally looks like I swallowed a cantaloupe. I try everything. Tons of cardio, weight lifting, eating right, not eating at all…there’s no winning. Some days I wake up and think, “Who cares? It’s a stomach!” Others I agonize over the extra layers that could make someone ask, “When are you due?” There’s no consistency with the way my stomach looks, which correlates to the lack of consistent feelings I carry about the way I look: it’s different everyday.
I think that’s OK, to an extent. It’s kinda just part of my journey. So as important as it is to tell other women they look great, do me a favor…Tell YOURSELF you look great. Even if you don’t mean that either! Give it to YOURSELF as a little gift. When you’re getting ready in the morning, wink at yourself and say, “Hey! You look great!”
I’m not kidding. You should do it.
Cheryl never came to a resolution with the podcast, rather continued expressing the opinion that it’s simply not OK to tell your partner to lose weight. There were plenty of nuances in the way she presented her case, but that’s about what it boiled down to. I don’t disagree with her for the most part. It’s a dumb idea to tell anyone to lose weight, even if it’s because you love them and you want them to be healthy. It’s a better idea to tell them they look great and then drive your own happy ass to the gym.