When will women be ok with their weight? When is enough, enough?

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When will women be ok with their weight? When is enough, enough?

When I was growing up my mother had a ‘fat’ wardrobe’ and a ‘thin wardrobe’ – and I found myself doing the same in my adulthood.

Recently I read somewhere that this behaviour amounts to ‘bullying’ myself – something I had not ever thought about before! I do know though that whenever I put on weight I feel bad about myself – I beat myself up for making ‘poor’ choices. I even sometimes look in the bathroom mirror and loathe myself for being ‘fat’.

I was recently talking to an old school friend when the subject of our weight came up. We asked ourselves, when will we stop the self-loathing . . . on our deathbed? My friend said, “We are over 60 now, when are we going to stop thinking we are fat? When are we going to say, I am what I am, I am comfortable with my weight, my body and myself?

When is enough, enough? That is, enough self-bullying and self-loathing?

Further, the expectation as women to look a certain way is an expectation we put on ourselves: when my friend and I talked to our partners about our weight issues they said that men seldom expect women to have an hourglass figure or to look a certain way – they don’t expect perfection. This supports the oft-quoted phrase that beauty is in the eye of the beholder – but what is beauty?

Beauty comes from how we feel inside.

When will we women stop making it about how we look and start making it about how we feel inside?

My friend has changed the way she thinks about herself, with astonishing results. Not only has she lost weight (effortlessly so, without dieting), but she has turned her self-loathing around. She is by no conventional means slim; however, she carries herself with such grace and beauty, and she is so sexy – because this is how she feels inside. This is what she reflects to all women – and to men – and I found it inspiring to be with her.

After this conversation I decided to work on this – on accepting my body and my weight, so I could start to let go of how I look on the outside and allow myself to truly feel beautiful inside. I knew that simply losing weight was not enough by itself – as evidenced by my see-sawing weight over the years. I knew I had to be honest and admit to the self-loathing so I could work on the pattern I had created, by learning to appreciate me and that I am beautiful, hour glass or no hour glass, ‘fat’ or thin’ – in other words, irrespective of my weight or looks.

Several months after this conversation I found myself talking to another friend about this topic and I realised that nothing I had said or done to ‘work on this’ in those months had made any difference – that I still did not feel the same about my body as my friend did. I still did not feel good about my body or my weight.

My friend asked me: “What is underneath the belief that I will feel good about myself if I am thinner”, and “Do I feel better about myself when I have lost weight?” The answer to the latter was, yes I do – but why? So then I had to be absolutely honest about why I felt better when I was thinner – and I understood that it was because I held an ideal or picture of what a woman needs to look like to be attractive. And yet when I pondered this further I realised that this picture has varied over the centuries (it wasn’t that long ago for example when it was thought women needed to be fat to be beautiful – and indeed this is still the case in countries like India and in parts of Africa).

Could it be that there is a certain consciousness – that has been forever with us – that women need to look a certain way to be thought beautiful, as set by tradition, culture or fashion?

I began to understand that this consciousness is very harmful and undermines us all and that I hated it very much. I hated that we as women were often not comfortable in our own bodies, no matter what our weight or body shape was. I hated that many women thought it was what we looked like that defined us and made us who we were.

So then my friend asked me; “Has there been a time when you felt truly beautiful within yourself, which had nothing to do with what you looked like?”

The answer was ‘yes’. Sometimes I can look at my eyes in the mirror and see them shining and know that the light in them is coming from inside me, and that I am beautiful within. Often I can walk along the beach and really enjoy my body walking through space, feeling the beauty in how I am moving, and how connected I feel to everyone and everything around me.

On pondering what the difference was between such experiences and the majority of times when I don’t feel this, I realised that at such times it was how I felt on the inside that made me feel beautiful . . . and that when I made it about how I looked on the outside, it didn’t matter how much food or what food I ate – even eating until I felt sick! – it was never enough to fill the emptiness I felt inside when I didn’t meet these pictures or ideals. It did not matter what I drank (whether it was energy drinks, alcohol or even herbal tea), it couldn’t stop the numbness I felt inside . . . it didn’t matter how many courses I attended or qualifications I achieved . . . there was in truth nothing I did that could arrest the feeling of not being good enough.

Pictures and ideals are impossible to meet because they are just that – picture-perfect ideals and pictures . . . never attainable because there is no ‘perfect’ or ‘ideal’ shape or weight or certain look.

It was then that I understood the truth – that there was nothing I could do to make me feel comfortable with my weight and shape, indeed, that I was starting from a false premise: that I had to do something to feel good about myself because there was something wrong with me, such as being too fat or having small breasts or not dressing well enough . . . that I was constantly searching for the ‘ideal’ shape or weight or outfit, because there was a consciousness that women needed to look a certain way to be attractive or successful . . . that it was this consciousness that was an illusion, that was false . . .

The truth is that I am already enough, just the way I am, because I am already everything I need to be.

I am.

So, when is enough, enough?

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Body ImageSelf-worthSelf-esteemDietsBody awarenessWeightWeight Loss

  • Thumb small anne scott fla crop

    By Anne Scott, LL.B (Hons), Dip. Sports Science, IYTA Dip. Yoga, Dip. Chakra-puncture

    Being in the beauty of nature brings me strength and repose. Knowing this beauty is inside me –and is even grander – returns me to my power and joy and the All that I am.