Hi! I’m Paula, I’m a curvy woman. I’m currently over 200 pounds. I’m learning to be okay with that fact and I just posted my weight and a photo of myself in a swimsuit for the world to see!!!!!! (Cue a woman screaming sound bite) Oh WAIT! That screaming woman, is ME! I’m doing it for a good cause though, because I want to talk about body shaming!
First, WHY a swimsuit and the weight revelation? This is my body positive journey. This is my body, right now. I’m not suggesting that every woman should splash a swimsuit photo up on the internet. I am learning to be confident in a body that is changing and is above a “recommended” number on a chart and there is no shame in that. There is actually beauty there! I also wanted to show you that honoring our curves and gaining confidence doesn’t require us to have our wobbly bits hanging out everywhere for all to see. In this swim suit, I FEEL pretty and kind of old school glamorous and how you feel is more important than how you look. Secondly, WHAT the dickens am I doing this for?!?! For ME, for YOU and for every CURVY WOMAN, OVERWEIGHT WOMAN, SKINNY WOMAN or ANY WOMAN with body confidence issues or who has spent way too much time obsessing over her body!
I decided to take dimples on my WHAT? live earlier than I had planned – I don’t even know what I’m doing yet! I may not have all the kinks worked out, but what I do have is a fire burning in my belly after reading a Facebook comment on a post in which I shared this article , by Joni Edelman; a woman who decided to be (stay) “fat” and happy. The commenter on that post, went into a epic, “here’s what you need to do to be healthy and loose weight” jag . I will ask you to bear with me as this tirade, err …. article is kind of long without a lot of photos. 😉 But, just this one photo may be enough to bury me and kill this blog before it ever really begins, so let’s take it one step at a time.
To those of us who have struggled our whole lives or just part of our lives with being a curvy, plump or overweight woman, the remarks that were made are sadly common place. When we “big girls” decide to be content and proclaim happiness in our imperfect, curvy selves, it creates angst in the “we are skinny, but it takes hard work to stay this way” crowd. They then take the exalted, “you need to be healthy”, “here’s what it takes”, “we’re concerned for your health”, approach to “reprimand” our happiness. Did you get that? It’s not really a insult to plumpness they’ve hurled at us. It’s an assault on our happiness!!! Maybe it’s even a, “How dare you be happy that way, when I’m not”, attitude toward our acceptance and even joy in our current state.
The insinuation and perception that fat = unhealthy is a judgement based solely on appearance! As far as I know only Superman has x-ray vision and he’s not even real. You can no more know the health of someone by their outside, as you can know what my real hair color is, based on what it appears on the surface or whether it’s healthy based on the shine created by the chemicals in the hair color itself. When we continue to judge the “fat girls” as somehow less in either appearance, energy, health or life expectancy, we only add to the barrage of negative attitudes and comments that lead to body shaming, disordered eating, and self-esteem issues that are plaguing (even skinny) women today.
We have become a society that talks about self-acceptance but have maintained a middle school, mean girl attitude when having to put our very own words into action!
- EVERY major health issue I have, presented itself in my MUCH skinnier, younger self! At this point you might be saying, “but, studies show that there is a direct correlation to health and weight”. Yep, there are those studies. I’ll guarantee that there are tons of other studies that show the opposite. In fact, some of which you might read about in books like, Things No One Will Tell a Fat Girl , Health at Every Size or Intuitive Eating. (there’s a post coming on my knowledge of ALL things DIET) We’re basing our information on a professional group that gave us “diet advice” based on an research error that led to years of low fat dieting that was actually WRONG! A simple Google search for “Research error in/for low fat diet”, will yield some interesting results.
The point of dimples on my WHAT?
is actually to break the bondage we’ve created by making too much of fat, thin, diet, exercise, dimples, or flaws. What if we just ate food without making anything of it? What if we lived a happy life, without feeling judged on our appearance and found activities we loved doing because they are fun and bring joy? What if we enjoyed going for ice cream or out to dinner with friends without any thought of calories or health, only the precious shared memories we’re making? What if we, dare I say, embraced our dimples!
What if TODAY you are the very best you’re ever going to be?
Body shaming goes all ways though, my Peeps. I was recently appalled at a fashion photo I saw over on Instagram of a sickly, thin woman. So skinny in fact, she could very well be anorexic. I momentarily gave thought to copying it and posting it with commentary about needing a cheeseburger, because it would have been funny (and you will find out I LOVE funny). However, I paused and thought, what IF this poor girl DID eat cheeseburgers and still couldn’t gain weight? If her body type is the one predisposed to being thin? Then, I would BE the body shaming culprit that I’m preaching against! Fat is not the only place it’s “at”, just as thin is not always “in”. I’ve been skinny, skinny-ish and not skinny and guess what? I’m the very same person no matter what size I’m packaged in. We should not be shamed or ashamed for the body we are in. We should not be made to feel like we need to fit into any size mold…. Tall, short, fat, thin, flat or thick.
I Have a Plan:
I’m going to get kind of pathetic and all beggar like: PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE join me in the movement to be body positive, to love your body as is, to be joyful and to encourage other women to come with us! Join me in the “un-shaming” movement. I not just going to go on rants like this one. In the coming weeks, I’m going to share with you how I’ve gotten to this place of peace with my body and stopped body shaming myself.
I promise I won’t be splashing my bathing suit body around much, if ever again. I’m not suggesting that this is how to get over our self esteem issues. But, I do hope I “made ya look”, long enough to want to get on board to work on being body positive about your own body.
Beautifully worded. I myself need to be more body positive, which doesn’t come natural for us, as you well know. Love you sister and I hope this gets the people talking and joining in your movement.
Thanks Jess! We go together like chocolate and peanut butter… Hey did someone say CHOCOLATE ?!?! Love you! Know that you are beautiful!
Thanks Jess! I thought I had responded but that may not have gone through from my phone. Love ya sister.
I love this!!! I used to be thin but for years have hated myself because I’m not. You and I look to be about the same size. You look beautiful!
I’m going to enjoy your blog. Thank you
Thank you so much for reading. I too, have been thin and it was a real struggle to get here after trying and failing so many times to loose weight. There are days that it’s still a battle, but there are so many more important things to worry about that I got tired of fretting over it. But here we are girl, wearing this rolls with pride and we will get victory over voice in our head saying, “But it would look better if I were thinner!”
Your dimpled sister,
I absolutely love your honesty. You are so right about how we treat other women big or small. Thank you for being you! I love ya girl
Paula I absolutely love your honesty. Thank you on so many levels. Love ya
Yay Christie, it came through. Your support means more than I can say.
Beautifully written! Great encouragement! I have heard 1 too many preachers say if you are overweight there must be sin in your life. I have had 1 too many Doctors say, it feels that way because you need to lose weight, when actually it felt that way because my hips were out of place. Yes, I feel better when I eat healthy but to obsess about it stresses me out. Thanks for the support in being happy with being me. Love ya!
So glad you found encouragement here! I’m nearly certain most doctors use weight as a crutch when they don’t want to delve deeper to seek out a resolution. We need joy more than we need skinny! AND, We NEED a get together SOON!
Well said (or written!) Paula! Free to be me! God made us all differently~ we should be grateful! Love it!
Thank you Kim! How right you are… Uniquely and wonderfully “knitted together”! ????
Hi Paula, YummoMummo here. Thank you so much for sharing a part of yourself. I absolutely agree with everything you say and what’s is being said about body acceptance in society needs to start being played out in action. I am also a Global Ambassador for the Body Image Movement and will share your post on our Facebook page. There is a fabulous documentary coming to the US Sept 19th called Embrace. Let me know if you need help finding a screening in your area. Keep on doing the fabulous you, Love Melissa!
Thanks for taking the time to read the post AND for sharing it on FB! It’s an honor to know an ambassador 😉 especially one for such an important topic. I’ll see if I can find a screening and if not, I’ll reach out to you on IG.
Hoorah!! I always tell myself if I hadn’t started the yo yo dieting around age 16 when I wasn’t really overweight…I wouldn’t be bigger now. I’m 66 and I’m done farting around. I was on Nutrisystem and it is a good program. I am trying to stay with the portions, etc.. But life is waay too short and I say live this life you have, it’s your only one. (For now!)
I sometimes have the same thought. It’s actually a struggle to stay OFF the diet bandwagon. We have been so programmed to think being “fat” or fluffy is bad. There’s a book I have partially read called Intuitive Eating. It’s about breaking that diet mindset completely. Because our mind wants to take us back to the language of dieting, the labeling of certain foods as good and bad. I need to finish it and put some of those disciplines into practice. 😉
I have just discovered you and am already thrilled. I’ll be following you as you write like I think – with grit and a big dose of humor. Because, IMO, everything is made better with humor. As for this post, it’s beautifully written. I, too, suffer from personal body shaming, though I’m improving. I was a thin kid with nicknames like “String Bean” and “Toothpick,” and at one point I was 5’8″ and weighed 102 lbs. Anorexic, yes, but fortunately it was only by accident. Marriage and kids forever changed the whole dynamic, and weight has been an issue ever since. I’ve been heavy and thin over and over, and now I’m heavy and am trying like the dickens to lose 30 lbs. Honestly, I DO feel better as a thin gal, but losing it has become such a huge struggle that I’ve about given up. Yet at the same time, it annoys me with myself that these extra 30 lbs have become such a big deal. I’m tired of calorie counts occupying my thoughts with every bite I take. Even though I’m not obsessively dieting, the thought is still there – “Eat this, don’t eat that!” (And I’ve never even read the book with the same title.)
Today is my 60th birthday, and yes, I’m having birthday cake tonight. Because what’s a birthday without cake? And my family is celebrating on Saturday, at which time there will be more cake. And I won’t feel guilty one bit (I hope). Thank you for this post. You look FABULOUS in that retro bathing suit, and you encourage me to find something similar for myself. I haven’t worn a bathing suit but once in the past 15 years, and I’m tired of missing out on fun because of the dimples on MY what.
(I’m not posting my blog name below because I haven’t launched it yet. But it’s geared towards the over-50 set as well. 🙂 )
No one shames me more than I shame myself – it’s so unhealthy and so demoralizing. I am here for it – I don’t want to waste any more of my life making excuses or pointing out my (self perceived) flaws right away (I always thought I’d do it before anyone else commented – surely EVERYONE noticed, right? Nope.). Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
You’re exactly right. Most of the time, we’re our own worst critics!