Who Wants To Be Thin

How often have we said “I want to be thin again,” meaning that we want to reach a specific weight loss goal? We have a picture in our minds of what we mean, perhaps our younger selves, or a celebrity or friend we admire. “I want to look like that again.” “I want to look like her.” I caught myself doing this and realized just how unrealistic and harmful this habit could be.

The words “thin” and “slim” create specific images for me; images of slender, young models from the pages of magazines, the taller 30-ish models from plus-sized catalogs, the older pixie sized yoga instructor at the senior center, the victorious runner crossing the finish line of a marathon, an idealized younger-looking me in pencil skirt, impossibly high heels and inexplicably longer, thicker hair tumbled artfully about my shapely shoulders.

I’m what could generously be called pear-shaped. When I was a young teen, my grandmother complimented my hour-glass figure and shapely legs, an unwelcome comparison in an era when Twiggy was the cultural icon. At 130 lbs and 5’3”, I was considered overweight. I yearned to be thin.

Nowadays, I’d love to be that size again. But those days are gone, never to come again. Even if I weighed 130 lbs, I wouldn’t look like that girl again. Keeping her in my mind as a goal can only lead to disappointment. So can visualizing myself as a red-headed Sandra Bullock or a short Helen Mirren. My body type has nothing in common with either woman. There are precious few 5’3” models of generous proportion in the popular media.

I’ve decided that I don’t want to be thin or slim. For me, those words are just plain unrealistic. I want to have a “normal” body – normal for me. That means a weight that is comfortable for me, that doesn’t stress my body and joints. It means a reasonable level health, wellness and fitness.

I’ve worked hard to form a picture of the woman I am now and who I want to be in 3 or 6 months or a year from now. My “who” is more than just a number on a scale, though that number is certainly plays a part. I’ve chosen to change my life – to find other ways of filling the void I’ve tried for years to fill with food, other ways of reacting to stress and disappointment, other ways of rewarding and pampering myself. Along the way I’m growing in spirit, expanding my horizons, exploring new possibilities. In my mind I see a woman my own age, height, and body type at her optimal weight, glowing with energy and joy in finally being comfortable and happy with herself. And that woman is me.

Oddly, I still have longer, thicker hair tumbled artfully about my shapely shoulders.

Well – a little fantasy is good for the soul.

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