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Swimsuit Model vs. Healthy Weight

Friday, June 26, 2015

I more or less love my body. I haven't always, and there are days where I just. Can't. Even. (And photographs... I mostly HATE pictures of myself.)

But in general, I'm good with myself, even though I'm just one tiny tick... a sliver... beneath the "obese" label. (I looked up my BMI. It was a shock.)

Our culture, for whatever reason, does not really afford many opportunities to view "real" women's bodies. A girlfriend who had just joined a fitness club and had taken her daughters (9 and 5) there to swim on the weekend. Their first locker room experience -- all those naked ladies! -- sort of freaked them out. But they also saw what a lot of us in America (especially when we don't hang out in locker rooms) almost never do... real women in all their glorious, beautiful differences.

When I travel (my favorite hobby)... I see that other cultures have hammam, they have nude (or topless) beaches that embrace all body types, they have lots of regular routines and rituals that bring women together, in situations where real bodies are present.

In the US, I think we see 40 swimsuit models for every one "real" woman. Nothing against swimsuit models, but they are, frankly, a different SPECIES than the rest of us. And, through celebrities, we are maybe beginning to embrace other types of (curvier) beauty. But the examples we see are still airbrushed, lit, and made up to perfection.

We might go to the beach or city pool with our kids, but let's face it, the women there are mostly covered up unless they're young, or they've worked very, very hard on their bodies, or are showing off some fresh plastic surgery. I'm just as guilty. I own those swimsuit bottoms designed to hide the cellulite on the backs of my thighs. And my stomach hasn't been bared to natural sunlight in at least a decade.

So I need to lose about 20-25% of my body weight (30 pounds) to meet the BMI definition of "healthy weight." The UPPER end. (My goodness, the lower healthy end is, like, HALF of me!)

I'm super tall. I carry extra weight well. Or so I tell myself! ;) But the reality is, even once I achieve "healthy" weight... I'm not going to magically morph into a swimsuit model. Or (let's think of an age-appropriate example of impossible svelteness) Demi Moore or Brooke Shields. They are my age or older, and they look HOT, man!

But, in my mind (which is probably the only place that matters) I look hot, too. Even now, hovering near the border of "obese and overweight." REAL women come in all shapes and sizes. It's just that, in the states, our bodies--unless perfected--are not often seen by one another.
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