What do you do when your summer body doesn’t show up for summer? In January you were full of resolutions and expectations that it would. This year you’d be bathing-suit ready come Memorial Day opening of pools, beaches, and lakes. But for one, or a myriad of reasons, it didn’t happen.
Now what? As a woman whose metabolism has slowed to the rate of a hibernating bear, I know there’s really only 3 choices to make.
Throw your hands in the air like you just don’t care.
You can decide to embrace your body as it is. You may conclude life is simply too short to give up carbs, fats, or whatever your weight loss method calls for. And you’d have lots of company. Two-thirds of American adults are overweight, so it’s not like you’ll stick out on a stroll through Wal-Mart.2/3 of Americans are overweight, so it’s not like you’ll stick out on a stroll through Wal-Mart. Click To Tweet
Besides, if some skinny person fat-shames you, all you have to do is call them a bully. Then eat, drink, and be merry – though this strategy is likely to promote further weight gain. Or…
Double down on your diet plan.
If your diet didn’t deliver, you won’t expect different results from more of the same. You could decide to ramp it up with fasting, cleansing, juicing, or surgery. Whatever it takes.
So much of life is out of your control, but this is an area you might just determine to get control of. And if you want to live your life as a gym rat, that’s your lifestyle choice. Let the jealous haters hate while you post weight loss successes on Instagram. You’ll reach your goal come hell or high water. Or…
Find balance through perspective.
The previous two options are near the endpoints on the spectrum between depression and obsession. One denies reality, the other makes the issue the only reality. Neither are accurate or healthy. Yet, most of the messages women receive through media are skewed one way or the other. Parade your fat or purge it.
The truth is, like a lot of life’s issues, balance is the key. So here are some honest thoughts to give you perspective about weight and help you find that balance.
- 50 is not the new 30. Brown is not the new black. And fat is not the new thin. Obesity will never be a good thing no matter how many times we repeat that Rubens painted chubby women. Blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and stressed joints do not lie.
- Being physically fit does not make you a superior person. We should never forget true, lasting beauty has nothing to do with our bodies. We need to have an identity plan for the day our beauty has faded and we become socially invisible. Ask any old lady who still has her summer body. It happens. And sooner than you think.
- If you’re married, you have a responsibility to your husband not to give up on your appearance. (Yes, that’s a two-way street, but I’m talking to women here.) Do you suppose your husband would have married you if you’d warned him that you were going to let yourself go after a certain period of time? He might. But shouldn’t he have been given a head’s up in order to be completely informed? It’s not fair to spring that kind of a turn-about on a guy after the fact.
- Wallis Simpson, the Dutchess of Windsor, famously said: “You can’t be too rich or too thin.” Mrs. Simpson was wrong. Protruding chest and hip bones are not pretty. They’re scary. And bulging, man-ish muscles don’t look feminine or natural. It’s not honest to claim obesity is unattractive but the lean extreme is ideal.
- On the list of top 10 regrets of dying people, compiled by a nurse in a terminal palliative care unit, body weight doesn’t come up. When people seriously evaluate what matters in life, appearance doesn’t get a mention. It’s not worthy of depression or obsession.
- Oprah Winfrey has lived her weight losses and gains very publicly. So she’s a reference point. And, at various times, she’s been a champion for acceptance and for waging battle – switching sides repeatedly. She said: “For me shedding the weight means freeing yourself to tell the truth and be the truth in every spectrum of your life.” I don’t think even she knows what that means. So be careful what media voices you’re allowing to tell you what’s “true”. Truth is consistent.
If you haven’t found your summer body yet, at least find your balance. Don’t give up the pursuit of being healthy and attractive, but don’t make it your god either. Make the next good decision today rather than focusing on the mistakes of yesterday or the distance to your goal.
Understand that while sometimes our minds are willing but our flesh is weak, so too, sometimes our flesh takes over and refuses to do what we’d like it to because of metabolic issues or disease. So we mind our own business when it comes to other people’s weight – whether high or low. Our own weight is enough to keep track of.
Finally, make sure you put thought into who your are on the inside and spend energy developing beauty there. Petty, mean, and self-absorbed is still unattractive in a summer body.