Friday, December 2, 2011

Because Fat Isn't the New Phat

I was the fat one.

Of the 3 children in my family, I was the chubbiest.  Of my best girl friends in high school, I was the heaviest.  Of all my college roommates, I was the one that could never borrow a dress for a formal.  And of all the women in the DMV when I got my first California license, I was the one that lied (the most) about my weight.

On the outside, my ‘outside’ wasn’t a huge detriment.  I was smart, popular, and loved.  But on the inside, I was always striving for perfection in other aspects of my life so my waist size wouldn’t be the focus.  And I succeeded.  Even my keg stand abilities were above par (which may have contributed to the problem).

Now, I live and work in an environment overflowing with some of the country’s most (physically) beautiful people.  Which makes me wonder… Are issues with body image something that I surround myself with, that follow me, or that are just impossible to avoid?

Nearly ten years ago, I worked on Extreme Makeover (the surgery addition).  Day in and out, I was surrounded by people who thought a nose job or tummy tuck could save the world.  Later, I worked on the pilot for The Biggest Loser.  And the icing on the (Weight Watchers) cake was a several year stint on The Bachelor & The Bachelorette.

One might think this would cause a chubby to pop diet pills like they were French fries.  But exactly the reverse occurred.

I have seen more Crystal Light consumed than could fill Lake Superior.  I’ve seen drastic (and often dangerous) measures taken to lose weight and look good.  If I had a dollar for every time a woman told me she hadn't used the bathroom in days, I could buy Louboutin boots.  My response was always the same.  Just like the expression "you can't win if you don't play", you can't go if you don't eat.

Meanwhile, I have a closet full of amazing shoes, but am always in flip flops.  I have designer clothing still adorned with ridiculous price tags, but am always in sweats.  And when I am a “weekend warrior”, it isn’t at the gym- it’s at Chuck E. Cheese.  I've learned that (for me) beauty isn't always comfort, but comfort is always beautiful.

I have insanely curly hair that I have fought years to tame- and finally won.  My secret to success? Do nothing.  I’ve learned that if I simply towel dry my hair (without brushing it) and add a tiny bit of leave-in conditioner, I have curls even Andie Macdowell would kill for.  (God, I miss the Brat Pack…)

Bringin’ it home, my lesson is this… Fuggeddaboudit.

I know what you are saying right now. No matter how mean a glare you get from The Soprano's "Big P*$%@", you can't fuggedaboudit.  My suggestion is, just try.

When I stop obsessing about my weight, I find myself in a much happier place.  Gone are the extremes I had once taken, and in comes a more balanced, healthier, happier attitude. Granted it took a few decades, and there are still times that I stray, but it was well worth the “weight”.

So the question remains.  Are issues with body image something that I surround myself with, that follow me, or that are just impossible to avoid?  For me, the answer is a combination of all three.  The solution is a bit more challenging.  Find a way to be comfortable in yourself, and the beauty will come from there.

Funny thing is… the information on my driver’s license is no longer a lie- and I never changed it.