human, being

34 inches

On Saturday, I was looking for feminine hygiene products in my bathroom cabinets and stumbled upon my measuring tape. It was tucked in next to my flab pincher–aka body fat measuring/torture device–in the corner of a cabinet.

I hadn’t taken my measurements since last June, when Steve and I went to see the trainer I’d been working with to get in shape for my 21st high school reunion trip to Vegas. When I started working with him in March 2008, my body fat was about 30 percent and my waist was 31.5 inches. At the June check-in, my body fat was down to 29 percent and my waist was 31 inches. Victory, albeit small. Blame the fucking Mirena.

He gave me the calipers and measuring tape when I told him I had to quit him because money got tight. I only used them once, last fall, and I was so disgusted I threw the instruments into the back of the cabinet. I was in the middle of my Mirena meltdown, when I was so bloated that my waist measured 36.5 inches. That’s a pregnant measurement, I tell you!

I’m still dealing with some bloating issues even with the Mirena gone, but if last fall was a 10/10 on the bloat scale, this spring has been about a 5. However, I haven’t had much luck shrinking my waist. I know–no such thing as targeted weight loss. The size of my ass proves that.

On Saturday, I didn’t use the calipers. I was too scared. However, I did do measurements. I feel disgusted:


Seriously. Ugh.

It was enough to get me back on the “I’m working out 5 days a week” kick I’m now on. Saturday, I took a rather lame Pilates ball class then did interval training on the eliptical. Sunday, I did a 1-hour Nia class, despite having a major breakdown on Saturday night and drugging myself to sleep with clonapin (weaning myself off of Wellbutrin has not been fun. At all.). Last night, I went to my salsa rehearsal class. We danced for about 40 minutes of the hour, and I broke a sweat, so I think it counts. And despite feeling like shit–I feel like I have the flu, all achy, nauseous, tired and with horrible ringing in my ears as I step down from 150 mg to 75mg to nothing–I am poised to go lift upper body and do 30 minutes of cardio tonight.

The Wellbutrin withdrawal has killed my appetite somewhat. I doubt I’m eating 1500 calories. Food just doesn’t sound good. In the back of my mind I’m hoping that the “anorexia effect” I’ve heard about will help me drop five pounds.

I can’t get over the fact that my waist is 34 inches. I mean, in the back of my mind, each day when I button up my size 12s and a bit of my belly flops over the waistband, I could tell I don’t have a 24-inch waist. But 34 inches? Seriously?

When I think about it, I feel hopeless. How in the hell am I going to get rid of this belly? Maybe this is the middle-age spread. Most of the women on my father’s side (whose body type I inherited) are bigger women. I SO wish I’d have inherited more than my mother’s smile and her family history of mental illness. She’s preternaturally skinny, and my half-brother and her mom are slim too. Damn you genetics!

Maybe I’ll never be skinny again. I’d be so happy if I can get my waist down to 30 inches. My ass usually shrinks in proportion, so I’d be more like 40/30/40, which is a nice curvy proportion for a 40-year-old mother of one, right?

And then I’d get lipo.


Or maybe not joking.


Body wars
May 6, 2009, 11:04 am
Filed under: body image | Tags: , , , ,

Pay attention to how the American culture has the majority of its female inhabitants so wrapped up in how we look physically that we’re too distracted to use our powerful minds and imaginations to their fullest.

Listen around for just a day, and note how many times you hear another woman say something about:

  • Avoiding a certain food because she is watching her weight
  • She’ll indulge “just this once” in a treat, implying a great deal of guilt
  • Another woman’s looks or body in an appraising way
  • Working out, not working out, needing to work out but not having time or energy, all dredged in a stew of guilt
  • Dieting, doing a cleanse or something else “faddish” to lose weight
  • Criticizing a part of her body

Then, make note of how many times in a day you think about or talk about these same things.

It’s a lot, huh? Hours even.

Everywhere we turn, we’re bombarded with the idea that we are too fat, imperfect, wrong the way we are.

We’ve all read the headlines: Being at a healthy weight–under 30% body fat by some measures–is critical to a woman’s health. Extra body fat means extra estrogen, which means much higher ovarian and breast cancer risk. Extra weight around the middle corresponds to high blood pressure, diabetes and poor heart and circulatory health. Too much body fat can also correlate to low self esteem, depression and anxiety.

I’m all for being healthy, for having a happier, longer life. But that’s not the main message.

The main message we women now are bombarded with every day of our American lives is that not being ripped and having more than 15% body fat means you are:

  • bad
  • lazy
  • undisciplined
  • unhealthy
  • ugly
  • not sexy or desirable
  • worthless, or at least not as valuable

Think I’m wrong? Tell me what you said to yourself the last time you stood in front of a mirror naked and scrutinized your body–like, this morning. If at least one of those words in the bullets didn’t cross your mind or your lips, congratulations. I want to be like you.

I feel that most women are at war with their bodies. I know I am. We hate the fact that we can’t live up to the airbrushed ideal, that our post-childbirth stomachs aren’t flat, that our asses aren’t round and high, that our boobs droop the longer gravity’s been at them.

We attack our bodies with plastic surgery, lasers, fad diets, weird cleanses (hot water, cayenne and honey, anyone?).

We attack our self worth with our words and thoughts.

Why do we do this? Why can’t we just accept our bodies as they are?

I have several friends who are in that 15% body fat, totally ripped class of women. Once, my friend N pinched a half-inch of skin and said she was too fat. She is 5-10 and weighs maybe 125 lbs. Another friend obsessively does Pilates and runs. Yes she has a 6-pack, but to what end? She still looks in the mirror in the morning and sees only her flaws.

It’s ridiculous. Body hatred should be an official mental health disease. Pfizer should be working on a drug to quell the symptoms–they’d make a windfall!

I know that picking on myself doesn’t serve me. It doesn’t serve my 8-year-old daughter. It takes energy away from things that do serve me. But I don’t know how to leave the battlefield.