You know who's overweight? Nearly every person I know. You know who hates their body? Nearly every woman I know. The men may have the same ten or forty or seventy-five pounds they ought to lose for their health, but they do not wake each morning determined to starve themselves into looking different, detesting the way they look now, their self-confidence utterly undermined.
No, that seems to be a woman's purview. And it's sad.
I'm a member of a weight-loss organization which works for many,
but not all. It's a cult, it's a miracle, it's learning how to eat
with health in mind--no matter how much of you there is.
One thing I've learned by attending its meetings is that heavy
women often fall into two groups. There are large women who make the
most of what they have--pretty faces, green eyes that pop with the
right makeup, a sense of style, great posture, great taste in shoes
or glasses, a mix-and-match wardrobe in a small number of flattering
colors, bras that cost more than good shoes--and those who have given
up, characterized by unflattering knit pants with elastic waists,
tops which hug every bulge, cheap bras, hair in a "practical"
style, and little or no makeup.
While it's lovely to see those who are losing weight rediscover
that they can feel good about how they look, it's just as lovely to
see those who are not losing weight see that they, too, can feel good
about how they look. It takes some effort, but a big woman with
access to a thrift store or a sewing machine can do great things for
her appearance and confidence.
So let's embrace the lovely women and girls that we are, including
our bodies, and wear clothes that make us feel good. Let's wear large
plaids, bright colors, lateral stripes, tight knits, and short
skirts. Let's bare our arms in warm weather and wear shorts and
swimsuits. Let's go to good department and clothing stores, try on,
and not blame or hate ourselves when a garment doesn't work for us.
Instead, let's figure out what's not right about it and find
something else to try on which doesn't have the same mismatch with
who we are, what we like, and how we're shaped.
Let's remind ourselves there's no size limit on great makeup,
hairstyles, nail polish, jewelry, accessories, and shoes. Let's shop
with our large friends and help them find wardrobes that make them
smile. Let's not get discouraged when something proves so tight it
won't zip or we can't pull it past our hips. Let's not invest our
emotions in a numerical size but be pleased at how we look in
whatever size fits us. Let's reward stores which offer many choices
for us by buying there, giving favorable online reviews, and
recommending them to friends.
And let's remember that women in our communities and online know
how to sew and will gladly share that knowledge with others. (You
wouldn't believe how easy a skirt can be, especially if it doesn't
have to zip.) Let's remember we are entitled to try on without
buying, then make one like it ourselves at a fifth of the cost and in
a color and print we adore. Let's make ourselves the simpler pieces
of a wardrobe and save our hard-earned money for those beyond our
Let us all celebrate who we are, refusing to wear fabric sacks in
dark colors instead of fashionable clothes. And please, let's all
remember to compliment one another when we look especially good,
because we can and we do--unless we've given up.