The issue of weight comes up fairly frequently when spending mass quantities of time in the company of females. What to eat for lunch? When to work out? How tight are these pants? Are all daily dilemmas that elicit body talk.
Just yesterday I was out for after work drinks with a group of girls when the cocktail menu prompted a torrent of calorie counting and a profession of love for gin and tonics. We began discussing our respective diets, work out routines and goal weights. However, when I disclosed that I was trying to lose five more pounds as well my sentiment was not met with support and understanding but rather, rebutted with “you’re tiny,” and “you can’t.”
This seems to be the case every time the issue of weight comes up, and to be candid I find it extremely frustrating. Being petite does not make me resistant to weight insecurities. One hundred and ten pounds looks a lot different on my 5’2” frame than it does on someone who ism say, 5’6”. Just because I am smaller in stature doesn’t mean that I don’t want to lose those stubborn last five. And being told that I can’t want that or shouldn’t want that is unfair.
I was extremely athletic all through high school. I danced, played soccer, ran and went to the gym. I rarely watched what I ate as I was constantly working out and there was little need for rigorous calorie counting. However, the second I got to college the freshman fifteen went from myth to reality faster than a Tracy Anderson video could buffer on YouTube.
The body I had known and loved for eighteen years was quickly replaced by something that felt foreign and uncomfortable. Suddenly, I was self conscious about everything. Does my hair make my face look wide? Do these glasses accentuate my hips? My insecurities spiraled out of control from there and no one really seemed to understand. Anytime I expressed my discontent with my body, people would roll their eyes and tell me again that I was “tiny.”
Not only did this make me feel isolated in my struggle, but it also made me feel worse about my weight. I felt that people didn’t want to tell me the truth and were secretly scrutinizing how I looked behind my back. This led to years of crying in the bathroom when I knew no one was home and straying away from anything that required me to wear a swimsuit or a tight dress. It took until my senior year of college to wear that dress that everyone was trying out–the body con dress, short and tight, and totally revealing.
Everyone has their own ideal weight that once achieved makes them feel their best. As long as that goal weight is attained in a smart, healthy manner then no one should be made feel bad or wrong for wanting to get there. There are innumerable factors that contribute to what one’s goal weight is. Height, frame, body type, genetics, lifestyle, and history all affect how our bodies look and feel. Demeaning anyone’s perception of their ideal weight diminishes how personal and unique weight issues are. To someone who is 5’7” with an athletic build, I can understand that wanting to weigh 105 pounds seems a bit dramatic, but to someone who is five foot nothing with a dancer’s frame, 105 pounds may be just about ideal.
Weight is such a prevalent but sensitive subject. The issue of losing it is so widely understood, yet unbelievably personal to every individual. The discourse surrounding weight loss is often very generalizing which lends itself to situations not unlike my own, wherein people judge your goals based on their own. There is a need for a widened perspective and a more open understanding. I am working out and eating healthy in the hopes of losing four or five pounds–not because I think I am overweight or because I need to, but because I know once I do I’ll feel healthier, happier and more confident. And that is all that should really matter, not my current weight, and definitely not my height.