ADDENDUM 1/1/13: Apparenly, some researchers have found that for some of us, body mass index (B.M.I.) and scale numbers do not mean as much as your cholesterol, blood sugar, blood pressure and other health indicators: Study Suggests Lower Mortality Risk for People Deemed Overweight
or your dress size for that matter….
I’m saying this as I just got through a failed attempt to put on a ten-year old Little Black Dress I was hoping to wear for
this is a lousy picture of my very pretty purple dress. trust me.
New Year’s Eve. I was actually able to slip the whole thing over my head and shimmy it down my shapewear-clad body, but what I saw was terrifically frightening. Sure, it fit in the hips–the place where it used to be too large. Now, it was squashing my boobs worse than my mega-strong triple-layer heavy-duty sports bra.
It turns out I’ll be wearing the Larger Purple Dress I wore to my friend Marvin’s wedding in October. It’s a great dress, so I really can’t complain. It fits like a charm, and gives me something of an overweight, auburn-haired Lana Turner look. …or so I’ve been told….
Over the Christmas holiday, I decided to wear a red short-sleeved sweater and a black pencil skirt–a look that used to really do me justice. I had the B.F. take a few pictures, just to see how I looked. Well, I still have my cute, not at all wrinkled face, and my hair is really nice and healthy-shiny, but wow, I was not prepared for the size of my upper arms, nor that I looked something like a bright red candy apple perched on a black stem. (maybe I’m more like a big, over-ripe cherry, I’m not sure….) “Wow, I’m really fat,” I said to the B.F. as we looked at the pictures on his laptop.
“You don’t look bad,” he said, “but you could stand to lose a little weight.” This, said by the man who gave me, for Christmas, a box containing one-quarter pound of white chocolate santas, a 6-ounce bag of butter mints (my favorite!), a half-dozen specialty truffles, and one-half pound of peppermint bark.
Apparently, my size really doesn’t bother him all that much. Which, I’m quite grateful for being the case. I’d hate to be hooked up with one of those persnickity fashion plates/workout kings who’s always got one eye in the mirror and the other on the scale. And then another eye on whatever it is I’m eating at any particular moment.
I guess to some degree I’m not all that concerned about my weight nor my dress size. I know my body’s changed, and for more reasons than *just* not exercising like a fiend anymore. Some of it has to do with age and changing hormones. Really, what sort of insanity made me think I could fit in a dress I used to wear when I worked retail about seven years ago, and was a giant stress case? Some of the weight has to do with medication I take for my hypothyroidism and, in the past year, my lovely new friend, asthma. It seems like every medication I take has the side-effect called “weight gain.”
Then again, the side-effect of “weight loss” from medication is kind of creepy. Usually, that side-effect occurs when one has a condition that’s close to fatal. My conditions are annoying, but not fatal (although one can die of an asthma attack–mine, however, isn’t that bad. Once again, mostly annoying.)
So, I have age, and hormones, and medication conspiring against me and an effortless, svelte figure. It doesn’t help that I detest exercise. This, after many, many years of dancing and exercising like a madwoman in an attempt to stay a size 7. That never worked. I was usually a 9–and I’m talking an old-school size 9, which is, perhaps a 5 nowadays. Who can keep up with all the rapid changes in the world of “vanity sizing…”
I was also a body-builder, with a fabulous six-pack, and killer upper arms (not to mention some killer strength, too,) all done without the use of any sorts of supplements nor steroids. At 37, I was a solid 150 pounds, with a 36DD chest, and the inability to find any clothes that fit me properly.
All right– here’s the thing: a lot of life has happened between me, my body-building days, and my little black dress days. A lot of life has happened between that solid 150 lbs and my current 185 lbs (or 182 lbs, depending on the day.) A lot of life has happened, too, between that little girl whose doctor told her mother she had “poor muscle tone” and was “obese,” and the skinny-as-a rail 20-something punk rocker who thought she was “huge.” Still more life has happened between that insecure, nervous, totally gorgeous 20-something with the perky 34Bs and the recently asthmatic, still nervous, 50-something writer with the 38G rack.
What I mean to say is: who am I, or anyone else, to judge me for not maintaining my previously svelte figure? Who am I to get pissed because there are days when I’m a size 16, and others when I’m still a 14, but definitely not a 12? The body is like silly putty–it can be molded and changed, imprinted with this or that. Yet when it comes right down to it, it’s still a little, round, flesh-colored blob of stuff, that, when at rest, kinda goes into whatever shape it wants. Right now, the shape it wants is the one it has at its current state of balance with all its medications and conditions and wackily changing hormones as I careen into menopause (or peri-menopause–the only one who knows for sure is my endocrinologist.) I breathe all right, my hair is shiny, my eyes are still incredibly bright and green I have fabulous skin, and while I have my up and down days with my moods (who doesn’t?) nothing really physically bothers me except my ankles when I’m wearing 5-inch heels, and emotionally I’ll never be as much of an emotional wreck as I was Back In The Skinny Days.
So before you start to get all freaked out over the number on the scale, the dress size that is larger than it used to be, or anything else that could make you fall into paroxysms of verbal self-flagellation, think about who you are, and where you, and your body have been over the years. Think about your health–what may have changed–and your hormonal levels (which really do a number on women.) Don’t get all crazy and blame yourself for not keeping up that exercise routine or that strict regimen of vegetables and fruits when there may well have been a number of other life conditions that have conspired against you. Conversely, don’t get all sad-sack on yourself and do the “poor me” routine. Keep yourself in the best clothing you can get, the best skin care regimen you can afford, the best hair cuts and the most on-trend yet comfortable shoes you can live with. Give yourself things that make you feel stylish, in fashion, and most importantly, feel good about yourself. ….
and most importantly: have a very Happy New Year! (I’ll be back on Jan 3, 2013…)