I am a woman at war with my body. Google “Battle of the Bulge” and you just might find a slew of images of yours truly—sweating it out at the gym, guzzling protein shakes in lieu of breakfast or sitting at dinner sadly resisting the bread basket. I have tried every diet from Atkins to Weight Watchers to the Zone. I have been a devotee of every fitness trend since The Jane Fonda Workout. I have been struggling to lose weight (and keep it off) for as long as I can remember, but nothing has worked.
In every other area of my life, I am beyond blessed. I am grateful every day for my family, my career, my health and my friendships. At the same time, I feel a constant undercurrent of discontent and failure. I live with a sense of looming challenge, an invisible-but-ever-present pre-requisite that I get my weight in order, or nothing else counts. Intellectually, I know this is ridiculous. Still, the feeling persists.
Part of me wants to give up the whole endeavor, to raise the white flag and accept that I will never have the body of my dreams and move on with life. But I have tried that, too. To no avail. I am tired of feeling disgusted with myself, and also completely ashamed that I have allowed this superficial issue to cast such a cloud over an otherwise lucky life.
What can I do?
Dear Pound Foolish,
I hear you. I feel your pain. So do millions of other women around the world. All too often, it feels like simply being a woman in our culture requires us to be “at war” with our bodies, and our psyches.
Mixed messages abound. You don’t need me to highlight all the ways society tells us we are not good enough. I will refrain from pointing out all the messages—both blatant and subtle—constantly reminding us to slim down and tone up, to move more, eat less, spend more, try harder and no matter what we do, never ever be satisfied with our bodies exactly as they are.