Tuesday, September 12, 2006

do these pants make me feel fat?

I hate having my picture taken.

For some reason I always seem twice as big in pictures or videos than when I look into a mirror. I never notice any sign of a double chin or that a certain shirt adds more bulk to my body until I see it in a picture. I've fought with my weight for years now - and try hard to accept the Marilyn Monroe (plus a few pounds I'm sure) figure that I've been "blessed" with: big boobs, prominent bum, wider-than-necessary hips. If you don't like curves, you wouldn't like me. I was measured a few times at the gym and told that I had a "perfect hourglass figure". Okay, fine - except the "perfect" hourglass figure in our society involves "35-26-34" measurements. I sure as hell ain't that.

I've watched my skinny friends eat the same foods as me (often eating MORE than I do) without gaining an ounce. I went shopping with a friend who announced in her changeroom that "I need a size 0 - this is too big!" with glee and wanted to throw something at her. I know it's all in the metabolism and genetics - but I still watch what I eat and whimper a little when I pass up the chocolate-caramel cheesecakes in restaurants. I complain to some of my closer friends that it's not fair that I have to always watch what I eat while other people can eat chips & fries & pasta and all sorts of yummy things without care. Don't get me wrong - I don't obsess over my weight, it's just one of those little things that bothers me from time to time.

Especially when I'm shopping.

I've always loved shopping in certain stores because miraculously I'm a "smaller" size in them. Then I go into Guess or Buffalo or other places and barely fit (if at all) into their largest sizes. It's very demoralizing to realize that the counter girls aren't paying attention to me because they already know I can't buy any of the clothes in their store.

A boyfriend once suggested that I look at the "plus size" stores. After dying of embarassment / realizing he was pretty insensitive to suggest that - I went into one and realized that the clothes were WAY too big for me. What to do now? How does a girl with DD cup size, a smallish waist, and curvy hips find something that will make her look sleek & sophisticated?

I don't fit into the clothes in some of the "normal" shops, and the plus-size ones are too big for me. So I shop in the ones that tell me I'm a size 8 or 10 - which makes me happy anyway, but greatly limits my wardrobe.

I get to the UK and realize something terrible - apparently it's WORSE here - like a size 4/5 would be a 9/10 here. I will not say what size this will probably make me - I'm not completely sure yet because I haven't been shopping, but I'm dreading to see what that little number is going to tell me.

The question is - why do I care? Why does that little tag have the power to make me want to crash diet / cry / run out of the store?

As a great lover of "What Not To Wear" on TLC, I listen carefully to Clinton & Stacy telling people that the size doesnt' matter - it's the FIT. The little number just helps you find what fits you properly.

As a psych major, I understand the psychology behind these little numbers. The higher they are, the worse you feel. Subsquently, the lower they are the more you feel like celebrating. It's like losing weight without actually doing anything.

There was an article in msnbc about this phenomenon. How some stores deliberately lower their dress sizes because women will be more likely to purchase clothing in lower sizes. I can definitely support this theory - hell it works on me all the time. My brain knows what's going on, but somehow when I'm standing in the little changeroom with a new pair of pants in my hands, the last thing I want to see is that a size 14 doesn't fit me. I forget that I'm not actually that size and that while I might have a few extra pounds on my body - i'm not what most people would call fat (except the people in the fashion houses maybe). Immediately I get embarassed and angry with myself for "letting myself go" and promise to exercise-daily-stop-eating-cookies-for-a-year and all sorts of unrealistic things.

Why does size matter so much when we KNOW that it's all relative?

Why do women care so much about those few extra pounds or a little budda belly? Do we really expect to look like the air-brushed girls on the cover of Cosmo or the models in Fashion week?

If you have overweight friends, do you tell them the truth: yes, you are a little on the heavy side, BUT YOU'RE STILL BEAUTIFUL? Or do you tell a little white lie to spare their feelings "No you're fine - you're not overweight at all". I've heard this before and wondered if it was just a platitude since it's a basic fact that I'm heavier than I could be. Then I realized the people telling me that they think I'm pretty / hot / beautiful / gorgeous (oooh all of the words we all want and deserve to here) might actually believe what they're saying because they're the ones I'm closest to.

I was so proud when I lost weight and dropped two dress sizes. Maybe I should forget the size thing altogether and just be proud that I'm taking care of myself and that I like the reflection I see in the mornings (most mornings anyway) and that there are people out there who think I'm beautiful no matter what the little tags say.

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  • At 12:23 AM, Anonymous mom said…

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and in my eyes you are precious and beautiful. I'm really glad however that you are trying to eat healthy and loose some weight for health sake. Keep a balance and you'll be fine.
    Love you. mom

  • At 12:38 AM, Anonymous Mom said…

    I tried posting this on your photoblog but it will only take comments from a blogger with a password therefore I'll post it here.

    WOW!!! Love your pictures especially the one of the two swans facing each other. It would make a neat wedding card. It's just like you to seek out water and nature. It must help you think of home. I'll never look at a Canadian goose without laughing at how dad herded them out of the lake. How did those pictures turn out? Keep posting your pics. It helps me feel close to you.
    Love and God bless, Mom

  • At 2:56 PM, Anonymous John said…

    Melinda, I have known you for a while and you know I have made all types of comments to you. To me I never once cared what you looked like. You know I have told you that I think you hot. Well guess what? That was not a white lie and everything I have said I have meant. The thing that makes you so great is your personality and attitude. That is what attracts people to you, not your boob size or your wicked smile or what you look like. I grantee you this, if you weighted 700lbs and had a dress size of 60 (do not know if that is an actual dress size, since I am a guy) people would still flock to you and think your amazing. If you have doubts about the way you look then do what I do, sit there and think “do people actually care what I look like?” you will then realize that it is not the cloths/look that makes the person, it is the person that makes the person

  • At 3:01 PM, Blogger Melinda said…

    Wow - this is just what i meant by my comments about worrying only about what the people who matter to you think...

    Any girls out there who worry about what others think of their appearance should pay close attention to John's words.

    btw - thanks :)

  • At 11:23 AM, Blogger Tam's thoughts said…

    I feel the same as you Mel. Try having 4 sister-laws who probably if you put all four of them together they will still all be really skinny. I did start working out before the weeding and lost 20 pounds and felt great,but I don't think anybody noticed. I did it by still eating the things I love and but smaller portions and went on the treadmill. It was easy. I also came to realize that just because the skinny ones are skinny now give them another 10 years. They will gain weight. I think just as long as your happy, that's all that counts. If my family or extended family doesn't like how I look well then don't come over. Plus I have a wonderfull husband that love me now even if I was smaller 14 years ago when we started to date


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