I’m by all means and classifications underweight.
And a lot people say that’s not a bad thing. Except it is. A few months ago, I walked into the doctor’s office for my regular physical and he told me I was too thin. He said my weight was making my heart work too hard. He said I couldn’t even think about having kids yet. He said I needed to see a psychiatrist.
I walked out in tears.
I’ve always been skinny and on the shorter side, and I’ve long dealt with the names that come with that. I’ve felt like the bag of bones next to my curvier friends, and I hated it, and after that appointment, I felt sure that I weak, and worse, that I looked it.
After that doctor’s appointment, I started checking the scale religiously to see if I had gained a few pounds. I stopped wearing jeans because I was sure they hung too loose on me and made me look sickly. I was sure my husband didn’t want a skeleton wife.
I changed my diet, among other things, and months later, I’m still thin, but I’m at a healthier weight. I had to buy all new jeans in a larger size. I’m running 50 miles a month. I’m eating right, and I feel great— the best I have in years.
But if I could, I’d change something about this whole experience. I wish I had loved my body a little more a few months ago.
When the doctor warned me about my weight, I was mad at my body. It was failing me. I wish I had loved my body, instead of treating it like some project. I’m afraid we do that with our bodies. We, as women, say “if I could just lose a few pounds” or “get a few curves” or “tighten my thighs,” instead of loving our body here and now.
Victoria’s Secret has a campaign right now called the Perfect Body, in its ads, there are a line of curvy and tall women posing with the words “Perfect Body,” promoting “perfect fit and comfort.” Instead, the retailer has come under fire for implying that the perfect body looks like the airbrushed models.
In return, another campaign has launched, #PerfectlyImperfect, meant to showcase women of all ages and sizes. I love that idea. I love that perfectly imperfect is exactly what we are.
But it doesn’t stop at the hashtag.
We need to love ourselves right there.
The truth is I did need to get to a healthier weight, but I didn’t have to hate myself to get there. I don’t blame the doctor. He did his job. The trouble was in seeing myself as a project that needed to be fixed.
Our bodies are not a work-in-progress. They are ours and meant to be loved and hugged and cherished. They are meant to boast sweatpants and leggings and dresses and faded, but comfy T-shirts and all kinds of jeans— not just skinny ones.
Honestly, my favorite jeans are a little baggy and my favorite shirts are ratty T-shirts from college. That’s the body I love: the one that isn’t trying to look better in the mirror or on the scale, the one that is perfectly and imperfectly me.