Monday, August 15, 2011

Women and Weight: The Perpetual Conundrum

There's nothing new or breakthrough about the correlation between women and weight issues.  So if you're expecting some startling new statistic to appear below: a) you will be severely disappointed, and b) you're probably new to my welcome!

PhotobucketWomen, more often than men, have struggled with weight loss - or at least publicly so.  The self-esteem of women that don't fit the mold that is widely used by Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Vanity Fair, and Vogue - probably wouldn't win any award at the county fair (I'm assuming, I've never been to a county fair).  Although the pages of those magazines are littered with articles and factoids about women and boosting confidence levels, it's just doesn't necessarily seem to parallel reality.  When I'm reading those articles (and I do, I love them, I subscribe to all of the aforementioned magazines) the very first thought that crosses my mind is not "Oh, yea, this writer is onto something," it's "If I looked like the girl in the illustration, I would be confident about my body." Point Blank.  And the truth is, if I looked like those women, I would probably find something else wrong with my body to complain about (but I'm guessing my confidence level would most likely be pretty high anyway).

It's actually sad to say that out loud (or write it), that my confidence is tied so heavily to the shape of my body, but in some aspects - it is. 

Recently a guy called me "chunky" and it really affected me negatively.  Right before I started grad school, I went all out workout-diet crazy.  I lost a ton of weight and everything was nice and toned; I was doing things in the gym that made me look like I was straight out of Women's Health (one of my favorite magazines) - my confidence was high and my waistline was trim(mer).  The feeling of fitting into jeans that I've been hiding in boxes in the basement since undergrad was priceless.

PhotobucketUnfortunately, after starting back to school, my priorities shifted.  I no longer could head to the gym everyday after work, and when I managed to get there, I was unfocused and lethargic.  I was getting an "A" in all of my classes, but an "F+" on my health.  As anyone that works out on a regular basis knows, if you don't want to be at the gym, you're probably not getting a lot out of your workout - and the more into working out you get, the more you have to push yourself, thus not interested = not getting results.

So over the last 18 months as late nights, stress, and caffeine overdoses took over my life, my muscles reverted back to fat.  I didn't gain a ton of weight - but I looked like I did.  I knew that I would have to refocus my energy and get back to the gym as soon as possible i.e. when classes were over.  I was teetering at the edge of low self-esteem when it came to my body (and it's summer, which means less layers to cover up unwanted fat and more baring your insecurities to the judging eye in order to avoid heat stroke), so when this guy made that comment, it struck me as a) rude (seriously isn't it a universal rule not to mention a women's weight), and b) it stung (because I knew it was true).

Photobucket It's been a week since classes were over, and I'm suiting up for the gym (not literally, since my workout outfits consist mostly of t-shirts and yoga pants) and tweaking my diet (more protein and veggies; less sugar, bread, alcohol, wheat, fruit, well basically less everything else).  I don't like to get a big head, but I really like to hear "have you lost weight?" or "you look great!" from the women at work (and really anyone, I'm not

Stay tuned for periodic updates on the life of a temporary gym rat.

*I really owe my hott trainer for most of my previous success, seriously that's all the encouragement that I needed to get to the gym.

**He was really hott.