Still feeling Winter's chill in the rising Summer sun? Longing for the days when you could hide under layers of sweaters and scarves? Wishing your "hibernation weight" could simply melt away with the snow? If you emerged from your winter coat crysalis not quite the slim and trim butterfly you hoped to be, don't fret! To feel thin, think "FAT."
F - Flaunt what you've got
A - Accept the truth
T - Talk the talk
Flaunt What You've Got
"If you've got it, flaunt it." "Shake what your momma gave you." "Show me what you've got!" Hold your head high. You are the (very) distant cousin of Marilyn "Size 12" Monroe and the (very) great-granddaughter of women who aspired to look like the Venus Di Milo. In the not so distant past, those thunder thighs, muffin tops, and bubble butts you've cursed for years used to be marks of fertility, power, and sensuality. Once they were paraded as trophies of honor. If you, however, can't bear to leave the dressing room, turn your attention away from your tummy and onto the good things you already have.
Find a new role model. If you aren't shaped like Twiggy, don't wear a Mod mini-dress. You spend hours seeking out the perfect pair of boots, spend a few minutes googling women who are shaped like you. Who are the trendsetters in your size? Duplicate the fashions that make them look their best. More importantly, mimic the way they carry themselves. A confident strut forgives a little thigh jiggling any day.
Actually listen to your compliments. There's no need to be coy. Instead of averting your eyes and mumbling, "Oh really, stop," or rushing to your "thanks", stop to hear what your friends admire about you physically. Is it your hair, smile, skin, fashion sense? Work it! Ignore your neighbor's visible ribs and aspire instead to have the shiniest hair or smoothest skin at the beach. If all else fails, big hats always work wonders.
Accept the Truth
"We are family, I've got all my sisters with me." Ladies, we are all in this together. That even includes your liposuctioned rival across the pool. Recent studies show that 80-90% of women dislike their bodies. Fifteen percent hate it so much they would be willing to sacrifice more than five years of their lives to change it! Five years for a few minutes of confidence here and there? It's time to accept three vital truths:
1. Nobody looks like the models - not even the models. Everyone has bad hair days and bad thigh days. You, too, could be on the cover of Vogue if you had an army of Photoshoppers at your disposal. For an extra boost of confidence, browse the portfolios of celebrity retouchers online. The Before and After sections are enough to quiet any pesky self-esteem pitfalls.
2. This is bound to be a long battle. Up to 90% of high school girls are dieting right now. Is that when it began for you? The body image issues ingrained in you have been there for a very long time. You cannot expect to forget them overnight or for them to simply fade as you lose pounds. You can, however, start today to rebuild a positive self-image by being honest with yourself. Setting realistic exercise and diet goals will help you reach your healthiest weight in a safe timeframe.
3. You are in control. Ask anyone who has suffered from an eating disorder what attracted them to their choices. Most will admit it was an issue of control. Are you eating your feelings? Is what you eat, in turn, eating away at you? Are other issues stepping onto the scale with you each morning? Stop punishing yourself. How can you expect something joyous (like your perfect body) to arise out of something so painful? Confront the issues that are holding you back in a positive way and you'll accomplish more than control-top pantyhose or purging ever did.
Talk the Talk
You wouldn't dream of criticizing your friends the way you do yourself. If you did, they probably wouldn't remain your friends for much longer. It's time to listen to how to talk to yourself. You may not be the most buff belle of the ball, but you are an intelligent woman. Isn't it time you spoke like it? Instead of prattling off a heap of trite gripes ("I'm so fat." "I'm so embarrassed." "I look terrible.") take a more cultured, informed approach. You may sound ridiculous, but you'll feel better right away (and might get a laugh out of the process.)
The scientific approach - The female body has four shape types: banana, pear, apple, and hourglass. These are based on each woman's individual metabolism, body chemistry, and genetics. Describe your body like a piece of fruit or decadent dessert. Instead of "I'm so fat" try "I'm feeling particularly juicy today."
The cultural approach - Ayurveda, the ancient healing science of India says the human body (and all things) is a combination of the five elements which combine into three doshas. Your body type is determined by which elements are most prominent. Kapha (earth and water) dominant people have a tendency to gain weight due to their complacency and distaste for exercise. They are, however, known for peacefulness and compassion. Instead of "I'm so embarrassed" try "I am experiencing the tender nature common in my fellow earth and water types."
The artistic approach - The term "Rubenesque" arose from a time when a woman's beauty was measured by the roundness of her curves. Pick up an art history book and take a timeline tour of the body types lauded in the masterpieces of the past. Channel your inner Venus and instead of "I look terrible" try "I'm returning to a classical type of beauty."
Remember that, at any size or shape, your body is a sensual, powerful tool. Are you using it to your best advantage? Are a few extra pounds keeping you from living your life? Get out and enjoy the sun now, before it's too late. Do your best Sophia Loren imitation. Use her words as your new mantra: "Sex appeal is fifty percent what you've got and fifty percent what people think you've got," "Beauty is how you feel inside, and it reflects in your eyes. It is not something physical," and the all-time favorite "Everything you see I owe to spaghetti." Aren't those more fun to say than "I look huge?"
© 2009 New Perspectives. Permission to copy this article is granted provided the author is notified and the following bio information is included:
Annie Passanisi is the daughter of motivational speaker, Kathleen Passanisi, who inherited her mother's love for the platform and women's issues. If that does not tell you enough about her, she is also a Chicago-based actor, singer, freelance writer and editor, 1950s pop culture enthusiast, and swing set champion. For more information, please visit www.TheAnniePassanisi.com.
Need a mother/daughter speaker team? Have Kathleen and Annie co-present for you.