When one has both a daughter with anorexia and a looming milestone birthday, one gives a lot of thought to body image and how f*ed up about their own body image most women are.*
I have been shocked to find that something I have believed my whole life has turned out not to be true and I'm pretty irritated I spent the better part of fifty years believing it. I accepted without question the idea that virtually all men only find women within a very narrow size range--a size range I haven't seen since I first got pregnant--attractive.
I'm not going to say that's the only reason that I've worried about my weight over the years or wasted time with woulda, coulda, shoulda when it comes to diet and exercise, but it's definitely been a factor. Who wants to feel that if they were in the market for a guy, they wouldn't merit a second-glance from anyone until they starved themselves down to a "desirable" weight?
I'm also not saying my weight in general has been at the top of my things-that-occupy-space-in-my-crazy-full-brain, but it hasn't been at the bottom either.
It's been an utter shock to get out into the world--armed with a flattering wardrobe and some kick-ass shoes--and to realize that there are men that find me--a solid size 14--to be worth a second glance. And not in a you'd-be-pretty-if-you-lost-weight kind of way, but in a you-look-pretty-damned-good-the-way-you-are kind of way.
I think it took me six months to pick up on it when I was being flirted with--and a couple of more before I realized it was totally okay for me to flirt back even though I'm not a size eight. What a revelation.
Edited to add:
I finished writing this post and went to read a few blogs; I came across a post written by a gorgeous woman in her forties. She has a body that I guarantee all of you would consider thin--or at the very least, thin enough (whatever that means). The post was about weight loss. This was my comment.
I think we should work harder at accepting ourselves than we do at changing ourselves--unless there is a medical reason to lose weight, don't. Accept yourself--exercise because it makes you feel better, don't eat too much crap because it makes you feel bad and love yourself unconditionally. If you can do it for your kids, you should be able to do it for their mother.
I believe this, and while I wish I'd known it for the last few decades, at least I've got the next few to live it.
* If you are interested in other perspectives on body image, Jen on the Edge is doing a lot of writing on the subject and she is also involved in a Facebook group, The Eleanor Project, that I am loving. I snapchat photos fron their site to Social Butterfly frequently.
Edited again to add: I ran this post by the aforemention, Jen, because I was afraid of sounding cougar-ish (I am not) or otherwise inappropriate. She assured me I do not, but suggested I just throw that out there, so you know what I was thinking. As many of Jen's ideas are, that was a good one.