Warning: I'm about to make some ladies real uncomfortable. I might even down right piss someone off. But please, before you get upset with me, understand that I am coming from a place of love. Hopefully I'll ease your judgement with a little bit of backstory.
I struggle daily with my weight. I have expressed many times in this blog that I am a food addict. No, I've never been "diagnosed" and I haven't been to, like, food rehab or anything, but for me, it's my drug of choice. I have worked extremely hard for the course of 2 years to lose 60 pounds despite my food struggles, and I am still by no means a swimsuit model. I've never wanted abs, and I just love pizza too much. I still have a ways to go before I'm 100% satisfied and I will ALWAYS have to police my eating. For me, I've always admired Kim Kardashian's body...maybe not quite so much of dat ass, but I think a soft body is sexiest. I'm not saying that women with rock hard abs aren't beautiful, but my "goal body" would be a bit more soft and shapely, like Marilyn Monroe...which brings me to the PERFECT segue (and here's where it's about to get offensive).
Women in this country have created a new normal for themselves in terms of weight. I know that magazine covers still tell us "thin is in", but I feel like the average American woman has come to accept that a size 12-14 is the "new normal." Maybe it's backlash against the high fashion, skinny-at-all-costs ideal that before J.LO and Kim K. came along was all but shoved down our throats. We all know that "herion chic" is NOT a healthy goal, but neither is being complacent about our HEALTH just because the most desired woman of all time had "curves." I was one of the MANY women that justified my weight by saying "Marilyn Monroe was a size 12" (as I inhaled a plate of nachos and three refills of Dr. Pepper). It comes from a place of reassurance..I get it...A way for a woman to remind herself that even if she IS overweight, she is still beautiful. All women are beautiful, and have the right to remind themselves of this daily. For me, though, I used to use this reassurance to placate myself, and push off any notion that I NEEDED to lose weight. Even as I would utter these words, I KNEW that I didn't look ANYTHING like Norma Jean in that iconic white swimsuit photo (which is actually said to have been taken when she was at her HEAVIEST). I'm not claiming to have concrete facts about her ACTUAL size, but a few moments of research on google shows quite a few rebuttals to the claim that she was a size 12 by today's standard. Information from her alleged dressmaker shows that she never reached above 145 pounds, and was closer to the 120's most of her career. Standing 5' 5 1/2" this is a perfectly normal, healthy weight range. Now don't make any mistake about it. There are PLENTY of HEALTHY women who are a size 12. This post isn't to bash ANY size. It's to (hopefully) help someone who is NOT at a healthy weight range to lift the veil they've been using to cover themselves from the fact that they aren't HEALTHY by saying they are like Marilyn, because I KNOW that's what I was doing...just BS-ing myself with some ridiculous logic I made up. But let's be honest. Even if I DID look as good as Marilyn did on that beach in that white one-piece (which I definitely did not), I can ASSURE you that I was WELL beyond that weight range, and I was the exact same height as she was. I was 210 lbs. No matter how SEXY I told myself I was, the proof was in the (chocolate) pudding. I was obese. And unfortunately, I think a lot of women are in the same mindset I was.
"But I thought the scale doesn't matter?"
When you are trying to lose those those last 10-15 pounds for vanity reasons, it doesn't! Many people who are within a healthy weight range for their body can actually GAIN muscle and weight, but LOOK smaller and firmer. For them, it's not about the scale, because their goal is attached to their appearance. My goal for anyone I coach is just to be within a healthy weight range and in generally good health. If someone needs to take off 5 pounds, I will help them just the same, but I won't lay awake at night worrying, because I know when it comes down to it they are healthy, and the only thing at stake is a 6-pack. For this post I'm talking about the people who NEED to get some weight off. People who are telling themselves it's "ok" to be dozens of pounds overweight when they KNOW deep down that they aren't healthy (or happy). I'm talking to people like the old me. I used to carry around an extra 75 pounds of fat (I've lost 60 and still have about 15 to go), and HUNDREDS of pounds of pressure on my knees and hips. My LDL cholesterol was at 148, which is well above normal. I was easily winded, and would have NO chance during a zombie apocalypse (hee hee). Despite what I told myself about being the "same size" as Marilyn Monroe, (this was actually a lie...I maxed out at size 18), I was fooling myself, and more importantly, killing myself.
My point here is that while I was reminding myself that I was beautiful no matter what the scale or pant size read, my body was DYING on the inside, and deep down, I KNEW that this was true. You can tell your Marilyn Monroe anticdote all you want, but when you go home and step on the scale, or look in the mirror and KNOW in the back of your mind that it's time to make a change, that's when you have to stop telling yourself lies. Stop saying "I'm fat and happy and always will be" or "I'm big and beautiful". I hear things like this ALL THE TIME, and I just want to shake these women and tell them that they are beautiful regardless, but the "big" just might be cutting their time here short, and is probably making life difficult in ways that they may not even be aware of. What's the use of being "big and beautiful" if you can't run and play with your kids, or you can't afford a vacation because you spend so much on medical issues? I used to say all of these things. I said women with curves were sexy. I didn't have curves...I had HUGE FAT ROLLS...There's a big difference. When I couldn't display certain wedding pictures that were otherwise beautiful aside from my humungous armpit fat, or the fat rolls that I forgot to suck in while the camera snapped, I couldn't fake it anymore. I was fat, and I WASN'T happy, and I certainly wasn't HEALTHY (yes, my appearance was my initial motivator, not my health). I loved food, and this has been a TREMENDOUS struggle for me at times, but I loved ME more, and I wanted to TRULY live again, without knee and back pain, and without embarrassment from being winded after a few stairs, or a feeling of inferiority around thinner women. I wanted to be MY OWN role model and stop falsely comparing myself to this ideal that I had in my head about someone who died 60 years ago. When I finally stopped lying to myself and took the support that was extended to me, I came to understand what it is to be TRULY happy with my body. I didn't have to look at Marilyn Monroe and secretly wish I had her figure anymore. Because of the work that I put in, even though I wasn't yet at my goal weight, I became my OWN icon and the only person I want to look like was the BEST version of me possible.
Hi! I'm Andrea Cummings. I am passionate about living a healthy lifestyle that I can MAINTAIN and that still lets me feel like I'm not being deprived. I like to exercise, but I also love to eat (nachos!). My main focus is to be healthy, not skinny, and to help others do the same! I love Jesus, but I also say fuck a lot, so if you're offended, I may not be the gal for you.