The Lane Bryant catalog arrived yesterday.
I pulled out the coupons and leafed through the pages, coming to a stop at the swimwear section. My first thought was, “Why would I buy a zebra-striped swimsuit? It just screams out, ‘Look at my rolls!'”
Then, of course, I felt guilty. Big women are beautiful, too, and I shouldn’t be projecting my feelings about my own body onto these plus-size models.
I realized at that point that the LB swimsuit models seemed to run the gamut of sizes. Without knowing how tall they are, they seemed to go from the low end of Lane Bryant sizes (12 or 14) to maybe a size 18 or 20 — again, depending on height. I’m relatively tall for a chick — 5’10” and a size 14/16 at 197 pounds — so I’m no judge on sizes. Some of the women didn’t look “plus-sized” at all, while others… well, I just wished I could stick a pin in them and let a little air out, and then they’d look just about right.
Which led me to realize: I don’t know which of these women I most resemble, shape-wise. Am I really that fat? I don’t know! I can’t tell. When I look at the thinner plus-size models, I think of them as “normal.” Not stupidly skinny. They have some meat on their bones, but no rolls. But I don’t think I look like them; I must be fatter than they are. Then I look at the larger models, and I hope I don’t look like them… except, well, they look good, too. Sure, they’ve got rolls, and thighs, and upper arms, but they’re pretty and confident and they fill out their clothes well. They don’t look sloppy, just big.
It wasn’t until I did my own private swimsuit photo shoot in the basement this evening that it occurred to me: plus-size models get airbrushed, too! It felt like the biggest “duh” moment ever. You can’t make me believe that none of those big and beautiful ladies has any cellulite on her thighs.
Still, though, I’m having trouble with the mixed signals I’m getting. The Health At Every Size/Fat Acceptance movement would have me be perfectly OK with being a size 14/16, as long as I’m healthy (which, as far as I know, I am) and not eating unreasonably. Weight Watchers says that my health will improve significantly if I lose just 10% of my body weight. The Wii Fit tells me I should be some skinny damn weight I haven’t seen since elementary school.
I just want to feel comfortable in my own skin. I want to stop feeling self-conscious and embarrassed around fit people. In addition to the social aspects, though, I’m curious what I’ll look like when I drop another 20 pounds (on top of the 50 I lost a few years ago).
I think I have some psychological fine-tuning to do, beyond the physical and behavioral that I already knew was ahead of me.