Friday Fuzzies: Be Happy, Not Skinny

Body image is always out in front for me as a woman and a writer. It consumes me, but probably not in the way that you think. That is, I am not consumed by thinking I am overweight. I don't worry about what I look like naked because I have never had a problem getting laid. My self image is, for all intents and purposes, very good. I feel womanly, and happily curvy.

I like to work out vigorously at least a few times a week. I like Zumba and a new workout my mom instructs in called "Pound" as well as walking and occasionally some Ballet Beautiful which is a lot harder than it looks. I wish my hamstrings would unfurl themselves so that I could take up running because it's cheap, but alas, I don't think the universe has a plan for me to be a runner anytime soon.

So, in all this working out, I have come across many types of women...many of them talking about the food they ate, or didn't eat, or will soon feel guilty for eating. I have never had this problem...I don't feel guilty for eating fatty foods or overindulging sometimes. I don't believe that is a problem or that in 50 years I will look back with regret. But myself aside, food seems a common (unhealthy) preoccupation of the American woman. And when I think of working out in terms of trying to stave off a craving or obtain a certain weight, it makes me feel icky.

During a recent Zumba session, I was going through the steps, having a great time, but finding my mind wandering. Of course we all want to look good, but looking good really means FEELING good, and that is all I try to accomplish through my work outs. Work outs give me mental stability--a great feeling that I can only seem to achieve through sweat equity. Clearly, this is not the case for everyone, but shouldn't it be?

I may be running the risk of sounding like I'm babbling here... what I am trying to say is that more women should be doing things because they are trying to be happy, not skinny. Don't work out to be thin, work out to be happy. While some will argue that skinny makes them happy, I am willing to bet that deep down that is not the case--that's an emotional bandaid and you've got to get to the source. As mothers, wives, sisters, and friends, we women have got to stick together and we have got to demonstrate to one another that it's OKAY to look different and be comfortable with it.

The human body, in my eyes at least, is a celebration of atomic energy and the universe coming together in a unique way to form what is "you", inside and out. Let your soul shine and treat your body well because it makes you happy. Demonstrate that happiness daily and feel good about it. Stop worrying about what the scale says (or doesn't say) and concentrate on cultivating love for yourself. 

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