We are in the dog days of summer and that means the hottest days are upon us, people are swimming, tanning and having hot summer parties. It’s bathing suit season and for most guys I know, the beer guts and dad bods are proudly on display; however, for most women I know, it’s a time of self-doubt and covering everything up.
When I was 21, I was barely 110lbs and spent my summer days skimping around the yard in a tiny bikini without a shred of doubt that I looked fantastic. I drank like a fish not worrying about the calories in a beer. I ate burgers and hot dogs at the cook-outs without caring what it would do to me. I was just happy living in the moment and being who I was.
This was a decade ago. In August, I will be 31. Now a glass of wine is 5 points on weight watchers and it is a daily fight to make sure I find time to exercise so I can stay in a single digit pant size. Do I want the burgers and hot dogs at the cook-outs? Of course I do. Now I have to think really hard about what else I ate that day and figure out if it will be worth it for me.
I do not consider myself “fat” just not in the shape I once was. I have become very self-conscious about how I look in outfits and have become overly critical. Child birth had changed my body in ways that I never thought possible, but it was certainly worth it. My closet has 3 different sizes, skinny day clothes, everyday clothes and fat day clothes. It’s amazing how the body changes day to day.
It isn’t just me. I look around my office, full of stunningly beautiful women, and see them trading their chips for rice cakes, sandwiches for salads and searching tirelessly for the perfect cover-up for their beach trips.
I just want to tell them they are spectacular as they are, regardless of the size of their pants. I wish we could all stop comparing ourselves to others and to live however they are happy. A size zero doesn’t make me any less of a magnificent woman than a size eight, 16 or 22.
As the years go on, things change. Bodies ache, weight gets harder to lose, health problems arise and it’s harder to bounce back. My advice is this, focus on what makes you happy. No one on their death bed ever says “I wish I didn’t eat that cheeseburger at the Labor Day party in ‘96.”
Let’s replace self-conscious with self-confidence and focus on doing the things that make our souls happy. Put on that swimsuit and hold your head high because there is more to you than your pant size.
You go girl.
Melissa Hughes is a 30-year-old single mother of one. Girl Talk started as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa has a weekly TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, discussing activities in Weekender and a Girl Talk radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.