Over the weekend, YogiClareBear shared an article from The Huffington Post with me that she thought might be a good fit for readers here on my blog. After reading it, I couldn’t agree more.
The article, called “An Open Letter to Oprah” is written by the director of the documentary, “America The Beautiful,” which explores our nation’s unhealthy obsession with beauty.
Take a peek at his plea to Oprah to stop the yo-yo dieting and end her public obsession with body image.
What is most interesting to me is that the director (and author) is a man. Not to play the sex card or anything, but usually we hear other females talking about weight issues and body image issues. And while men are certainly impacted as well, it was refreshing to hear a guy’s perspective.
Like many Americans, I both felt sad listening to Oprah degrade herself by calling herself “fat cow,” but at the same time, I could relate and understand the harshness of how she judged her body. Many of us at one point or another have felt uncomfortable in our own skin. I know I certainly have.
In fact, just this weekend, before a bachelorette party, I tried on my size 29 Citizens (my “skinny jeans” — bought as “goal jeans” in 2004) that I haven’t worn since last summer probably (mostly because I had two new pairs of Joe’s I was obsessing over, but also because I knew they’d be tight).
And guess what? To no surprise of mine, they didn’t fit.
For a minute, I admit, I wanted to hate on myself for gaining weight. But then I remembered: it’s more important for me to accept myself as I am, in this moment, tight jeans and all, than to berate myself for a fact of life.
Plain and simple, the jeans that fit my newly-svelte (for me) 25-yr old body just don’t fit my almost-30-year old body; I’ve gained some weight. Not an unhealthy amount, nothing I can’t manage, but the reality is there.
Accepting myself in that moment meant instead of staring, poking, prodding, or crying, I had to nip the negative thoughts in the bud; they solve nothing.
I told myself that in a couple months they might fit again, but equally as likely, they might end up being donated to Goodwill.
So I tucked the jeans in back in my drawer where I won’t see them, won’t be taunted by them, and pulled on a pair of super-dark Joe’s (which are a comfortable 30). These jeans laid perfectly, and I felt good in them.
The difference between my weight gain and Oprah’s is I am not calling myself names for the world to hear. And I’m now focusing on stopping the negative thoughts even as they’re flowing; they only make me more anxious.
I guess what’s especially sad about Oprah in particular is that millions of women look up to her. And they look up to her for so much more than her shape/size. It just sounded so trite, so superficial, so self-depracating to hear her speaking so negatively about herself.
With all the money in the world, with all the life coaches, trainers, chefs … Oprah still can’t buy healthy body image.
I guess that’s a lesson for all of us; indeed, some of the best things in life are free.
How about you? What are your thoughts about Oprah’s yo-yo dieting and body obsession? Do you think by sharing her struggles she helps women, or does a disservice to them by always commiserating about it?
How about you?