This Seems Impossible

*This post talks about weight loss and issues surrounding body image. If that’s a topic that’s sensitive to you, please take care of yourself and skip this post.

I love where we’ve come in our language around our bodies. Models of all sizes cover magazines, performers in larger bodies headline tours, and the conversation has shifted to a body positivity theme. I love it. 

But where does it leave us? The ones programmed to hate our thighs in the 90s? The ones who can still sing the “Get In Shape, Girl!” commercial? 

I was in high school when I got mono. I had never been that sick before or since. I couldn’t eat, I slept for a month straight, it was awful. I lost 20 pounds. When I went back to school, I was the center of attention. Boys noticed me now that my stomach was flat. Girls approached me in groups, loudly asking for my secret. Being painfully thin in 1994 came with social rewards. 

But I felt awful.

Becoming More Neutral

I was weak and that number on the scale would be irresponsible to maintain. My mother would feed me entire cheesecakes in an effort to help me regain some much-needed weight. Our family rarely dined out at restaurants, but my dad would come home with fries and milkshakes. Needless to say, by the time I entered college, I was back to a healthy, normal weight. 

By then, I made the college dance team where we were often weighed before practice. None of us thought to question why a number on a scale mattered to our performance. As a girl, and then as a young woman, I got the message: I meant more when I took up less space. 

It wasn’t until I started dating Penn that I realized not everyone exhausted mental energy on appearance and random scale numbers. For him, food and appearance is … neutral. I studied him like a science experiment. Yes, he’s naturally in a more lean body, but his weight has fluctuated over the years. If he wants to shed a few pounds, he makes changes. If he’s craving a burger and fries, he eats it. He knows what he weighs or how he looks doesn’t have an impact on how he’s loved, how he shows up in the world, or what he’s capable of accomplishing. 

As a woman who came of age in the days where a size 6 Jessica Simpson was blasted for having a “weight problem” it was FASCINATING. 

A Juggling Act

Though I’m 100% positive I was trained in the ways of disordered eating, I am lucky I made it through the 90s and early 2000s without a diagnosed eating disorder. Too many women I love were not as fortunate. If you’re a regular reader to this blog, you know I didn’t escape without some other issues (hi, depression and anxiety!) but for some reason, an eating disorder never set in. Still today, there is an awareness of my body I wish didn’t take up space in my brain. If I had to label my relationship with the image I see in the mirror I would say, now more than ever: It’s complicated.

Over the holiday break I had a discussion with a close friend about goals and resolutions for 2024. She said, “I want to lose 20 pounds, but I don’t feel like I can say that out loud anymore without being judged for not having absolute and complete ‘body positivity’. And how do I explain a change in eating habits to my daughters without creating body image issues for them?”

It reminded me of the line from America Ferrara’s powerful monologue in the Barbie movie. When talking about the impossible pressures of being a woman today she says:  

“You have to be thin, but not too thin. 
And you can never say you want to be thin.” 


It seems like she was using a megaphone to say what a lot of women my age are whispering. 

Shutting Down The Voice In My Head

Right now, it seems a lot of celebrities are making a choice to use weight loss medication to reduce their size. It’s their personal and private choice, but you can’t log onto the internet without seeing pages of “before and after” photos. Someone should have the ability to make changes (don’t get me wrong) I just wish it didn’t make headlines. 

For the sake of my teenagers, I pray we aren’t reverting back to the time when only thin-ness was celebrated. Aren’t these women famous for really interesting things? Can we focus on their accomplishments and not their size, please?

So how do we do it? How does my friend lose the weight she gained during the pandemic without undoing the work of body acceptance? And me? With joy, I ate most desserts offered to me in December leaving my pants a little tighter in January. My inner 90s child is trying to criticize the woman I am today, because of a few pounds and it pisses me off. 

I’ll walk more, eat less dessert and in time, I won’t have to jump to pull my jeans over my thighs. Honestly, that’s the easy part. The hard part is the conversation happening between my ears. This body has carried me all the way to 2024. It’s endured natural childbirth, recovered from illnesses, this body WON the freaking Amazing Race

And this weird voice is going to start shaming a few pounds? No. Not today. 

Am I The Only One?

I am thankful for my healthy body, but I don’t know if I’ll ever achieve 100% all-the-time “body positivity”. I think most times “neutrality” is more attainable. So that’s my goal: I’m thankful and proud of what my body has accomplished, but the size of it doesn’t matter.  

Whenever I hit the publish button on a post, I wonder if I’m the only one feeling all the feelings I spill out onto the page. There’s a strange comfort in knowing you’re not alone. But this is one I pray you tell me I’m overthinking. I hope everyone else has this figured out. 

If you do, could you let me know? 

Much love,