Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Many folks are obsessed with weight—their own and other people’s. I do believe that the ones—who point out extra pounds, or who are out and out critical, or who always notice if you’re body looks good or you’ve gained an ounce, are those who have issues with their own bodies. Since they’re so self-conscious about their own bodies, they also pay more attention to everyone else’s.

When I was growing up, few cared about my dreams and goals for the future. But, it felt like everyone noticed what I ate. There I’d be on a visit with family, enjoying my meal—until I reached for more potatoes or another cookie. Then, it felt like the room stopped and all eyes were on me. I was questioned about whether I really needed it. Sure I did, at seven years old, when I didn’t quite understand why there was so much fuss.

Someone always explained, “If you eat too much you’ll get too fat to attract a husband.”

I didn’t understand why a cookie would make a difference, nor was I concerned about finding a husband. But the intensity of the warnings stuck. It made me guilty when I ate goodies. There was always an attitude around eating. Fat. Fat. Fat. That set the tone for me believing that I was fat. When you hear a message often enough, it becomes your truth.

Being an independent thinker back then, I’d occasionally risk sharing my hopes for the future and explained that maybe I wouldn’t need a husband to achieve them. So I didn’t have to worry about my eating. Wrong! I was called fresh and told to stop eating. Looking back, I realize the women (never men!) who monitored my eating were always on diets themselves. A lot of their conversations revolved around food, and how to lose weight.

Weight conscious folks become weight conscious of others too. They can’t get their own bodies the way they want so they make others feel bad or try to tell them what to do. I’ve noticed that slim friends or those with great self-esteem rarely comment on whether I’ve lost or gained weight and tell me how great I look when I say I’m watching my diet. Yet the ones who always feel fat notice every pound I lose or gain.

Have compassion for those who make comments about your weight. Like I said in my post, Trading Anger for Joy with Compassion, folks who do things that hurt you are also hurting. People who need to focus on your weight are unhappy about their own. I’ve actually, in a kind manner, told someone who’d made too many weight comments, “I’m sorry you have issues with weight but I don’t, and would appreciate your not pointing out mine.” Sometimes it leads to helpful discussions.

Being an 8+ size woman, I’ve learned to do some of the things that Carson Kressley did on How to Look Good Naked. You can do them too!

I’ve found that carrying yourself well makes a big difference in your appearance. Woman or man, walking with your shoulders back and head held high makes you look better. It elongates your body, which can camouflage some of the ripples in the middle, and it makes you look more confident, which is always attractive. A confident stance takes the attention off your love handles and onto your overall demeanor.

Years ago, I had a friend who was short and somewhat chubby. Ari’s legs were chunky yet she wore skirts that were a little above her knees and felt good about herself. She was a confident chick and wore her skirts with pride! Yet people suggested I have a talk with her about not wearing such short skirts with her stubby legs. I couldn’t believe it the first time, yet it happened a bunch of times. Women who barely knew Ari were concerned that Ari’s skirts didn’t flatter her legs!

I always replied that Ari had good vision and could see herself in the mirror. If she was fine with how she looked, I was too! I did agree that she’d look better with something longer, but ya know what? Ari liked her skirts and her confidence showed. She had no shortage of boyfriends, even with her chunky legs showing. Because she carried herself with pride, people found Ari very attractive. The only ones who didn’t were those who didn’t like themselves.

Wear clothes that make YOU feel good, like Ari did. Clothing that fits well makes a big difference. It doesn’t matter what size you are—wearing clothes that look nice on you makes you look and feel much better. Often when you feel fat, you don’t feel worthy of wearing nice clothes. You are worthy at any size! Being well-dressed makes you more confident and the compliments that might come can make you feel good! Why not dress nicely? Yet women who feel fat try to cover up, not doll up.

There’s a false belief in people who are overweight that if you wear big clothing, it covers the fat. On the contrary, it calls more attention it.

When I was a DoorMat, I had some illogical dress habits that seemed very rational then. Mind you, I was NEVER fat. But feeling overweight made me seek ways to take the attention away from my fat. At one time I wore VERY bright colored clothing, thinking folks would notice the fabric instead of what was under it. Sometimes I’d wear boobalicious shirts that emphasized my breasts, hoping it would keep attention from the rest of my body. Sometimes I’d bag my body in bulky clothing. Looking back, I think OMIGOD!

Fat on the brain rattled my senses!

Now my style is MUCH more low-key. I’m not slim but I have a very shapely body and emphasize that with form-fitting outfits. It’s much more flattering that oversized ones. I’m no longer wild about anything low cut, even though I have a rack that could be flaunted. I’ve outgrown my need for that since I’ve lost my body shame! I’m so comfortable in my skin, cellulite and all, that I prefer to just wear nice clothing instead of camouflage.

The truth—when I was a DoorMat I weighed more than I currently do, but my body image rocks now!

How to Look Good Naked is called that for a reason. When you feel fat, you hate your body and don’t want to be without clothing. Yet a naked body is awesomely empowering! Appreciate the sexiness of being naked. Trust me, my body is far from perfect. But hey, it’s mine! And in that spirit I walk around naked with pride, not shame. I’ve never had a boyfriend who didn’t love it.

Since self-assurance is very attractive, walking around confidently naked is hot.

While I’ve never found a boyfriend’s body to be perfect, I’ve always been delighted with each one. I don’t get naked with a guy unless it’s someone I really care about, who I have a strong connection with. At that point, nakedness is wonderful because it’s part of someone who means a lot to me,
which makes it beautiful.

Start by walking around naked when you’re home alone. Get used to it. It’s a very freeing feeling. I HATE wearing clothing at home, so I tend to have very little on when I’m in, which is often since I work from home. The only complaint I ever got from a boyfriend was concern that someone might see me since I keep my window blinds open. I’m on the tenth floor in midtown Manhattan, so it doesn’t concern me at all. There are no windows too close to mine to see details. And if some guy finds enough pleasure to watch me with binoculars, oh well. I’m comfortable enough to not care. There are too many things to worry about that are more important. Since I learned to love my body, I love the freedom of no clothes.

I’ll continue Let’s Be Happily Naked week in my next post. Stayed tuned for more later this week!

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