When Leslie took our Christmas card picture this year and the year before, I decided that two times in a row meant: annual tradition and that we’d have a Christmas picture taken every year.  So in January when I wrote out my New Year’s resolutions, I had that picture in the back of my mind, and knowing me there were five resolutions, but I only remember one. Because I said that when I look back on next year’s picture, I want to be proud of myself.

Please notice that I did not say that I wanted to be skinnier, or taller or blonder or any number of the ways I have craved to be different for years, for my whole entire life.  I just said that I wanted to be proud of myself.

When we took that picture, I was feeling anything but proud. I was not proud of the way that I was shoveling all the food I could find on Pinterest in my mouth. I was not proud that I felt embarrassed when people talked about exercise because I couldn’t remember the last time I’d done it. I was not proud of the 14 failed diets I’d put myself on and fallen off of in the month of December alone. I was not proud of the fact that I couldn’t find anything to wear, that I’d had to strew the entire contents of my closet across the room and admit that most of it didn’t fit.  I was the farthest thing from proud.

The reason I did not say that I wanted to be skinnier in next year’s picture is because I have come to suspect that it may not be possible for me to be skinnier.  Some combination of my metabolism and my life circumstances and my crazy pills seem to be making it awfully hard for me to lose weight.  And this is not because I am not trying, because I grow my own kale, ok? I am a really really healthy eater, but somehow it just doesn’t seem to make any difference, and after I went and had my thyroid tested and it came back normal, I gave up on skinny.

Instead, I gave up eating dairy, because it makes me feel sick. I gave up booze because it makes me barf. I gave up eating sugar, because it makes my heart race.  I gave up Diet Coke, because it makes me feel gross and gives me all kinds of weird cravings.  I gave up carbs and butter and I run three miles four times a week and I feel great.  I feel fucking great.

Do I wish all of this would lead to pounds melting off? Yes. Do I have clothes I really really really wish I could wear?  Am I frustrated? Yes.  I am all of those things.  But I am also really really proud of myself, and honestly? If I can keep this up for an entire year and do it just because it makes me feel better? If I can do this FOREVER even if I never lose weight? I’ll be infinitely more proud of myself than any amount of skinny could ever make me.

Plus letting go of “If I just try harder I will get thin and then I will ________” has allowed me to let go of so many other things.  Once I faced the idea that I might NEVER lose weight even if am making all the efforts I can make, then I could let myself buy new clothes. I could let myself put on a swimsuit and get in a pool in front of other people.  This might be as good as it gets.  Am I never going to buy new clothes? Am I never going to care about looking cute or have fun wearing a new necklace again? Am I NEVER GOING TO GO SWIMMING IN A PUBLIC POOL? FUCK NO.

So then I started shopping for the me that is here now, and I am just having so much fun.  I am having so much fun. I am buying cute shoes and fun necklaces and crazy teal sweaters! I am wearing weird things together just to try it out.  I plan outfits in my head while I’m driving to preschool.  I dug crazy heels I haven’t worn in years out of the back of my closet and I painted my toenails glitter silver and I am having so much fun.

The other day I finally realized:  YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE SKINNY TO LOOK NICE.  The two are not mutually exclusive.  And it was like a giant lightbulb went off in my brain and I finally finally got what everyone meant when they said that you deserve to buy clothes, you deserve to swim, you deserve to look nice, even if you’re fat.  Skinniness is not a test you have to pass to buy new shoes.

And then I bought a remote control for my camera, so get ready.




47 Responses

  1. This is so freakin’ awesome. You deserve to be proud.

  2. I love you so so much for this post. (And I laughed about how you grow your own kale).

  3. Love, love, love, love, love, love, love it. I cannot say the word “love” enough times to express how much I love it. So proud OF you. PS you look SO great. The Elizabeth Jackson face is just killing me. I am so glad I get to be your friend.

  4. Also, I am so impressed that you gave up those things that were making you feel lousy. I think it’s much easier to give things up when you see WEIGHT result than just because you “feel” differently. But, dude, who would pick feeling horrible and being thin over being less thin and feeling awesome?

  5. Delurking to say what a wonderful post! You look absolutely adorable!

  6. I love the teal sweater.
    I am stuck in the mode of I don’t deserve to buy new clothes because I weigh more than I want to. I need to get to the place where I am just happy with myself. I really like this post.

  7. You look great! And I love this attitude!

  8. Your strategy seems a lot more sound than mine, which is to think, “I feel crappy so I guess I’ll just do a LOT MORE of the things I know are making me feel crappy.”

  9. Isn’t it amazing how you can believe that everyone ELSE deserves to derive pleasure from clothes and accessories and their own bodies no matter the size or shape, and it is so hard to believe it for yourself? I do the same thing.

    I’m glad you can see what the rest of us see: A fantastic, amazing, hilarious, insightful, witty, caring, wonderful person who shines on the outside as much as she shines on the inside. Sorry for the cheesiness. Amen.

  10. You look beautiful and this is awesome.

  11. I love this! You look fantastic, and I am really looking forward to seeing more of your outfits. All of your clothing posts are making me want to overhaul my closet.
    (BTW, hello! I’ve been reading for a long time but rarely commented. Trying to be better about that!)

  12. You look amazing and, well, shit, you just ARE amazing any way you slice it.

    I am doing that thing where I do not buy myself clothes because I do not want to own clothes in this size. And I look at where I was a year (or two!) ago and my lifestyle is so different now. I don’t sit at a desk eight hours a day. I don’t eat in the cafeteria four days a week. I eat better these days. I run 2-3 miles, 2-3 times a week and before I ran, um, NEVER. I chase small people all day.

    And yet. I am not thin or skinny or fitting into my old shorts and this drives me batshit insane. I mean, I am not exactly DEDICATING myself to the Cause Of The Shorts but…YEAH.


    Life can be terribly insulting sometimes.

    (You’re HOT! HOT!)

  13. This is absolutely wonderful. You found the things that made you feel awful, you listened to your body, you did what made you feel good — THAT is what is important. Not the size on your jeans. You are truly an inspiration, which I know is CHEESY, but it’s so very true.

  14. I love it! You’re adorable and I love your attitude and this is just awesome. I wish you could have seen my face when I read “I gave up eating dairy, because it makes me feel sick. I gave up booze because it makes me barf. I gave up eating sugar, because it makes my heart race. I gave up Diet Coke, because it makes me feel gross and gives me all kinds of weird cravings. I gave up carbs and butter and I run three miles four times a week and I feel great. I feel fucking great.” Holy wow, that is amazing! GO YOU!

  15. This is awesome, and so are you.

  16. You look terrific. Good for you.

  17. I love this post with a fiery passion. Thank you for this.

  18. Very, very enthusiastic :applause: and admiration for you over here!

  19. You look awesome. Love this post.

  20. For the first time ever I bought a sexy swimsuit for a “full figure” that didn’t try to hide the assets I *do* have… And I think I will wear it proudly instead of trying to hide my fatness. So go you! You deserve it.

  21. I’ve seen you in a bathing suit, and I think you look fabulous. 🙂 This is a great post.

    I have felt body-conscious since moving here, because everyone, I mean EVERYONE, seems to be thin, and putting a lot of effort into their appearance. Everyone has long hair, everyone puts their face on, everyone wears tight outfits. The “mom” outfit here seems to be figure-hugging tracksuits that say “juicy” on the ass. I have gone from being 85% happy with how I look on a regular day to feeling selfconscious twice a day when I drop and pick up my kid from school. It would be nice to just feel good about my body for a change.

  22. You look fabulous! And you are inspiring me to make some much needed changes to my life. There are things I really need to give up (Diet Coke, Sugar…). I KNOW that making the changes will make me feel better…why can’t I just make them? Thanks for being an inspiration!

  23. Um, you are like way hot.

    I mean that in the least creepy way one can say that on the internet. If there is a non-creepy way to say that on the internet, that is.

  24. This is such a good post, and such a good point. I’ve been working around to this myself, but had been going at it less cheerfully; this encourages me to up the cheerfulness.

  25. YEE-HAW! Go with your bad self! I love it!

  26. Congratulations, NP, you look great. And, thank you, I haven’t been feeling proud of myself for a long time. I have 6 months til my 35th birthday and my goal is to be proud of myself by then. Thank you.

  27. I LOVE THIS. I know I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you, too!

  28. I want your sweater.

  29. I am officially delurking after reading your blog (from start to almost finish) for the past two weeks as I commute by train 2hrs every day. So much of what you say about motherhood and weight and body image has been ringing so true for me, thank you for being so honest and affirming, for me. You do look great! And stylish, and comfortable, and appropriate! Go you!

  30. What an awesome post! I’m proud of you too! 🙂 And I LOVE following your clothing boards on Pinterest. They’re totally inspiring. 🙂

  31. One more lurker chiming in to say WAY TO GO! Awesome attitude. Great post. 🙂

  32. I love this and I love you for writing it and you look fabulous – FABULOUS!

  33. Some of your early posts are hard for me to read because I can’t go back in time and hug you. This one makes me want to high five you and then have a discussion about where I can find that awesome bedspread. And perhaps have you give me pointers on how to quit Diet Crack [but I don’t really want to do that, I neeeeeeeeeeed it…]

    • Aw, thanks lady, I really appreciate it. (And everyone’s very nice and encouraging words).
      The duvet cover is Pottery Barn Kids, but old old old, so maybe…Ebay?
      I quit Diet Coke by first noticing that it made me feel like ASS and then by…not buying it anymore. Revolutionary, I know. But somehow not having it in my house AND knowing it makes me feel gross helped me to get past it!

  34. This is a really, really wonderful post. And something many of us need to read and hear for ourselves too.

  35. E. You are beautiful inside AND out. I am so glad you had this epiphany and so glad you shared it. So glad you are having FUN. Love you.

  36. love. love love love. fabulous post.

  37. Just perfect…this post and you. I’m so happy to know you.

  38. LOVE it. Well said. And so inspiring. You look amazing!

  39. I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. I am no where near as healthy (eating) as you and I don’t exercise nearly enough but I’m turning a CERTAIN AGE (cough cough) next year and goddammit I think I’m getting a little old for self-denial and flagellation. Four babies later I don’t think I look all that bad! And you? You look awesome and you are amazing. I LOVE this post. Thank you. (as usual!). xoxo

  40. you look great elizabeth! i think your post summed up the difference b/t our 20s and our 30s. I like the 30s a lot better!

  41. Love this post, and your outfit, you look great!

  42. What a fabulous post. I’m printing this one and reciting it daily. I love the idea of working and eating to make myself PROUD, because skinnier shouldn’t always be the end goal. And it just means I waste too much damn time worrying about how I look and feeling guilty about something I ate, a workout I didn’t do…I’m about to start ranting, but suffice it to say I LOVE THIS. Thank you! And ps, absolutely love that sweater. Great picture! 🙂

  43. I know exactly how you feel! In my case, I’m battling against hypothyroidism. I finally got diagnosed and on meds but the weight loss has been slow and painful. I’ve overhauled what I eat, I’m doing the Insanity workout program and while I’m losing inches, the pounds have been slow to come off. Still, as I’m sitting in pools of my own sweat, I’m slowly seeing changes in my body and it’s what motivates me to workout even when I’m exhausted at the end of a long work day.

  44. You’re not even fat! You look adorable!

  45. I love this. Very inspiring and really struck a chord with me – thank you!

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