I have spent too many years obsessing over women's bodies and comparing them to my own. Anyone who pranced around with skinnier thighs - whether in stylish red pants or a teeny-weeny bikini - probably felt the heat from my scorn. It was almost laser-like.
My backside wasn't something I would even share with my husband (I had perfected the skill of maintaining front-to-side views when naked) and vacations that involved bathing suits made me crabby. I had my go-to pile of pants and shorts that I felt comfortable and confident in and deviating from that raised my threat level from orange to red.
But one thing I began to notice when indulging in my obsession of checking women out, is that nearly every single woman on the planet falls into one of two camps: saddle bags (like me), or the pooch in the front. Of course there are the few who have no problem area but they don't count. God bless them for their genes or willingness to live on cigarettes and beef jerky. I am programmed for neither.
Uncovering this truth was fascinating because it was consistent. Even in my posse. My friends with the pooch hated me for my flat-ish abs and likewise, I died a little each time I had to be in the company of the no-dimple type.
During my fitness certification and overall interest in digging deeper and understanding the how's and why's of life, I read more about the painful truth that our bodies require more fat than men because of our responsibility to continue our species. While I appreciate this task and have added three humans to the world as a result, I wish we could have the honor of turning that hormone/fat switch off when it suits us.
Not ready to procreate? Off
Not interested in a mini-van, ever? Off
Done making your contribution: Off off off!
But no. Our 6-11% more fat than men, is here to stay. At least for the lot of us. I applaud women in competition and elite athletes who choose the level of fitness and focus on diet that accomplish incredible results. It doesn't appear to me to be a sustainable lifestyle though, and the shift back to normalcy happens at some point. My question is - were they even able to enjoy it? It seems even too intense to take a day and go to the grocery store in a bikini and heels because well, you SHOULD.
So what's a girl to do?
Fine tune the eye lasers and seek revenge on every women who doesn't share your physique?
Purchase enough shapeless loungewear that your figure doesn't even exist?
Get yourself some stone-washed, high-waisted Mom jeans (which happen to de-emphasize both problem areas by creating new ones)?
For starters, get real. Why fight the genetic code? If we as a gender unite in the fact that nearly every single one of us wears their fat on their tummy or thighs, doesn't that cancel out the problem? We are actually all in this together. Let's collectively stop caring so much, shall we?
Wear what makes you happy. And confident. And if that doesn't include a swim suit, SO what? I know I'm not interested in making any more memories of me sulking in the shade and sabotaging my day.
I choose to be the woman who laughs a little louder, smiles a little bigger and has a lot of fun, no matter where I am or what internal struggle I am currently entertaining.
And in my book, that's a life well lived, saddle bags and all.