This is for all the Normal Girls

by LindsayHill

The New York Times ran an excellent article this past Sunday about female comedians and actresses who have better things to do than obsess about their weight.  For the full text of the article, click here, but the gist is that newly minted stars like Lena Dunham and Mindy Kaling are treading new territory in the entertainment industry by being neither thin nor fat. These funny, smart women just seem to be, well, normal.  And if you think about it, being normal is pretty abnormal in TV land.  The article quotes an episode of Girls in which Hannah, the character played by Dunham, says “No, I have not tried a lot to lose weight. Because I decided I was going to have some other concerns in my life” in response to a boyfriend remarking on her tummy flab. This viewpoint, which I would call the “yeah, but whatever” viewpoint is fairly revolutionary in mainstream media.  In the past few decades on television, we have seen either thin women who are neurotic about their weight (although the character might not openly her express food issues, I don’t think anyone thought weight was not an issue for Ally McBeal or Meredith Grey), really heavy women for whom weight practically defines their character (Roseanne, Molly of Mike and Molly) or women like Oprah, Star Jones and Jessica Simpson who have struggled with their weight very openly. These new, normal-sized actresses are here to say, finally, we have better things to do than obsess about our weight! Of course, in a twist that encapsulates our national schizophrenia when it comes to weight, in a later episode of Girls I remember Hannah saying to her boyfriend something alone the lines of “I’ve been 13 pounds overweight my whole life and its been really, really hard for me.” Oh well, baby steps, right?

I related to the article personally because since I’ve had children, I find myself not really sweating those few extra pounds that creep on from time to time. I make time to literally sweat because exercise is great for stress release and good “me time” away from children. I am fortunate to be able to stay home with my kids and set my work hours when it’s convenient. I’ve recently taken up playing tennis after a twenty year hiatus and am having the time of my life. I no longer worry if my legs look okay in the tennis skirt (they make them so short!); I’m just thrilled to have the time and energy to take it back up at this point in my life. A good friend and I play really competitive singles matches and then laugh and chat all the way back to our cars afterwards.  There is no competition between us off the court, which is a refreshing change from some friendships I’ve had in the past when I was someone who tended to worry too much about my own body and how it compared to those around me. As a result, I often drew that type of person toward me and vice versa. I am not proud of this, but part of the process of becoming a health coach and helping others with food and weight issues has been coming to term with my own past.

I’m pretty surprised by how many multi-tasking moms and working women in their thirties and forties I encounter who still obsess about those extra five pounds or a little tummy flab. Like Hannah, I think we all have enough other concerns in our life and trying to be perfect is a waste of time. But like that Hannah of a later episode, I also know it can be frustrating not to have the body you want to have or that your friend has or that you used to have. But at a certain point in life, if your weight is still something you obsess about daily, I suggest you make better use of that time and energy, especially if you are not actually overweight. I am a health coach because I believe health is crucial to well being. If you make good food decisions most of the time, weight will not be an issue.  Eating healthy food and getting enough exercise, however, is not magic bullet for achieving for the body of your dreams. Genetics play a huge role. There is such a feeling of freedom that comes with accepting your body, flaws and all, especially if you are making the right decisions about food and exercise. At a certain point, you just have to do the best you can and learn to dress well to hide the extra inches here or there. So if you are pear shaped, make Spanx your best friend and show off your small waist and slender arms. If you are more apple shaped, work the skinny jeans and oversized shirt look. Or make like Mindy and Hannah and just deal with it; everyone around you will likely follow suit (if they ever noticed your extra few pounds in the first place, which is highly unlikely as we are all our own worst critics). I mean seriously, why be a skinny bitch when you can be a happy, healthy cool chick?

I will be publishing a book in early 2013 called The Get Real Diet: A Common-Sense Plan to Clear Your Mind and Body of the Junk Weighing You Down. It’s a book for real people who want to lose weight and keep it off for good. It’s for everyone who’s tired of cleansing and juicing and supplementing and zoning and fasting and counting points without seeing real, lasting results. It’s a book for anyone who wants to control their diet without letting it control them.  It’s a book for anyone who wants to eat better, feel better and live better.  I’ll keep you posted on publication dates. In the meantime, eat well, live well and be well.





Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: