Beauty Is a Size 2 and Other Lies I Tell Myself

For many years, I dreaded the changing of seasons for one reason:  my clothes. I remember many a time when I would go to my closet on a day when it was either warmer or colder than it had been for several months, and I would take out a favorite shirt or pair of pants I had worn the previous season. I would excitedly put the clothes on, only to discover that the pants wouldn’t zip or the shirt wouldn’t button. Immediately, a deflated feeling would come over me, quickly followed by frustration and disgust. How could I have gained MORE weight? Why did I keep doing this to myself? My size crept up and up over the years, and I was dismayed when I realized that I was a size 24 while on a shopping trip with my mom to celebrate my 26th birthday. The humiliation I felt at having to get new clothes because my old ones didn’t fit was difficult to bear, and I had many discouraging, depressing shopping trips. What is saddest of all, however, is that often after those trips, I would return home and instead of exercising, I would inhale a heaping bowl of ice cream or eat a candy bar.

Now, instead of dreading the change of seasons, I look forward to it. I don’t have to worry about whether or not my clothes will be too small; now I have the opposite problem. Since I am not in plus sizes in more (how I hate that phrase!), I have so many more options to choose from when shopping, and it is infinitely more fun to buy clothes when they are smaller instead of larger!

I am reminding myself of this feeling right now because I have once again found myself feeling discontent about my size. I read a lot of weight loss/health blogs, and I often come across success stories of those who have lost weight. While these stories are very inspiring and motivating for me, I often find myself reading them and thinking variations of the following: “She was a size 16 at 215 pounds? I was a size 20 then!” It could be a different number and a different size, but I always lose in the comparison. I know that everyone’s shape is different and that everyone even wears clothes differently (some preferring their clothes to be loose and others preferring tighter clothes), but I have a hard time shaking this feeling of… well, jealousy. And now that I write that out, it’s completely ridiculous. Why does it matter what size someone else is? Why does it even matter what size I am? It’s not as though I go around with my pants size displayed across my forehead. It’s not as though my size defines me as a person, as if someone would see I’m a size 14 and completely write me off as being unworthy of love (and if someone did, I wouldn’t want to be that person’s friend anyway!). Somehow I’ve bought into the lie that beauty is a size 2 and nothing else, and I don’t like admitting that because I’ve always told myself I’m immune to the deceit of the “perfect” women that are emblazoned on the cover of every magazine, but obviously I’m not. I know I’ll never be a size 2, but that doesn’t stop me from wishing I could be smaller.

I have written before about my tendency to compare myself to others, and I am realizing more and more that it’s a destructive practice that is literally of the devil and only leaves me miserable. I have to keep going back to this verse in Galatians: “Am I now trying to please men, or God? For if I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” My goal is to please Christ, and pleasing Him has little to do with my pants size.

Do you struggle with discontentment about your size? How do you overcome it?

 

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6 thoughts on “Beauty Is a Size 2 and Other Lies I Tell Myself

  1. Wow, I totally felt you – season to season, pulling out old favorites that did not fit. I also do the “wow, she is a size ___ @ ___ weight” but usually I fit into a smaller size at certain weights. However, I've never been one to want to be a size 2, or even 4 for that matter. 6-8 is the smallest I ever want to go and I think it is the size women look best (in my head anyway). Glad you are overcoming this thought process!

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  2. I totally understand! I used to think I was only beautiful if I could fit into a certain size pants. But then I noticed something: because I'm always searching for jeans that are long enough, I've tried on jeans from 100s of manufactures. And you know what – size is relative. The scale says I'm 175lbs. I have jeans from size 8 to 14 that fit perfectly. So you know what – what size your pants or shirt says, it doesn't matter! Really!
    What matters is that I don't cry in dressings rooms, or leave with that feeling of shame and disgust you mentioned (oh, I know that feeling so well) or avoid clothes shopping with friends because I'm embarrased or jealous.
    I know I compare myself to others in unhealthy ways, instead of looking to God for my standard. It's a struggle to change that, I think. Perhaps the greatest challenge in losing weight and getting healthy isn't changing our body, but changing our mind. For me, it is. ~ L

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  3. This is so interesting because my husband and I just had a conversation about this very thing yesterday. I wanted to cut my calories even less than what I had previously cut them back to, and my husband warned me not to overdo it. I told him I just wanted to reach my goal a whole lot faster. Something was said (can't remember the context) about “what if I hit 120 lbs?” and he said, “Even if you hit 120 lbs I doubt you'll be happy with how you look. It will be something else, won't it?” I replied that I thought 120 lbs sounded like perfection and at least it wouldn't be my WEIGHT that was bothering me so much.

    After that I read your post and thought it was so right on. I think 120 lbs will be THE perfect weight for me, the definition of beauty for me. It's not only an unrealistic goal, but it's problematic that I think that is what I need to be happy. Obviously, my perspective is skewed.

    All that to say, your post was timely for me!

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  4. I constantly define myself by a size or number on the scale. I actually just wrote a post yesterday about body image. Very much along these lines.

    It's FINALLY starting to slowly sink in for me that it's more about my mental state as I transform than my size. Even though it still bothers me. It's a slow process and one that we have to change physically AND mentally.

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