Friday, May 08, 2009

A lesson from Kirstie Alley

So last Thursday I had to get new tires for my car. Apparently running on next to zero tread on your tires is a dangerous thing. Thankfully I have a husband who notices these things, because I was clueless.

Anyway, I'm sitting at the Saturn dealership at 4 p.m., just in time for Oprah. I never get to watch Oprah. I was excited I was the only one waiting so I could control the T.V. remote.

Lucky for me Oprah didn't have any sob stories on last Thursday. She had Kirstie Alley on, talking about weight loss & weight gain. Stuff I actually wanted to watch.

And watch I did. I couldn't tear myself away, it was so much like watching a train wreck. Which is pretty much what Ms. Alley is.

If you saw it, you know what I'm talking about. If you didn't, well, you won't be surprised to learn that upon quitting Jennie Craig & putting her gym equipment in her garage & not exercising or weighing herself for 18 months, she gained all her weight back, and then some.

I won't go off on how obvious it is that when you stop doing what you did to lose weight you are going to gain it all back. Instead I'll share the lesson I learned from this show, even though it's probably not the lesson Oprah intended.

Oprah put up Valerie Bertenelli's recent magazine cover in a bikini, on a big screen behind the yellow couch. Ms. Alley basically said she won't feel good about herself until she looks like the newest Jenny Craig spokesperson. & she expects to get into that kind of shape in 6 months. & she won't be happy until she can wear a bikini on a magazine cover, too. She bemoaned her hips & thighs, said if only she could have pictures taken from her shoulders up & her knees down. Even when she was skinny as the JC spokesperson, she still hated her hips & thighs. She was never good enough.

And it hit me like the weight of those 4 new tires--I am exactly the same way. I still whine about my hips & thighs. I still think I'm not good enough, not in bikini shape, not as thin as the next girl, not in the right clothing size. I still have hopes that I'll look better 6 weeks or 6 months from now. I always want more, am not satisfied with what I am now.

Until I saw how sad it looks on a woman. I felt so sorry for Ms. Alley. Couldn't she see how gorgeous she looked? Couldn't she see how strong she was? Couldn't she see that what she was doing is what she needed to keep doing & she would be just fine? She didn't have to be perfect. She just had to stick with it and find happiness with where she was. Kirstie Alley will never look like Valerie Bertenelli. & she should be freaking fine with that.

So, I resolved on that half marathon weekend that I would no longer be like Kirstie Alley. I will no longer complain about my weight, my body, my looks. I am happy with where I am. My hips & my thighs are strong & carried me 13.1 miles across that finish line. My size 8 jeans look great on me. My 34D's are sexy. My tummy pooch declares that YES, I'm a mommy.

Thank you, Kirstie Alley, for opening my eyes. I will still run, I will still eat right, I will still seek out a healthy lifestyle. But I will no longer be the woman other women look at & roll their eyes with "why can't she see herself for who she really is?"

I can see clearly now. And I'm content with what I see.


K said...

I'm a mommy too. It is a real challenge to change my mind set that I don't want to look like the 20 year-old hot self (that I didn't like at the time - like an idiot).

I want to be what I can be now (and what I am now and will remain - a work in progress). And, whatever I can/will be will include some wrinkles and a tummy that carried three boys (with some residual, um, changes).

Helen said...

FANTASTIC post, Laura! I got chills. You are SO right. I was thinking this morning about how I didn't enjoy being 10 pounds less than I am and how I still thought I looked the same (fat). I want to lose, but I want to learn not to obsess. I hope that it's possible to lose and maintain that way. But I'm not sure it is. :-(

COTY said...

Great post !
You are so right we are never completely satisfied with our bodies and we should be. Especially to stop and think I have created life and birthed 4 children. We all need to just focus on being and living healthy.. Thanks for making me think about it :o)

moni said...


Jill said...

I only got to see a snippet of that show (I was at Walmart when you texted me), but I actually felt sorry for her because I know the desperation she feels to get back down to her "thin" weight.

I totally understand what you mean about the hips and thighs thing. For a long time I HATED my thighs until I realized that no matter how thin I get, my thighs will always be proportionately larger than the rest of my body because THAT'S HOW I AM BUILT. There's a reason my blog is named after a pear! It's taken me a long time to accept it, but I'm okay now with my thighs.

I think it's great that you are having this revelation. Women are so so so much more than their weight - can you imagine the power we would have if we all realized just how great we already are?

This is a great post and hopefully a wake up call for the rest of us! You are awesome.

debby said...

I am so happy to hear you say this, Laura! And even if you start to doubt yourself, or have bad days, and all that hormonal stuff that goes on, just keep this post handy and read it again. Because I think its something we have to work at just like we work at keeping the weight off.

But I think you have discovered a major key to living a peaceful, contented life.

Cindy...154 said...
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Cindy...154 said...

THANK YOU!!!! For writing this. I have been having picture therapy lately = looking at photos of me during my bigger years and accepting myself as I am now, in fact being very happy about it. Last summer when I was about 6 to 8 pounds thinner than today I still had body image issues. I have resolved to accept myself. If I want to make changes through diet and exercise, fine but they won't make or break me. I won't magically be happier ten pounds thinner. I think we all need the same lesson. Appreciate and take care of our bodies in the here and now. Thanks!!

Heather said...

thats a great realization to have! I am slowly finding something similar in myself. its good that you have that realization because unlike kirstie alley, you wont repeatedly put yourself through unreasonable diet after diet before finally getting that there is no quick fix, you have to work hard, you may never have a "perfect" body, but that its ok. Im glad you have found those things.

The Running Knitter said...

I really liked this post. Thank you!

MCM Mama said...

Awesome post! Now if only I could learn to think that way about myself...

miss petite america said...

excellent and wise post!

Vickie said...

I totally understand what you are saying - and this is a very good post.

I think there has to be some level of moving forward to stay EVEN in maintenance.

Total acceptance can actually be listening to the addict on one's shoulder.

Often it is 'discontent' - that keeps one from back sliding.

But I guess I am talking about goal or progress discontent - not self hating discontent.

And I think that is what you meant about Kirstie - her discontent is not motivating - it is self sabotaging. It is the all or nothing, black and white thing.