Body Image

I was having this discussion the other day at my oncology clinic with a couple of the phlebotomists (i.e., the blood suckers).  Great girls so I’m able to make smart ass remarks and give them a hard time.  Anyway, Monica mentioned that I’d lost weight.  Well, you get the flu and not lose weight.  I think I dropped five pounds.  I told her I had and would ideally like to lose another five.  I feel more comfortable at that weight.

That got us talking about body image.  It doesn’t matter how old you are … you’ll always view yourself when you were 25, 35, or even 45 and never be satisfied with the weight you’re at right now.  I was a tall, skinny thing when I was young and for some reason, I’ll always see my ideal weight as being 135/140 pounds.  Right now, I’m 50 years old … there is no way in hell I’m ever going to come in at 135 or even 140 pounds.  At 168 pounds I’m not heavy by any stretch of the imagination, but I find I’m never satisfied with whatever weight I’m at.  I think we all view ourselves as having the ideal image at some point in our lives and strive to relive it.

We also do this in our writing.  Our heroines are always gorgeous (or at least good lookin’), have a slender form, works out regularly in some manner, and can kick some mean booty if necessary.  I guess that’s all part of the fantasy that readers want.  They don’t want to read about a heroine who is constantly bemoaning the fact that she’s gotta lose ten pounds, or that her butt is too big, or (horrors) has a muffin-top when wearing low riding jeans.  I think I once read a book where the heroine was embarrassed by that little bit of breast fat that always seems to push out of the bra under the arm.  My one thought was “Huh?  Why the hell is she worried about that?”  The hero certainly wasn’t concentrating on that little flaw as he was getting up close and personal.

So I guess I’m just as guilty as any reader in wanting the fantasy of a heroine who doesn’t have to worry about hairy armpits or that extra paunch on her stomach.  I think most of us read for that bit of perfection that we have never been able to achieve in ourselves.

For myself?  I’m going to try to rearrange my thinking to accept the body image I now have.  If I happen to lose a few pounds … bonus.  But I’m not gonna sweat it anymore.  Waste of time.  How ‘bout you?  Do you agonize on every pound you put on; or celebrate (usually with chocolate … which is counterproductive) for every pound you lose?

About Liz Kreger

Liz Kreger writes science fiction/romances and to date, has two books published by Samhain Publishing ... FORGET ABOUT TOMORROW and PROMISE FOR TOMORROW. Liz is presently branching out to contemporary paranormals and is experimenting with urban fantasy.
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17 Responses to Body Image

  1. You’re right about comparing myself to when I was 28. That was a LONG time ago. I KNOW I’ll never be that weight or in that shape again and as much as I’d love to be comfortable with my body, I don’t think I ever will. I was never supermodel shape, even when I walked/ran 5 miles 3x week, something I couldn’t begin to do today.

    But you’ve made some excellent and thought-worthy observations.

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Would you believe this is the first time all day that I’ve had to respond to comments? This has been a wild and crazy Monday.

      It is a thinker, Cynthia. And not something that I’ve given a hellava lot of thought to before. Makes sense, though.

  2. Edie Ramer says:

    I definitely don’t agonize about my weight the way I did when I was a bit younger. But I’d still like to lose that magic 10 pounds. As for my heroine, I have one who’s about 20 pounds overweight, and that’s my bestseller. And a gorgeous heroine with a great figure isn’t necessary for me. In fact, writers who start off with the gorgeousness of their characters often lose me as a reader. That’s not interesting to me.

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Yeah. You gotta have those little flaws in your characters. It’s what makes them more human to me. I noticed to Jayne Ann Krenz seems to make it a point of giving her heros/heroines some sort of body difference … I won’t call it a flaw, because really, what some people would consider a flaw is perfectly normal.

  3. Liz, I’m still trying to get over the fact that you’re 50 years old. I swear at RT in Columbus, you looked like you were about 10 years younger and loving life. 🙂

    I don’t agonize about it as much as I used to. My body is what it is and as long as it works, that’s fine by me. Although, I will say this much. I’m more conscious about what I put in my body and how much exercise I’m getting because I’d like to have as many playtime years with Little Bit as possible. If that means getting in shape, then so be it. I do it for her.

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Yep … born in 1961. Clean livin’ and fancy footwork. That’s my secret. 😉

      There’s nothing like having a little darlin’ to keep you on your toes and keep you active. Believe me … I know. Even at 12 years old, my daughter keeps me hoppin’ … probably far more than I’d like.

  4. Misty Evans says:

    For years, I had body image issues, even though everyone always commented on how petite I was (let’s face it, I’m short, period and I’m usually on the thin side). I don’t have a thing for food, so although I enjoy it, I don’t obsess about it, but looking buff was still a hangup. Thank goodness, I no longer have those issues, but I’d still like to be stronger physically. With my back problems, it’s a very slow journey to get to a stronger me, but I’m determined.

    As far as heroines being a bit overweight and still drawing in readers, Janet Evanovich did a great job writing Stephanie Plum. I doubt Katherine Heigel will look like she needs to diet, though, in the upcoming film of One For the Money!

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Actually, I prefer watching movies where the heroine is drop dead gorgeous. Makes it far more real to me.

      Glad you found a happy medium with your body image, Misty. I think we all obsess far more than we should. I blame Hollywood, television and magazines. My daughter (at 12) is already saying she’s getting fat. Are you kidding me? I told her you have to have cellulite in order to be fat. She’s probably all of 100 lbs. soaking wet. Couldn’t be further from having a weight problem.

  5. Mary Jo says:

    Hi,

    As I get older body image as such becomes less important as long as I’m healthy or reasonably so. But if I really wanted to pick at the body image scab buried deep in my earlier years, I always thought I was too heavy and not right, when believe it or not, I was taller, really, and weighed barely 100 pounds. We can always find something wrong with ourselves. When we’re younger we spend more time at it. As we get older, we get on with enjoying life. Then guess what, Liz, you look younger and laugh more and everyone thinks you’re joking with your age, just like Marcia commented. 🙂

    • Liz Kreger says:

      I hear ya, Mary Jo. I’m at the point where I just don’t care. As long as I’m groomed to my own satisfaction, the hell with body image. Personally I was delighted when I hit 50. It was a milestone for me and one that I met. Beats the alternative, IMO. 😯

  6. They say women are born and die on diets. The trick is to never go on a “diet” every again. If you do the right thing five out of seven days, you might lose or at least not gain. If you do that forever, you eventually get to a balance. A diet means you do someting that has a beginning, a middle and an end … and what most of us to is celebrate the ending … starting the whole darn thing over again. If you give up and resolve, you body will find itself in some happy, albiet beefier state, but you never have to feel rotten about that piece of apple pie 🙂
    florence fois`s last blog was …The Writer’s Life — Reflections and Resolutions …

    • Liz Kreger says:

      Interesting thought, Flo. You’re right. Going on a diet implies that there’s an end to said diet. If you think about it … nope, never gonna happen. Plus, I find that if you deny yourself something (i.e., that piece of apple pie), you seem to crave it all the more.

      Everything in moderation.

  7. Liz you are perfect!
    Karin* Tabke aka Harlow!`s last blog was …National Bestseller

  8. When I hit 30 (and had my son around the same time) my weight went way up. I’d never, ever had to worry about weight. Could eat whatever I wanted. I’m 36 now and still overweight, can’t get rid of it and seem to add on more and more every year. I want to just go with it, but its hard for me because I was always so thin before the kid. I have changed my thinking though and gotten rid of the idea of being skinny and started forcusing on trying to be more healthy. So that has helped. But it’s def. still hard for me.

  9. Liz Kreger says:

    Concentrating on staying healthy is way more important than going back to that “skinny kid” you were, Lori. Its all about what you feel comfortable with. Like I said … I’ll never be 130/140 pounds again, but I really want to be? At my age, I think I’d look unhealthy at that weight. Do I want to lose perhaps another 5 pounds? Sure. But that’s only because I’m physically comfortable at that weight. It’s where I can wear a somewhat slinky dress and not worry about unwanted bulges.

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