Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Get with the program!

Every spring some actress pops up on the cover of People Magazine in a bikini. She is always of some advanced age (which in Hollywood is everyone over 25) and touts a program where she lost 40 or 80 or 300 pounds. Everyone applauds her bravery. Look! A bikini! On the cover of People! And they didn't even photoshop it (wink wink)!

This year it was Valerie Bertinelli, 48 years old, in a green string bikini. She followed the Jenny Craig program and got her life back "one pound at a time." Ha ha. We get the joke.

During her Oprah interview, Valerie admitted to hiring a personal trainer and cutting back her caloric intake even more drastically during the three weeks leading up to the photo shoot. She starved and did thousands of squats, despite the fact that they could have photoshopped those last three weeks in, which seems more stupidity than bravery to me. So she let them snap a photo of her at her thinnest and probably most hungry moment and we are all supposed believe that this is what a normal person can achieve.

I have noticed on some of the Mommy blogs that the dreaded build up to bathing suit season is in full swing. Everyone is looking for the perfect suit and possibly even a floor length cover up to go with it. Most of these gals are my age and almost of all them, as well as my non blogging Mom friends, hate the way they look in a bathing suit.
We have a pool, and though I try not to make a big deal about it, I started doing Weight Watchers online last month to get that last 10 lbs off. The weight began creeping on with the holiday cookies and the next thing you know my cute summer shorts from last year are too tight.

Weight Watchers has always worked for me because I am a checklist write it down see it right in front of you type of person. I am Italian and Southern, so the no carb no fat thing is never going to work for me. With Weight Watchers, I can have that stuff, but I just have to balance it out with other things. That means that sometimes I can't eat for the rest of the day, but hey, that donut was totally worth it! Anyway, I managed to get a few pounds off, but I still have a little more to go.

Which brings us back to Valerie Bertinelli and her supposedly un-photoshopped People Magazine cover. As the mother of a young daughter, I feel responsible for giving Girlie a positive message about beauty and her body. I don't say much about my own weight or use the word "diet" in conversations where she might be listening. I want her to know that I don't have to be perfectly skinny to be beautiful and neither does she. During the last month, I began to wonder if my spring diet on the sly and annual one piece bathing suit search contradicts the values I am trying to teach Girlie. If I can't be happy with the way I am, how can I teach her to be?

So this year, I dug out a bikini that I bought, but never wore last year. I am going to wear it though I am a far from perfect and I still haven't hit that ideal number. I am going to wear it without saying or even thinking one negative thing about myself. I am going to wear it for my daughter with the hope that doing so will take some of the weight off of this whole idealized beauty trap.

It's not the cover of People, but here goes: I am thirty six years old, weigh 136 pounds, wear a size 8, and I lost a whopping 6 pounds this spring. And here is my (real) unedited cover shot...

I'll let you know when they schedule my Oprah interview.


Lisa said...

You go, girl - gorgeous!!!

Anonymous said...


Amy in Atlanta

Linda Pressman said...

You're awesome and awesomely cool. And you're right - the only way to teach your daughter to love herself is to love yourself. Great message!

cyndi said...

You look awesome! Wear that bikini girl!

latisha said...

look out valerie! you are so brave. you are teeny tiny and should wear a poka dot bikini. even when i was a size 8 i wouldnt dare shove my beyonce bubble but into a two piece wihtout a long coverup. im so impressed.