Saturday, August 22, 2015

If the dress fits…

My go-to plan is to start each day with exercise. Some days I run. Some days it’s strength training at the gym. And there’s one day of Power Yoga.

Not only does this regimen set structure for the open schedule of my freelance life, it keeps me in the same dress size I’ve had for just about ever. And I’ve been proud of that. My baby boomer body fits well in the size 8 clothes tucked in my drawers and closet.

Then I read an article about “the absurdity of women’s clothing sizes.” The first line of the story gave me pause. It cited these facts: “A size 8 dress today is nearly the equivalent of a size 16 dress in 1958.”

I immediately felt bigger, more like a size 16, even though nothing had changed from moments before when I was a happy size 8. That’s the power of body image and of the printed word. I read something new, and I take the information to heart. My perspective changes. I should know this. I write for a living.

At least I’m not so worried about the personal trainer I interviewed last month for an article. She dropped from a size 22 to a size 0. What is size 0? And, more important, what happens if she loses more weight?

I’m not fixated on weight, really I’m not, but I was happy to finally find a pair of skinny jeans. That satisfaction was short-lived after reading an article titled “'Skinny Jeans' Linked to Woman’s Nerve Damage.”

As the subhead explained: “After spending the day squatting in too-tight pants, she temporarily couldn’t walk.” This woman ended up in the hospital. Her injury came from emptying cabinets. Her feet became numb. She had difficulty walking. She tripped and fell, and it was hours before she was found lying on the ground. It took four days of treatment before she could walk on her own and was able to leave the hospital.

And that’s when I stopped worrying about trying to look skinny. I’d rather walk. And run. And do yoga. I will focus less on the size outcome of exercising and more on the health and well-being that comes from being active.

And whatever the size, if the dress or jeans fit you well, wear them in good health.

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