snapshots of an idle mind

May 21, 2006


Filed under: Uncategorized — sassinak @ 11:42 am

when i was swimming they used to weigh us, put us on diets and fat pinch us. i didn’t realise then how useful that knowledge would one day be…

twenty years later.

there i was talking to a friend of mine and she started to tell me that she was fat. now i couldn’t see her body really because she was wearing baggy pants but i could see her upper body and i told her that i would describe her as slender.

which i would.

and she was fully stunned. fully because she knows that i am the kind of person that doesn’t say things they don’t mean.

and we then went on to discuss her body image and my body image and i told her that i thought she was a size six, eight at the most. eventually i looked up her bmi (body mass index, a relatively full of shit measure of body fat) and it was twenty point eight. so i look up mine which is twenty four point eight, point one away from overweight.

i know, i know, it’s because it doesn’t take muscle mass into consideration.

and she stared at me.

how could mine be higher if she could see that i was fit and looked good? she’s known me for years after all.

so then i fat pinched her. i know i don’t have calipers and i can’t get the number of millimetres of fat but i could compare her spots to mine. so i did.

she was blown away.

not only did she have less fat than i did at every spot but she could see that i didn’t have very much.

she just sat there and stared at me. she couldn’t even begin to understand how she could be so convinced that she was fat when all rational evidence pointed to the contrary. eventually we concluded that what she actually was was out of shape.

this is, of course, totally different. i can state unequivocally that if you are out of shape and skinny that chances are you’re feeling fat anyway. i can also state with relative certainty that if you’re chubby but in shape you’re feeling pretty skinny.

so then i started thinking about my clients. i have a fairly large group that i teach now and with very few exceptions these are people who are relatively fit but kind of broken. in terms of the women though i see commonalities between almost all of them.

with two exceptions that i can think of (which makes it about 95% for the women i know) every single woman that i teach has body image issues or self image troubles or is somehow convinced that her body is bad.

i mean from the size two Indian princess to the size twelve most adorable redhead to the six foot blonde goddess to the five feet of adorable asian girl to the silver fox. there is no correlation between ethnic background and body image that i can see either. it seems to transcend race and age and height and weight.

the one universal is that none of these women likes her body.


what’s awe inspiring about this? i don’t have an unnattractive client.

i have ones that are more or less attractive. i mean i have one lady who is six feet of blonde perfection and you would not be surprised to see her on the cover of vogue (well she’s a bit older than they like but otherwise you get what i mean) and of course most of my clients don’t measure up to her (then again neither do i… oh her bones!) but then most humans don’t measure up to brad pitt either.

but somehow that’s the only person they’re willing to compare themselves to.

every single woman that i teach is beautiful.

no, seriously, every single one. some of them are cuter or prettier or thinner or more ripped but they’re all attractive women and not one of them believes it.

irony? this has done my own personal self esteem more good than almost anything i can imagine. even just the pinching thingy with my friend. she’s slender, so if i have the same sort of fat pinching as she does then i must be slender too right?


hey brain are you listening???

yeah, it’s fucked up what the media and modern culture do to women. i mean at least when i was growing up i had cindy crawford or christie brinkley… beautiful women with full figures. they were thin sure but they weren’t starvation chic either. they were healthy and looked like they exercised.

what they weren’t were twigs.

i imagine growing up today with kate moss being practically fat by today’s standards and i’m afraid for the girls that are coming up now. they have slutty fourteen year olds, bimbos like jessica simpson and anorexic super models to look up to. this doesn’t bode well for their own self image.

i mean hell the women of hollywood are falling all over themselves at mach six to get plastic surgery and ‘work’ done on themselves because they can’t keep up with the air brushing either. eventually there won’t be a woman alive who is capable of looking like the women in magazines. already the models can hardly keep up.

this example pretty much sums up the problem.

women are more and more being made to look like caricatures of themselves and fewer and fewer actual females are capable of looking as they expect. i mean hell look at any magazine when they do one of those articles about ‘the best jeans for your butt’ and then look at the models.

they’ll have ‘boy’, ‘tall’, ‘short’ and ‘curvy’ and all four of the women will be within ten pounds of each other. the woman they use for curvy doesn’t ever look like she’s over a size four and she definetely never has hips.

one of these days i’m going to send them a picture of my ass in jeans and say ‘fit me you cocksuckers!’

until then? i guess i’ll just keep spreading the message one friend at a time.

ladies? you are NOT fat. throw out the fashion magazines.

thank you.



  1. Love you.

    Comment by Amber — May 21, 2006 @ 2:56 pm | Reply

  2. sass, WORD. WORD. WORD.


    what’s really troubling is when i hear other women tearing down teeny actresses or models for being “fat.” that’s just so…. self-defeating, for lack of a better word.

    Comment by terry — May 21, 2006 @ 3:03 pm | Reply

  3. Well there are those of us who are indeed overweight and are not overly obsessed by magazines…although I always tell my students that no matter how much we think media is not affecting us, it is. And it surely is, especially constant, relentless, ridiculous exposure to unrealistic images. So, now, I am not really focusing on how I look but how I fell. The how I look I think will come from eating a more balanced diet of organic foods that are better for me.

    BTW…I started WW seven weeks ago and I have lost 12.6 pounds. However, I am not obsessing about the scales. I feel better and I have learned so much about food and portions, etc.



    Comment by Natalia — May 21, 2006 @ 4:53 pm | Reply

  4. hell yeah!

    Comment by lividviv — May 21, 2006 @ 5:51 pm | Reply

  5. amber: *huggs*

    terry: heh thanks!!! you should have seen the transformation in her face over the course of that conversation…

    yeah that is even more self-defeating although i confess i’ve done it myself… which of course pisses me off.

    nat: hey you may be overweight but chances are you’re not as far gone as you think you are. and you are far more self aware than the average bird too.

    you are correct, and the feel really is the motivator so much more than the look… but it’s harder to find at first.

    i think your attitude is totally the right one and am quietly cheering for you over here.

    viv: thanks! and yeah, it is sort of a manifesto isn’t it?

    Comment by sassinak — May 21, 2006 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  6. I could not agree with you any more about the body image thing. There is a gal at my gym that has been on the cover of flex (Tara Hampton…do a google search…she is crazy fit,) and she is uncomfortable with her body. Incredible. For God’s sake, or just their own peace of mind…you only occupy the body for a short time, enjoy it while you have it…I try, damned carpal tunnel has stopped me lately, kidding. Honestly, beauty is inside out…not the other way around. Even the best looking men and women are only one accident away, a few years away, or just an illness away from being average. Forget that…like the guy said in Dodgeball…”you are perfect just the way you are…” Being so insecure about such a transient thing as body type is such a turnoff. I rather like it when women that have the big bellies and still wear a tube top…or the guys with out a bicep muscle still wear wife beaters…god bless em they are not worried about what they look like.

    Comment by Casually Me — May 21, 2006 @ 9:36 pm | Reply

  7. ladies, if you ARE feeling fat … come sit next to me for some pictures … you’ll end up feeling exceedingly thin ;)

    seriously, though sass … great post. it’s one that everyone, not just every woman, should read.

    Comment by DZER — May 22, 2006 @ 3:55 am | Reply

  8. God Bless You…….

    I wish more women could believe this post

    Comment by Kristen — May 22, 2006 @ 8:26 am | Reply

  9. I’ve always known that 280 lbs was okay for my 4’2″ frame….*sniff*, thanks sass.

    Comment by kathi — May 22, 2006 @ 8:41 am | Reply

  10. *looks at her coffee table*

    do i have to throw out my car mags too?!!

    and preach on my sister! sa it loud, say it proud!

    and maybe one day i’ll stop being a hypocrite and internalize it and believe it myself…

    until then? i rock out to some gun’sn’roses =P

    Comment by da buttah — May 22, 2006 @ 12:28 pm | Reply

  11. cas: holy crap. that chick thinks she isn’t hot? that’s fucking tragic.

    i cannot agree more with your comment (hee on the carpal tunnel bit) because really your body is the most amazing machine you’ll ever own, what’s the point of hating it?

    you know i think that ‘god bless em for not caring’ and at the same time i think ‘cover that up’ … so fucking hypocritical and stupid.

    dzer: did you really just diss your body in the comments of a be nice to your body post? :P

    i agree that everyone should read it, i just see it ten times more in women than men. and i do teach more women than men but not enough more.

    kris: thanks!

    and so do i.

    kathi: :P

    i’m not saying there aren’t people who need to lose weight, there are, hell i was one of them. but even then chances are the chich is going to be beating herself up for being 600 pounds when she’s only 400 :)

    elle: no you can keep your car mags… and be smart enough to ignore the media bullshit in the ads. i mean hell if i want to read pilates journals i have to accept the stupid cover models too.

    when i was your age i was thinner than i am now but i knew i was fat. give yourself some time :)

    i saw gnr way back when…

    Comment by sassinak — May 22, 2006 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

  12. Most of my students are kids and I’ve had perfectly healthy 7 year olds tell me that they are on diets and 14 year old girls who haven’t even started developing yet tell me that they are getting implants when they graduate from high school.
    It’s so sad.
    I think the greatest thing I can do as a teacher and a mom is accept my body (at least in front of the children) and sing the praises of all shapes and sizes as long as they are fit!!
    You are so right about that, FIT is what matters.

    Comment by Madame X — May 22, 2006 @ 9:19 pm | Reply

  13. madame: damm. that’s sick.

    and i’ve heard thirteen year old girls with the most beautiful hair i’ve ever seen discuss their hatred of their curls.


    i agree with you except on one point, i think you have to accept your body ALL the time, not just in front of the children.

    and yeah dude, it’s all about the fit.

    Comment by sassinak — May 22, 2006 @ 11:48 pm | Reply

  14. LOL @Dzer… jesus! Alright well this is the third time I’ve read this post, and you know how I feel about the self image issue as it pertains to women and mostly pre-teens… I love this post btw.

    Funny Story.

    The last photo shoot I went to, the photographer went on for fifteen minutes about the fact that I had no waist. He then went into how they would have to manipulate the proofs to thin out my waist and give me a little more volumptous of a look.

    So I look at myself, think “wtf?” and immediately feel inadequate for a moment. I work to eat the right foods and gain some mass index (because truthfully I have none whatsoever)… Over a few weeks of time I had gone from 105 to 112 with exercise and diet…

    All I’ve heard since then from friends, familty and co-workers is this:
    “you look like you’re gaining weight… are you planning on dieting?”

    “watch out how much you eat, you’re going to have to go shopping for new pants….”

    “Jesus is your ass getting fatter?”

    Meanwhile my head is in the right place and I’m happy with the weight I’ve gained… but hearing this relentlesly every day is getting tedious. So really it’s not so much me that’s hard on myself… It’s everyone else!!


    Comment by Everything Nice — May 23, 2006 @ 10:23 am | Reply

  15. bubbles: thanks!

    i don’t know if that’s funny, i think it’s a little more fucking tragic than anything else. i mean if a 112 woman is ‘getting fat’ then what the fuck is anyone else supposed to think about themselves?

    and you especially can’t afford to be too thin because you need some reserves. who are these people that claim to be your friends?

    and babe? you’re hot and you have a waist, i don’t get what that idiot is on about.

    Comment by sassinak — May 23, 2006 @ 11:01 am | Reply

  16. I don’t pretend to understand the body image thing for women. Especially when it gets to be self destructive, like my anorexic / bulimic friend.

    There’s healthy self inspection, and then there’s tearing yourself down.

    Guys – well, we’re wired differently for the most part. We’ll have a big beer gut and see ourselves in the mirror and think, “I look hawt.”

    Comment by Matt Vella — May 23, 2006 @ 12:11 pm | Reply

  17. matt: yeah it’s pretty sick, and even if it isn’t self destructive physically it is to the self esteem… and women are really bad at HEALTHY self inspection.

    i know that anorexia and bigorexia (think body builders…) are growing problems with men but yeah not as big yet. but it’s coming.

    Comment by sassinak — May 23, 2006 @ 2:34 pm | Reply

  18. Snicker yeah I suppose it’s not so funny.. what IS funny is that I am comfortable in my own skin until of course somebody has to run their mouths.

    To this day, Im not sure if they’re saying that because maybe they’ve noticed and they’re happy for me? or what.

    Really, I dunno… I think that yeah I need to bone up on reserves always… but the minute you equate ‘weight’ and ‘heavier’ in anything the random consensus your emotions say ‘yeah, you’re okay’ takes a dive.

    My point was that no matter how great I think I am. its always some one who steps on toes for us…

    Its a bullshit photographer, he’s just pissy about the 10lbs rule.. and I told him he could go fuck himself in classic Emma way, which was rather “Listen here cocksmoker, I don’t have to put my fat ass on film at all… You can’t find my waist then that’s your issue… You wanna do this shoot or what?”

    he shut up shortly after. :)

    Thanks Sass for the comps… it is kinda tough bulking up, but, It’s so nice to be healthy!

    btw – my left kidney is at 70% and going strong. My therapy is working!!!

    ok enough about me. Let’s talk about you in a swimsuit.

    Comment by Everything Nice — May 23, 2006 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

  19. This is a hard one for me to comment on because in my case, I simply AM fat. Then again, I’m never trying to compare myself to those magazine women either.

    The biggest mistake in my life, I think, was this: I lost 90 lbs several years ago. I was still considerably overweight, but I was in great shape and even though it was clear that I was still a plus-size girl, I was a very active, attractive, healthy plus-size girl. My skin was firm, my clavicles were pronounced, I only had one chin. I looked good.

    But I was coloured by the success of having lost as much as I had and I couldn’t fathom the idea that maybe I was simply where I was meant to be, body-wise. Not every woman can be a size 6. I was a 14 but I wore it well and no one would have guessed that I weighed over 140-150 lbs. Which, on my 5’3 frame is still quite a lot, but like I said — I was still overweight. I was well over 150 though, I can tell you that.

    So I plateaued for like… ugh, forever. And then I just didn’t know what to do, I tried everything to jump start my weight loss again. Nothing worked. So I wound up gaining it all back. And then some. And now, in my sedentary Florida life, I am much less healthy than I was to begin with, even before I lost those 90 lbs.

    If I ever get to a point in life where I can manage to make that kind of transition again, I will NOT be dissatisfied with how far I’ve come. I will accept where my body wants to be. And if it wants to go lower than it was, great. But I can’t be like this forever.

    Also, my sister has the perfect body (seriously) and she can never find jeans she likes either.

    Comment by JMai — May 23, 2006 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

  20. bubbles: something is seriously fucked with the planet if ANYONE thinks a woman that weighs a hundred and twelve pounds is in any way porky. even if you’re 4’11

    i hope they’re happy for you but your tone did not imply happy, it implied bitchy.

    you’re right though, trying hard to accept that heavier is good is really fucking hard when you’re a chick and you’re told it isn’t. least you’re in no danger of turning into portia de rossi in her ally mcbeal days.

    and yeah you’re right about the other people who love to step on toes. step on your own fucking toes mine are tired enough :)

    that photog can suck murphy’s dick i tell you.

    i’m glad you’re bulking up a little and i bet it feels great… and your kidney therapy is WORKING?????????

    *dance of joy*


    there will be no swimsuit pics but i do have a really cute suit with boy shorts and everything.

    jmai: actually this makes me more interested in what you have to say. i mean it would be unrealistic to call you skinny so i wonder if the media affects you more or rather less?

    oh dude we’ve all made that mistake. i quit smoking for six months and then started again. i mean what the fuck was THAT about??

    i think you’re an attractive plus size girl right now… but if you aren’t active that’s a problem… mmm clavicles :)

    i’ve been at 180 for well over a year now. and what makes it sorta hard is all my friends saying ‘you look great have you lost weight?’ and me going ‘um no… ask me if i’ve been working out’

    i’m sad that you weren’t happy there and slid back but i think everyone in the world has slip ups. may i suggest going after exercise and letting the diet take care of itself a little? the food cravings change with exercise …

    and maybe your body needed a couple of years to catch up right? :)

    the thing with those transitions is they start small… a lot of trainers advocate one percent per day. so if you walked for 100 minutes one day you would walk for 101 the next etc. very slow but it adds up… do that with both diet adn exercise and expect very slow steady change…?

    good luck babe

    jeans suck, i only like hand me downs *g*

    Comment by sassinak — May 23, 2006 @ 8:37 pm | Reply

  21. Well, really in my case, the media doesn’t much affect me at all because I don’t expect to look like or measure up to the models.

    Thank you… I think I have a pretty face but I’m very unimpressed with my body. I think though, that like everything else, my yo-yo experience was a learning experience so I can’t classify it as all bad. I know that if I manage to get healthy again that I won’t fuck it up by being vain.

    It is a problem to not be active but in large part it’s due to lack of time. However, I have decided to take recent changes in my life as positive indicators that I can move onto a lower-stress, more routine lifestyle. Routine sounds so boring really, but for me it’s the only way to stay on track with diet/exercise.

    You’re right about the food choices. You always make better choices when you’re exercising AND you feel better about making the not-so-good choices now and again because you know you’ll work it off later.

    Thanks for the luck! I definitely need it tonight/in the near future!

    Support rocks!

    Comment by JMai — May 23, 2006 @ 8:52 pm | Reply

  22. You’re so right about accepting your body ALL THE TIME..I just wish I could do it!

    Comment by Madame X — May 23, 2006 @ 9:05 pm | Reply

  23. jmai: fair enough. what do you think of the slight trend to having plus size models who are actually pretty AND allowed to be sexy?

    or the new dove ads ?

    you have a lovely face and hair, beyong that i can’t comment because i haven’t seen them. i will tell you that if you get thinner your joints and back will be a lot happier and that you will have more energy. i can also tell you to be very slow with anything you do. the odds of a yo-yo are much higher with anythign done fast. finally i’ll say ask nat, she’s made changes very recently and mine are all several years old now.

    anyway, everything is good just some things take longer to show their positive effects. fuck me i just said that out loud. anyway losing vanity seems like a pretty positive effect :)

    do you think that there are small changes like taking the stairs or walking to the store or parking an extra block from work that could start you on the road to active?

    you’re right that stress is a killer… it leads to tiredness which leads to lower resistance and less positive choices… what sort of things are you going to change? (love routine, hate to admit it)

    yeah that’s it exactly. get active before anything :)

    you need luck tonight? but why?
    and dude i’m always willing to lend an ear cause i’ve been on both sides of this tree.

    madame: *sigh* me too.

    Comment by sassinak — May 23, 2006 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  24. Are you okay? Wanna hear from you.

    Comment by kathi — May 23, 2006 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

  25. I like the Dove ads… and honest plus-size ads. Unfortunately I find a lot of plus-size ads (e.g. catalogs) show not-plus-size women modeling the plus-size clothes. it’s totally retarded.

    Thank you for the compliments. Everyone was on about my hair today… maybe when you’re less stressed it shows in your hair? I dunno but I was hella happy today at work knowing it was my last day.

    I do take the stairs, the grocery store is too far to walk (welcome to Florida) and I have to park in the lot at work or else my car will be towed… or at least I had to park in the lot when I had a job to go to! But really what I need is regular exercise, and I’m looking forward to possibly even having an exercise buddy (Chulo).

    I think what I will do, once life stabilises at least a little, is get back into the gym regularly and try to cook more. I know just what to do, having done it before… it’s just a matter of getting into the routine (!)

    Comment by JMai — May 24, 2006 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

  26. jmai: i love the dove ads myself. i wish more people would do it.

    othercat thinks that the ‘addition-elle’ woman [14+ chain in canada] is actually air brushed to be fatter than she is… and she’s lost weight.

    i think i might be the right weight to plus size model now and that’s pretty funny since i’m out of the plus size clothes. funny tragic.

    i can’t believe you quit and it’s over that fast. that’s amazing. amazing.

    oh i’m not disputing the regular exercise at all but sometimes starting with regular habits doesn’t hurt either. sounds like you’re on the right track though and i hope your quest for health goes awesomely well.

    like routine, hate admitting it :)

    Comment by sassinak — May 25, 2006 @ 2:13 am | Reply

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