It started with a trepidatious walk into the Sullivan Fitness Complex. I gave the front desk attendant my student ID, attempting to nonchalantly pass myself off as someone who always hangs out at the gym. But I was busted; I hadn’t yet signed a waiver.
On days I wasn’t on campus, I started streaming workout videos on Netflix. Then I gave up beer, bread and sweets for Lent. I’ve been measuring my cereal to get the correct serving size and obsessively checking labels for calorie/fat content. I’ve even been taking better care of my skin and shaving my legs every day.
What’s gotten into me?
A modeling gig. I’m going to be in the 7th Annual WMPG Fashion Show, and I’m wicked nervous — even though this means, at the very least, that my boyfriend gets to say he’s dating a model.
Body image is really tough, and we’re all our own worst critics. A Purdue University study found that “women overestimate the size of their hips by 16 percent and their waists by 25 percent, yet the same women were able to correctly estimate the width of a box.”
I’m realistic about my issues, which include, as I see them: pasty skin, oversized pores, dark under eye circles, crooked smile, shortened eyebrows, beer belly, lunch lady arms and hair that’s simultaneously frizzy, flat and cowlicked. My idol, Tina Fey, made a joke on 30 Rock once about her Spanx line getting infected. But in all seriousness, I got an indent in my right thigh last winter from Spanx overuse.
Even though I fall under the average American woman weight of 140 and size of 14, there will always be someone with a smaller waist, shinier hair or smoother skin. I’ve spotted 60 year old women in the locker room that I suspect might look better in this dress. No joke.
My main motivation, though, isn’t to prevent dying of congestive heart failure at 40, or ensure Radio Junk Drawer stays on the air. Nor is it that bikini taunting me from the bottom of my underwear drawer.
I’ve lost five pounds, and I seem to have more energy, but really it’s the satisfaction of my boyfriend telling me he went to the gym today, and my response gets to be, “Me too!”
As far as the fashion show, I’m just going to channel my inner Carrie Bradshaw and hope to not trip.
Amanda is a media studies major and blogger, whose modeling career and writing can be tracked at amandajennifer.blogspot.com.