Figure Flaws

mae west dali

Image of Mae West by Salvador Dali

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C.

I’ve been thinking a lot about body shapes and “figure flaws” this week.  It seemed like a running theme with my clients, then I wrote a post about how having my particular body structure made yoga difficult sometimes, and then Definatalie posted this piece about how wearing only “flattering” things is another form of body shame.


In a lot of ways, I have the body shape that “obesity experts” wring their hands over.  I have a thick waist and narrow hips, such that my waist to hip ratio is nearly at 1.  I tend to gain weight around my midsection.  I know, the horror!  Apparently, per the “obesity experts” I should not only lose weight, I should make the fat move to my hips and thighs because it’s “healthier!”

By the way, this unhealthy belly fat thing is all bullshit.

Also, I’ve never heard a viable, scientific way to make your body move fat from one part of your body to another, so why the hell should anyone worry about this?

Also, worrying about your belly fat could increase your cortisol levels, which could make you store more belly fat.  So, if someone (a doctor,  for example) was really worried about your belly fat, he or she shouldn’t admonish you for it, because that admonishment could stress you out and just cause more belly fat and more alleged belly fat-related problems. The horrors continue!


I used to worry about this crap a lot.  I used to think if I could just have a more hourglass shape, even a fat hourglass shape, things would be better. It’s sort of like a variant of the fantasy of being thin paradigm.  I thought if I were a sexy hourglass instead of an upside-down triangle/apple, then clothes would fit better/guys would like me more/I’d win the lottery/etc. etc.

It wasn’t until I started doing an exercise program called T-Tapp back in 2006 that I learned about different body structures.  I realized then that people built like me, with torsos that are so short that their rib cages nearly touch their hip bones, always have big waists compared to the rest of their bodies. And by the way, I’m not saying that you need an excuse to be whatever size you are.  I’m just saying that realizing that my body shape and structure weren’t weird or bad or whatever helped me get out of the idea that I should be trying to change it.  It made me realize that there is no one right body shape, no body shape that is “better” or “worse.” There is no such thing as “figure flaws.” Rather than striving for a different body, I finally realized that my body was what I’ve got, so I might as well enjoy it.

So my tip for this week is, practice enjoying the body you have.  Let go of comparing your body to others, or worrying about its shape.  Be gentle with yourself as you embrace this concept, and be conscious of the negative voice that will likely come up. (By the way, I’m not saying this easy, just practice it and be open to it for now.)  As always, let me know how it goes in the comment section below.

Want some extra support in feeling good in the body that you have?  Then join me for my latest FREE Teleclass — How To Feel Good In Your Skin!  For details and to register, click here.  Can’t wait to “see” you there!

Get great body love tips and more when you subscribe:

Golda is a certified holistic health counselor and founder of Body Love Wellness, a program designed for plus-sized women who are fed up with dieting and want support to stop obsessing about food and weight. To learn more about Golda and her work, click here.

(Listen to this post here, or subscribe on itunes.)

12 thoughts on “Figure Flaws

  1. Wow. Thanks for this. I have this body type… all my weight is in my midsection leaving relatively thin thighs, arms, butt and face.. I used to envy my heavier GFs who had waists and womanly curves thinking that I looked like a man :( really downing on myself…. not to mention how HARD it is to find pants with this body type…

    until I went to latin america…where i saw that MY body type IS the predominant of Native American women (I am a quarter native american) and everywhere you look are senioritas with wide middles and sexy legs like me and I had tons of costa rican men checking me out…. it really helped me take back and empower the natural genetic type of my body… it made me realize those medical “studies” that show how the pear shape is more healthful is an act of “racism” in a way…I am a foot stomping earth as heeellll….

    1. @jenna, Yeah, foot stomping earth mama! I love that! You’re so right. The “right” shape is so wrapped up in cultural norms. I’m glad you reclaimed your power in this way. It’s hot!

  2. Really interesting post, thanks. What you said about relaxing when you had the realisation about your body shape was true in a different way for me.

    Years ago, when anorexic, I had a sudden realisation that my hip bones were bones. That however little I ate, however much weight I lost, they would not shrink because they were bone, not fat. That was one of the key points of my recovery, which led, ironically, to being the happy fat I am today. I am so much happier being what would have been my worst nightmare at that time, than I was being what people think I should be like now!

  3. Yes, I feel this way all the time. Like I would be fine if my body was just an hourglass. It’s difficult because what I love to do, bellydancing, really is more accepting of that body type (or thin, of course). And yes, bellydancing is for every size, shape, age, etc. but if you want to take it further and be out there, performing or dancing professionally, you will be more successful if you have the ideal body type. This is unfortunately the truth and I when I look in the mirror during class, I often think, “I wouldn’t care if I stayed the same weight if only it wasn’t all in my stomach area.” Michelle, the Fat Nutritionist also touched on this in her post
    and it’s been on my mind ever since.

    1. @Amy, Yes, I liked Michelle’s post too. I think it must always be hard to be a fat professional dancer, especially one who’s not the “approved” hourglass shape. That’s why it’s all the more awesome that you do it. You’re probably inspiring lots of people to dance just by being a wonderful dancer who doesn’t have that expected shape.

  4. Lots of upside-down triangle love to you! Hey, we’re like walking symbols for gay pride. What’s wrong with that?

    So this post made me think: what do you think about all the brilliant scientists who insist that the “classic” (hourglass) female body shape is the evolutionary preference? Because of course *everything* is about reproduction, right? I read those things and I think, if these guys are right, then I never should have had an ounce of male attention, let alone gotten married and had a kid. Oh and, no one who’s too old to have kids would ever bother to have sex, and gay people are inexplicable, etc. But I bet there are women out there who really worry about this, and I’d love to see it thoroughly critiqued. (Next time you have blogger’s block maybe?)

    1. Hi, PJ. Upside down triangle love! Yes, I think this “scientific” ideal stuff is kind of bullshit. If you think about evolutionary imperatives, genetic diversity is also an imperative, right? So wouldn’t it follow that we would want different people to be attracted to different body types, among other things? And yes, I think humans are way to complex to just focus on reproduction. Maybe you should blog about it!

Comments are closed.