Figure Flaws

by Golda Poretsky, H.H.C. on August 2, 2010

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!

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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.

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