How A Girl With A Size 8 Waist Chooses To Define 'Fit'

by Leviana Coccia

How do I define fit? Well, I base most of my definition on thoughts by the great philosopher, Mindy Kaling.

She has said, done and written a lot of great things.

My favorite quote of hers is when she told Jimmy Kimmel that it takes a lot of effort to look like a normal/chubby woman.

It, like, totally, seriously does!

When I type the word “fit” into Google, the first images I see are of extremely sculpted male bodies, lean women, muscular babes in g-strings and a diagram to determine the difference between someone who is fat and someone who is muscular.

There are also a lot of stills from workout videos, where the host has probably just started to say, “Do this exercise a few times a week and you’ll have a tight stomach in no time,” or “You wanna be skinny? Then shut up!”

But, there are no photos of people like me.

The diet industry in the United States makes over $40 billion annually.

Whether you’re buying Vitamin B-12 to boost your metabolism, increasing your kale intake from one to eight times a day or trying the “South Beach Fat Flush,” where all you drink is cranberry juice for 72 hours, you’re investing in that industry. (I’m not saying it’s all bad, you might just really want to lose three pounds. I feel you, Regina George.)

I have worked out between five and six days a week for four and a half years and I still don’t look anything like a quick search engine definition of the word “fit.”

However, I’ve decided not to care.

I am a size eight (sometimes a 10). I don’t feel comfortable in tight clothes. I drink more than enough water (most days); I have a healthy diet, and I love home-cooking.

I’m a regular at my gym; I spice things up in my workout routines so my muscles can continually strengthen and I can hold plank position for six minutes.

I work out hard; I understand how to challenge my body. I like chocolate cake. I completed Insanity; sometimes, I don’t eat complex carbohydrates. I need yoga to function on Saturday mornings; I never wake up wishing to have lost weight, and I cannot hold crow pose.

Instead, I wake up wanting to feel energized, happy, motivated and ready to do great things (and maybe eat popcorn).

I like my chub (or, what the diet industry might refer to as something that is most certainly not a six-pack I should have gotten within six weeks -- that workout video lied, for the record).

It hasn’t always been this way, though. I used to obsess over my weight. If I gained one pound, my entire day (read: week) would be ruined. I’d go to the gym for an extra half hour each day until that pound, or more, was gone.

I psychologically needed to remain a certain weight because at that weight, I felt like I was the closest to a woman starring in a fitness magazine’s advertorial on the Slimband as I could ever be.

When I remained that weight, people would make fewer comments about me having an appetite. (Spoiler alert: I am human; I have an appetite. When I am hungry, I eat.)

I became unhappy, very fast. I didn’t love who I was because I was always trying to change myself.

Instead of embracing my natural curves, exercising to stay healthy and making working out and healthy food choices a part of my lifestyle, I was starting to believe I had to constantly lose weight to fit in. I thought losing weight and having a six-pack was the only lifestyle I should try to obtain.

People only write about pretty, skinny girls with toned stomachs in chick-lit novels, and when they write about “ordinary” ladies, the characters are made to seem like they’re carrying excess baby weight and don’t own a hairbrush or an eyeliner pencil. What was I supposed to think?

I was never going to be smaller than my figure would allow (I do have bones and joints), and I had to learn to love it. With loving my body came appreciating the time I would spend making it stronger.

With understanding my thighs would always be thick (do not read this as a Drake or Kanye lyric), came learning how to tone them and build muscle. With having a weak upper body came hours of planning the right exercises that would help my muscles grow.

With understanding that indulging sometimes is good, came getting excited for a few glasses of white wine on weekends.

When my self-esteem was at the lowest it has ever been, I realized I needed to change. I couldn’t define “fit” for the world, but I could have my own definition of the word to suit me.

I didn’t need to “fit” with made-up characters in romance novels or even be the same size as my bestie. I just needed to be me, just like you need to be you.

Create a lifestyle that fits you.