Not A Poodle


This past December, as Brett, I and the girls were heading out to dinner with our son and his family, I made my usual obligatory remarks about my weight, that I had gained too much, that I was changing shape again, yada, yada, yada. The girls reply: “Mom. Stop trying to be a poodle.”

A what?

A poodle. Why, they asked, was I trying to or wanting to become a poodle all of the time? We don’t expect dogs to change their breed’s characteristics, even though they’re all dogs, so why do we expect to be able to change our own?

I was not born tall, or lean. I do not have long legs or slim hips and have always erred on the side of being overweight. I have small, wide feet. I have thinnish curly hair that grayed prematurely. I have blue eyes, fair skin with freckles, and I sunburn easily. Why couldn’t I be happy with who I am? the girls asked. They thought I looked terrific, and Brett agreed with them.

When we got home that night, WenYu shared the following video with me. She had used it in as part of a presentation she gave on body image, and women’s seemingly unceasing need to make ourselves over into something we are not, pushed along by both science and society.

The video was a genuine attitude-changer for me, and has helped me look at myself in a whole new light. I eat a wide variety of healthy foods, limit my alcohol intake, and get enough exercise. I am not obese. I am in good health, both physically and mentally. I have a loving family and good friends, and am living where and how I want, with little to no stress. And that should be good enough.

It is these days. No more dieting, no more scales, no more worrying about my size. It’s been positively freeing. I am not a poodle, don’t want to be a poodle, and am not trying to be a poodle any more.

Recently, there’s also been some icing on the metaphorical cake (so to speak). Scientists now think that being overweight, or slightly obese, can actually protect your health.

7 thoughts on “Not A Poodle

  1. I love this post. 🙂

    I don’t want to be a poodle either. I was once a poodle, about 20 years ago. It was a lot of eating mostly just carrots, to get there. To be honest it was not a good look for me. Turns out the “goal weight” which the doctors claimed I should be made me look a little like a skeleton with skin stretched over it.

    I do want to increase my fitness significantly and eat better – I feel like I am achieving that now. Especially with a general anesthetic looming on the horizon! If I become a poodle as a side effect of increasing my fitness, I would be somewhat surprised. 🙂

    Thanks to Fitbit, I suspect I am the fittest I have ever been in my lifetime, right now. That thing was the best thing I ever bought.


    1. I have been a poodle at times as well, but it took a LOT of work to achieve and it was impossible to maintain, just like the poor mastiff in the video.

      I’m happier now, eating better and getting more exercise. I’m not sure I’m the fittest I’ve ever been, but I’m in good shape. I’m still thinking about a Fitbit, but haven’t made up my mind yet. Unless I buy the really expensive one, it doesn’t count time on the bike.


  2. Do you have a link to the video? Either that or I’m too tired to see where it’s at? I’d love to watch it and pass it on to my fitness & health group. You know, I can see the difference in your attitude since December! That’s awesome.


  3. I feel like this too. I hear so many women speaking this way just as general conversation and I wonder why it seems that so much time is spent avoiding other topics in favor of criticizing who we are. Of course logically I know it is because most of us were raised to devalue ourselves. I’m so glad this isn’t happening as much to girls anymore. This doesn’t mean I’m not trying to be a better, fitter version of me. I’m just not trying to be someone else.


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