Not a Poodle


(I’m still no longer trying to be a poodle, but I continue to find the message of the video below inspirational. I want to lose weight (again) because I want to feel better, and that’s all. I have accepted I will never be thin, but in spite of my average height I have a very small frame, and carrying around 25 extra pounds gets difficult, and can be painful at times, hence the doctor’s recommendation. This was originally posted on April 25, 2016.)

This past December, as Brett, the girls, and I 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 replied, “Mom. Stop trying to be a poodle.”

A what?

A poodle. Why, they asked, was I trying 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 to be 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 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 diet plans, no more scales, no more worrying about my size. It’s been positively freeing. I am not a poodle, I don’t want to be a poodle, and I am not trying to be a poodle anymore.

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.


9 thoughts on “Not a Poodle

    1. Isn’t it great? Along with all the advertising and celebrity images we’ve been fed over the years, it explains so clearly why so many of us have a negative body image.


  1. Love, love , love the video.
    I hate what our culture says about our bodies. I loved being on the beach in Spain and Israel. I am, definitely, a mastiff. At 63 I take no medicine and I have super dense bones. I need to find a better weight, but now it is about me and not about my looks. Mom turns 90 and is a bull dog. I guess it isn’t about a longer life.


    1. It explains so many of the negative body images and attitudes we (women especially) absort. I’m not sure what my breed it though – a pug, maybe (without the squished face).

      I am losing weight for myself these days. I have tiny bones (I can easily touch my fingers around my wrists) but seem to always have had extra blubber and it’s now hard on my bones – they ache. My mom had tiny bones too – she wore a size 4 ring (I wear a 6)!

      Just 3 prescription meds for me, two for hereditary conditions (high cholesterol and osteoporosis); I’m trying to improve my stomach so I can drop the last one.


  2. Hear, hear! I’ve always been substantial and finally reconciled to the fact that my name and dainty will not be used in the same sentence. I’m healthy and on no meds. I can one-hand a log onto the cutting block with the chain saw in the other. That’s the kind of physicality that appeals to me.


    1. LOL- my name and the word dainty would never be put together either! Healthy is more important to me. I wish I was as strong as I used to be though, but time has had its way with me in that regard. I still am a “quick stepper” though – Brett’s always telling me to slow down!


  3. I’m Eastern European peasant stock and will always be that, not a poodle or a Twiggy. But the pounds that have crept on over the years need to start creeping off. My joints are suffering from the extra pounds, especially since I work an on-my-feet job and love to walk for exercise. The combo of being dog-less and the pandemic has resulted in another 5. 😏


    1. Like you, the extra pounds I’m carrying these days make my joints ache, which is the main reason I am trying to get rid of them once again.

      I don’t know if I’m from peasant stock or not, but one weekend before we were married we drove up to meet my dad’s side of the family in Indiana. On the drive back to Tennessee he was quiet, but eventually said, “I know now what you’ll look like when you’re older, and I’m OK with that.” My aunts were neither poodles nor Twiggy as well.


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