but how can I be perfect if what’s “perfect” isn’t real?

I have a little confession. I’m a little pop-culture obsessed. I eat up all things Hollywood. I live for Awards Season (it’s like the high holidays for me).  Hollywood’s comings and goings: the drama, the gossip, who’s sleeping with who(m?)…ahh…all this stuff makes me very happy. Alarmingly so.

My guilty pleasure for the past 8 or 9 years has been my daily dose of Lainey Gossip. She is the Meryl Streep of gossip. She is a maven, a sherpa… She is the Rain Man of who, what, when, where (and what they wore, to boot). What I love most about Lainey is that she writes with a no holds barred attitude, telling you exactly what she thinks.

The other day, Lainey posted an article on Jessica Simpson, and a recent photo spread she released to promote her clothing line. You can read the full article here. Lainey rightly points out that the photos, purportedly taken in November, have been heavily retouched.



The issue here is not whether or not the photos have been doctored (anyone with reasonable vision can see the difference). The issue is that Jessica Simpson is denying it. Yes, she lost a giant amount of post-baby weight (using the Weight Watchers system), but she did not look like the shot on the left in November.

The other problem is the overall message this sends to all of us: Jessica’s real body is not good enough to sell her own clothing line. Listen folks, if Jessica Simpson, with her team of trainers, chefs and stylists behind her isn’t good enough to appear in a print ad hocking her own clothing line [this is not a Lagerfeld spread in Vogue for crying out loud!], then what hope do the rest of us have to look halfway decent in our family pictures???

This whole thing landed badly for me. I’m not naive, I know that fashion magazines re-touch their models’ photos. I am well aware that the “beauty standard” spoon fed to us in every magazine is often completely unrealistic or unattainable. Still, knowing all this does not make me immune to the desire to try to attain the unattainable.  Messed up, I know. But recognizing this…being truly cognizant of it…this is progress.

Letting go of those unattainable standards is the real work. And I will work on this.

Today was my 42nd consecutive day of working out. This is something I feel really great about. I’m proud of myself. What I’m not proud of was how critically I judged myself in the mirror this afternoon, waiting for the shower water to warm up. I have work to do. And I don’t mean physically.

Get moving!

xoxo nancy

11 thoughts on “but how can I be perfect if what’s “perfect” isn’t real?

  1. Nancy, you are so healthy- mind and body! The fact that you can be AWARE of the unrealistic ‘ requirements’ spoon fed to women, see that you hold yourself to the standard, AND critique your judgement IN PRINT, just shows how balanced you are. We all have unrecognizable, unrealistic goals for ourselves…..but knowing that they are so- is the basic step to letting them go and re-adjusting the bar. You are sending a very powerful message to yourself and all of us! Keep sending it 🙂

  2. so well said Nancy!! I am so proud of you and you definitely are an inspiration to all of us out there. It’s so bad how critical of ourselves we are and even when we think we look good we second guess ourselves based on what the media portrays as the standard. Keep up the great work and looking forward to reading more 🙂

    • Thanks Mon! I love that these words are resonating with others. I really want to create a little community here on My Year of Sweat, where we can all support each other through our individual journeys. We are long overdue for lunch, too, m’lady!

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  5. Wonderful post! And good for you … you’ve seen through the “hype” and are battling that urge to buy into it!! I spent a lot of years trying out different exercise routines and diets to shape my body into the image in my head. Finally, at some point, I decided that it was just too exhausting (not to mention unattainable)! I stopped the nonsense and focused, instead, on being healthy. I’d like to tell you that, like magic, my shape turned into that beautiful image in my mind but … that’s not what happened. What did happen is that the image in my mind changed and I started to accept the body that I have. These days, being fit and healthy are more important to me than wearing a certain size clothing. Thanks for the reminder to be ourselves! By the way, I found you via “Blast from the past”.

    • Thank you so much for stopping by and taking the time to share your thoughtful comment! I couldn’t agree with you more that being healthy and fit is vastly more important than fitting into a size 2. The magic, for me at least, has been in finding how the road to healthy delivered so much happiness. And the happier I became, the more I learned to love myself and my body – imperfections and all. Magic! Thanks again for being here and sharing!

  6. I love the title of this post! It’s really a shame, but I know I’ve struggled with wanting that perfection. It’s only been during times when I was consistently physically active that I felt strong and healthy – AND it didn’t matter how I looked. I could be a 4 or an 8 and I felt the same! 🙂
    Great post.

    • Thanks Val! I think that’s why I’ve latched so hard onto this daily workout regime. I just feel strong, healthy, beautiful and capable when I workout. And that goes a long way towards beating back the irrational need to strive for “perfection”.

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