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Shannon Bradley-Colleary Headshot

Am I Really Fat?

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I've been the same weight for approximately five years. 140 lbs. Sometimes I'm up to 143, sometimes down to 137, but almost always exactly at 140. I am 5 foot 6 1/2 inches tall. I'm 46. So let's shark about the internet and find out if I'm really fat ...

1. The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute says a normal BMI is 18.5 - 24.9. When I calculate my BMI I come out at 22.3 which is well within the normal, healthy range.

2. Am-i-fat.com says that if I were a female in the U.S. Army my healthy weight would be between 143-147 lbs. Hoo-ahh!

3. Myoptumhealth.com says a women my height should weigh between 118-156 lbs.
Clearly I'm in a healthy weight range. So I've decided to do something radical.

I'm not going to lose weight.

Say what? That's it. I've relinquished 130. Would I like 130? Yes. Do I need it? No. I've been nit-picking myself about those ten pounds for five years. I've been wanting to get back to my pre-child, pre-40s size. Well I'm done with it and this is why.

The unretouched girl below is 25-years old and weighs 125 lbs. She's a size 4. She doesn't like her body. She's broken it down into parts as if it were a car. Some parts are acceptable, others she hates. She thinks she has cellulite on her bum:

She thinks she needs liposuction on her thighs:

She thinks her breasts are too small:

She is me. 21 years ago. With a media-induced case of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Deceased Hollywood headshot photographer Helmut Lipschitz took these for a gallery show he was producing. I allowed him to do so as a woman trying to see my real body. Not the inadequate one I thought I had.

I look at this girl now and wonder, "Why did she even wear any clothes? She could've just walked around naked all the time!" Whenever I get the chance I show everyone my nudes. Henry just sighs and says, "I see you've managed to get your nudes out again." My mom's group is sick of my nudes. The Jehovah's Witnesses have stopped coming by. Even the neighborhood realtors don't leave their flyers in our gate anymore for fear I'll chase them down the street with my photo album shrieking,"Look at my nudes! Wasn't I gorgeous?!"

(And of course I won't be running for public office anytime soon ... wonder if they'd let me put my nudes up in the Oval Office?)

Here are Henry and I two summers ago. (We don't do nudes anymore) I call this our Angie and Brad shot (he's Angie):

I don't have the same body I had in my nudes. But ... not bad. (Henry's since lost 10 lbs. Does he have a second family somewhere? Anyone? Anyone?)

In 21 years from now I'll look back at this photo and think -- I looked great. Why did I worry so much about sucking in my soft round belly? It barely showed! And my kids loved to snuggle on it, my husband too. Why didn't I enjoy the way I looked and especially the way I felt, which was extravagantly healthy? Why didn't I carpe the freakin' diem?

Any woman worth her salt knows all about the photo-shopping and air brushing that runs rampant in the advertising industry, accosting us relentlessly with fake perfection. If you haven't you might enjoy seeing photoshopping in action: WATCH:

We all know that advertisers make it their business to manipulate us into hating ourselves so we'll buy their products. Still an image is worth a thousand words. As a society we are brainwashed into the perpetual quest for perfection and it's just NOT POSSIBLE.

So I won't be losing weight. What I'll be doing is:

Developing a healthier relationship with food.

And maintaining a healthy weight.

I don't have the nerve (yet) to make my own "Muffinlicious" video, but here is one brave woman who has pulled a Jamie Lee Curtis and shown us how to celebrate our imperfections: WATCH:

What are you struggling to accept?

This post originally appeared on The Woman Formerly Known As Beautiful.