As a female plastic surgeon, this should be my reality: perfection. I have access to all the tools and tricks. I have lasers, fillers, local anesthesia and knives. I shouldn’t have a line, a wrinkle or any cellulite. I should have a tight tummy and perfect boobs. I should be flawless.

But I am so far from that, I will never be flawless and here’s why…

I like life too much.

I don’t think I’m lazy. I made it through some pretty rigorous surgical training with crazy long hours and very little sleep. I am not afraid of hard work and physical labor. My best girlfriend has told me that I’m one of few people she would ever help during a move because I’ll actually lift as much as anyone else. I’m proud of that. When it’s time for yard work, I’m balls to the wall. (That’s a strange phrase because what does that really mean…balls to the wall? Guess it’s universal and understood.) We have bamboo behind our house and one weekend it was overdue for pruning. Hours in the heat, working away…when I emerged from the project I had mud under my fingernails, blood all over both arms, bamboo in my hair. And a smile on my face. Hard work feels good.

I exercise somewhat routinely. I go through phases as I think most do. Many years ago I started running with a dear friend that was already an accomplished runner. I was a little like Forrest Gump: I just started running. From a sedentary couch dweller I became an actual runner and completed 3 half marathons, one alongside that runner girlfriend during which we posted her personal record time. It was only my first half so it was my best time, too. I remain very proud of that. I go through bursts of workout fads: I’ve done P90X, Insanity. I do a killer ab workout about every three weeks. Can’t hit it again until it stops hurting and I can get out of bed without weeping. I wonder why I’m not seeing those results….hmmm. I tried CrossFit but it was not my cup of tea. Currently I’m obsessed with Zyn22 and am proud to have stuck with it so far. Those that know me know I’m all butt and thighs so spin seems like a good fit. Yeah!

I was thin once. It was AWESOME. Man, did I feel great. I lost enough weight that at one point someone suggested perhaps I need not lose anymore. As the lifelong chubby girl that had never happened to me. I was proud of that, really…to be thin enough that someone noticed. That’s not healthy or realistic, I get it. But it was so foreign to me. And now it’s foreign to me because I need to lose weight…again. The life of the yo-yo I think is familiar to so many of us. Dammit.

I have had a significant amount of plastic surgery myself to improve how I look and feel. I have had 2 rhinoplasties (there is actually a good story there), liposuction EVERYWHERE, a mastopexy. I get Dysport™ whenever I see frown lines, I have filler all over my face. I have had lasers, peels and use buckets of skin care. I have Latisse™ on my eyelashes. I practice what I preach as I tell my patients. I think that’s a positive because I live out loud and can connect to so many with their concerns personally as well as professionally.

So what’s with my inability to look perfectly perfect? I posted something this morning in a Facebook thread I was involved in that resonated with me:

Some days you eat salads and go to the gym, some days you eat cupcakes and refuse to put on pants. It’s called balance.

I love that. It would be fantastic if balance was easy to achieve. If you swing the pendulum too far in one direction, you are fit but perhaps unfulfilled. Too far in the other and you’re fat and unfulfilled. It is not easy. When I say I love life, I love the happiness that food and drink brings. It’s communal, it’s social. After a long day in the operating room we rarely search for a juice bar for happy hour. Wine is not bad for you, vodka is not evil. Pasta should not be considered sinful and sometimes there is nothing more magnificent that a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…on actual bread. I suppose the problem is too much of that goodness with less of the due diligence.

I am very, very happily married to a sexy dude 17 years my senior that has taken great physical care of himself his entire life. He competed as a bodybuilder for years, worked as a personal trainer for many years after that. Although I complain that he wakes up at 3:30 in the morning to work out pretty much every morning, I applaud his dedication. I remain amazed that he married a girl riddled with cellulite and without a six pack but he said something to me once shortly after we met and before we were married. I spotted a super fit sexy girl and when I pointed her out to him I stated, ‘now she looks like someone you should be with.’ To which he replied, ‘perhaps, but at some point I’d have to talk to her.’ That still makes me smile.

I suppose the definition of perfection is not just how you look getting out of the shower. Don’t get me wrong: I’m all about helping anyone who desires to look perfectly perfect naked achieve that. Yes, if I were to ramp up my game and scale back on the carbs I can surely peel off a few pounds. But if I have Jeff by my side, maybe at spin class or maybe at brunch, and we are laughing together watching the world go by, then I have found my balance. So far today I’m on a clean run after an early workout and a bottle of water. I’m wearing size 6 jeans and can still feel my feet and bend over…that’s victory for a girl like me. But there is probably a cupcake on my horizon somewhere.

Here’s up to it!


Emily Mclaughlin2 Comments