It’s high time I put on a pair of open-toed shoes, but I can’t bring myself to do it. My toenails are a mess, and the bottoms of my feet need the help of, oh wood planning equipment perhaps, before my feet are summer ready.
I’ve been busy at work, leaving no time for actual grooming. Nail filing happens at long traffic lights. My eyebrows resemble the Fire Swamp. These and more public parts of me need attention, and so my feet will have to wait.
On the other hand – what’s better than fabulous feet? Nothing. Nothing makes us feel more finished and quietly serene than knowing we could kick off our shoes and reveal prettily kept, prince- or princess-smooth, almond-oiled, pepperminted, frost-tipped feet.
Men and women can use pedicures as rewards for sticking to their weight loss and fitness program. I relied heavily on this reward. Every 10 lbs. or so I did my feet, and pedicured all over the country, trying out expensive salons and walk-in nail shops, even pedicure parties with my sister and daughter (chick flick, popcorn, polish). That last was the best.
It felt important, and symbolic somehow, to focus so much attention on my feet. I find that interesting, considering that our feet are among the least changing things about us when we lose a massive amount of weight. Our feet, our hair. We will recognize these as ours even when the rest of our bodies go through drastic changes. I know my feet of old. But these days I stare and stare at my hands in curiosity. Can’t get used to them.
When I was heavy, I neglected my feet. I didn’t wear open-toed shoes much, because between reaching over tummy and thighs and poor eyesight, I couldn’t comfortably paint my own toenails. And I hated salons. I developed callus on my feet very quickly. My heels cracked open in four or five places every winter (that doesn’t happen any more, by the way). My feet hurt from carrying extra weight. I didn’t like my fat ankles, either, so kept them covered up in black socks. All my shoes were sensible.
But not anymore. Today I’m all about Capri pants and sandals. Heels, toe cleavage. Shoes, shoes shoes. I aim for socklessness from May through September. That’s a big reward, and saves a lot on my sock budget. Every penny saved, though, goes into those pedicures.
My favorite? The Aveda pedicure. Find a local Aveda salon and ask if their people have been trained to give this service. Keep calling around until you find one that does. Boys, this goes for you too. We’re talking soak, exfoliation, filing, massage. Did I say massage? Oh yesssss. Incredible lotions and oils. Paint is optional. Hold onto your wallet. You will stand up on your buttery feet and want to buy every product they use. Instead, just schedule your next visit, for 2 months down the road, or when you reach your next 10 lbs.
No budget for salon pedicures? Go to your local druggist for the supplies described in the pedicure links below to learn to do them at home. (Plain old Dr. Scholl’s oatmeal soak is a wonderful treat.) Can’t reach your toes? Get a diet buddy or family member who’s backing your efforts to help out. Make it reciprocal. Make it a spousal ritual, caring for one another’s feet. Call your mommy, if you can.
Caring for yourself is part of successful change. It’s a heavy symbol in worldwide cultures, this foot-washing. It’s a loving service to a dear friend or loved one. Care for your feet, and you’re telling yourself you matter, from the toes up. Care for your dear ones’ feet, and you’re conveying that message to them. Care for an old person’s feet, and you tell them they have never stopped mattering.
You know? Maybe that’s why pedicures make an important reward. It means we’re caring for ourselves from the toes up.
Hmm. I have a feeling my feet will be prettier tomorrow.
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