Every once in a while, inspiration for a post just strikes. Often it comes when I SHOULD be doing something else–studying for an exam? going to bed? chilling in savasna?–but I know it’s not worth fighting. I had one of those experiences in yoga last night. Maybe because I was wearing a particularly tight pair of tights (I realize this sentence sounds whack) or perhaps because I am stressed (positive and negative stress at the same time) about school/graduating next week/life in general, but my mind was all over the place and I had the thought that things would be better if I lost some weight and could fit into my old clothes and not see my thighs touching in down dog.
Instead of entertaining it for a minute, I recognized this thought for what it was: misguided. Whacked out. Cuckoo. Wrong. Defeating. Disempowering. Bullshit. And I let myself reflect mostly because I knew I was onto something, so here comes one of those random posts where I pour my thoughts out and hope for the best, this time starting with a list of a couple things that I think people (myself included) often assume–WRONGLY–will come with weight loss:
- A perfect body: Fat may come and go, but if you don’t like yourself and decide to love your body, you can’t expect losing weight to fix your issues. I remember being thin and hiding my thighs because of the cellulite I was convinced was “gross” and I can recall not changing in front of other women in the locker room for fear of them seeing my stretch marks from losing and gaining weight over and over again and from growing up and being human. Until you decide to appreciate your body instead of hate it or try to change it, you’re going to find something else to pick apart. It doesn’t matter whether you’re 100, 200, 300 pounds or anywhere in between. You’re more than your body and realizing this is fundamental to getting more out of life.
- A less stressful existence: Bills will still exist. Exams will still be lame. Deadlines will still be stressful. You might as well learn to deal with stress and maybe realize that if there weren’t problems, there’d be no real point in all this living. Stress in a roundabout way is what makes life interesting, problems give us challenges, overcoming makes life meaningful, and all that jazz.
- Happiness: If you haven’t caught on yet, the point of this blog was to document how freaking awesome life is now that I’m not letting a number dictate my happiness or self worth. The only way to be happy is to decide that you are and even though it’s hard to believe, external things can’t make you happy and losing weight doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be in a better headspace unless you commit to doing the work to get your head right and let your body follow. While I think getting healthy (weight out of the equation) and finding happiness go hand in hand, I think the healthy part follows from the happy part–not the other way around. You can be skinny and miserable.
- A boyfriend: Boys are the one topic I shy away from on this blog–mostly because they’re not such a big part of my life right now. But I do know one thing: any guy who has decided that I’m not his cup of tea probably didn’t decide that based on my body. If he did, he’s not the type of
assholeperson I want to spend my time with anyway. I think confidence and deciding that you’re as sexy as can be is the best route of action. As soon as you think anything else, insecurity comes out and that is not hot, regardless of what your body looks like.
- Confidence: If you don’t like yourself at your ideal weight + 10lbs, you’re not going to like yourself at your ideal weight. I said it and it’s a cold hard truth. If you dislike yourself, you dislike yourself. Maybe it’s manifesting in you overeating, bingeing, or doing things that result in 10 extra pounds on your body. Maybe it’s not. Working through your self issues instead of coming up with the perfect diet or workout routine to lose the weight is a much better use of your energy: you’ll either lose the weight because you give up the behaviours that keep it around OR you’ll realize that you don’t need to lose it. And at the end of the day, you’ll go to bed liking yourself. If that’s not a win, what is?
What could losing 10 pounds do for me? Not much, it seems. What could thinking I need to lose 10 pounds do, though? A hell of a lot, and it’s not so good. When you think your body is somehow wrong or not exactly what it should be, you don’t let yourself live. Practical examples: you might skip a social opportunity because you’re scared of what you’ll eat, you might run through an injury because you’re convinced that you need the workout, you might not let yourself do yoga even though that’s your favourite way to sweat because you think you should be doing something better for weight loss, you might deprive yourself of foods that you need or simply want, you might not buy yourself clothes that fit and flatter your body, you might not exude love and confidence to everyone you meet because you’re too busy hating on yourself, you might miss out on thinking about bigger problems than the size on the tag of your jeans and end up not finding a purpose bigger than perfecting your body.
…in short, you might waste your life. That, to me, is a far bigger tragedy than being a medium when you think you should be a small. It’s worse than having to buy a bigger pair of jeans or having to forget about your “goal jeans” or “ideal weight” for a while. What would change if you decided NOT to worry about your weight?
- What would you think about when your mind wanders?
- What would you wear?
- What kinds of workouts would you do?
- How would you act around your friends, family, and people you meet?
- How would you eat?
Even if you’re still convinced you need to lose x number of pounds to be complete, what’s the shame in working on some of the other stuff I alluded to along the way? Sure, get your personal trainer and your dietitian and set your goals around weight. But take the time to work on some bigger stuff:
- How you look at yourself: You should like you!
- How you look at problems: Your problems are opportunities–use them!
- Your default: We’re supposed to be happy!
- Your relationships: Take care of you so things can work out with others!
- How you carry yourself: Confidence comes from the core–make yourself awesome so you have nothing to be ashamed of!
Do you ever distract yourself by focusing on the wrong thing? (weight, or maybe getting straight As instead of focusing on learning, etc.)?
What’s one thing you’ve done for yourself that’s made you healthier and happier lately?