There’s a message board that I frequent that has a “super secret weight loss forum” where we discuss openly our goals regarding weight loss, our fitness techniques, our healthy recipes, etc. I really like this forum because I am surrounded by like-minded people who are striving to be healthy. What I don’t like, however, is that 85% of these people are marginally thinner than myself and are complaining about wanting to lose 5, 10, 15 pounds. People keep saying, “I need to lose 15 pounds by April 1st!” or “I feel so fat and disgusting because I gained 20 pounds over the span of two years and I hate myself” and hey, I get that. I totally do. I gained about 35 pounds in 3 years and I am not happy about it. I feel sluggish and fatigued and I can’t run up stairs the way I used to without getting slightly winded. I notice that my clothes feel different, I am constantly pulling my shirt down or thinking of the best way to stand in a picture to make myself look less fat. But does that mean I think I am disgusting? No. Am I sometimes unhappy with the way I look? Yes. Do I hate my body? No, not in the slightest.
My body is strong. My legs carry me places – on long walks and on bike rides. They allow me to run around with my little cousins and to chase my neighbor’s dog. I love my arms – I can pick up two 6-year old’s, carry in all my gigantic bags of groceries, help my father move heavy objects, etc. My core is what I would like to work on, but my core is helping me keep my posture straight. Sure, I have fat rolls and stretch markets and some jiggle where I don’t want it, but I can’t hate my body — I simply will not allow myself to think negative thoughts about my body.
This leads me to think about numbers: why do we have to put our goals in this arbitrary numerical system? I want to lose __ pounds, I need to lose ___ inches, I want to fit into size __ jeans, I will eat ___ calories today, I will burn ___ calories working out. I mean hey, I get it. I like to set goals and I think it’s good to work toward something. But I think so many people take it too far. If they don’t meet their goal, they beat themselves up. What happened to just aiming to feel healthier, stronger, etc? I will be the first to admit that I check the scale obsessively and think about what I will look like when I am at my goal weight, but I also know that I get pretty obsessive when it comes to how many pounds and calories and so on.
So, for now, I want to focus on the following things: feeling better and more secure in my own skin, getting stronger, sleeping better, eating more whole foods (and less sugar). I am doing 30 Day Shred, lots of walking, pilates and yoga, elliptical and stair climber. I am eating whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, millet, bulgur wheat) and fresh veggies and snacking on fruit and raw nuts. I am going to allow myself that piece of chocolate. I am drinking water and quitting diet soda, replacing it with seltzer water and pure pomegranate juice. I am trying to not focus on the fact that the scale isn’t budging and my jeans aren’t getting smaller.
Because guess what? I feel better. I am fueling my body with quality food and I am moving my body and constantly challenging it. I am less stressed and less anxious. Why would I want to work myself up all over again because of a number? Right now, I want to focus on health. And that is exactly what I’m going to do.
I wish you would try it, too.