I seem to always start my blog posts off with some related quotes from everyday people like yourselves, so why not continue the pattern?
"I'm losing weight for me."
"I feel like I'll like myself more if I lost just a couple more pounds."
"I don't feel confident like this. I want to get fit."
"I don't feel like I'm doing this because of some media thing. I just want to get fit and healthy though, like I'm supposed to look."
"I should probably be dieting."
If you're reading this and playing out all the times these phrases in their variations have escaped your lips, then I want you to hear me out for a second
We live in a culture that is constantly enforcing the idea that our bodies can never be satisfactory. We need to be slimming down, trimming down, keeping slim, fighting carbs and sugar like a bad cold. We aren't taught self acceptance. We're taught what to "fix" about ourselves. Companies pour millions into ads that read, "Slim fast now! Your best body yet!"
Something that has been coming up a lot with the people I work with is the conversation about weight loss and body positivity. Can you want to lose weight and love your body? Of course! Those two things are not in conflict. Here's the ticker though:
Why do you want to lose weight?
Because let me put it frankly: If you're not trying to lose weight because you love and respect your body, maybe you're not losing weight for the right reason. Think about it.
If you're trying to lose weight, visions of a flat stomach and a tight tush in your head whilst scaling off pounds, I hope the conversation with yourself in your present body is civil.
Ask yourself if you have a clinical need to actually be trying to lose weight. Most people attempting to drop a few pounds don't. They know a version of health that has been taught to them and they apply words like "should" and "must" to conditions of weight loss and fitness dreams.
Health becomes constant kale salad, hours at the gym everyday, no sweets, and deprivation. It becomes fitness models and thins aesthetics, grind and obsessive regime.
See, weight loss can easily be a healthy goal. If you have trouble getting around from day to day, if you want to treat your body well because you want it to live a long happy life, if you want to have a healthy heart and a happy conscience, then by all means, weight loss can be a healthy goal!
The only problem is, most people aren't trying to lose weight for those reasons.
Most people, because of the conditioning we receive from media, are trying to lose weight because they think it will ad to their value. They will become more attractive. They will like themselves more. They cannot (should not) feel confident in their current body. Losing weight will set things right. Losing weight will make others like them more. Losing weight will make them acceptable.'
LET ME SAY THIS LOUD FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK
You do not have to lose weight to be worthy of respect.
You do not have to lose weight to be worthy of love.
You do not need to lose weight to be worthy of happiness.
You do not need to lose weight to love yourself.
When we talk about changing our bodies, the conversation should be about the respect we have for them now and the respect we will have for them unconditionally.
Always, always, always ask yourself- why am I really trying to lose weight?
Because "I'm doing this for me" doesn't mean a thing when your goal is to look a certain way in the end that you think we make you feel better about yourself.
Because let me promise you, you won't.
I've been there before. Dropping pound after pound. But no number on the scale made me love myself anymore. At every size, I found something new to hate. Because the problem was never my body. It was my relationship with my body. I simply projected my self hate and lack of confidence onto something tangible. My appearance, a number, a size- anything to avoid actually dealing with the emotions driving the actions.
That is where most weight loss endeavors come from-pressure and guilt. Most stem from a need to be accepted and a belief that weight loss will get them there. And you know what? For some, it will. Some will idolize your change and want to emulate it. But will you like the person you are everyday? Will you notice your kindness, your love, your creativity? No, but you will notice if you slip and eat that cookie. You will notice if you gain another pound. You will notice what you can easily see, and tangibly try to "fix."
Weight loss is not a prescription remedy to self love. Never has, never will be.
So, why do you want to lose weight? Because if it's not because you love your body and yourself, it's because you don't.