I struggle with my weight. Don’t we all? When I graduated high school (which was more years ago than I care to remember), I weighted 95 pounds. Did you hear me? 95 pounds!! Pack 70 – 80 pounds onto that frame, and you what I look like almost 25 years later.
Why is this, and why does it bother me? I mean, I can spout all usual rigmarole about how it’s not good for my health, which it isn’t. But the truth of the matter is that I don’t think I look good. Why not? My husband thinks I’m the most beautiful woman he’s ever seen. Every day he affirms to me how attractive he finds me, and every day I look at my reflection with dismay and a slight amount of disgust.
I’ve been working out since March, and trying to watch what I eat. I use calorie king to track my food intake and calories, as well as my exercise. I’ve created an Excel spreadsheet to track my weight for the month, as well as year-to-date — along with steps, weight vs. exercise minutes, weight vs. steps, weight vs. calorie intake, and any other combination you can think of. This has been helpful, as I’ve learned that if I take in more than 1200 calories in a day, regardless of how much I exercise, I’ll gain weight the next day. I’ve bought a step-counter, and now average about 12,000 steps a day. My husband and I ride our bikes into work 2-3 times a week, which is an 18 mile round trip. But still, with all of that, since March, I’ve lost 15 pounds.
I stopped exercising for 2 weeks, and I gained 5 pounds back. 6 months to lose 15, and 2 weeks to gain 5. “Not fair!”, I cried. But why am I so focused on this? Why can’t I just accept and be happy about the fact that I’m much much healthier than I’ve been since I was 16 years old? Why can’t I accept the fact that my husband loves me the way I am? Why?
I want to fall back on the usual blame-the-media excuse. I even try to convince myself that it’s my family’s fault, since they’re all thin. I try to blame the fact that I was raised in a white neighborhood and culture that values thinness more than my type of body build. But that’s all excuses to cover up the truth.
And the truth is, I didn’t even know the truth until I read this posting in Alessandra Stanley’s blog. In it, she’s talking about the American obsession with weight loss vs. our obsession with high-fat foods. Most of it is things that I’ve heard, and spouted, before. Then I came to this sentence, “The lonely self-hating journey of weight loss…”. Is this it? Is this the reason I can’t lose weight?
Lonely self-hating journey. It is lonely, because I’m the only person who can lose my weight. And self-hating? That is the very essence of it. You must hate something about yourself to lose it. So as long as I’m focusing on how much I love myself, and how much I accept myself, I’ll never be able to take the weight loss journey. However, if I accept the fact that I hate something about myself, I run the risk of spiralling down into a depression.
So what am I going to do? That’s a good question. I like the fact that I’m trying to accept who I am, and work on the areas where I feel I can actually change. I like the fact that I keep trying to stay physically active. I don’t like the fact that I can’t break 150, even though this is the 4th time this summer I’m trying. I don’t like the fact that in order to lose weight I may have to admit that I hate myself. Maybe that sentence wasn’t the earth-shaking revelation that I thought it was. Then again, maybe it is, and I’m just trying to rationalize it away.
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I remember what it was like to be a rail. I was never conscious of my stomach because there was no reason to be. I think it’s something all women struggle with whether it’s true or not (like you, my man tells me he thinks I’m beautiful CONSTANTLY and I still can’t believe it).
I’ve learned that I travel in the direction of my focus: my weight-loss methods in the past were always based off of self-hatred (in the area of physical beauty). I’ve learned that self-hatred does me no good – I still don’t lose weight. So I recently took a new approach – I’ll eat healthy and exercise, but I refuse to succumb to my culture’s mantra that I must be a rail to be beautiful. As long as I am healthy, I am going to learn to like myself.
I changed my focus 2 months ago, and I’ve lost 10 lbs. without trying.
Thanks for writing thhis