This past week was Healthy Weight Week, and I was honored to be named as a Top 35 Healthy Weight Blog. I've struggled over the years with being someone who is trying to lose weight in addition to being someone who advocates and appreciates the Health at Every Size (HAES) movement. I wrote about this a couple years ago here.
I started my first weight loss efforts at age 5, and have been on a roller coaster ever since:
Age 5: Mousercize record
Age 6: Jazzercise
Age 8: Cabbage soup diet
Age 8: Child psychologist visits
Age 10: Weight watchers
Age 12: “Stop the Insanity!” by Susan Powter
Age 13: The Firm
Age 14: Phen-Fen
Age 15: “Get With The Program!” by Bob Greene and Oprah Winfrey
Age 15: Fat camp
Age 16: Fat camp again
Age 16: Slim-Fast
Age 17: Fat camp visit #3
Age 17: Compulsive over exercising
Age 18: Fat camp visit #4
Age 19: Restriction then Binge Eating
Age 24: The Atkins Diet
Age 25: Phentermine
Age 25: The Biggest Loser audition
Age 27: The Biggest Loser audition 2
Age 27: Binge eating disorder blowup
Age 28: Low carb
Age 29: hCG
The constant push to try to lose weight continually reaffirmed to me:
You are not worthy of things.
You are a failure.
You are lazy.
You must suffer to become thin – and this is acceptable.
As many of you know: this is a miserable way to live.
The past few years of blogging have given me a much needed priority shift from being weight-focused to being health-focused. I always talk about the strongest motivation to losing weight: remembering the “why.” What are the real reasons I'm making these lifestyle changes? Is it really to lose weight (and if so, WHY), or is it something different? These can change or be refined over time depending on what head space you're in.
My current desired outcomes:
- A strong heart that will beat for many years
- Freedom of movement to not be restricted from certain activities
- Functional strength to meet daily needs
- Clear and focused mind free of brain fog
- Freedom from a diet mentality
These are much stronger motivators than the scale. Personally, I find it much easier to love exercise or love exploring new foods when I remove the weight motivation. Exerting effort to change your life is much more enjoyable than exerting effort to make the scale change. It's a mind shift that has resulted in self-compassion, recognition of accomplishments, and fewer starts-and-stops.
That being said, there are still parts of me that want to be smaller, which means losing weight. I want to fly more comfortably, not be faced with weight restrictions on things like zip-lining or amusement park rides, and not have to worry about fitting in a restaurant booth. These are components of wanting to have freedom of movement. They're interrelated functions of each other. So weight loss is still important to me as a function of my desired outcomes. Some people see this as a catch-22: you can't want to lose weight and love yourself and honor your body at the same time. I disagree completely, and am so glad that those behind Healthy Weight Week have recognized this.
There are some really amazing blogs on this list – I look forward to following them.