The other night, I was sipping a glass wine and reading other blog post about weight loss journeys…like you do when you have a few smart points left over. I typed in my key words and let the inspiration of others pour over me like sweet nectar. Except an alarming number of blogs were not the ambrosia of motivation I was hoping for. They were actually borderline hate blogs about those who are losing weight by those who do not want to lose weight. All under the facade of the authors being “body positive” and those of us losing weight as sell outs to conventional beauty. What the What?!?!?!
The premise of the blogs were “love yourself” and to be “fat and proud”. They argued that those of us that are overweight obese (as were they based on profile pictures) should not have to adapt to the notion that we are only beautiful people if we have a thigh gap. So far, not a problem, I agree that people should love themselves. I agree that people should be comfortable in their own skin regardless of the size of their jeans. I agree I will never have a thigh gap! Then these blogs went on to continue the argument that those of us losing weight are not comfortable with our bodies and that we are letting mainstream society lower our self-esteems. These blogs were presenting a bastardized version of what body positive movement is. Being body positive is living life to your fullest, not relying on others to reinforce your self-worth, and being kind to yourself.
If someone is 75, 90, or 100+ pounds overweight living life to the fullest is a tall order. I am a gamer; being this overweight doesn’t cut into enjoying that! I can also binge watch Netflix like a gold medalist, body size does not slow me down there! However, I also love the outdoors. I love camping, hiking, and exploring nature. At my highest weight I was 275 pounds! It is hard to enjoy an active lifestyle when you are carrying around that much weight on your joints. Those who are not obese, picture for a moment how hard it would be to walk up a hill carrying a backpack that weighed 100+ pounds. Unless you’re super fit, you would get tired…FAST! When I was younger I could also go horse-back riding and I loved that! At the weight I was it wouldn’t be fair to the horse (not to mention most ranches have a 250 pound weight limit). I have always wanted to go zip lining through a forest (because I like to fantasize that I don’t have a crippling fear of heights), but again at my former weight I would have been beyond the weight limit. I realized that I was not living my life to its fullest at 275 pounds. To be able to do half the things I enjoy, I would need to lose weight.
I love hiking, but it’s hard for me. I have to stick to the easy trails or paved paths. The one time I did a bigger hike, I broke my ankle because I couldn’t support my weight on a hill (upper left picture was just after I broke my ankle, still had to hike down the moutain 2 miles!). Part of my motivation is to be able to do higher and bigger hikes!
I used to worry about what others thought about me and my body. Up until I was about 20 I was actually thin. Because of PCOS my metabolism came to a screeching halt about that time. I never had a doctor sit down and tell me to be careful because it would be easier for me to gain weight but harder to lose it then other women…until I was already 100 pounds overweight that is. In my mind I heard that as I was obese because of PCOS. To add a few sprinkles of lemon and salt to that wound, I was also diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis six years ago. So these were my excuses for being overweight, all the while being envious of all those skinny girls out there. Then I realized PCOS and my thyroid problem only made it easier to be where I was, but food made me obese, or rather too much food. More specifically the crappy food I was eating. I started being honest with myself, I started forgiving myself. I started liking myself. That like turned into loving myself, and that resulted into me losing weight. When I stopped looking at how others saw me and focused on how I saw me, I realized I was hurting myself by treating my body the way I was. I try to keep a firm policy of not hurting the ones I love, including myself.
I firmly believe you cannot love yourself, honestly love yourself, when you are hurting yourself being so overweight. I love myself now, but I am also reminded that I am not healthy or fit anymore whenever I look in the mirror. I am reminded of a time I didn’t like myself and stopped taking care of myself. Yes, I know people can be healthy and overweight, and that some people naturally have bigger bodies. This is valid to a point! I believe you can be healthy if you are 20 or 40 pounds overweight. I believe you can still be fit 20 or 40 pounds overweight. What I don’t believe is that you can be healthy at 75+ pounds overweight. All my numbers are where they need to be (well my blood pressure is starting to make a slow creep), but that is because medically speaking I am still relatively young. In another 5 or 10 years the weight will start to take effect though. It will show up as diabetes, as heart problems, as breathing problems and many other medically problems that I will have a greater chance of having because I am extremely overweight. Sure, I could be at the perfect BMI and body fat percentage and still get these diseases (as pointed out in a few of the blogs I read), but the more I lose and the more I move, the harder I am making it for that future outcome. At that weight, I was not being kind to myself.
I don’t advocate that everyone who is obese go out and make the choices I am making. This is what is right for me at this point in my life. If someone is not ready to make changes, change is not going to happen. I get it, I have been there. I had fear in the past. Fear of failure (hell, I didn’t even start telling people of my journey this time until I had lost 30 pounds), fear of change, and fear of honesty. I do ask those who are writing about their journey to be honest with themselves though, truly honest. It is my experience that when someone bashes someone else, it is generally because they are reminded of what they see as their own short comings. For those that are body positive, why does it offend you that I am doing what I feel is best for me and my life? You ask to not be judged, but repay that by judging me. I am not doing this to be a Victoria Secret model, land of the cover of a swimsuit issue of a magazine, or to even get a thigh gap. I am not doing this so that some guy looks at me and thinks “DAMN she is hawt!” (I am too old and too married to care what some unknown guy thinks of me). Most importantly I am not doing this so I fill the mold of conventional beauty. I am doing this so I can increase my odds of living a longer life with my husband and son. I am doing this so I can start doing the things I love to do again. I am doing this for myself. So next time you want to bash on someone for being kind to themselves, reinvest that time and energy into finding who you are really mad at.