It’s legitimate to want to lose weight. It is as valid as wanting to get a haircut or a tattoo. The issue is that getting a haircut or a tattoo doesn’t come with all the emotional and physical baggage that does accompany the desire to lose weight. If the haircut isn’t what you expected or doesn’t result in getting a new job or a partner, you don’t get frustrated and feel like it’s your fault. When you aren’t able to lose weight, fail to avoid “bad” foods or don’t look as good or skinny as x or y person, for example, feelings of fear, guilt and shame easily arise.
When I write about the idea of being healthy at any size, I don’t mean go eat all the junk food you want as if there’s no tomorrow! The possibility of being healthy at any size means that we don’t have to fall into the dominant modern aesthetics to be healthy; and that weight isn’t the only way to measure a person’s health.
Before you decide you want to change your body, please ask yourself the following questions:
Why do you want to lose weight?
At this point, you should already know that weight loss is not a precondition for happiness. Has it made you happier in the past?
The motivation to lose weight must be aligned with your values and it shouldn’t be out of your control zone. Guess what? This means that you have to do it foryourself. You have to choose you!
As Marc David, founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating writes, we must not “force and push the body to change so we can love it. It means that we learn to love the body as it is, and if we truly wish to make it look different, then we learn to love the body into change, rather than hating into change.”
Weight loss per se is useless as a motivation because it lasts lasts until you lose weight. When we lose the weight, there’s no longer a good reason not to overeat or eat bad foods!
How are you going to do it?
Are you going on a crazy diet or are you nourishing your body and allowing it to get to the point where it thrives?
Your body is wise and, if you give it a chance, it will settle in a weight that’s optimal for you. This setpoint is the weight we “maintain when we listen and respond to our body’s signals of hunger and fullness; when we don’t fixate on weight or food habits; and the one we keep returning to between diets.”
It’s easier said than done, but give this a try, even for a few days: Don’t diet. Don’t restrict. Don’t deprive. Make an effort to eat from a place of freedom. Eat in a way that supports and enhances your emotional and physical well being. You define what this means.
What has motivated your efforts to change your body? Are you doing it for you or others? Are you doing it in a way that’s harming your self-esteem?