I love the body positivity movement. I love the idea of removing negativity from being fat and treating at as a descriptor as opposed to a pejorative. I am also 100% on board with the idea that there are multiple variables involved with why people are overweight, both genetics and situational aspects, so being kind and not judgmental about a person’s weight is an important shift to make in society as a whole, especially considering the socio-economic inequality that is ever increasing in our country.
Basically the heart of this is to mind your fucking business, and that’s something we could all take to heart in a better way in this social media environment.
One part of the body positive movement that I have a little bit of a difficult time understanding is the complete avoidance of weight loss. Breathing a whisper of any desire to lose pounds brings down an avalanche of people screaming for the removal of whomever mentioned it.
Listening to these people made me think about why they might react that way. For most overweight or obese people who have had interactions with weight loss, they probably have unpleasant memories bordering on traumatic (or actually traumatic!), and mentioning it would be aligning yourself with the enemy in a community searching for acceptance. So I get it.
Despite all of this, I had to admit to myself that lately I have been feeling uncomfortable. My hips and my knees are sore, my clothes don’t fit well, and certain foods just aren’t tasting the same or my body is rejecting them altogether. So back in October I decided I would try to track my eating, and I also started going to the gym. The purpose was to get stronger and to improve my heart health and metabolism. I would also really love to avoid diabetes if at all possible.
So when I began tracking my eating and exercise, I made a decision for myself: that I would not do this for the main purpose of losing weight. Losing weight, in whatever amount, would be a side effect rather than a primary goal. Success for me would be writing down what I’m eating and keeping an eye on sugar and sodium – and even then not restricting my diet by calories but by eating healthy options that will nourish my body (this is a work in progress and my biggest struggle due to my background). Success would also be making it to the gym at least once a week, at most three times and walking on the treadmill. The most structured I want to be about this right now is using the Couch to 5K app to determine when to walk slow or fast.
Just doing these small things has caused me to lose 7 pounds since October, and while that’s good for my knees and my hips, that’s not what I’m hanging my hat on. My size 22 work pants are getting baggy, and I put on a size 20 of the same pant today and they aaallllmmost fit. My heart rate at the gym isn’t as wild now that I’ve been going consistently for about 3 weeks, and it comes down more reliably when the workout is over. My instinct is to still include the weight loss in my list of accomplishments, but I have made progress in that I don’t value it as highly as I used to.
I am beginning to feel better in general. Now if I could just drink my daily allotment of water reliably! I want a lifestyle that is sustainable and that makes me feel more comfortable in my own body. Without suggesting any diets, what elements of your eating or habits help you feel happy and healthy? What might you suggest to others if they are looking to make their day to day better? And if you haven’t yet today, drink some water!