I decided to start this blog post by sharing what’s on my mind (kind of like a Facebook status only much longer). So here’s what’s been currently “weighing” on my mind… Maybe some of you can relate.
(image courtesy of google images)
I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be thin. I’ve wondered what it would be like to not feel self-conscious about myself in pictures or when I have to be in front of a crowd. Clothes shopping would be a lot more enjoyable, I’m sure, and I could maybe wear more of those brand names which seem to be sized a lot smaller than the “regular” clothes. I wondered if I would feel differently, if I would be a different person if I was skinnier. Would I be taken more seriously? Respected more?
I can remember a couple of times in my life when I was “thinner”, but I have never really considered myself “thin”. I have been successful at many things in life: earning three university degrees, having a family, a good job, steadfast friends, trustworthy confidantes, and a strong work ethic. The one thing that I have never felt successful at, though, is losing weight.
The rational, logical part of me knows that who I am inside is what counts, but in a society where so much emphasis is placed on the appearance of things, I wonder if being successful at losing weight and being fit might change and positively affect other areas of my life as well. I know how my body looks doesn’t change WHO I am, but feeling better about it could possibly help my confidence and self assuredness.
I have been momentarily successful, yes. I have lost weight over the years only to put it back on, sometimes with extra to boot. I have read books and websites on diets and fitness, I’ve researched and explored various options for weight loss, I’ve done programs and boot camps (with success even!), but I haven’t kept it up.
How can I succeed in so many areas of my life, yet feel like I fail so drastically with weight loss and my personal goals of being fit?
In my case, everything which I have tried to do to lose weight and get fit has required a lifestyle change, big or small. I have been able to keep a regimen up only for a short while and then it seems that life gets in the way. I get sick, things get too busy, my schedule changes, or someone needs something else more from me. I fall down on the priority list and other things claim the position of coming first.
I know that I’m important. I know that I should make my health, my fitness, and my weight loss a priority, it’s just easier said than done. Running (ok, not literally or else I’d probably be thin!) to various sporting practices and events for my children, staying active in the groups and organizations which I volunteer in, and making time for friends and family often demands more time than I physically have in a day. When I even try to fit in things like writing, something suffers, (mainly the housework!). There just doesn’t seem to be the time for everything.
The thought has crossed my mind: if I could just lose weight then I’d have more energy to exercise and stay fit, which would help me to lose more weight AND keep the weight off! It’s just to find that magic trick to make myself thin quickly, perhaps with the wave of a wand.
I don’t have any secrets of success to share. I really don’t. I’m really not sure there is any such “magic” to losing weight (and, at least, keeping it off). I’m not sure if in the past I have failed the diet or the diet has failed me. Personally, I may have given up too early or maybe never tried hard enough with my attempts. Losing weight and getting fit takes hard work, dedication, and a certain element of discomfort. We have to step out of our comfort zones – exercise even if we don’t want to and eat what we should, not what we want. It also takes commitment and a lifestyle change which will remain constant. Perhaps that’s where I have gone wrong in the past – I’ve tried to change my lifestyle into something which can’t remain static in my life: I either can’t keep up with it physically, emotionally, or financially.
So when do I finally say that it’s ok to have been less than successful at this? It doesn’t mean that I have to quit. It doesn’t mean that I can’t keep trying. It just means that I have to ACCEPT and OWN the body I am currently in and work towards improving it. (Note to self: you’ll never be a size 3 and that’s ok!). I have to REALIZE that my habits need to change before I can change my lifestyle. I may need to ACKNOWLEDGE that I do not always make the best choices in regards to emotional eating and what to do with my “down time” (damn you, Candy Crush!). I need to REALIZE that my health should be a priority and if losing weight and becoming more physically fit will add to the quality of my life then I should make it a definite goal to work towards.
If everything else has “failed”, maybe it’s time to take the focus off how my body looks and place it on how my body feels. We weren’t all created to be the same size. Our bodies have all been wonderfully made and each one of us is special and unique. Listening to our bodies may be exactly what our bodies want! For each of us, that will be different. Some of us prefer hard core boot camp styles of working out, while others are runners or walkers. Some of us have gone gluten free, vegan, or have eliminated foods from our diet, while others follow the Canadian Food Guide. Perhaps the first step in actually listening to our bodies should be a conscious evaluation of the way we feel after we consume certain things or exercise in certain ways. I know that for some of us an exercise log and food journal, which not only documents exercises and foods but also how we feel after we have performed or eaten them, is helpful. Investing some time and energy into acknowledging our bodies’ wants and needs can be an integral first step.
Even if weight loss or fitness hasn’t been a personal struggle for you, dear readers, maybe you can relate to being successful at many things in your life and being unsuccessful in others. Maybe your struggle is different, but it may still be a struggle nonetheless. It’s ok to admit failure or lack of success. Admitting difficulty and that you’re struggling doesn’t mean that you are weak. It just means that you can acknowledge your own areas for improvement and can move forward, setting goals for success in whatever form they may come.
I’d like to be thin and fit, but right now I’m not. I may have failed in the past, but now I’m going to start my efforts to be successful by making a conscious effort to listen to my body and to live a healthy life. I will own the body I have because it was given to me.
One thing is certain, I may have blundered so far at losing weight and staying fit, but I think I’ve been pretty successful at being ME.