The other night my girlfriends and I got together for some much needed drinks and time together. We were talking about the stress of COVID and how it’s really hard. For everyone. We chatted about at home workouts and weight gain. One of my friends was really starting to watch her food intake again and cut out carbs which was great since I made my pesto pasta that night (insert sarcastic font here). There was talk about diets and losing x amount of pounds. Some of the conversation was around happiness found from being a certain weight.
It made me sad because that is what our society is so focused on. We grew up with numbers being shoved down our throat. Size zeros are associated with “being skinny”. We are told that we are obese if our BMI is a certain number but that doesn’t take into consideration your body type. There are so many industries that prey on women that don’t think they are good enough as they are. Lose weight now. Put this makeup on your face. Use this cream for your cellulite (that you were born with by the way!) These industries are telling us to change who we are. But if we tried to fix the inside instead of the outside?
So instead of accepting who we are, as we are, we always are trying to be someone different. When we gain a few pounds it becomes not ok. If our jeans don’t fit anymore instead of buying a new pair we beat ourselves up and try to get back to where we once were. What is the most common answer when you ask someone why they are working out? It’s “I want to lose x amount of pounds”. Rarely is the answer, I work out to move my body and get my cardiovascular system moving. I workout to build bone density. I workout to relieve stress and anxiety. No, these are not the answers you hear. Even though these are all BETTER excuses to work out.
I see too many people miserable with some aspect of their lives. Maybe they don’t like their job, maybe they don’t like their spouse, maybe they are lonely, maybe they are stressed. But instead of trying to fix THAT thing, they think losing ten pounds is going to make them happier. Is losing weight going to get you that guy? I really hope not because if a guy can’t love you the way you are why would be love you if you lost weight? Is that the superficial a**hole you want to be with for the rest of your life? Is fitting in your jeans from high school going to motivate you to change careers? I doubt it.
So what I am saying is we use weight loss or working out as a fix. But what is it really fixing? When I was twenty six my ex-boyfriend and I had been together for seven years. He was a great guy. We loved each other but we didn’t make each other happy. We didn’t do lots of things together anymore. It was almost like I had my life, he had his. We got along decent and co-exsisted really well together. But I was too young to have that for the rest of my life.
It took me a long time to realize this though. So instead I worked out like a machine. I was at the gym 5 days a week for a minimum of an hour and a half. I was in the best shape of my life. But I was miserable on the inside. I thought looking good and being in shape was going to help the situation. I was skinny and strong. But what did that matter? I was also insecure. I felt like maybe if I lost five pounds it would fix my relationship. And I don’t even think I had five more pounds to lose. There wasn’t anything WRONG with ME. We just didn’t work!
Towards the end of that relationship I found yoga. And I finally found some mental clarity. I realized that it wasn’t fair for us to be unhappy the rest of our lives. We broke up and I kept working out, but I wasn’t working out to look good. Suddenly I wasn’t working out to lose weight. I was working out because it made me feel good – mentally. I didn’t care anymore if the scale never went down. The jean size didn’t matter as long as they fit me. I finally tried to fix the inside instead of the outside!
When I was twenty seven I moved into my first apartment alone. And I learned to be alone. I learned how to make myself happy and love myself for who I was. At one point I wasn’t happy at my job anymore, so I applied for a new one. I had some friends that I hung out with that sucked my energy from me. So I decided to not deal with drama and bs anymore and I stopped seeing them. I started doing things for me. But never once did I tell myself that my appearance and body wasn’t good enough. I was alone and becoming the woman I wanted to be. And I loved her!
So you think you need to lose ten pounds? Do you? Do you really? Or do you need to have a really long conversation with yourself about what is making you unhappy? Instead of hating your body if you gained a little bit of weight what about thanking yourself for keeping you alive during these super stressful times of a pandemic? How about giving yourself a little grace to accept yourself as you are, right now? And instead of worrying about the outside what if we took the time to fix the inside first? How much happier would we all be?
Because losing ten pounds might make you fit into those jeans again but I assure you it is not going to fix everything else. Fix the inside first and GO LOVE YOURSELF!