Back after a long absence. Writing seems to be like exercise for me. I feel so much better when I do it regularly, and yet somehow missing just one day sets me off into a long hiatus and for some reason it’s hard to get back at it.
Anyway, I was camping for the weekend, so no internet or anything and no way to blog. It was a good trip, great weather, nice campsites. Got a great tan, except for my face where I forgot to put sunscreen so got burnt and am now peeling. I’ve been off work all week, which you think would be conducive to writing more, but no. Have done some major house cleaning though, and will be using the rest of this weekend to prep for back to school and back to routines and such.
So my boyfriend took a bunch of pictures when we were camping. Pictures of me pretty much never make me happy, and these ones were no exception. There was one really horrible one in particular. I said something about it, and my boyfriend said “that’s you as you are.” Except that the thing is, that’s not what I see when I look at myself in the mirror, at least not most of the time. I look much more horrible in pictures than I do in real life. At least I think I do.
Last fall, I did the Live More Weigh Less program by Sarah Jenks. The program really focuses on creating a great life rather than focuses on losing weight as an end goal. The idea being that if we focus on creating a great life, weight will come off by itself. I truly believe that life is happening right now, and that we shouldn’t be waiting to get thin to start really living. I loved many parts of the program — the focus on having fun and doing things that make you happy. Recently Sarah posted an article on her blog about whether people really want to lose weight more than anything. Like you do really want to lose weight more than you want love or great friendships and stuff like that. And of course, given a choice between a flat stomach and great girlfriends, I guess I’d take the great girlfriends. But the thing is, I already have great girlfriends, and wonderful kids and a boyfriend to snuggle on the couch with and a pretty decent job and a nice house and a wonderful and loving family. I do go out and enjoy life as much as I can. And. I’m pretty sure that I’d enjoy all of those things more if I lost weight. I’m pretty sure of this because I have lost weight and I enjoyed all of those things more.
What I’d really like is to be able to go out to an amusement park with my friends and kids and know that I’ll fit on the rides. At my last experience at an amusement park a few weeks ago, that was iffy. I passed on some rides because I wasn’t sure the restraint would fasten properly.
I’d really like to be on a plane with my boyfriend to a great vacation destination and not have the seat back tray hit me in the stomach when I fold it down.
I’d really like to get into a kayak or a peddleboat with my kids and not have to worry about sinking it.
I’d like to be able to have more than a couple of stores I’d could buy clothes in. That would be awesome.
These are the realities of my life. For some people, weight does actually prevent living the life you really want. And not just because you’re waiting to lose weight. For me, it’s not so much that I’m overly concerned about how I look in a bathing suit — I’m mean, as I said above, I don’t like how I look in pictures, that’s not my primary motivation for losing weight, at least not anymore. I can be as happy and confident in my overweight body as I like, and have as great a life as possible, but the reality is, I still don’t fit on amusement park rides very well. So that’s something I’d like to do that I can’t, and no amount of positivity and cultivating a fun life is going to change that fact.
Don’t get me wrong — I’m not whining, even though it might seem like I am. I know that, in theory, to lose weight, I need to eat less and exercise more. I have been on pretty much every diet there is. I have had weight loss surgery and lost a lot of weight. I have had weight loss surgery reversed when I suffered endless complications from it. Gained all the weight back. I know that tracking every bit of food that goes into my mouth and counting calories and cutting out certain food groups and tracking all of my exercise makes me angry and resentful. And I also know that just cultivating a great life is not going to help me lose weight. It helps, but it isn’t the whole answer.
I’m grateful to people like Sarah Jenks, who are fostering a new movement to help women become happy in their lives, rather than focusing on their weight as a measure of value. There’s way too much of that in society. There are way too many women who are perfectly fine the way they are who are obsessed with losing weight. Sarah is probably a great example of this. She lost 40 pounds when she decided to start living her life. And that’s awesome — both the weight loss and especially the living a great life part. But the thing is, when I look at her before picture, I don’t see a person with a weight problem. Obviously, she felt like she had one, but to me, she looked fine. I know that for the person who feels like they need to lose 10 or 20 or 40 pounds the struggle seems the same to them as the person who needs to lose 100 or more. But it really isn’t. And I think that’s why I struggled with many of the parts of Sarah’s program. For me, cooking a great dinner in heels (and I love heels as much as the next person) doesn’t sound like a fun thing to add into my life. It sounds like a chore that will end up with me having sore feet for a week. Going out dancing sounds expensive and annoying. I’d have to drive and find parking and hang out with young drunk people. Her program, I think, is primarily targeted at youngish (definitely under 40), single or coupled people with no kids who live in a fairly urban environment with access to lots of resources.
So I need to take what I’ve learned through everything I’ve tried and forge my own path. Take what works for me out of everything I’ve done and read and keep finding the new things that work. So that’s what I’ll do.