Can you love your damn self and still want to lose weight?
Updated: Jan 10
**Content may be triggering to some - weight-loss & diet** Is it okay to want to lose weight if you're body positive? Sometimes I catch myself thinking, "I need to lose weight..." Especially after over indulging on Ferrero Rocher's during the Christmas period. Each year the resolution gets set to either lose weight, go to the gym more, tone up, and whatever else, blah blah. I then find myself thinking, "Should I even want to lose weight? I’m supposed to be body positive and body normative! Promoting that we can love ourselves no matter what we look like." Body normative is where you don’t love your body and you don't hate it. You don’t need to love your body, just accepting yourself as you are is enough.
What I’ve come to realise is that wanting to lose weight isn’t necessarily a bad thing (yes this may be controversial advice right now, but stay with me). If you’re doing it for the right reasons it can even be a good thing. However, wanting to lose weight shouldn’t be about physically losing weight and let’s be honest, it rarely is. It's usually deeper rooted. It also shouldn’t be about how you look, a lot of our insecurities and how we think we should look comes from the unhelpful brainwashing of the media anyway. Those thoughts you're having about the way you look aren't even yours! If you catch yourself "wanting to lose weight" consider the reasons behind your thinking. What is the real reason you want this? Is it because of bad body image? Is it because you don’t look like those in the media? Is it because someone, who has absolutely no business doing so, has told you you've gained a few pounds? All of these reasons are BS, but you don’t need me to tell you that. Deep down you already know. If you’re still wanting to lose a few pounds because losing weight equals better health, then you might say that’s a good reason (We will dive a bit deeper into this). However if you’re losing weight because you feel like you don’t look a certain way or any of the reasons above, then that’s not so good. So how do I tell the difference between it being a helpful thought and an unhelpful one? Unhelpful thought - I want to lose weight I'm getting fat I need to lose weight. I look awful in the mirror I have to go to the gym. I need to drastically limit my calorie intake. My belly is too big. I need to work out. With these thoughts, doing things like going to the gym and eating healthy feels like punishment. You’ve been bad so you're making yourself do things you don’t want to do.. What if instead we changed - I want to lose weight to I want to be the healthiest version of myself. I'm getting fat I need to lose weight to I want to live a long life and my health is part of that. I look awful in the mirror I have to go to the gym to Working out makes me feel confident and gives me energy. I need to drastically limit my calorie intake to I deserve food. I give my body the nourishment it needs. My belly is too big to I give myself permission to show up exactly how I am. I may not love my body, but I accept myself because I am more than my body.
I need to work out to I want to be the best version of myself and moving my body is a big part of feeling good. These motivations for working out and eating healthy will get you so much further than "I am fat I need to lose weight". It then becomes something that you’re going doing for good, rather than something powered by negativity. What if going to the gym was a way to show your body love and not a punishment? Gym not your thing? Find a way to move your body that suits YOUR body! Just because bendy Wendy down the road swears yoga is the best exercise ever, doesn’t mean you have to love it. You might prefer going out roller skating or walking in the park, maybe lifting weights is your thing or joining a hockey team, pole fitness, wild swimming, indoor swimming, I could go on and on. The key thing here is finding something that suits you. Please note BMI is bullshit. I am 11st 5lbs at the time of writing this and when these photos were taken. I am also 5'3" tall. That makes my BMI 28.1, in other words, overweight. Please, please never use this scale to judge your health.
Another thing, only 5% of the people in the world have the body you compare yourself to. Social media is a big fat lie.
Slightly depressing research suggests that roughly 80% of people who shed a significant portion of their body fat will not maintain that degree of weight loss for 12 months. In other words, you'll gain back at least some of those extra pounds you lost. Okay Laura so are you telling us this is all pointless and I'll never be happy? Not at all. What I'm saying is YO-YO DIETING DOES NOT WORK! The best thing you can do is change something super small and stick to it daily. Darren Hardy explains this process best in his book "The Compound Effect" He says how if you want to lose weight, you can’t starve yourself for one day and accomplish it. Instead, it’s the result of consistent effort over time. He also then talks about small, seemingly inconsequential actions, like cutting back your calories by 125 calories each day (That’s like 2 Lindt Lindor milk chocolate balls, yes I also ate too many of these over Christmas), or choosing to drink water instead of a sugary beverage like lemonade. Here’s the thing about these actions, they are so small you wont see any results in the short term, however, you do this every day, every week, every month, and eventually there will come a point where these small actions add up to something massive. Not in a month, maybe not even 6 month but in a years time. Those little habits go a longgggg way. If that’s so simple why don’t we all do it? Instant gratification. We don’t want to wait to see the results and we favour the chocolatey sweetness in our mouths right now over the health benefits in the long run. Coming back to the question in the title of this post. Is it okay to want to lose weight if you're body positive? I think we need a reframe, wanting to lose weight - not so good, wanting to become healthy - a much better goal. And let's stop the over analysing and judgment of ourselves.
You my dear, are worth way more than what you weigh. There is so much good about you that has absolutely nothing to do with how you look.
What do you think would happen in the world if we actually celebrated our bodies? All the industries that rely on us feeling insecure about our bodies would go bust! Now theres some food for thought.