My Christmas list sounds something like this:
Help me lose weight. Lots of it.
Before the crucifixion starts, let me be the first to admit how uncool that headspace is. But, it’s how I feel today and honesty is super important in this self-love and body acceptance journey.
The idea of an ideal “healthy weight” is pretty controversial. Good Nutrition and regular exercise are no-brainers, but what a “healthy weight” looks like on paper is highly debatable. For example, based on the AMA/CDC BMI calculator someone 4’11” tall (aka me) needs to weigh 92 – 123lbs for the “normal” weight class. My current weight labels me “obese.” The last time I checked, a 92lb adult female is basically a skeleton, so I don’t give much credence to numbers and charts. It is completely possible to be numerically “overweight” and in great physical health. And, the assumed correlations between disease and what you weigh, as well as what you weigh and what you are physically capable of doing are not so cut-and-dry either. (Check out Dances with Fat, especially this post )
How does this relate to my life today? It’s official – I am the heaviest I have ever been. I’ve gained a record amount of weight since last year. How much exactly? I’m not sure, because I generally avoid scales and haven’t ever owned one. If I had to guess, I’d say 15lbs – 20lbs? Not sure. What I do know is that I gauge my health and happiness by 1) how my clothes fit and 2) the ability to engage in activities I enjoy, and both of these things are really sucking right now.
It started with wedding dress shopping, which was a disaster, so I stopped looking at traditional salons and decided to find a cute, flirty, more casual ivory party dress. Still, my brief affair with the wedding fashion world apparently caused some deep trauma because I started having dreams about the seams of my dress busting open as I walked down the aisle. I reminded myself that I was getting married and even if I wore a burlap sack JD would call me beautiful, because, duh, he thinks I’m beautiful now. NoBigDealRight?
Then about a month ago I had an OMG. I.Have.NOTHING.to.Wear. freakout. Intellectually I know it must have happened gradually, but it felt like one day I just couldn’t button/zipper any of my clothes. Everything was tight and unflattering. Like some evil oompa loompa invaded my body, and banished me to the land of stretchy waistbands where I could do no more than look longingly on all the cute but now off-limits outfits in my closet. So. very. sad.
Secondly, I realized I haven’t been as active as I used to be. So I made a decision to change that. But the things I used to love spin/yoga/hiking were tortuous. My now giant out of shape body rebelled. My back in constant pain from the strain of my ginormous boobs, winded and fatigued really easily, and my knees hurt every time I try to run/cycle/do any cardio. Whether I sit on the couch or run a 5k I want it to be my choice. I want to have the option, and right now it would take a lot of work to get there. I want to be in shape. I want to climb mountains. Literally. (JD and I are taking a glacial climbing course in January and I’m really scared it’s just going to be too strenuous for me).
I believe in the healthy at every size movement. So desperately wanting to lose weight makes me hella uneasy. Like I’m pissing on something inherently feminist and being epically hypocritical. Having been on both sides of various eating conditions in my personal life and also personal relationships, body acceptance is something I work really, really hard on. And most of the time I love myself. But I am at a point where the weight, and nothing but the weight, is really hindering my ability to do things.
Is it so wrong to want to lose weight when health is the motivator? And is it even possible for the motivation to be that pure, or is it always even just a little bit laced with the thin=perfection mentality women are constantly bombarded with? I feel so guilty for wanting to change something about myself, but I also feel guilty for letting my body slip away, and then I feel guilty for linking the two, even though I’m pretty positive they are one in the same, for me, right now at least.
This is truly dangerous territory. Should I focus more on self-acceptance? Or, is it time to put together a game plan? I don’t like the idea of dieting or calorie tracking, since they mainly set you up for disappointment and failure, but maybe setting some reasonable goals is what I need?