We often have a magic number in our heads that we think we should weigh. If it’s not a weight, it’s a dress size or a percentage body fat. Before I found balance, I also had a magic number. I don’t even know why I thought that was ideal – I was probably just a child when I weighed that much! It was just some number I dreamed up that really believed would change my life. At that weight my body would be ‘perfect’. I thought when the scales read that magic number I’d be happy, that I’d be more likeable, more attractive, more worthy. Reaching that magic number consumed me and the scales were my daily (or three times daily) indicator as to if I was measuring up to perfection.
We are sold a lie that a certain body type is best and life is better when you’re a certain shape. But a number doesn’t make you happier and it doesn’t necessarily make you healthier. I know striving for that number made me anything buthealthy and I certainly wasn’t happy. In a society that praises thinness and detests fat, it can be hard to stop striving to reach that number.
But we’d all be happier and healthier if we could let go of weight and just focus on wellbeing.
When I finally stopped dieting, I found that instead of being obsessed with food, binging and my weight yo-yoing up and down, I began to make peace with food. It slowly dawned on me that actually, I was ok. I stopped being so mean to myself and started to look after myself better.
It didn’t happen overnight but I basically re-learned how to eat normally and accept who I was. A big fear of stopping dieting is feeling out of control around food and gaining lots of weight. However, letting myself eat what I want didn’t mean I gained lots of weight. I settled at a weight and stayed around that same shape. The feelings of being out of control around food disappeared. I could eat chocolate without having to eat the whole block. One Tim Tam didn’t end up being the whole packet. I quit the gym as I realised I had only been going because I could see how many calories I burned on the cardio machines (which by the way are often highly inaccurate). I didn’t even like the gym! I began running instead – exercise that made me feel great and I enjoyed. Weight was no longer an obsession.
But I NEED to lose weight!
To be healthy you need to be a certain weight right? The short answer to that question is NO.
Weight loss is still offered as the solution to improving health but when we know 95% of weight loss attempts are unsuccessful, it seems illogical to promote it. It just doesn’t work in the majority of cases. No matter what your size, you CAN focus on healthy habits which promote health no matter what you weigh. To learn more, check out this website.
We live in a world that doesn’t yet appreciate body diversity. If you are in a larger body, I can empathise with why you’d want to change it. It’s natural to want to fit into the worlds ‘ideal’. However we cannot force our bodies to be what they’re not. Doing so only serves to make us unhappy and consume our time and energy. Yes it’s easier for me to say because genetically, I am a smaller size, but from talking to so many people and listening to their stories, struggling against their natural shape doesn’t bring change or happiness.
So what should you do instead?
Surround yourself with body positivity messages online. Unfollow ‘fitspo’ accounts that promote weight loss and a certain body shape. Learn about intuitive eating. Be kind to yourself. Many people realise that they’ve never been happy with their weight, even when they were smaller. It takes a big mind shift and time, but it’s so freeing when you do. It’s time to throw those scales away!