179. The Great Weight Loss Debate

(For the record, I should never announce that I’m going to be posting something on my blog because as soon as I do that something comes up, I get distracted, and I post whatever it was several days later than initially intended.  You can probably imagine I’m really looking forward to that time management session at the Healthy Living Summit this weekend! Better late than never though…)

As most of you are probably aware by now, last week was the official release of the Operation Beautiful book.  In conjunction with the release of her book, Caitlin launched Change the Way You See Week as well as Virtual Book Tour which made stops in various places across the blogosphere.  My plan was to submit this as part of Change the Way You See Week, but I dropped that ball.  It’s an important post though.

Angela’s Happy Weight post last Friday really resonated with me and got me thinking about my weight and weight loss journey in a way I never had before.  I’m one of those rare people who didn’t have weight or body image issues growing up.  I’m not going say I was totally without weight or body image issues, but they weren’t a focus of my life.  My self-esteem and confidence issues were because of my shyness and not being part of the “in crowd” in grade school.

I lived a relatively healthy lifestyle growing up.  I started playing softball in first grade and played through my freshman year of high school, and I swam competitively (year round) from fifth grade through my senior year.  My mom instilled mostly healthy eating habits in all of us growing up too.  She cooked dinner every night, and we were expected to be there unless we’d been given permission otherwise.  I was really picky back then (Really, who am I kidding?  I’m still quite picky) so I almost always brought my lunch to school with me.  I hated pizza until half way through high school.  I still won’t touch hot dogs.  We ate some processed convenience foods, but there were plenty of whole food and limited fast food.  My parents also didn’t buy pop so I never took to drinking it.

I never really gave my weight much thought until after college.  Technically, I was probably overweight at the end of high school.  I’m 5’2”, and I think I was around 150lbs.  I know I was about a size 9.  I was totally okay with this.  I never felt fat or like I needed to lose weight.  I never dieted in high school or college.  I don’t remember ever weighing myself in high school, and I didn’t even own a scale until about 2 years ago.  In hindsight, I think I realized that weight wasn’t important as long as I was active and generally healthy.

Even as I slowly gained weight through college and after college (most of my weight gain occurred after college), I didn’t really worry about my weight, and I still didn’t have body image issues.  The way my weight issues developed are actually kind of ironic.  It wasn’t until I decided to lose weight for health reasons that I really became aware of my weight and the fact that I was overweight.  We had physicals for our insurance at work, and I found out my blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides were all extremely high for someone my age.  I was also pushing the 200 pound mark.  After that I decided I needed to focus on loosing weight and getting healthy again.

I joined SparkPeople, and I started my weight loss journey.  I can’t say enough good things about SparkPeople.  It is an amazing site with amazing people.  I have made some wonderful friends through that site, and it opened me up to the world of healthy living blogs.  I lost somewhere between 30 and 40 pounds in a year, and I did it in a healthy and maintainable way.  However, the longer I worked at it the harder it got.  I was more easily frustrated when the number didn’t go down.  I got sick of calorie counting.  I was developing an obsession with the scale.  I was tired of how long it was taking to loose weight.  I wanted to be at my goal weight already.  I wanted to focus on maintaining and healthy living not on loosing weight.  I would alternate between being the “perfect Sparker” and being non-existent on the site.  

I currently weigh about 155lbs.  My goal weight is 135 – 140lbs.  I’ve spent a lot of time fighting with myself trying to lose the last 15 – 20 pounds.  After reading Angela’s post I started thinking, maybe I’m not meant to lose those last 15 – 20 pounds.  Maybe 150 – 155 is my happy weight.  Yes, I’m still technically overweight, but as long as I’m happy and healthy does it really matter?  My blood pressure is normal.  My triglycerides are in the normal range.  My cholesterol is still high, but it has dropped significantly.  (I’m working against some pretty serious genetic pre-dispositions on this one.)  I’ve probably got more cardio endurance that I did back in high school.  I’ve learned to make smart, healthy food choices.

So I’m making a decision here and now: I’m done trying to loose weight.  I’m done with weigh-ins, and calorie counting, and borderline obsessing over when I will reach my goal weight.

I’m going to keep running.  I’m going to get back into yoga.  I’m going to step up my strength training.  I’m going to start biking and walking more.  I’m going to keep making healthy food choices.  I’m going to fill my diet with wholesome nutritious foods.  I’m going to cook more and eat out less.   I’m going to eat more plant-based meals – integrating vegetarian and vegan meals into my weekly meal plan.  I’m going to indulge from time to time, and I’m going to work hard to maintain balance.  I’m going to do all these things because I want to, because I enjoy them, and because I want to be healthy and happy.

Maybe if I keep doing these things I will loose those last 15 – 20 pounds.  Or maybe I won’t.  Either way I will know I’m doing the best things I can for my body, and I will be happy with that.

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