All week I’ve been thinking about reasons why people want to lose weight. If you ask someone why they’re doing a new diet/workout plan you’ll usually get a response about an upcoming event they’re preparing for, health issues that would be improved with weight loss, or my personal favorite “I just want to FEEL better.” Rarely does anyone come out and say “I want my body to look hot for my significant other, I want to look good at the beach, I want to feel confident when someone’s hitting on me.” Why don’t we say these things? What’s wrong with wanting to lose weight for these reasons? We spend millions of dollar a year on flattering clothes, makeup, cosmetic procedures, hair extensions, teeth straightening/whitening, breast implants for women, hair plugs for men, the list goes on. But when someone wants to know why we’re losing weight we’re suddenly afraid to admit that vanity plays a role? How you feel in your own skin impacts your entire life. For example, right now I am so uncomfortable. I have zero sex drive, I don’t want to go shopping, or out with my friends, or attend social events. I will be getting ready for some kind of outing and then think to myself “my jeans don’t fit and I’m not wearing leggings again so I’m not going.” This weight gain is literally affecting everything. So, is this the new me? Will I avoid sex for the rest of my life? Will I make excuses to skip birthday parties, weddings, drunken hay rides, and reunions forever? OR, will I just accept that this is my size now and magically be cured of these insecurities? Is that how it works? Will this go away? I need answers.
Every other time I’ve gained weight I’ve found a way to lose it whether it was through diet and exercise or a broken heart, one way or another the pounds came off. Don’t ask me why this time is different, I have no idea. I couldn’t tell you why at 29 yrs old and in the most selfie-obsessed era of our time, I care less about my appearance than I did at any other time in my life. I thought about why I’m not doing anything about this, what’s holding me back, and the only thing I came up with was that I just didn’t want to put in the time and effort and sacrifice that is required to meet my goal. That’s it. I just “don’t want to.” It’s a horrible thing to admit, but it’s true. I don’t have kids, I don’t work 14 hour days, I live alone, I have a big living room and plenty of space to work out. Essentially, I have everything I need I just don’t want to do it.
However, thinking about what I would be giving up to lose the weight made me realize how much of my life I’m ALREADY sacrificing by not doing things I enjoy because of my weight. For instance, I would never take a spontaneous trip to the beach with a group of people (that literally sounds terrifying) and I LOVE the beach. I would also never want to go for a hike with coworkers or friends, or run a 5k, go on a bike ride, or take a Zumba class. Social events like this do not sound fun because I would be embarrassed the entire time. So my question remains, which is worse, avoiding things you love because you hate how you look, or sacrificing donuts and pizza for a year while you work on yourself? Just typing that out makes me feel like a real asshole. Obviously it’s the latter, I just don’t want to admit it.
I think maybe I needed a wake-up call, a real kick in the pants to get me started. Honestly, I thought it would be publishing this blog. It wasn’t. I was convinced I would be instantly motivated because now I had accountability, people were reading what I wrote and hopefully rooting for me to succeed. Well, it turns out, it wasn’t the accountability, it was the horrifying moment that I didn’t even recognize myself in a video this past weekend.
I’ve been in a lot of weddings, I’m sort of a professional bridesmaid if you will. But, I’ll tell you a secret, when someone talks about a wedding I’ve been in, instead of thinking about the wonderful memories I have of supporting my friends on their beautiful day, I think about how fat my arms looked in each and every bridesmaids dress I’ve worn. One of my very best friends has pictures from her wedding day in her dining room and every single time I go to her house and see them I cringe and wonder if everyone else is thinking about my arms when they see the photo. Over the weekend I was in a wedding for a truly wonderful couple. I’ve been friends with the bride my whole life and after my first meeting with the groom I knew they would get married. I’ve known about this wedding for 10 months. I had almost a year to prepare. Well, on Saturday afternoon it took 3 grown women 10 minutes to zip me into my dress and 2 bridesmaids to put my shoes on for me because I couldn’t bend down without busting out of the dress. While riding in the limo the maid of honor was taking videos on her phone and when I saw them later on her Instagram story, I didn’t recognize myself. I did not realize the chubby girl sitting next to the bride was me. That was a rough moment to say the least. I didn’t drink at the reception and I drove myself home with my dress unzipped because my underarms were rubbed raw from my dress being so tight all night. This day was not about me, this was my best friend’s wedding and because I was so uncomfortable in my own skin I didn’t get drunk and grind on a groomsman like every good bridesmaid should.
I spent the next day being really honest with myself about my goals and how I want to live. And I’ve decided I’m just going to try again because what is the alternative, being miserable the rest of my life? I don’t think so. I am a fun person and I love life and I don’t want to stifle my personality because I’m insecure about how I look. Last night my niece and I were playing this game (which is not actually a game at all it’s just 50 cards with questions on them because someone decided that 7 yr old kids don’t ask enough questions already), and one of the questions was “Who is the funniest person you know?” and she said “I would have to say you, Aunt Sandi.” She’s a pretty popular kid, she knows a lot of people and I’M THE FUNNIEST PERSON SHE KNOWS. That was a real self-esteem boost. I thought about how upset she would be if I stopped making her laugh or hanging out with her because I was too worried about my weight. It made me realize that of all the reasons there are to lose weight, the only one that matters is whatever reason means the most to you. It does not matter what anyone else thinks, not your friends, family, coworkers, gym partner, the lady on Facebook trying to sell you weight loss shakes, no one. You are the only one who matters when it comes to this decision. If you are comfortable at your current weight, if you are confident and healthy and happy then there is no reason to change. If you are unhappy, then take the steps you know you need to take to improve your quality of life. It’s that simple and it’s that hard. Deciding is half the battle.
I’m sure it’s no surprise to anyone who read this whole post that I did not stick to my water intake goal from my last post. Tomorrow is a new day and that’s what I’m telling myself. I’ve filled up a 20 oz water bottle and it’s sitting beside me and I’m going to drink it first thing in the morning. I’m trying again this week because I want this for myself and no one else. I’m going to fail until I don’t anymore, I think that’s the only thing anyone can do.