I don’t really like the idea of talking too much about weight loss anymore (ironic I know when you consider the topic of this blog post). I think it’s because everyone focuses on it so much. It really isn’t everything when it comes to being healthier. Am I excited when I see a loss on the scales? Of course. But my reasons for wanting to see that decrease has changed drastically over time.
It used to be all about my looks. I would be so ashamed of my appearance that I would cry before leaving the house (how embarrassment). I’d be so worried that everyone would think I couldn’t pull off an outfit because I was too overweight. Or that they might mistakenly think I was pregnant (a big ridiculous phobia which has sadly been proven to be valid on occasion because people can’t shut their mouths and mind their own business).
Now it’s about much more than my looks. Do I want to see the numbers drop on the scale? Absolutely. Am I going to end up talking about it? Yeah. But this time it’s about being healthy and feeling better physically.
This body was not built to be chubby. I have a small, Asian frame and when I carry too much weight I really feel it. My thighs chafe. My feet hurt more when I walk. I physically feel like shit when I’ve been filling my body with the wrong things (weight gain being the obvious side effect). And for reasons that are entirely practical, if I don’t keep my weight down, my clothes (currently size 12) don’t fit and I know that I cannot go up any more sizes because those sizes are made for taller people and I wouldn’t be able to find anything in the shops (I’m only 5 foot tall yo).
I want to be a healthy BMI to avoid type 2 diabetes in the future (as well as decrease my chances of complications with gestational diabetes in any future pregnancy). I want to feel agile and not heavy when I move.
Yeah, I do look forward to the side effects of weight loss when it comes to the superficial side of things, but I am very careful not to let it be my focus. Since working on my health, I haven’t worried anywhere near as much about whether people think I’m pregnant when my stomach bloats up or sticks out. I know I’m working on my fitness and it makes me feel like anyone who accuses me, or subtly implies, that they think I am ‘with child’ (without a shred of evidence because duh I’m not) can go jump off a bridge, while I smile and wave to them because I have the comfort of knowing I’m making healthy choices, regardless of what they think it looks like.
I’m not going to preach to anyone else how to lose weight (that’s up to the experts and it’s not up to me to tell you that you need to do anything – you do you boo). I just know that I am not going to let my self image be defined by what numbers are on the scales.
My weight is just a part of my journey to better health. There is so much more I am working on too.
So when you hear me talk about my weight loss goals and celebrating little weight loss milestones, I am only talking about a part of my experience. I am enjoying the mental health benefits of exercising more. I love when I can rush about during the day without feeling like I’m going to collapse from exhaustion. I am so glad when I feel good after eating foods that aren’t filled with the junk that makes you feel sluggish or nauseous (I am not by ANY stretch of the imagination saying I do not indulge regularly haha). I get excited, the closer I get to having a BMI within the healthy range (as opposed to currently being in the overweight category). I love when there’s evidence (guys I’m talking about regular poops hahaha) that my metabolism is remembering what to do.
I am sick of seeing the media and pop culture so singularly focused on what a (usually female) celebrity weighs. On what a woman looks like after giving birth. We are so much more than that. It’s insulting that women feel compelled to show their post-pregnancy-bodies off. To prove how great they are at shedding the baby weight, or conversely to prove what ‘normal’ looks like. Why do we even care at all? We are so much more than that. We are warrior women, no matter what any of us looks like.
Shouldn’t we be talking about the important things? Yes, reclaiming our bodies is a journey after birth (even almost 4 years on as is my case), and it can be so great to celebrate that, but it should be for the right reasons. For us as individuals – not to match some stupid, superficial standard that society seemingly has for us.
That is why I scroll past the ‘such and such flaunts her post baby body’ headlines. Um…that famous chick just went to the supermarket a relatively short time after having a baby. WHAT? That’s why I don’t buy the magazines. I am not even slightly tempted. That is why I won’t be joining any ‘movement’ to post photos of my ‘real’ belly any time soon (or ever). I simply do not care and I wish that more people would join me in my ‘not caring’. It’s liberating.
The feminist in me says, let’s stop oppressing ourselves and each other in such a demeaning way. Let’s say no to those who try to do it to us. Women are so much more than their appearance or what they weigh. How are we allowing ourselves to be defined in such a limited way?!
Sure, we’re humans and we like looking at pretty, shiny things. Sometimes we even like to become pretty, shiny things. There is nothing wrong with that, but it isn’t everything. It’s not even the most important thing. Not even close.
Let’s focus on who we are and how we feel mentally, physically and spiritually. We have so much more to offer than an obsession with the bathroom scales or how fast we lose weight. Let’s not forget that weight loss can be unhealthy and disordered too. It’s why we do it, how we do it and the way we choose to talk about it that really matters.
How do you feel about the way the media portrays women? Have you struggled with your body image?