Today. For the first time ever. In my life. I wore a pair of size 8 jeans. I've lost 54 pounds, and while this is not my lowest adult weight, my fitness level is as high as it's ever been. Losing the first 40 pounds was fairly easy, now weight loss (and improving fitness) takes more serious commitment.
No way do I think a person's value is determined by a number on a scale, by the tag on their jeans, or by anything external. No way do I believe that losing weight solves all your problems. It solves none of them (except for some that are health-related), and in fact can make many "appear" worse, simply because of focus. When you take away numbing yourself with food, you lose your "designated issue" (a Martha Beck term, I think) and can suddenly come nose-to-trunk with the elephant in the room.
For so long I thought I would be ecstatic with a size 10, and I was pretty happy with it. My goal is not to get skinnier and skinnier, and I don't have visions of size 2 dancing in my head. Size 8 is merely a by product of 1) tracking reasonable portions of healthy food, 2) fairly intense workouts that I love, and 3) releasing the habit of clutching at old identities.
1) and 2) are pretty self explanatory, and you can read about various versions of them in about 1 billions books and magazines. Very few weight loss books (albeit some) get to the heart of the relationship between mind and weight. I was fairly intrigued reading the latest issue of the annual People "Half Their Size" issue. The blurb is always about food plans and exercise, with a photo of the featured person -- usually jumping on a trampoline while adorable children, and handsome husband, gaze on lovingly. Yes, I am exaggerating, and I begrudge none of them their fantastic accomplishments, but I guarantee each and every one of them struggled through a shitload of mental work and mining that was far more difficult than logging snacks and busting out squats and lunges.
Everything serves a purpose, even fat, and often that purpose is keeping you in your old, "safe", identity -- even if that identity sucks. You may have assumed this identity based on casual remarks -- maybe from "bullies" but even as likely from family and friends. You may have felt pushed into it, to fit into your family, or group of friends, or relationship. "You be this, and I'll be that." But maybe you don't want to be "this" anymore, maybe you want to be "that".
I always thought I wasn't the kind of person who could be a size 8.
I always thought I wasn't the kind of person who could do 40 real push ups, run 9 miles, complete a workout that most adults (men or women) 20 years younger than me couldn't handle.
I always thought I was the kind of person who couldn't give up pasta and Diet Pepsi (this makes me laugh out loud).
There is no such thing as "that kind of person".
There are few true limits in life, and most of us struggle with limits we totally invent.
And that is crazy bullshit.
- Cathy Yonek
- Pittsburgh, PA, United States
- Six years ago I decided (age) 42 would be my magic number. I stepped on the scale for the first time in a LONG time. It was a BIG number, it was a SCARY number, but mostly I knew I had to own that number. I lost 40 pounds, leaving the obese category behind. In 2014 I committed myself to working out HARD and a low sugar diet, losing more weight and gaining nice definition. Then life happened, and I lost momentum, gaining some weight back. My goals now are different, and include completing my first ever marathon at age 48. GULP! You can read about the next part of my journey here.