I received a comment recently (Yay!! a comment!! I still get so excited. 🙂 ) that asked me for weight loss advice. In this case, the asker provided a current weight and height, and a goal weight and target date, but not much other information.
I’ve stated this before, I’m NOT a professional. At least, not a professional in the fields of nutrition, exercise, weight loss, or general health. (I’m an accountant!). I’m more than happy to talk about what has worked for me, what my training is like, the challenges I face and how I’m trying to overcome them (if anybody can tell me how to make broccoli taste like chocolate, I’ll love them forever….).
I’m also not here to judge anyone. I used to weigh 244 pounds. If you are big, and looking for ways to make changes in your life to improve your health, the way you feel, or even the way you look, I hope I can help and inspire you. If you are looking to learn about running, or triathlon, I’ll share what I’ve learned, and point you to resources that have helped me.
I do feel concern, though, for people (usually women) who feel a need to diet/exercise themselves down to a particular number, especially if that number appears to be unhealthily low. Our society, our culture, has created an ideal version of beauty that says women have to be so thin they are almost gaunt, with perfect skin, perfect abs, perfect everything.
Most weight loss programs even buy into this in some ways – I participated in one program where every day, you were supposed to visualize your ideal you once the weight was gone. I used to visualize a particular music artist who was this tiny little thing! Do I think that was healthy? Not now – but at 26, all I wanted was to conform to society’s ideal beauty.
Even recently, I had scheduled plastic surgery to remove the excess skin left over from my weight loss. Three kids and 100 pounds leaves a lot of extra! I had to cancel it due to other health issues cropping up. Now, I’m reconsidering it – aside from the cost ($11,000!!!), I’m far more interested in pushing my body to do more and be better through training. Taking 6-8 weeks out of my training schedule is not on the agenda for at least 2 or 3 seasons. We’ll see how I feel then, because although I don’t like the excess skin, right now my relationship with my body is better than it has ever been.
As a former morbidly obese person, I have to learn to love myself again. Training has been helping me do that – every time I complete a workout and go a little further, or a little faster…. or even just complete it on a day I feel like quitting! – that is a success. And those successes help me appreciate myself.
I will never look like a model. That’s OK. I may never feel comfortable in a bikini – that’s a psychological issue for me to deal with! I may lose a few more pounds over the next few months as my training ramps up. If I do, that’s OK. And if I don’t… well, that’s OK too. What matters to me is running strong, being healthy, and living well. I’m pretty good with the person I see in the mirror every morning. More importantly, I’m really happy with the person I see when I review my training logs and chart my progress. Setting goals and knocking them down proves how strong I’m getting, and that is the body image I’m trying to achieve!