Why Losing Weight Isn’t All Rainbows and Kittens (Like the Commercials Make It Out to Be)
Earlier this year, we got a poignant email from a reader. Summer Taylor, a senior undergraduate student in Arkansas, told us that she started her fitness journey last year when she started running and lost more than 30 pounds. Despite her weight-loss success, she found that losing the weight brought up a lot of issues. And that “It’s not all rainbows and kittens, despite what weight loss ads, commercials and TV shows want you to believe.” Her main point was that life without the extra weight can be scary—and that no one really talks about it.
So, I got to thinking. And, sure, we’ve touched on how you might miss the weight after you lose it—and obviously FBG Life is about gaining confidence and learning to love a healthy lifestyle so that you can lose the weight (if that’s your goal) and feel good about yourself in the process—but Summer was right in that we’ve never done a post solely on what happens after you lose the weight and how that might mess with your head-space.
Summer graciously offered for us to post a few paragraphs from her own blog, Going On From There, about all of this and more. We love how honest and real it is. Losing weight is about change, and change can be very scary. That’s why most of us resist it. Not to mention that losing weight will never inherently make you a better person. You are who you are. Love yourself as you are, now, and then strive to improve yourself inside and out. That’s really what life is about: being our best, no matter the size.
Okay, enough jabbering by us. Read it!
The Skinny on Being Skinny, by Summer Taylor
I hate weight-loss commercials. Sorry for being a Debbie Downer, but I despise them with every fiber of my being. Why? Because weight-loss commercials perpetuate the idea that losing weight is the magical fix-all for your life. If you look good in an itty-bitty bikini then you can rule the world, or something akin to it. They suck you in and make you think that you can look like that model on the screen, when in reality, the majority of it is airbrushing. And given the fact that it’s the beginning of a New Year, I’ve been seeing a TON of them, from programs to shakes to equipment to meal plans to pills; it’s ridiculous!
But I know that’s not true. And it never will be true. Because despite how hard losing weight is, it is not a fix-all, and it will NOT make your life perfect. In fact, the thing that no one, and especially no one on weight-loss commercials, tells you is that losing weight may very well give you a complex. Losing weight may very well make you freak out more about your body than if you had just kept the weight on in the first place.
Did any of Summer’s post resonate with you and your experience? Let’s discuss! —Jenn
Emphatically disagree. Could not disagree more. Losing weight = whole new world.
A ligtbulb just lit up for me. This topic hasn’t been discussed and I’m so very proud of you for first recognizing that fear and then sharing it with all of us. Being a size (fill in the blank with whatever is your ‘skinny’ number) doesn’t open the doors to a secret world of happiness but man if it’s not an amazing accomplishment that I would squeeze the life out of. It’s been a couple years now since I ran a marathon but I’ll still be reppin that accomplishment when I’m 80. I hope you’ll be rockin your accomplishment too! You deserve it! Sticking to the hard goals, following through with them (even when they’re scary) is bad ass in my book.
A great article on this issue: http://blisstree.com/look/phantom-fat-weight-loss-eating-disorder-body-dysmorphia-510/
I get the feeling of “I’ve only lost 30 pounds.” But it is fantastic and life changing. If I have a client that poo-poos a significant weight loss I have them grab some dumbbells that equal that weight loss and walk on the treadmill for 10 minutes. For even more impact, strap on a weight vest and carry that weight around for a day. You forget how that weight affects your body because it comes off slowly.
Being healthy isn’t a number on a scale or a tag on a pair of jeans. It’s so much more than that. Getting healthy is a different mind set than weight loss…and when you are healthy life can be rainbows and kittens.
For me, loosing 30 pounds is already a great thing. Me, personally I’ve lost 20 pounds after changing my eating habits and that was a really great feeling. I think when loosing weight you shouldn’t be too harsh on yourself. The secret their is to love yourself, loving yourself will surely make you get a healthier and great body. However, do always take note that being beautiful doesn’t comes from the outside but it comes from the inside. So, whatever the size of your body maybe, feeling good about yourself and your body makes you beautiful.
I’m kind of shocked anyone is disagreeing with this article and super thankful to Colette for posting the blisstree article as well! I have never in my life been more than a size 8 (and that was almost six years ago). I’m currently a size 2 or 4 depending on the store. Despite the years in between and years of a very healthy lifestyle that I absolutely LOVE (it makes me happy, healthy, vibrant, confident, all of those great things), the body in the mirror still doesn’t match the body in my head. Body dismorphia can be a long and difficult road. I realized the mismatch existed years ago and it is still something I struggle with regularly. I am an extremely happy person, and I no longer exercise and diet to be skinny, I do it to be healthy and strong and powerful and all the wonderful things that come with it. Today, I’m better than I ever have been about embracing my body and treating myself with kindness. But I still have my dark moments, and it’s important to recognize that a healthy body DOES NOT necessarily equal a healthy body image. So thanks FBG for devoting some time to this issue 🙂
As someone who has been significantly overweight for almost her entire life (and all of her adult life), I can definitely relate to Summer’s post. I constantly tried to lose weight, thinking that it would make me happier, and it always worked…for a while. This time, I found something I love to do, running, and it’s helping me lose weight, but the weight loss is more like a perk of the running rather than the reason I’m doing it. Finding a better reason to be healthier than “I want to be skinny” made all the difference in my success. At the same time, as my appearance continues to change, sometimes I get freaked out and want to go back to my old normal because it felt “comfortable” and “easy.” Sometimes the question, “What if this weight loss doesn’t change my life in the way I want it to?” occurs to me on a regular basis.
Such a great post, Summer! Losing weight can improve your health and fitness, and help you start to build self-confidence … but if you never loved yourself in the first place, simply losing weight will not change that. I try to help people learn to love themselves as they are losing weight, so that the transformation of body AND mind can have far more powerful effects than just the weight loss itself. Keep up the good work, and take time to appreciate how amazing you are!
She’s right…it’s not an end all be all thingthing when you lose weight. I noticed the biggest reaction from men, and it wasn’t what I expected. I found men came up with other excuses not to date me. Men who were wildly out of shape who’d sabotage my own efforts were the ones who were attracted to me because they thought they deserved a trophy woman. Not wanting to be a snob, I dated a 300 man who only wanted to sit around, eat chicken wings, and swill beer. As you can imagine, it didn’t work out. So weight loss/fitness does not make you attractive to the opposite sex like you might imagine. Then you have spouses who don’t want you to get healthy because they’ll become insecure you’d leave them.
I also thought that once you lost the weight you would automatically be happy. There was a several-month-struggle that I went through where I wasn’t understanding why I lost the weight and still didn’t feel like life was perfect. It takes a mental overhaul to learn to love who you are first! Happiness follows when you let go of the weight of negativity, not the weight of the fat! But I think working out and taking care of myself physically has paved the path for allowing me to love who I am as is, and love things about myself that have nothing to do with shape/size/weight/blah.
It’s all about balance, love, determination, and strength!
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