Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I hear on a weekly basis at least one person say to me, “I really want to be free.  I want to not worry about food.  I just want to happy with myself but the only way I feel I can is to lose weight”.

I don’t judge this.  It’s understandable.  If we are constantly bombarded with the not subtle idea that  one version of the female body  is deemed acceptable, it leaves the rest of us looking for a solution for how to be in the “in club”.  

We are told you can only be confident if you have a smaller/more muscular  body (but not too small).  According to the covers of Runner’s World magazine, you are only a runner if you have  half-clothe yourself, showing your dedication by way of a defined stomach.  Please…..I have gotten smoked by runners in the few 5k’s I ran by people twice my weight.

Sincerely, I understand there might be more choices in life in terms of clothes or mates if you are thin (only because we live in a fat-biased culture, not because it is inherently true).  I understand that sometimes your body might not do the things you want it to do, but your body does not deserve shame and blame.  We all will have circumstances where we will  have limitations to what our bodies can do.  (I am 4’11” and can’t reach much of anything without a step stool, but because I am not taught culturally to hate my short stature, I just go get a step stool without judgement).  Again, I am not making light of the fear you might have about not trying to lose weight, I am just wondering what it would be like to focus on mental, physical and emotional health as an alternative to pursuing weight loss out of self-hatred and the belief that “I cannot be happy unless I am thinner”.

Alternative Path to Hating a Larger Size #1.  Improved health and mobility can come from nutrition and movement and is not guaranteed from weight loss. 

It is painful to hear stories from people who are willing to restrict to not lose an identity as “the thin one” or wait to go to the beach until weight loss occurs.  The sadness inherent in longing for “smaller or leaner” is measured in the months and years lost in not being present, not pursuing desires and goals and putting off life.

There is something seriously wrong with the fact we have to even spend money on research that studies at what lengths people will go to to lose weight.  For example, “Over half of the females studied between ages eighteen and twenty-five would prefer to be run over by a truck than to be fat, and two-thirds would choose to be mean or stupid rather than fat.” Gaesser, Glenn A., PhD. Big Fat Lies: The truth about your weight and your health. Gurze Books, 2001.  

Women, men and children are more alarmingly than ever falling prey to the idea that thinness and leanness equals success, acceptance and love.  What if we realized or put ourselves in the position of acceptance and love in more stable places besides at the alter of what one period of time deems acceptable?

Alternative Path to Hating a Larger Size #2.  Consider that your body and food preoccupation may be about some deeper way you are trying to communicate something else:  the coping of disconnection, fear, abuse, judgment with starving, stuffing, purging and comparing.

So what would happen if you could live by your own rules of acceptance?  One where you see beyond other’s insecurities that are projected on to you?  It’s not easy, but you do not have to allow others to control you with body shaming, food-policing for your “own good” and toxic conversations gossiping about lost or gain weight.  And just because you may not believe that you want to change your body for anyone else, you did learn that smaller was better from somewhere and carry that in your unconscious, which runs conscious thought and behavior.

You can live by your own set of principles.  Principles of allowing others the freedom to eat and look as they like free of judgment.  Seeing humans through a wider lens of beauty ( I personally cannot fathom how mother nature created junk).  And my personal principle:  Realizing that other people’s body prejudice is a projection of their own self-rejection of some aspect of themselves.  Bottom Line:  It is not about you.  And if people try to make your weight a problem, you do not have to agree.

This is a challenging topic.  I would love to hear your comments on how you are dealing with desires to lose weight.  Please share!

Much Love 

To read more about why women struggle to like their bodies, go to http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2012/06/02/why-do-women-hate-their-bodies/