Why do you want to lose weight?

Whydoyouwannaloseweight.jpg Hello from freezing cold NYC! I am tucked away in a coffee shop in Brooklyn in three layers, a scarf, and a hot cup of coffee, and my toes are still numb.

Oh well, I’m trying to look at the winter time as being “romantic”. Let’s see how that goes… :)

I want to talk today about why we tend to fixate on a specific weight that we strive to be, a certain size pants that we want to fit into,  or a particular way that we want our body to look.

What I’ve seen in my own life and by coaching many women through this, is that our desire to be a certain size or weight is often times coming from some sort of outside influence, a belief about what we think that number will mean for us, or from a comparison. And when we truly stop to think about it, we may not even WANT to be that size.

We have a lot of reasons why we want to be a certain size:

- We think that we’ll feel confident and sexy at that size.

- We were once that weight and we think that we HAVE to get back to that particular weight in order to feel happy and to have succeeded at weight loss.

- All of our friends are smaller than we are so we think that because we are larger, then we most certainly need to be smaller to fit in.

- Our mothers and sisters are smaller, so we think that we should be smaller too.

- We think we will be more attractive and loved at a lower weight.

One of my clients had been really caught up about losing those last ten pounds recently. Finally, I decided to dig deep with her and get to the bottom of why she really wanted to lose weight.

I asked her point blank: do you think you’re overweight? (I knew she wasn’t) And she said, without even hesitating: “no, I know that I’m not at all.” The more we talked, the more she realized that she actually likes her body. She’s just had it in her head for years  that she had to lose weight, had to be smaller, had to be skinner, that she didn’t even given herself a chance to step back and ask herself:

Do I actually like my body?

We discovered that this massive pressure for her to lose weight stemmed from her comparing herself to everyone around her. Her mom was tiny, and she was about to go on vacation with her boyfriend and his family. All of the women in her boyfriend’s family were also tiny. She also just so happens to have a lot of friends who are smaller and shorter than she is, so she always feels big.

Because they were all so small, she felt like she needed to lose weight and was always beating herself up and carrying around a negative body image because she was naturally bigger than these other women. Once she realized this, she was able to work on owning her body and began looking for evidence pointing to the fact that she was totally okay (i.e. her boyfriend freakin’ loves her body).

I had a similar story for most of my life. Somewhere along the long road of my diet and weight struggle, I picked up the number 125. Weighing 125 pounds = success, love and confidence. I was once 125 pounds in high school and I remembered feeling happy and confident at that weight.

125.

125.

125.

For almost 10 years, I battled my body to get it back to 125. That was the magic number, the happy number, the number when all of my worries would go away and my confidence would skyrocket.

It wasn’t until I slowed down and actually thought about why I was so fixated on this number that I realized that maybe my body didn’t want to be there. Why am I exhausting myself with trying to get back to that freakin’ number?

Today, I am not 125 pounds. I don’t think I will ever be that weight again.

But despite giving up the goal of hitting that number, my body confidence is the best it’s ever been in my life.

Confidence has nothing to do with your weight. It has everything to do with YOU being okay with exactly where you’re at. (tweet it!)

Instead of being obsessed with hitting a number, I let my body settle at it’s own weight – a weight that feels healthy, natural and easy.  A weight where my curves are in tact and a weight that allows me to have wine, cheese, bread, and exercise a few times a week in a way that I love.

If you’re in a place where you’re trying to change your body – whether you’re trying to lose weight, be more toned, or fit into smaller jeans – I want to challenge you just to ask yourself why for a minute.

Where is this desire to change coming from? If you looked at your body in a bubble without comparing yourself to others, worrying about how you may be perceived or looking at a past version of yourself, how do you feel about your size? Is it possible that maybe you don’t need to hit that particular weight in order to feel the way you want to feel?

There’s some food for thought for you! In the comments below, let me know what you think about this. I’d LOVE to hear what’s going on for you.

Love,

Jamie

P.S. The Good Life Holiday Challenge kicked off yesterday and I’m having a blast with it. There’s an on going sign up, so if you’d like to join us, here’s the link!

 

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20 thoughts on “Why do you want to lose weight?

  1. Jamie, this post really rang true for me- so many of those things are accurate in my life. I have many “smaller” friends and my mom and sister were always much smaller than me. Recently I lost 75 pounds, and was pretty small, but I was unable to sustain that weight. I don’t “mind” the weight I am at now (I haven’t weighed in about 3 months, since I began looking into intuitive eating) but I am unreasonably afraid to be back where I was. I KNOW I won’t go back there, I do a lot of exercise- specifically weight-lifting and walking- and I burn through too many calories. But I have regained in my belly and it bugs me. Mostly for how my clothes fit. Maybe I just need new clothes?
    One of my very good friends is the owner of our gym- very very lean and muscular. I have great muscles, but I am not as lean. She has genetics on her side- I recognize that intellectually, but I am unreasonably afraid of what “might” happen, even though I doubt it will. I have really been considering the challenge of t his post, and it has pinpointed my fear. I just need to come to terms with the implications and figure out how to proceed from here.

    1. I’m so glad that this post helped Deb. It does sound like you are actually okay with your body and your weight. The fear of regaining is understandable, but the more intuitive you get with your eating, the more you can trust that your body knows where it needs to be. Also, I’d say YES to the new clothes if you can!!!

  2. Thanks for this post, Jamie! I hear so many young women complaining about needing to lose weight even when they are a size 0! I think a lot of it has to do with this ‘diet’ world that we live in. I love your attitude of allowing your body to find a natural fit tat allows you to enjoy your pleasures every now and then, but still maintain your health through exercise.

  3. This actually is very interesting. Over a year ago, I was able to lose almost 40lbs. I have since (in the last 6 months or so) gained about 20 of it back. At first, I was devistated when I started stepping on the scale and seeing those numbers go up and up and up….but now, thinking back, my life was so different over a year ago. I was just separated, in the dating scene, a single mother, had horrible house mates to help pay the bills…at which they didn’t. Now, my life is full with a fiance whom I absolutely love, no more mortgage or bills, on a really good budget, and I have tremendous support. So, instead of looking at the numbers, I can now see that I was using exercise as a way of excape and I should really enjoy…me. All 185lbs of ME! Thanks, Jamie!!! :)

    1. Ah, amazing Monica!!! This makes me so happy. You’re really enjoying life, so you don’t need the focus on weight loss to consume your time and thoughts anymore. You’ve replaced it with enjoying life. Love it!

  4. Great post! I have no clue where my body’s natural weight would be. I lost 50 pounds and have kept it off for about a year now, and have actually lost more. I weigh myself twice a week and if that number goes up at all I have the worst day and beat myself up over it. I have to wear a belt with my size 00 pants and I still can see myself as chubby and not “perfect” enough. I signed up for your Good Life Holiday Challenge because I suffer from a lot of food guilt, and I’m realizing that I have a lot of disordered eating habits!

  5. Thank you Jamie! I love this post! I’ve been “struggling” with those last 8 pounds or so. I know I’m at a healthy weight but there are so many external pressures that I feel I need to accomplish this. I beginning to have a different mentality and just focus on being happy and healthy.

  6. This is a great post. 125 was always my number too — in fact, it’s still the weight on my driver’s license, because that’s what I weighed at 16. I didn’t even eat particularly healthy or exercise regularly back then, and now that I do, I know I’ve gained muscle and I’m healthier than I was back then. I don’t weigh 125 anymore. A number is just a number.

  7. I love this post. I have been struggling to get to my “magic number” for about a good year now. Nothing really seems to make the weight come off, and all info is get frustrated. However, I do love the way exercising makes me feel… But I tend to get stuck on how I look. The fact that I am getting married in 9 mos has both added increased motivation and increased fixations! The looking/feeling confident is definitely one of my biggest “why” reasons.

    1. Hey Brittany — totally understandable esp. with your wedding (congrats, btw, so exciting). I would ask yourself if confidence is tied to your weight and why… and then focus on gaining confidence in yourself today. That seems to be the feeling you’re chasing and you can gain that without losing weight. Just food for thought! Let me know how it goes.

  8. Your posts are so relieving when my head is over whelmed with thoughts. I cannot wait for the day where I have found that happy medium like you! currently doing the Ie challenge excited for the holiday one too

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