weight loss

Do I want to lose weight?

imageI’m asked that question a lot these days. It’s that time of year, I guess.

I’m also spending time with a bunch of performance oriented athletes with race related reasons to want to weigh less.

I’m never sure what to answer.

The easy answer is this: Yes, yes I do.

On the one hand, I’ve been reassured by an endocrinologist that I have no health related reasons to lose weight. For whatever reason–healthy eating, lots of activity, or just plain genetic good luck–I’m in great shape healthwise by the usual standard measures.

One the other hand, we live in a world with pretty strong anti-overweight bias. While my self-esteem is pretty secure (see here and here), I do worry sometimes about the external effects. I’m pretty sure it hurts my teaching evaluations. Research also shows that being overweight has a financial impact.

And finally, there’s hills. And it’s harder to run fast when you’re larger. And pull ups. I’d love to be able to do an unassisted pull up.

So yes, I want to lose weight.

But wanting something doesn’t make it so.

I’d also like a million dollars, world peace, an end to global warming, and a second job in a warmer climate for the winter months. Oh, and nice boots that fit over my thighs.

And unicorns, and rainbows, and puppies…you get the idea.

If you’ve been reading the blog awhile you’ve heard lots about my weight loss journey:

So there’s things I’d love to have, better eyesight!, and things I can actually control to some extent, like my training and my nutrition.

I can control what I do. I can’t control the results.

It’s January and the group I cycle with is holding a “healthy weight loss challenge.” They’re ruling out extreme dieting. The goal is to get to racing weight by the time of our March training camp. Will I take part? Maybe.

But for me becoming thin, forget racing weight, isn’t likely on the agenda. I’ve never been thin. Even at my lightest (I wore a size 10) I was overweight by the standard measures.

Luckily, I’m a strong believer in the Healthy at Every Size  approach to life.

Health at Every Size is based on the simple premise that the best way to improve health is to honor your body. It supports people in adopting health habits for the sake of health and well-being (rather than weight control). Health at Every Size encourages:

  • Accepting and respecting the natural diversity of body sizes and shapes.

  • Eating in a flexible manner that values pleasure and honors internal cues of hunger, satiety, and appetite.

  • Finding the joy in moving one’s body and becoming more physically vital.

So yes, I eat well, I track what I eat, and I try to make better choices. I follow the main precision nutrition habits. I’ll likely spend more time with my Lean Eating buddies on Facebook. (Our group from our 2013 class is still very active. Go Team Switch! We archived all the PN materials and we continue to reuse them.) If that results in weight loss, then fantastic. I’ll be thrilled. If it doesn’t, I’ll keep on moving. Because that’s what I love best. It’s a good thing. It would be sad thing to have my sights set on being a weight loss unicorn.


11 thoughts on “Do I want to lose weight?

  1. You sound like you’re active enough, if you don’t feel like you need to loose weight then don’t. Everyone’s body shape is different so try not to compare yours to others :). Committing to loosing weight is easier said than done and if you’re not too pushed about it then there’s no point putting yourself under that pressure 🙂

    1. I don’t think you can commit to losing weight. You can control what you eat but that might not mean losing weight. So yes, I’m back tracking some basic nutritional habits. This week I’m focusing on protein and veggies at breakfast time. But if I don’t lose weight, meh. My self esteem isn’t riding on it. My one big reason for wanting to weigh less, hills!

  2. I think we put too much emphasis on body shape. I’m 55 and have walked, jogged, swam,(+tried every sport I could in the belief I have to be good at one of them – I wasn’t.) for most of my life. I am a size 10 and have been that size for most of my life. I have discovered in the gym that most young women of larger sizes can pack an incredible amount of reps into their sessions. They are fit, toned and look great.
    So as I started out saying, there is too much emphasis on body shape, being fit and healthy is a much better goal in life.

  3. Agree completely. And if performance in my favourite sport wasn’t tied to being lighter, I think I’d completely stop caring.

  4. Oh man. Although I look relatively lean I am quite heavy. I think my legs weigh 50 pounds each. Haha

    Sometimes I wish I was lighter, but I have more or less accepted my solid muscular body will probably still be around, and I just have to kick ass trying to accomplish my goals.

  5. Losing weight is a tough one. My pants were a bit snug this morning. I would like to cut back on mindless snacking. I hope those two things work together.

    I have spent a number of years with extremely rigid eating rules. And the funniest thing is now that I have let them go I am still about the same size I was.

    I struggle now with self acceptance, weight and complacency. How do the 3 go together? Where am I?

    Overall I am the happiest I have ever been in my life. I am not thinking about dieting or self improvement. I like to think focusing on eating for enjoyment and health, and exercise for the love of it, will be sufficient.


  6. “But wanting something doesn’t make it so.” Love this line. Dreams are just dreams until we DO SOMETHING to bring the dream into reality. Love it. Thanks for sharing your journey.

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