1. Weight does not equal worth.
I’ve said it before, but regardless of what we look like or what we do or don’t do, we are already enough. It can be so hard to accept that we aren’t the ones with this control, but that we are all already worthy of life, love, acceptance, and success precisely where we are at right now because of what God has done for us, but it’s true!
I think a lot of people get it in their heads that “Once I lose this ‘extra weight,'” or “Once I look like I did 2 years ago,” or “Once I can fit into those jeans again,” or “Once the number on the scale says ___ lbs,” … “then I’ll be happy with myself.” “then I can celebrate.” “then I’ll be able to go after that goal.” “then I won’t feel insecure around people anymore.”
The truth is…. none of that is true. Speaking from experience and from what others have told me, it appears that a lot of times the opposite actually happens. Once the weight is lost, you just want to lose more weight. You find you’re not actually happy with yourself, and that you don’t look as good as you thought you would, and that you don’t feel as confident as you thought you would, and that it’s still “not enough.”
If anything, now you’re more insecure, because there’s this pressure to upkeep an image that isn’t realistic long term, and the fear of backsliding into who you used to be actually causes more problems in your life, and not less. There’s a reason we feel like we’re fighting an impossible battle when we try to make ourselves enough…. it’s because it’s not our battle to fight. The battle is already over, and we’ve already won, because Christ has won for us.
2. Weight loss does not equal health.
There’s a very big difference between trying to lose weight, and trying to be healthy. Trying to be healthy is a good thing. God wants us healthy, and to do what we can to best take care of the bodies he’s given us to do his work is a goal worthy of our time. But when we just try to lose weight, we lose sight of the fact that we should be working to balance mind, body, and spirit, and instead get caught up in looking at our bodies as a problem to be fixed.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that weight loss is inherently bad. I’m not even saying that I’ll never lose weight again myself. I’m just saying that I’ll never “try” to lose weight again. Weight loss is not a goal deserving of my time, while health is.
When health is the goal, sometimes that means weight loss comes with it, and sometimes, that means weight gain comes with it. And neither of those are a bad thing! Far too many people who are underweight are actually trying to lose weight because society tells them skinnier is always better, but are actually hurting themselves physiologically (and psychologically) in the process.
Bottom line: weight loss or weight gain should never be anything more than a byproduct of trying to be healthy. It’s a side effect. It’s not the focus.
3. It doesn’t work.
Let’s take a step back in time, shall we? Before grocery stores at every corner and farmers’ markets every weekend, we humans used to have to work for our food. We were hunters and gatherers, and ate with the seasons. We experienced times of famine and times of feasting, and our weight fluctuated as our food supply did. In times of scarcity our bodies knew to hang onto their fat supply until food was readily available again, since it needed that fat for fuel.
Biologically, we’re still wired this way. So when we place rules and restrictions on our eating, we trick our brains into thinking there’s a scarce amount of food available. We create an imaginary famine in our minds. Our bodies, in an effort to protect us and take care of us, hang onto the fat that we have (and often try to gain more fat), since they’re not sure when food will be available again.
Little do our bodies know we could eat virtually anything we want whenever we want in this day and age, but because we constantly tell ourselves that we can only eat 4 ounces of chicken with 7 ounces of broccoli for dinner, and no, we can’t have that cookie on the lunch table, and no, we of course can’t celebrate with a slice of that ice cream cake with everyone else… our minds assume the worst and do the opposite of what we want and avoid weight loss at all cost… all in an effort to preserve ourselves.
Don’t be fooled: if we restrict and starve ourselves enough, then the weight will come off in the short term, but, as we continue to mess with our heads and metabolism, the weight will only come back in the long term.
This is why allowing your body to eat what it wants when it wants, assuming that it won’t significantly and negatively affect your health, is the best way to go about life. There’s a reason that we feel hungry sometimes and full other times… those signals are meant to be listened to! Throw away the scale. Throw away the restrictive meal plan. Throw away the size 2 jeans that you want to fit in again someday. Buy clothes that you feel comfortable in. Appreciate your body exactly where it’s at today. And love it enough to feed it food when it asks for it. It’s as simple as that.