Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The difference

We have a serious disease in our culture, and maybe it's been part of our entire human history. It's the disease of "too." I'm sure it's in medical research somewhere. We're always being told we're too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too smart, too dumb, too driven, too lazy, too...yeah, you get the idea. It seems that no matter what we are, we should always be something else. And we buy into it. Magazines, books, talk shows are all telling us how we can change our self from too _________ to just right.

I've come to identify those voices in my life that tell me I'm "too _______". The list is long. But one of the obvious ones most of us deal with is being too fluffy (it sounds so much nicer than some of the other words that come to mind). Too big, too heavy, too husky has been part of my mental self-talk for a long time, and began with taunts of other kids at school and on the bus. But being motivated by those voices wasn't going to cause long-term healthy changes. If I wanted to change my weight out of self-loathing, it isn't going to carry me through to a healthy lifestyle OR it would have ended in some self-destructive eating habits. Before I began I had to be okay with me, then I could make changes out of wanting to be healthier and not out of self-hatred. My goal wasn't to look like a fitness model. Every time I workout with Jillian Michaels she says with a bit of a sneer "keep working out with me and you'll look like this in no time." She knows and I know that it isn't realistic for me to look like that. And that's not my goal. Here's what I wanted: to be at a healthy weight that I could maintain with eating healthy most of the time and keeping a sensible exercise program. The decrease in weight was necessary to deal with two of the medical issues I had: arthritis in my knees and low HDL levels.

If you go back and read my post "I Quit" from October 2011, you would think I wasn't going to try to lose weight and at the time I wasn't. I even spent a lot of time discussing with my sister why I didn't need to lose. I was happy with where I was, my husband found me attractive (the only one whose opinion actually counts), I knew my worth wasn't found in my pant size, and the frugal part of me didn't want to buy new clothes or spend money on the plan I chose. But in the end wanting to improve parts of my health won out. And through the whole journey, accepting where I am at has been important and empowering. When I reach a new milestone I tell myself "if this is where you can eat healthy and maintain this weight, then this is a good place for you." Then I'll just continue to eat according to my eating plan, and if weight is continuing to come off without any adverse side effects, I keep going. I'm getting close to what I think is a healthy weight that I can maintain, but I still have to fight some of those "too" voices. Like "your thighs are too big. But I also accept that's the genetics I've been handed are what they are. And my tree trunks will win in almost any leg wrestling match.

So the first step is to accept that you were beautifully created just the way you are. And if there are unhealthy places in your life you can make changes to improve your health and wellness, but don't do it out of a fear that you are too __________. Do it out of the knowledge that you created for more than to be ruled by twinkies and cheeseburgers.

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