I am the first to admit that I struggle with weight and body confidence issues. It’s not that I desperately want to lose weight, but I want to feel confident in my body. I don’t want to feel shame when I try on clothes that don’t fit. I want to feel empowered when I wear a bikini at the beach and not worry about how onlookers may perceive my body. I want to love my body and it’s amazingness (because our bodies are amazing!) but I struggle to accept my figure when society deems it to be “plus-size” and not desirable.
But is this idea to want to lose weight really about weight?
I would like to be able to say that I accept my body but it’s challenging when you go shopping and are left frustrated that you don’t feel confident in the outfits that you try on. Looking in the mirror, and seeing the rolls and stretch marks reflected back at me creates a feeling of guilt and a sense of giving up on myself. But why?
Why is our weight and size an indicator of our willpower to be healthy? Why do we let the idea of gaining weight mean that we’ve “let ourselves go” or failed in some way? And why do we let a number on the scale determine our worthiness and value?
It can be especially difficult to avoid the desire to hop on the diet train when celebrities and influencers flaunt the next fad diet like it’s the golden ticket to happiness. When we see flawless bodies on Instagram and magazines, we choose to see the image of skinniness and perfection as to be desired.
But what I’ve realized is that weight loss isn’t really about the weight. For over a year I avoided weighing myself, choosing to be oblivious to the number on the scale. Did it make a difference? Not really. I continued on with my life regardless if my weight was up or down (I barely even noticed my weight shifting when it did).
When we see flawless bodies on Instagram and magazines, we choose to see the image of skinniness and perfection as to be desired.
What the desire to lose weight boils down to is body confidence.
We don’t feel confident with our size so we set out to lose weight. We don’t feel confident in the clothes we wear, and we think that losing the weight will fix it. We don’t feel confident because our bodies don’t measure up to the Instagram model selling skinny tea, so we deprive ourselves of food so that we feel more worthy, or we torture ourselves with workouts that we don’t enjoy, as punishment for overeating.
I want to stop this idea that weight loss equals success. I don’t want my weight to reflect my self-worth, but rather just be another pointless number. I want to feel confident in my clothes, but I don’t want my weight to be the focal point of achieving that confidence. I want to remind myself that we all have different body shapes, and there is not one ideal shape that I should compare myself to. And, if there is one thing I want to remember when I think about my body, it is Lady Gaga’s famous phrase “I’m on the right track, baby I was born this way”.
As we all move through this journey of body acceptance, let’s hold each other accountable and remind ourselves that the desire to lose weight isn’t really about losing weight. It’s about something much deeper. And until we dig deep and uncover the real reasons why we want to change our bodies, we will never be able to find the self-acceptance that we think we are chasing with weight loss.