Thursday, August 30, 2012

Putting my weight loss on a pedestal...

I don't want to die dieting.

I hate that Mom died unhappy with her appearance. Mom was beautiful. Inside AND out. She had been on a medication for years that had caused a bit of weight gain and a puffiness in her face and neck. And she HATED her looks because of it. No one could convince her that she wasn't ugly and fat.

Not even me. God knows that I tried, though. I hate how important looks are to us, as women.

Why is there such a pressure to look a certain way?

Why, when our looks change, be it because of age, pregnancy, medications, health issues, stress, or even just holiday weight gain... Why does this MATTER to us so much??

Can't we just be happy with our accomplishments that have nothing to do with our looks?

Why are we contantly comparing our looks to other women's looks?

Why do we enjoy talking about our virtuous dieting stories with our fellow women? Surely there is something else to talk about besides how "good" we were for avoiding the fried food, or how "guilty" we are for eating birthday cake.

I don't get it. I don't get why I am like this, even though I know it's wrong. I don't want to be one of the dieters anymore. I don't want to hate my appearance even one bit.

I'm beautiful. And I do actually know this. Even though I'm heavier than I want to be, even though I'm older than I once was, even though there are parts of my appearance that aren't picture-perfect. I know that my looks aren't bad, for the most part. I like my appearance. I don't think that I'm ugly.

But my beauty is not really an accomplishment. I didn't earn my looks. I inherited them from a beautiful mother.

My biggest accomplishments are yet to come. And the 50 or so pounds that I am going to lose, however long it takes, will NOT be on that list (even though it will be an accomplishment!).

I'm going to stop putting my weight loss on such a high pedestal. There are more important things in life.

Mom would want me to get out of this dieting nightmare, and to lose the weight at a slow and comfortable pace. She would want me to be happy and healthy first, and worry about what the numbers on the scale, measuring tape, and pants label say last.

She would want me to graduate with honors, go to Columbia Law School, get married, have kids, live in New York, and follow my heart.

I dedicated my weight loss journey to Mom, but I also want to dedicate those other journeys to her. Because even though my weight loss is important to me, I want it to be LESS important.

There are still lots of things that I need to work on when it comes to food and exercise. I know this. I'm still figuring it out. It's very possible that I will always be figuring that out.

And you know what? That does not make me a failure. Just because I don't have the food thing figured out yet, just because I still kinda suffer from EDNOS, just because I don't really like my body and am still figuring out how to love it more and treat it right... these things don't make me a failure as a person.

I'm just glad that I finally realized that.

P.S. Thanks to my friend Jennifer for convincing me to post this.


Jennifer said...

I'm so happy you "accidentally" posted it, so I could catch it in my Google Reader feed! Leah, this is such a beautiful post.

mypathinmotherhood said...

Amen, sister!

Rachael said...

I agree with this 100% and I am still figuring out how to treat my body better also. You are not alone in this. What a eloquently written post, really gives me something to think about as someone who is also EDNOS.

LabelSnob said...

What a great post Leah. And perfect timing! My friend and I have been having "diet" conversations all day. You're right woman put WAY too much thought and effort into what to eat, what not to eat, how many pounds we need to lose, etc. It is sad but it's hard to stop. Maybe one day I will stop beating myself up for the 10 pounds I have been wanting to lose for 2 years and can't.

Take care,