You know those ideal weight calculators? They suck.
Right now I weigh roughly what I weighed on my wedding day, even after two kids and six-plus years. Yet that calculator tells me I’m between two to 20 pounds overweight.
Who died and made them God?
Just to keep things really real, let’s talk actual numbers. Because ohmygosh, does the world really contain healthy, fit women of average height who weigh 115 pounds?
(If you happen to fall into that Hollywood-approved category, I’m curious—why are you reading this? I don’t hate you or anything, but really??)
It kills me when I’m watching mindless TV (anything crime related is my jam) and they list the buff male suspect as being 6’1” and 170 pounds. Seriously? People, he’d be emaciated and scrawny. What the what??
Okay, enough with the drama and the double question marks and all that. Let’s get down and dirty.
I’m five feet, ten inches tall. I have a medium frame, and probably better than average muscle tone, but I’m no body builder.
I weigh 175 pounds, just like I did on my wedding day.
Now, I’ll admit—the best I’ve ever felt was at 165, but that’s still ten pounds overweight, according to one of the more generous averages.This body has weighed, as an adult, as low as 125. Due to emotional issues, I wasn’t eating—and I like to eat, my friend. Picture a gaunt-faced, super tall twenty-year-old. It hurt to walk because my feet were literally skin and bones. It took all my willpower just to crawl out of bed.
And the lowest I remember ever weighing was 116, when I was ten years old and probably 5’7”. And even then? Girl, I was skinny.
What is up with everyone throwing out these disgustingly low “ideal” numbers? What is wrong, people?
Our screwed up mindset
I know people who are thinner than I’ll ever be, and yet can’t get skinny enough because of unrealistic images created by their parents. The media tells the parents what’s ideal. And while we’re being bombarded with those messages everywhere else, these same parents pressure their kids—girls, usually—into fitting into the mold.
Perhaps you get tired of me talking about my parents. If yours weren’t amazing, I am genuinely sorry. But here—yet again—is something mine really did right.
Never, in my entire 38 years of existence, have my parents talked to me about being overweight or underweight or any weight. The only time they ever encouraged me to try a diet was when South Beach hit the market. They thought it would help with my blood sugar issues. Because while I wasn’t anywhere close to overweight back then, my moods were all over the map. (As the mother of a two-year-old, I feel their pain.)
When I was a kid my parents even removed Barbie dolls from our home. Why? They didn’t want me or my sisters to hold up impossible ideals of bodily perfection in our minds.
(That might have been a little extreme. After all, I’m the girl who begged God to never let me look like Dolly Parton—you know how I mean—and man, did he answer that prayer!)
All I knew—all I still know—is this: my parents think I’m beautiful.
My husband does, too. Even when I was my heaviest, he told me so regularly. I almost decided not to lose weight because I figured, why bother?
Because of the positive voices in my life, I never realized just how out of control my weight had gotten until I saw pictures. And honey, I’d rather be fat and feel good about myself than be thin and insecure. Any day of the week.
Teaching our kids the right attitude about weight
A few weeks ago I was speaking with a friend who, as she puts it, has always been big. The truth is she’s a little heavy according to current standards, but think Marilyn Monroe, not Queen Latifah. She’s beautiful and carries herself with confidence, and she’s one of those people you just want to hang out with because she exudes fun and excitement and charm.
This friend has daughters, and she says that when she tells her kids why she’s eating a certain way or going to the gym, it’s because “Mommy wants to get stronger.”
Weight isn’t part of the conversation.
And you know what? Her kids think she’s the bomb-dot-com when it comes to strong women. And I’ll bet that, when they get older, they’ll be busting their butts to the gym so they can be strong like Mom, too.
Just the other night I heard a story about elementary aged boys—boys!—describing certain foods as “fattening.” To me, that sounds like future members of Anorexics Anonymous in the making.
Not good, people. Not good at all. Our bodies need fat. Kids need carbs, for crying in the ever loving sink.
The point is, our conversation needs to shift from weight to health, from the top of our society down to its smallest members.
I’m losing weight, but that’s not the point
Yes, I’ve lost weight this past year. Over 25 pounds. It took a lot of work and even more willpower.
But the weight is not the point. The mindset is. If I regain those 25 pounds—heck, if I gain 50!—I still need to keep in mind my motivation.
Because in this society? I’ll never be happy with the number on the scale or my body shape. It’ll never be enough. I need a bigger why than that.
So…why have I been on this weight loss journey?
Well, yes, there is vanity involved.
But more than that?
It’s about health.
It’s about being strong.
It’s about having energy for my family and my friends and my work and my hobbies.
It’s about living life fully.
And those things? Those things can’t be quantified in size or numbers.