The post I had planned for today was supposed to be about the Couch to 5k program. This is not that post. One of the healthy lifestyle bloggers I really enjoy over at Back to Her Roots had an interesting post today about how goals can change (back and forth) over time as you live your life. She was worried about her changes in direction–namely about maintaining v. actively losing weight–coming off as annoying or indecisive. I and many other commenters told her that we appreciated her honesty and that we’d struggled with the same feelings.
And it got me thinking. Why? Why do we question changing our mind about what is right for us with regards to our weight and our eating habits? Shouldn’t it be normal that what is right for me changes depending on what is going on in my life right now? If I simply didn’t account for that, wouldn’t I be worse off, even in denial? And wouldn’t that, then, lead to a lot more beating myself up for not meeting some goal that I made up in the first place?
The thing is, the popular “school of thought” on diet, exercise, weight loss, whathaveyou, changes frequently. One day some Doctors made this chart that said if you are this height and <other arbitrary statements> here is how much you should weigh. And BOOM! That was it, no getting around it, no build, no genetics, no activity level. Enjoy your number because it ain’t changin’. Then some people started to take other things into account here and there and maybe that number wasn’t so arbitrary after all. AND THEN…
Then, for me at least, there came this eye-opening movement on the internet called Fat Acceptance. Whoa? What? There was this whole group of women out there of varying sizes who were saying “I’m fat! I’m sexy! I’m happy!” They were saying that society and the media and magazines and fashion and clothing stores weren’t allowed to tell them what they were supposed to look like. This was different from the “Health at Every Size” Movement. This was angrier, more politically active. I found their courage inspiring and their message necessary– “Here I am, take me or leave me. This is me and I’m happy with that. I’m not trying to lose weight to meet some arbitrary standard. Call me ‘fat’ that’s what I am.” I was blown away. I wanted to be OK with me like they were OK with themselves.
That was until I saw a couple of people get eaten alive when they mentioned Weight Watchers or losing weight because they wanted to be “healthier not thinner” on some of the forums. To me, it was exactly like what they were fighting against, only in reverse. Making someone feel less because of what they looked like or wanted to look like. That wasn’t healthy to me either. Why couldn’t someone be happy with who they are RIGHT NOW but still realize that they have changes they can make to be even better. To me it’s like saying yes, I’m smart and I have a Bachelor’s Degree and a good job, but I’d really like to start working toward my Master’s Degree. Who would think that was strange? Why can’t you say “damn my boobs look great in this shirt, don’t they? But there’s a history of heart attack in my family so I feel like I could stand to lose a few pounds.” Or even “But this shirt would look even better matched with a pair of jeans that used to fit, but they don’t now, and I want them to fit again.”
I think knowing how diverse (and adamant) the ideas on health, eating, dieting, fitness and related topics are makes a person who puts their own life out in public (say, on a blog) feel damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It also makes you feel like once you make a statement like “I’m happy with my body and my weight” or “I am trying to lose weight I won’t stop until I hit 170.” it’s carved in stone and that’s who your public persona has to be from then on–You are the healthy eating girl, the vegan girl, the weight loss girl, the Weight Watchers girl. You are with them or against them. Watch out, it’s all in the archives!
Life just isn’t like that, people. Someone training to run a marathon can’t function on the same amount of food she was eating before. She needs more calories just to function. Her MO changes because she is working toward a specific goal. No one would say to her “hey too bad you can’t stick to your diet.” When my mom fell and broke both her feet and I was taking care of her daily needs, exercise and eating well fell by the wayside for a while. I NEEDED them to fall by the wayside, I could not handle being stressed about that as well, I would have had a nervous breakdown. Mom’s better now, I’m focusing on me more. Things change. We have to change with them, even if it’s going back to something that worked before at a similar time.
That is why, while my blog is still very new, that I shall tell you I don’t know exactly where I’m going, or how I’m going to get there. Just buckle up and hang on, I promise we’ll get somewhere.
To you all: Love who you are. But also love your potential.
Someone once said you never step in the same river twice. Life is like that too. If your goals and ideas never changed you’d be like one of those smelly stagnant ponds. They breed mosquitos. Nobody wants that.