(I know this is long, but this is the edited version. Bear with me.)
Ever since that fateful day in January of 2008 when I decided to lose weight, my goal has been to lose 100 pounds. A weight loss of 100 pounds would put me at 161, about the weight that I was at my lowest during my senior year of high school. I liked the idea of losing 100 pounds, I liked the idea of going back to that weight that I had only experienced for a short amount of time before college life and the freshman fifteen (or twenty) caught up to me. I also figured that if I were 161, then I could be in a size 12, a size I have always aspired to. I never considered losing less than 100 pounds. After all, according to BMI charts, even that goal weight was technically still “overweight” for my height, so how could I stop if I weighed more than that?
Fast forward 18 months, and I have lost 72 pounds. I have to admit that the slow rate of weight loss I have experienced, especially since 2009 began, has frustrated me. I tend to lose 1.2-1.6 pounds in a good week. And whereas in the first year I averaged about a 5 pound weight loss each month, now I’m fortunate to lose 3 pounds in a month.
All of this serves to preface the thoughts I’ve been having lately. I’m not so sure anymore that losing 100 pounds is going to happen. Nor am I sure that I want it to happen. And the reason for that is a change in perspective. I have to confess that while healthy concerns were a motivating factor for my wanting to shed the excess pounds, more than that I just wanted to be able to buy clothes in a smaller size and feel better about my body. I was sick of shopping in postage-stamp-sized plus size sections, sick of being embarrassed to go shopping with friends who were smaller than I, sick of not being able to shop clearance racks. And weight loss was the way to fix that problem. So I set out on my journey.
Well, I’m no longer plus-sized. I haven’t shopped at Lane Bryant in months, and I’ve moved out of the plus size sections in other stores. I still don’t have much luck at clearance racks, but I’m okay with that because I have so many more options now. But I’ve come to realize that what’s even more important than the clothes is my health. If I want to live a long and healthy life with my husband, I had to lose the weight to prevent myself from developing diabetes (which runs in my family) or high blood pressure or heart disease and the myriad other problems that are connected to being obese or overweight. I know I’m not even guaranteed tomorrow, but I also know that I want to do all I can to ensure that I am a good steward with the body I have been given, and a life of soda and junk food, apathy and laziness, wasn’t cutting it. My goals now are more about cultivating healthy habits, like exercising and eating right, and less about clothes.
So if my goal is to be healthy, haven’t I achieved that? My blood pressure is excellent, as is my blood sugar. The only lingering problem I’m working on is my cholesterol, which is borderline high. I exercise 5-6 days a week, and most of those days I love it. I work on limiting my food portions and choosing healthy foods. I drink 64-80 ounces of water a day. I educate myself about health and wellness. Is this not healthy?
Ultimately, it seems that the reason I want to get to that goal weight is more about vanity than health. Since starting, I’ve had my sights set on being a size 12, but what is so magical about that number? For a lot of people that number is still too high! For me it represents something I never quite attained (even at 160 in high school I was mostly a size 14), but maybe I wasn’t meant to attain it. What if I did get to 161 and wasn’t a size 12? Would I be a failure? Of course not! So what if I don’t get to 161 at all? What if I get to 175? Am I a failure? I suppose that depends on how you look at things. If I were to measure success solely by achieving my original goal, then yes, I would be a failure. But if I measure success based on all the good changes that have taken place over the last 18 months, I’ve already won!
I guess what I’m trying to figure out is if I really and truly would be happy where I am or maybe 10 pounds lighter, or if I am only thinking this way because I am tired of thinking about losing weight and would like to be maintaining. How much of my desire to make it to 100 pounds lost is about pride? What if I don’t get there? What will people think? What will you, my readers, think? What will I think? Will I find the same pride in saying I have lost 75 pounds or 82 pounds or whatever? I honestly don’t know. That certainly doesn’t sound as good as 100. And yet as a Christian I can’t escape the nagging thought that I shouldn’t even care what others think as long as I’m pleasing God, and so my ultimate goal should be to do all things for His glory.
I don’t want this to sound like I’m giving up or that I’m going to go crazy and eat whatever I want and stop exercising. I want to keep up the habits I’ve established, but I’m not sure about that 100 pounds anymore.
If you’ve made it this far, bless you. And if you have any words of wisdom for me, I’d be more than happy to read them.