Thought I would take a moment away from the food photography and recent eats to discuss the book that healthy living food blogger Caitlin Boyle wrote and released this past week. It’s called Operation Beautiful and you can read more about how she used sticky notes to transform the way women see themselves here.
Let me just say that I have not read the book, but I hope to acquire it soon, but several other women of the blogosphere have discussed different aspects of the book, and the one I really want to talk about it the “happy weight” issue.
“Happy weight,” is in essence the weight at which one feels happy, healthy, active, nourished, and not deprived. It goes beyond BMI charts, beyond comparisons, and beyond a specific number on the scale.
Let me just share a bit of what’s going on in my heart recently. I’ve been on Weight Watchers since October. I’ve dropped in the neighborhood of 40 pounds and have gone from a snug size 14 to a comfortable size 8. I am leaner and lighter than I was at my high school graduation, and am now the smallest I have been since the summer between 7th and 8th grades. For the first time in my life my waist-to-hip ratio is within “healthy” range, and I’ve pretty much eliminated the damage I did to my body in college. I’ve changed my eating habits and have adopted a moderately active lifestyle and have encouraged friends and family to do the same.
And I’ll note that I am actually quite happy with my body. If there’s one thing that college taught me about body image is that not everyone is a size 2. I came to college and suddenly it seemed that there were more and more girls who looked like me (large bone structure and hide-it-well padding), so I didn’t feel so self-conscious anymore. In fact, I’m thrilled to say that now I can share clothes with my youngest sister, my cousin, and several of my friends. I don’t feel chubby anymore. I feel average, normal, for the first time!
But I haven’t stopped. My “goal weight” with Weight Watchers is 138.8 (What I weighed when I first came to college). I have been cavorting around in weight between 139.2 (seriously.) and 143 lbs all summer long. And honestly, I’m tired of it. I’m tired of paying Weight Watchers month after month just because I feel like I’ve “given up” if I don’t see my weight tracker meet “goal.” And I think this might be a little neurotic. What is a number? What really will 138.8 do that 140 cannot? Will 138 suddenly make me worthy of buying new clothes while 140 will not? Perhaps it’s time for a shift in focus.
No, I’m not ready to give up becoming leaner, fitter, and healthier. But perhaps it’s time, just like in the weight loss journeys of other healthy living bloggers (ie. Tina, Angela, Kath, etc.) to take a step back from the scale and focus more on behavior. The scale served me well and was a marvelous tool, but I’m tired of feeling sorry for myself for retaining water right before “weigh-in.” And I’m aware that I’ve laxed more on my behaviors, and I want to focus more on exercising with greater intention (and not just to burn calories) and eating better because I know that it’s good for my body. And if I happen to drop 5 more pounds or another dress size in the process, so be it.