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“Why are you doing this?”

“To maintain my health, mostly. And I want to look really good. Is that shallow?”

A new city, a new gym, a new trainer. The same conversation and the same little room where I talk about my fitness goals. I’ve been here before.

“I’m glad you acknowledge your health. And a lot of people are here to look good. It’s not shallow. It’s also about how you feel about yourself overall.”

I met with my new trainer last weekend and between polite chatter about his native Australia and its weather, he probed me about what I eat, how I like to move, and what weight loss success I’ve had in the past.

“How many pounds do you want to lose?”

I gave him the number flippantly. Why did I think that this time would be any different? After all, I’ve only been on some semblance of a diet since I was six years old. I can’t remember a time in my life where my weight wasn’t paramount to every other facet of my life, no matter how successful I became, regardless of how smart I was. So this weekend, like many other weekends before, I sat with a trainer in a little room flanked by scales, tape measures, and calipers and while he broke down how long it may take me to get to my target weight, I wondered quietly: Will I ever get this right?

Earlier this month, Oprah Winfrey sat down with New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as part of her “Next Chapter” interview series. The two joked that David Letterman once called Oprah Mrs. Butterworth and that a tryst with Sara Lee and Betty Crocker would make for a Lewinsky-esque political scandal for the man many hoped would run for president. She asked Christie the very same question I asked myself. With all the things seemingly successful people seem to be able to handle well, why is weight the one thing we can’t seem to get together?

Calories in versus calories out. It’s math, not magic. Any overweight person who has accomplished some level of personal and professional success beats himself or herself up about their weight struggles — evidence of one human vice that cannot be hidden, a human vice no different than buying things we can’t afford or looking for love in all the wrong beds. Surely, it’s a lack of discipline, right? I mean, without discipline, how can one expect to rise through political ranks or own an eponymous television network?

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8 Comments

  1. anon25

    Hm, I think the “loving yourself” part begins right now, despite weight loss or weight gain. What I’ve learned through my weight loss journey was to disregard the scale altogether. I hit a plateau that lasted for 6 whole months. It was devastating. I wanted to give up, but then I remembered just because I wasn’t losing weight didn’t mean that my body wasn’t benefiting from my exercising or eating right. My miles were faster and I was stronger than I ever had been. Not worrying about my weight and focusing on fitness was the best decision I made. It doesn’t take forever to notice results either. It’s the absolute best when you dig deep and put in the extra effort to shave a few seconds off of your best mile lol.

  2. Evolution

    It has taken me the longest time to understand that weight loss is such an individual journey. Nowadays I don’t diet at all, ever, I have learned how to create strategies that work for me one of the main being that I don’t focus on weight loss all year round. I hit it hard for 3 months before summer, last year my goal was to lose 15 lbs. before summer and I did by joining a bootcamp, then I just told myself whatever size I was at that time I would have to learn how to live with it until next weight loss season. The rest of the year I worried about maintenance.

    In total I needed to lose 50 lbs, so now I only have 15 more, so it’s take an while, it’s been progressive but I honestly I was so over dieting and worrying about my weight all the time and now I really don’t obsess so much. I’ve been able to change some really ingrained habits that were holding me back and learn how to get to normal for myself.

    I’ve learned how to be seasonal, I figured out I love working out outdoors in the Fall and Spring because the weather is nice, so I do that frequently. I love working out in groups so I’ve joined bootcamp, I’ve also decided to get away from just exercising to lose weight and will do volleyball this summer and pick up another sport I like just for fun. I consider winter my off season because to me there’s really nothing wrong with taking time completely off. I refuse to be obsessed about my weight all year long! REFUSE!

    As for my diet, I think you have to pinpoint what your weak links are for me it’s sugar and processed food. I’ve given up table sugar and replaced it with Stevia and dare I say it Splenda (yes I said it!) and now I’m learning how to cook more often in a way that suits my schedule and make better choices when I do eat processed for because I’m a busy lady and sometimes I’m gonna eat a Lean Cuisine or at McDonalds, period!

    Anyway, I’ve just become more realistic about myself as well have made some really hard shifts that have really paid off because I’ve lost 30 lbs and I’ve kept it off for 2 years. It’s been a journey of trying to see what will an won’t work for me. I’ve tried taking out carbs but that left me sleepy and didnt’ result in weight loss, so I realized that didn’t work for me, but lowering my fat intake has worked. Getting rid of table sugar and learning moderation when it comes to sweets seems to work for me too. More aerobics and bootcamps work, but this is all me! What works for someone else I couldn’t tell you.

    Good luck to you though. I try to think of it not as a struggle but a journey because everyone even the super skinny make sacrifices to stay that way.

    • NaijaAnon

      Wow, you are an inspiration! I’m trying to develop a lifestyle that is healthy and sustainable as well, Rather than worrying about dieting all the time, or going to the gym (which I hate). Right now I’m modifying my diet and incorporating more walking, biking, stairs, and outdoor activities to maintain a healthy lifestyle overall. The results are that I’ve dropped the extra weight, my cholesterol levels have dropped for 3 consecutive years, and I feel more at peace with myself.

      You are right, it is a journey. I think if more of us realize this we will slow down and make more sustainable lifestyle changes rather than going drastic and falling off the wagon eventually.

      Good luck to all of us :)

  3. Loving yourself now does not mean you don’t see room for improvement. And no amount of weight loss will make you love yourself later. Don’t believe me? Troll the anorexia blogs sometime.

    Also, your weight hasn’t defeated you. You’re making changes now. The ones who are defeated are the ones who refuse to try. Even when you feel discouraged, keep going. In 2011 I lost 60 pounds one meal and one workout at a time.

    Good luck to you!

    • “your weight hasn’t defeated you. You’re making changes now. The ones who are defeated are the ones who refuse to try. Even when you feel discouraged, keep going. ”

      I couldn’t agree more. Every weight loss journey varies. It may take months or it may take years to reach your healthiest you ever. The key is maintaining the drive to get there. You’re winning as long as you keep this in mind, keep the faith and put in some level of work. That’s what I consider “getting it right”. You’d be surprised at how your body benefits internally from the smallest diet/exercise adjustment. The external change seen later is the icing on the cake.

      Loved this post!

  4. “How do we move past our shortcomings and our vices, try for the best, and love ourselves now?”

    You’ll probably find out before I do.

  5. A BUT talks about the struggle of weight loss and its is more than discipline to stick to a lifestyle change, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html?pagewanted=all.

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