Weight loss and dieting are mind-f*cks. By that I mean – my thoughts on it sway constantly and the mere fact that I have constant weight thoughts in itself – pisses me off.
If I’m blessed enough to live to be 80 – I already know I’m going to be pissed off that I spent so much time and effort worrying about my weight.
Now yes – if I worry about my weight in the context of high blood pressure, migraines or bad cholesterol…then fine – those worries are valid and necessary.
When it’s about how I look in clothes, how I compare to the women I’m with, how I feel bad about that one certain fat roll, how I agonize over how much to eat, and how much I beat myself up for my lack of will power – well then – that’s the stuff I’ll regret.
Last night I went on a bike ride with our Harley club. On the back of a bike for miles there is a lot of time for reflection and thinking about what really matters. I thought about the woman in front of me on the bike with her husband. She’s a heavier woman – yet to me – she seems happy and content and proud to ride with her husband. And why the hell shouldn’t she be? A beautiful night. Her husband.
Everything right with the world.
But I can tell you without a doubt – that as we drove by people on the street – she got looks and I know there were thoughts like “she’s too big to be on a tiny bike” or “I wonder how her husband can control that bike with her on it” or whatever. I felt the stares she got from other women. Judging.
It’s what we do. And then we think “oh my gosh, I’m even bigger than she is” or “oh my gosh, thank goodness I haven’t reached that weight yet.”
And then I want to scream – WHO THE F*CK CARES? I mean seriously. Sometimes dieting and weight piss me off so much. For instance, I have a party to go to this weekend with people I barely know or ever see and I will preach until I’m blue in the face that I could give a crap less what any of those people do in their lives or think of me – because we aren’t even friends. But yet??
I give a damn about how I’ll look at the party in front of them.
How ridiculous is that? I don’t even speak to these people on a daily basis. They are not a regular part of my life. They are not family. Yet I care HOW I LOOK for them.
I thought to myself that every one of us should be more like the woman I rode with last night.
Get on the bike.
Go out with friends.
Laugh, smile, eat at a restaurant.
Live daily life.
Regardless of your weight.
That’s what she was doing. And she seemed happy. I found myself praying on the back of that bike last night that after she went home – she stayed happy. I hope beyond hope that at night alone – she doesn’t hate her body and how she looks. I hope she’s as happy as she seems. I hope she knows I admire her and consider her a friend – and that has nothing to do with how she looks. I hope she never gives a damn about what I or anyone else thinks of her. I hope she knows it doesn’t even matter.
It’s just always an internal struggle.
How bad do I want this last 20 pounds to go? Does it seriously even matter? When I go to bed at night – the only other person on this Earth who I give a damn about what they think of me is Rambo.
Is agonizing and worrying about how I look worth it? What would I do with my time if that wasn’t constantly occupying 100% of my thoughts? Who could I have helped? What could I have dreamed of instead?
I guess even now I can admit that I already regret the time wasted in my life worrying about weight and dieting or exercising. Was it worth it? Did it help? Where would I be today had I just simply been at peace with my physical body?
Would my mental body be in a completely different place?
I don’t know. I just know that on the back of that bike last night I looked around at the other women with me….and the realization was striking.
We were all different ages. All with different kinds of men. We were all different shapes and sizes. All in different careers. All with different families – some united, some torn apart. All with different money situations. All at different places in our lives.
But all those differences made us the same. Last night we were a group of people united by bikes and beautiful weather….and nobody gave a damn how much I weighed.
I could have weighed 100 pounds more or 30 pounds less and the night would have gone exactly the same. Think about that. Heavier or thinner – nothing in the night would have been different.
No one gave a damn. As I looked around at the women – I thought that I would never know if they had been heavier or thinner at one time. I didn’t know if any of them were actively dieting. I didn’t know if any of them hated their bodies. I didn’t know if they felt self-conscious or at peace with themselves. I didn’t know if they labored over what they were wearing tonight.
And they in turn – didn’t know the same of me.
Which drives home the point that I spend way too much time giving a shit. It just doesn’t matter. Health-wise it matters – but beyond that – it’s bullshit.
30 seconds after I leave the party that I’m going to this weekend – most people won’t even remember what I wore. A few hours into drinks and most people won’t even remember I was there. Like last night – I was with a man who’d been to Vietnam, flew choppers, indicted child molestors, worked for the FBI and CIA, and has 3 black belts in martial arts. Do you think if I asked him what he weighed back in those days that he would even know? Do you think anyone remembers anything but what he did for this country? I think not.
And for me last night or at this upcoming party, what matters is that I go and have fun and catch up with people I haven’t seen in a year. What matters is that Rambo and I get to spend time together with our girls. What matters is being grateful we have a car to get us there and jobs that give us time off to attend. What matters is loving the sunshine and good company.
My weight doesn’t matter in the end.
It sure seems like it does when I’m getting ready and things don’t fit like I want them to or I don’t feel great when I look in the mirror – but those feelings need to be fleeting. I need to give them less power over my moods and my experiences. Feeling not at peace with my physical body needs to be a blip in my evening…because that feeling doesn’t deserve more time or power than that.
It is not what matters.
Memories and moments matter. And if and when I get to be 80…that’s all I’m going to have left.
Memories and moments. And probably a few of my favorite fat rolls….that I need to learn to notice less and love more.
How do you feel about your feelings about your physical body? Do they have too much power? Do you regret the time you’ve spent agonizing over your weight and dieting? Or do you think it should be more relevant than you allow it to be?
How do you find a balance between loving and loathing your body? What would you do with yourself and your time if those thoughts about weight, body image and dieting weren’t ever present in your mind?
Would you find the cure for cancer?
Or would you simply live and enjoy life more?