I’ve lost more than thirty pounds three times in my adult life. Each time I’ve lost that weight, every single ounce has come back, with interest. If fat were money, the Diets I have religiously followed would’ve been an amazing investment.
The truth is, it’s not THAT hard to lose weight. You just have to learn the tricks of deprivation. In any given month, any number of women’s magazines have many of these tricks outlined for the whole world to see: Drink a glass of water before every meal. Stop eating at 5pm every night. Drink hot water with lemon & cayenne pepper for breakfast (note: not WITH breakfast). Eat an apple before you go out for dinner. If you’re going to drink alcohol, only drink vodka with no-calorie mixers. Measure everything you eat. Track everything you eat. Avoid dairy. Avoid grains. Avoid every kind of meat but the occasional turkey and fish. Eat clean. Eat vegan. Eat Keto. Eat paleo. Eat nuts & avocadoes but, for goodness sake, not too much! Drink a protein shake every day! Follow — to a T— a meal plan someone else (preferably who appears on TV) has created for you. The list goes on and on... we have more tricks for deprivation and weight loss than we do for raising our children. We have more tricks for deprivation and weight loss than we have for anything else.
No, friends, it’s not hard to lose weight if you can get yourself into a mindset that is based on the fundamental truth that thin bodies are the exact same thing as healthy bodies. If you can get yourself into a mindset that considers weight loss noble, hunger honorable, a thin body the absolute epitome of human achievement. If you can shame yourself for being "disgusting" every time you long for the taste of chocolate or tell yourself you’re a "pig" every time you want that comforting dish your mother used to make that’s just loaded with grain and dairy and fat and calories. If you can believe that losing weight — as much weight as possible — will keep your husband from cheating on you or your teenaged kids from being embarrassed of you or your boss from being angry with you or your friends from ostracizing you... and on and on... it is NOT hard to lose weight.
What’s hard is not gaining weight back. This is true for many reasons but a mindset of fear and shame and deprivation and disgust with our own bodies (the same mindset that got us to lose the weight in the first place) is definitely one of those reasons.
I have been MUCH smaller than I am right now. In fact, I’ll tell you a secret...sh! You ready? Come closer! Okay... I used to be a size 6! And even more of a secret...sh! Sh! Don’t tell, okay? I am currently a size 14! Oh my god! The shame of it all! The horror! How do I show my face in public... or for that matter...my fat ass!?!
I’ll tell you how. After the third time that I lost all that weight and it started to slowly creep back, I developed a frightening eating disorder and an anxious/depressed mental illness that I could not shake without the help of several trained professionals who basically taught me that by weight cycling (that’s what losing more than 20 pounds then gaining back is called) over and over throughout my life, I had done far more harm to my health than I would’ve if I had just allowed my body to be the size it wanted to be my whole life. They also taught me that, like most women in this country, I had been living in an insane system of deprivation and body-hatred and fatphobia my entire life. Slowly, these people helped put me back together and find a new, much happier reality.
Here’s part of that reality: weight loss is NOT a health goal. Weight loss is a body modification/ physical appearance goal. Weight loss is no more FOR YOUR HEALTH than getting a tattoo is for your health. If weight loss is your goal, fine. If you want a tattoo, fine. Your body. Your business. But you have been SERIOUSLY duped by diet culture if you believe (as of course most of you do because this is still the rhetoric we are fed by most mainstream health professionals) that losing weight — in and of itself & by any means necessary — will make you a healthier person. It. Will. Not.
Here's another part of that reality: I, personally, am a MUCH healthier person now than I was when I was much thinner. Period.
Creating a “healthier” body, by most sane people’s definitions, can SOMETIMES have a side effect of weight loss. But sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes that woman whose a size 14 or a size 28 actually has better blood pressure readings, can lift more in a back squat, can run farther and faster than that size 2 or size 4 woman can. You can’t tell how “healthy” someone is by looking at them. You sure as hell cant tell how “healthy” someone is or how long they’re going to live by how skinny or fat they are.
Weight cycling is one of the most damaging things that can happen to our heart. Losing and gaining large amounts of weight over and over again is NOT a good goal and it is certainly not a “health” goal since it takes years off your life expectancy. This is why, as a personal trainer, fitness instructor and yoga teacher, I will never encourage a client to make weight loss a goal. Perhaps it will be a side effect of their training. Perhaps. But perhaps not. I am not interested in maintaining a status quo that continues to lead women to insanity.
I am interested in loving, respecting and liberating my own body. I am interested in helping other women do the same. In order to do that, we have to let shame, fear, fatphobia and body-hatred go, and accept ourselves exactly as we are in this moment. This isn’t for everyone because it is revolutionary. This isn’t for everyone because it requires much harder work than engaging in the tricks of deprivation for the rest of your life. But if you’re ready to learn an entirely new reality in which it IS possible for you to be free from diet culture, I’m your trainer — at a size 14 & with no tricks up my sleeve. I will do far more than help you lose weight [rolls eyes]. If you are ready, I will help you change your mindset and your life!
May you love yourself.
May you respect your body.
May you be grateful.
May you be free.
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is an NSCA-Certified Personal Trainer; an ACE-Certified Group Fitness Instructor; a certified Yoga Teacher; a Certified Intuitive Eating Professional; and a degree-holding Health, Fitness Specialist. She lives in Frankfort, Michigan and owns Every. Body. Fitness and Yoga Studio.