A Note on Trying to Lose Weight

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If you’ve been reading CTK for a bit, you might have noticed some fancy new banners under the header of our site. They read “Lose Weight”, “Get Rich” and “Dress Better”. And our plan is to show you how we’ve been able to do all three of those things by simplifying our lives.

We wanted to share how much minimalism has helped us, given us a renewed sense of clarity and confidence, energy and enthusiasm.

These three topics might seem kind of shallow on the surface perhaps, but our intention goes a bit deeper, we assure you. And hey, it’s a challenge to get attention on the interwebs these days. You gotta cut to the chase.

Those three buckets are really just tools to feel empowered and confident, to help us get the life we really want.

Sorry, I digress. What I really wanted to talk to you about today is the “Lose Weight” banner.

You see, it’s a fine line that Bridget and I find ourselves walking. And one we discuss quite a bit.

We want to authentically offer up our knowledge and experience in wellness as a proposed solution to the never-ending struggle most women find themselves engaged in against their bodies.

We want to help you simplify all the bullshit out there and embrace some solid, timeless truths about eating well, feeling good and loving your body.

But we’re also bloggers, and unfortunately attention and clicks are uber importante – if we don’t want to be starving bloggers that is. That means grabbing the attention of readers like you, is of utmost importance.

So we talk about wellness under the banner of “Lose Weight” because it seems to be what women want to talk about. It is what women talk about. And Bridget and I have to think in terms of what is going to be compelling. We have to take what you want to read about and what you click on, and marry that with what we authentically want to share with you, what we stand for, our ulterior motive, if you will. And what we believe will actually help.

[ PS – if you’d rather us talk about wellness under a different banner please let us know! ]

Sometimes, to be 100% honest here, I am totally conflicted about offering yet another weight loss program on the Internet.

I mean, how can I talk about loving your body and feeling good in your own skin and then turn around and offer you a cleanse?

How can I tell you to love and accept yourself exactly as you are (which I am always practicing myself) and then offer to help you lose weight?

On the flip side though, we really believe in the wellness plan we offer up in The Simple Cleanse. And six years ago when I was sprinting my ass off on the treadmill, feeling like crap, eating less than 1200 calories a day yet STILL. GAINING. WEIGHT., I really needed that information. It saved me. I can’t not share that.

Because now, I honestly don’t think about calories at all. I’ve maintained a healthy weight that I feel great at for the majority of the past five years without much effort at all. I exercise now because I want to be fit and feel awesome. I eat healthy now (most of the time) and actually know what that looks like.

So how can I not share that information with those who need and want it?

You see my conflict?

It’s the never-ending dance between wanting to lose weight, be fit and look our best and yet loving and accepting ourselves exactly as we are.

It’s not easy. But then again, as Joel always says, nothing worth having is. #truthbomb, JB.

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So, I was pondering this as I reviewed our website updates at Barnes & Noble, where I work sometimes. I love books. Then I scrolled through FaceFace for a second and happened upon this article which made me laugh out loud to the amusement of the old dude sitting next to me.

I had actually mentioned this to my brother a few nights ago on the phone as the commercial came on T.V. “Man, Oprah really f*Cking loves bread, huh?” To which he responded “Yeah she does. I mean, I would too. Lose 26 lbs. Make $70 million. Not a bad trade.”

You’ve seen the Oprah commercials, right? Sort of feel weird don’t they?

So I added that article to the Trello board I share with two of my closest friends.

That board is entitled “Let’s Get Fit!” and it’s shared by me, a new mom in Boston trying to balance her life of full-time career and motherhood, and an expat living in Hong Kong who’s newly wed and working long hours in the luxury fashion industry.

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We’ve been championing each others fitness, weight loss and healthy habits by tracking them, holding each other accountable, and cheering one another on via WhatsApp and my O.C.D. project management software.

I wanted to see how that article resonated with them.

Because I was wondering…where do we draw the line in this never ending quest to ‘improve’ ourselves?

How can we tell whether it’s an endless, exhausting attempt to fix ourselves when we’re not broken or whether it’s an authentic commitment to living our best lives?

Isn’t being healthy, vibrant, and fit part of being our best selves?

There’s that conflict again….

Am I part of the problem? Or the solution? Is Oprah? Should we just eat lots of bread and give up tracking our workouts? Bleh.

I think I found an answer that feels good to me though. An answer to how I can promote body acceptance and self-love simultaneously with a healthy weight loss program.

The answer, is in our intentions.

You see, six years ago, I starved myself on a diet of frozen Lean Cuisines and Skinny cows. I forced myself to get up and run five miles at 5 a.m. every day in order to lose weight. I did this because I hated my body and I was disgusted with myself for the way I looked.

I was operating out of fear of being gross and perhaps even dying alone, sadly. Because of course, the fact that I was single was entirely the fault of those extra 15 lbs.

I wasn’t eating healthy to look and feel my best because I wanted to be the kind of person who took good care of herself and felt great in her own skin. I was punishing myself out of hate toward my body and fear of not being loved and accepted.

Do you see the difference?

The energy and intention behind our actions is what counts.

We can run a half marathon or try to cut out sugar or do a juice cleanse or eat Brussels sprouts because we love ourselves and want to feel awesome – or – we can do it to deprive and punish ourselves fueled by self-hatred.

And the real bitch of it is that we’re the only ones who really know the difference.

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Of course our friends can tell when we wear our self-hatred on our sleeves and call ourselves fat in every conversation but, some of us are a little better about hiding it. It doesn’t matter though. Only we know at the end of the day why we’re really doing something.

We know our own intentions deep down, whether we admit them or not.

So I was thrown off a bit, this past fall when, after four or five years of being in a really happy place with my body, things shifted.

I was on the road for 88 days, camping and driving around the country. I gained weight, unsurprisingly. Some healthy habits slipped. I drank too much boxed Chardonnay around the campfire reading self-help books. I exercised too little. Hey, life happens. A season for everything and all of that.

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Upon my return to civilization and re-settling in a new city, I found myself in uncomfortable and unfamiliar territory: I really wanted to lose weight.

And I was a little scared to be honest. I’d put this struggle behind me five years ago. I was afraid that my mind could quickly slip down the slope to self-loathing if I admitted that I wanted to lose weight.

I was terrified of ever feeling again the way I felt all those years ago. I never want to hate my body again. That is a particularly exhausting type of chronic pain to live with.

So how could I do it? How could I balance loving myself exactly as I am, living with authentic confidence, and setting out to lose 10 pounds?

I realized with massive relief that it was possible because I’m operating from different intentions than I was back then.

I 100% wanted to lose weight, yet I didn’t hate my body.

I’m don’t berate myself for eating a bowl of ice cream, which, by the way, I literally just had for dinner because… life. And I no longer connect what I eat to my self-worth or to being ‘good’. I no longer have strict rules that I beat myself up over ‘breaking’, although I really do want to quit eating sugar at some point.

And I’m not on week 11 of Kayla’s BBG program because I’m punishing myself, although sometimes those workouts feel like punishment.

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This time around it’s all about love. I’m doing all of this because I love myself. I kind of want to cry as I type that because it’s actually true – and an uncomfortable thing to admit sometimes.

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And what I’m realizing this time, which is really interesting, is that I’m not even sure anymore that it’s the changes in our bodies that make us feel so much more confident and happy when we lose weight and get in shape.

I’m starting to think it’s just the exercise, healthy food, sleep, positive self-talk and the making and keeping of a commitment to ourselves that does the trick. That has us feeling so much better. The weight loss is just icing on the cake, a side effect.

And finally, most importantly, I’m starting to think that it’s taking action and living a life aligned with who we truly want to be that makes us feel so good when we get healthy and lose weight.

So I don’t know, perhaps Bridget and I will change the copy on that banner to read something other than “Lose Weight”. But for now, we feel it’s the most concise way to get readers attention on the wellness front. And you will, of course, lose weight if you follow those suggestions.

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What I’m trying to say though, and what I want us all to keep in mind, is that the real end goal we seek when we want to lose weight – is to be happy. And in order to be happy we have to operate from a place of love for ourselves, which we can start at any time, we don’t have to wait around on the weight.

So, like the author of the hilarious and thought-provoking article I linked to above, I hope it works out for Oprah this time around. I really do.

I just hope that you, me, Oprah, Bridget, my high school fitness pals, and women everywhere remember that while there’s nothing wrong with wanting to lose weight and get healthy – it’s the intention behind it all that counts.

Let’s make sure we want to lose weight and get healthy because we love ourselves and not because we hate ourselves.

Let’s make sure that we’re not trying to hate our way into a body we love.

Because that’s just never going to work.

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I’d love to hear what you think about this in the comments below.

And if you liked this post, please share it with your lady friends on Facebook.

 

Dana

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