Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Thin assumptions

On weight-loss forums, I've come across very little conversation about why people choose to lose weight. I've read a lot of goals and motivations (e.g. "I want to be a size 10 for my wedding", "I want to look good in my senior photos"), but very few that question why being a size 10 is better than size 14, or why someone wouldn't look good with a little more weight in their senior photos. It's just assumed; thinner is better.

But is that true?

I have come across many people who would look better with more weight, and I personally prefer the curves of slightly "overweight" women, and I know I'm not alone. Size 2 is not a healthy size or look for many people, yet the underlying assumption of weight loss is that fat is the enemy and thin is the savior.

For years I have simultaneously accepted two things. First, that thin is not necessarily better. And second, that I am ashamed of my fat. These two concepts lead me to be ashamed of my desire to be thin, and afraid to admit that I was anything less than happy with who I was.

It was only recently I realized the fundamental third concept that I needed to feel body positive, and accept my desire to lose weight. It seems obvious now, but it took me 20 years to get there. Third, fat is not necessarily better than being thin. It is okay to want to lose weight and strive for a different body. There is no ideal way to be - fat or thin. You can be happy, comfortable, and prefer your body at any size.

Which lead me to the question: Why be thinner? (I briefly cover this in a previous post).

One of the great things about my weight loss so far is I am more active than I've ever been. This morning I cleaned out my old closet - a task I've let sit for three years. For the first time in my life, I understand the desire to move and not just sit at a computer all day. I clicked up some rocks yesterday - real rock climbing in the outdoors! - something I would never consider a year ago. It's amazing what my body can do, and I look forward to what it has yet to do. (I'd like to try running.)

Of course, you can be active without being thinner, but I've found it much easier to move with 30 pounds less attached to my limbs. I also know I can lift much more than my thinner counterparts in the office, and that I can run faster than them to. Thinner is not always better, but it feels better for me - which is all that matters.

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