Thursday, September 18, 2008

What I Like About Being Thin(ner)

If health was not an issue, would you choose to stay obese?

Let's say you had a crystal ball you could look into and see your future. As you gaze into the glassy glow, you see yourself alive and well at 110 years of age. You have never had cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Your joints are fine. Blood pressure is just fine. The picture of health (for a 110-year-old). As the crystal ball's vision fades, you are left with a decision: knowing this, do you continue trying to lose weight? Or do you settle back and enjoy your healthy life as an obese person?

Okay, some of us are vain. We want to look beautiful, or at least acceptable. Maybe you'd still lose weight so you could wear fashionable clothing or so people would treat you nicer. Well, how about this: what if being fat suddenly came into vogue? What if it it was desirable to be obese, and that was what men wanted, and what women envied? There are already cultures where large women are considered the most beautiful, so this is not so far-fetched. So imagine that not only were you assured of having NO health issues, but you were also no longer discriminated against, made fun of, or looked down upon for your weight. All the latest fashions were made for larger women, and you could fit into society just fine as an obese woman. Would you still lose weight?

Think about it. I am sure lots of people would say, "heck no, I would totally forget about losing weight and just enjoy life!" And that's fine, it's definitely a personal choice. But for me, I would still lose weight. And here's why.

1. I really like being able to paint my own toenails. Not long ago, my stomach rolls were in the way and I could not bend over far enough to paint my toes. Even if I sucked it in and held my breathe, it nearly cut me in half just to TRIM my toenails, or tie my shoes or put on socks... much less do a pedicure. Now I can do it myself, easily, and I enjoy it!

2. I like going to the park and having the energy to play with my kids. Today, I took my daughter to play on a large play set in a city park. In the past, there is no way I would let her get up on that huge structure. It wasn't safe for a toddler, but I was unable (and unwilling) to go up WITH her. Think: creaking, cracking boards, narrow passageways, difficult stairways, and accidentally sending innocent children flying headlong off the structure into the dirt with my hips as I tried to squeeze past them on the walkways. But today I easily climbed to the top with her so she could go on the swirly slide. What a thrill!

3. When I drive, I have space between my belly and the steering wheel. I was reminded of the significance of this the other day, when I was sitting in a parking lot and noticed the woman in the car next to me. She had her seat back, but she was stuffed into the space so tightly I wondered how she was going to pry herself out. Her stomach was shoved up into the steering wheel in a most uncomfortable manner. I knew that she would not be able to drive with a winter coat on when it gets cold. And I knew the feeling. I don't miss that at all.

4. I like being able to hike (a bit), swim, shop, clean, do laundry, and pull weeds without feeling like I am going to drop dead of exhaustion. The extra energy I feel from losing weight makes it SO worth it to me. Before, I tried to avoid moving as much as possible. Now, I look forward to the leaves falling so I can rake with my kids.

5. Female stuff. (Skip if this does not interest you). My cycles used to be killer painful and miserable. I was physically SICK for 10 days out of the month... right before my period, and mid-cycle. And my cycles were really irregular and far apart: about 38-40 days apart at my top weight, and sometimes I would even skip a month completely. Now, I am perfectly regular, every 28 days like clockwork, and the cramps are completely manageable. Much easier and not nearly as much moodiness, either!

6. I feel strong and competent... something I NEVER felt at 278 pounds. When I come home from the grocery store and the kids are at school, I do not sit in the driveway lamenting and whining about having to carry all that stuff in myself. I just get out and carry it in myself. And I can carry FAR more bags on each arm that I could before (thank you strength training!) I used to take 20 minutes bringing in 6 bags: 3 trips with one bag on each arm, taking little slow baby steps up and down the 14 stairs to my kitchen, and stopping to rest in between. Now, I just grab all six bags (three in each hand), flex my lovely biceps, and trudge on up those stairs right to the kitchen. Done in 2 minutes. It feels GREAT. No more yelling to the kids: "Hey, can someone go down and bring up the laundry for me?" because I can do it myself now. And when I am out with the kids, say at the Farmer's Market, when we're done I do NOT have to ask my 12-year-old to fold the stroller and load it into the car for me anymore. Heck, I can do it myself, one handed! I always feel so great when I am standing there slinging that stroller into my car with one hand. I feel like Superwoman!

So, you see, for me, the weight loss is not *just* about my health. Sure, I am thrilled to be rid of the heartburn, the shortness of breath, the heart palpitations, the high blood pressure, the acne, the plantar fasciitis, and back pain. And it's not *just* about looks for me, either, although I am not complaining that I can find nicer (and cheaper) clothing now that I could at 3X, and people certainly do compliment me more. I do like what I see in the mirror nowadays. But for me, I am losing weight so I can live. I want to enjoy my life. I want to be able to function and be happy and have fun with my kids. I am so much happier at this weight than I was a year ago, it is indescribable. And I cannot wait for the wonders that await me as I lose even more weight, and am able to do even more amazing things with my life.

Join me, won't you? You will find things in your life that you didn't even know you were missing. Great things are possible, and so much *living* awaits us all.

25 comments:

Joy's Journey in Weightloss said...

I adore your honesty! I experience the same things, for sure!!!

Dinah Soar said...

When I read the first part of your post I thought "heck no"...I'd forget about losing..but then I read the rest of it and got to thinking...physical activity is much easier the more fit I am, and if excess weight hinders fitness...and it has..then I'd want to lose it for that reason alone...like you, I noted how I could carry a lot of bags in each hand due to increased strength from lifting weights...being fit makes life easier for sure.

So yes...I'd want to lose it.

Bethany said...

Hmm, very thought provoking. I'm one of the vain ones, I guess, but you have a point--what if it was fashionable? I still don't like the feeling of being fat, just as you said. But I think I'm with Dinah--I'd still wanna lose it. You just miss out on so much as a fat person...
~Bethany

new*me said...

I would still keep on trucking ;) I am digging all of this energy and how much more confident and sexier I feel. (On a side note, hubby has always complimented me but lately it's been like a honeymoon again. I can't keep up with him!!!)

I like how being lighter affects everything in my day :) Yesterday I had a meeting at my daughters school regarding speech therapy for her. I decided to walk instead of drive. It's 2 miles round trip. It feels so empowering to incorporate healthy habits in my day.

MizFit said...

I love that you included STRONG (& confident but to some smallskinny = condifent).

and we've already established I adore your honesty and writing (we gonna get a picture of the pretty toes? :))

M.

Hayley said...

I really love your writing!

I would definitely still want to lose fat. I hate how hard it is to tie my shoes when my laces come undone on my way somewhere, and envy people who just bend their other knee and crouch to tie them back up! I'm looking foward to being able to fold myself up in interesting ways when my belly is smaller. :)

Life thinner = more fun, and more opportunities/possibilities!

lisa said...

As always, I loved your post. I am always struggling with weight loss & I check everyday to see what new encouragement you will provide! I am in your same boat, and I was hoping to ask you a question. I have just recently been stricken with plantar fasciitis (after another 6 pound gain). I have been researching it & they say weight loss helps (I pray it will). How much did you lose before you noticed a difference? Also, did it go away completely? Thank you so much for all you do for all of us who need a helping hand!

Anonymous said...

you hit the nail right on the head....it is not about just looking good...looking good is the bonus....it is about being fit enough to enjoy the simple and complicated things in life....just living.....

when we were children we'd run around all day and not feel tired and winded....i miss being that fit...and now just doing 20 minutes on a treadmill feels like a chore...
The benefits of living a healthy life outway the negatives of a sedentary lifestlye anyday!!

Skinny Inside said...

Excellent post! I definitely feel better, and better about myself-which is probably more important!- when I weigh less. So, I'd continue my quest. I, too, am excited to get thinner!

DEBRA said...

I would definitely chose "thinner". I know I deluded myself before when I was over 100 pounds overweight. I thought I was "healthy". How can having high blood pressure, fatty liver levels, higher cholestrol and finally type 2 diabetes be healthy? Since taking 80 or 100 pounds off I have none of those things...and I found now I can even fit into the bath tub...amazing.

Debra

Ceres said...

I have to confess that general health (we have a history of diabetes in my family) and vanity are big reasons behind my doing this :-) Nicer clothes, guy attention, social acceptance, all that jazz...
Being big has never meant not being strong, flexible, or not having energy for me, but that's because I never went off exercise (at least semi-regularly). If I had ever experienced that kind of limitation though, of course I would choose to lose weight, no matter what society regarded as being attractive.
That said, I do love how much stronger and more flexible I am these days, but I'm not sure if that's the weight loss or the more intense exercise... I guess it's a combination, and it feels awesome!
Great post!

Change for Good said...

I enjoy being treated as a professional now. When I was SSMO, I was not treated like that. People pay more attention to me when I speak, and show me more dignity and respect. Congratulations on all the little things besides health that make this journey worth the while!
:)
Tiffany

Hanlie said...

Amen, sister! Not to mention being more flexible in the bedroom...

elife said...

Wow, you are I are definitely in sync this week...I JUST read an article about one of those countries where fat women were prized, and how those who wanted to marry had to fatten up to attract someone. And I thought, "ugh, won't her knees hurt? wont' he be tired and sweaty?"

Pubsgal said...

Great post, as usual! It's sort of wishful thinking for me, because although I started on the path just because I was tired of being fat (which, actually, was probably being tired from not exercising and from overindulging in food), I kicked it up quite a few notches for health reasons.

I guess I never got to the point where I couldn't enjoy playing with my kids or going for bike rides, but I was sure on that path. I'm still about 30 pounds over my "clinically overweight" weight range, but I'm already feeling the benefits of being way more fit and a little less fat. I love that I will be able to do a 5K run next month...*never* thought I'd be there again! I love feeling stronger and more energetic. I like being able to keep up better with the kids. I like that my blouses aren't straining at the buttons anymore, too. I can hardly wait to see how different I'll feel being merely "overweight" again...I can hardly imagine being within my weight range.

Sassle said...

Great post! You're what inspired me to create my own blog on my battle to lose weight, I'm just starting but you've hit so many things on the head that I can't ignore them.

I created my own list today as for the reasons to become healthy and slim and doing my toes was one of them for sure. There are so many benefits but the one that hit hard the most was wanting to live. I want to live, I want to stop fearing for my life and being a slave to food.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Heather said...

I agree, I would definitely chose to be the weight I am now over the weight I was. Even if there would not be health problems, I dont think I could ever be comfortable at that weight or would want to be now that I no longer am. I do wish it would be more accepted though to just be a healthy weight vs real thin. I am inbetween what is thin and what is overweight and I wish it wouldnt be so socially accepted to be thin but not the other way. we should accept all types of people regardless of how they look,etc.

Karyn said...

Excellent, Lyn. And no question... I would continue to lose weight. Only someone who has been obese knows all the little things that are difficult, painful, and even impossible for us. I cannot wait until I can sit down and cross my legs without even thinking about it!

Alexia@theonelastthing.com said...

Yeah, at this point in my life, I'm really more concerned about feeling good (not health, but being able to do pedicure, etc.) I've been reflecting a LOT this week on what really motivates me. Some of the things I was shooting for just weren't working for me, so -- recalibrating!

Anonymous said...

I've thought about this and have to say no, I wouldn't be heavy even if heavy was in vogue. It isn't for beauty issues. I'm just not comfortable being big.

That said I'd like to ask you about your experiences with being a heavy pregnant woman, if you ever were. I'm eight months pregnant now and was what is considered very heavy during the start of the pregnancy. I wonder about how things went with your children and if you experienced any difficulties with your doctors, health care system, deliveries, were there any biases, etc. If you haven't already covered this, of course, and feel comfortable sharing.

cheers,
Lisa

Sarah said...

my list is all encompassing. i like life better being thinner!

Heather said...

This might be my favorite post so far. I've been thinking much along the same lines lately. :)

Betsey C. said...

I love this post! I'm going to read it again and again. Good for you!!!

Lyn said...

Hi Lisa,

Yes, gladly, the plantar fasciitis went away completely. I didn't really keep track but I think it came and went until I got under about 240 pounds and then *poof* it was gone. I had it at two distinct times in my life, both at 245 or higher. I do believe that losing weight, and doing the little exercises they give you to stretch, help immensely. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for such great writing! I am a week into my weight loss plan - in Australia. I'm 29, 88kg, which is 193.6 pounds and 5 feet tall. I am very comfortable with how I look, so that's not an aim for me. I've also recently had my heart badly broken, so I'm not interested in getting slim for that to happen again! But, I am concerned about health issues, my thighs rubbing together when I wear skirts, lower back pain from loose tummy muscles and the inability to play basketball for more than 5 seconds without it killing me! I find for people not obsessed with thinness equalling self-worth, I need to hang on to the health issues in my head. Thank you xxxx