Why Weight loss?
I mentioned over in this post that Justin and I started Weight Watchers at the beginning of the year, and then kind of breeeeezed on past that to talking about cooking. Which might have led to some of you wondering why I, a self-proclaimed body-positive and very opinioned anti-diet-culture blogger would join such a traditional…well…diet.
I wish the answer was deep and complicated.
That I had discovered some sort of hidden meaning in the Weight Watchers philosophy and it was actually NOT a diet, but a lesson in body-positivity!
It’s just a diet. But – it’s a diet my body needs.
When I shared my diabetes diagnosis approximately 6 months ago, I was nervous for so many reasons. Mostly because revealing a health issue to a large group of people is kind of intimidating and usually not something most people would be pumped about. It also meant truly coming to terms with the reality myself, which was a challenge. Worst of all (to me, anyway), it meant dealing with the fact that my body had turned on me. I was so nice to it! I said nice things about self-love on my blog! How could it do this to me?
Turns out, quite easily when your version of self-love is eating whatever you want and never exercising. Oops.
The painful reality was that if I wanted to maintain my quality of life, regain my health, and turn that diabetes train around, I had to drop some pounds. Which meant, among many things — a diet.
Watching that Weight
So if there’s one thing I know how to do, it’s restrict my calories. Ya girl has been on every diet under the sun. You name it, I’ve probably tried it (except keto – I’m a little behind on the trends).
I went on my first official calorie-restricting diet at the age of 10. I lost 14 lbs and gained 3 inches in height because, well, I was 10. Puberty hit and I gained all of it back plus some more and then went to middle and high school where kids are mean and bodies are strange so I began a long, complicated relationship with disordered eating.
I binged. A lot. I tried Jenny Craig. And every diet pill you could buy. I tried South Beach and Atkins and Slim Fast and when I got a little older I tried B12 shots in tandem with this crazy pill that convinced your body you were pregnant? And sent all of your calories to the phantom fetus? But you could only eat 800 calories a day? That whole thing is kind of a blur. Probably because I was only eating 800 calories a day.
And don’t even get me started on exercise routines. I was a little less committed to that because an athlete I have never been, but I have very distinct memories of 14-year-old Kristy waking up at 5:30 in the morning and trudging bleary-eyed into the guest room where a TV and VCR had been set up (yep, VCR. It was 2000.) and completing the full Cardio Blast video from The Firm franchise. Do you remember them? They were an infomercial, and I thought that would be my ticket to thinness and the resulting subsequent success. (It was not.)
I’ve even tried Weight Watchers several times. The weight I lost was inconsequential, and I always quit.
Is this time different? I don’t know. I know the weight loss hasn’t been inconsequential – for the sake of transparency, at this point I’ve lost 25 lbs since starting in January. My blood sugar levels are creeping back toward the healthy range. That’s honestly the only thing I’m actively striving for. Health.
But how do I take care of my mental health in all of this? Calorie restriction definitely raises some big concerns for folks with a history of disordered eating. I’d be lying if said I didn’t feel at times like I was failing body-positive Kristy.
Has my stance on self-love changed since I started this blog? Yeah, it has.
Has it changed for the better? I think so. I no longer see self-love and body-positivity as rebelling against self-care. And by self-care, I don’t mean bath bombs and pedicures, although those are both great. When I say self-care, I mean truly caring for your whole being, whatever that looks like to you.
Caring for your brain by learning new things. By pursuing whatever form of creativity makes you happy. Caring for your relationships. And caring for your body. When your body tells you something is wrong? Listen, and act. My body has been screaming at me for years, and I’d been ignoring it. That is the opposite of self-love, and I’m coming out on the other side of it with fresh eyes.
Moving Around and Forward
Weight Watchers is a means to an end that seems to be working for now. Do I hope to still be doing this in a year? Absolutely not. Do I know when I’ll stop? Nope. For now, I’m listening to my body in a way I never have before. I’m giving it the gift of movement, relieving some pressure, and handling the other odd feelings that come with it as they come.
What about you? How do you balance weight-loss and body-positivity?
As always, I’d love to hear.