The Liberation of Not Trying to Losing Weight

Last night, I hosted an event for Yelp, as I do upon occasion since, y’know, it’s part of my job. This particular event was at Ruth’s Chris, and, as you can imagine, it was thusly VERY awesome. We were treated to an amazing three-course dinner with cocktail pairings from Absolut, and it was just an all-around rockin’ good time.

I definitely enjoyed myself, as I always do whenever food, drinks, and good company is involved, but somewhere between finishing off yet another forkful of garlic mashed potatoes and being served the cutest, most adorable individualized honey-cinnamon cheesecake, I had to pause. And kind of laugh. Because I remembered that once upon a time, I blogged almost exclusively about weight loss.

This photo was actually taken right after Sean stole a bite of my sandwich (THE NERVE!) but I thought it aptly conveyed the right emotion here.

Now, I obviously love my job — it’s pretty much a perfect fit for me. But as you can probably tell, there is not a small amount of socialization, eating, and drinking that comes along with it. Don’t get me wrong, I am most definitely NOT complaining. But it does seem somewhat humorous that, as someone who was, at one point, measuring and tabulating every calorie she consumed, it’s now basically part of my job to eat, drink, and be merry.

 
 

How boss is this set of photos that Ben and Taylor took at last night’s event, btw?! Anyway, I digress.

I just can’t imagine getting the same amount of joy from this position if I was still obsessed with calorie-counting and weighing myself, if I had to force myself to “be good” and sample only one of the cocktails, or if I continually felt bad for eating dessert. I try to place 2012-Gretchen in the shoes of current-Gretchen, and I can still tell that instead of fully enjoying the company of those around me, instead of really getting to taste the food I was eating, I’d be thinking about the impact that the dinner was going to have on my weigh-in.

I’m not saying that the process of weight loss is like that for everyone. But for someone like me, someone who has had a lifelong struggle with her weight and her body, it really is an all-consuming thing. Which is why being in the place that I am now, not overthinking what I eat, not letting my food choices impact my daily self-esteem, feeling more and more comfortable in my own skin, is so, so liberating.

It’s liberating to not be trying to lose weight.

It’s freeing to feel comfortable ordering a sandwich instead of a salad if that’s what I really want.

It’s nice to be able to live my life without religiously plugging things into an app. Without going to bed with a grumbly tummy because I’ve already used up all my calories for the day. Without using language like “Tomorrow I’ll do better,” or “Everybody slips up.”

And remember, just because I’m not actively on a weight loss track doesn’t mean I’m backsliding into binge eating Baconators in secret. It doesn’t mean that my diet is suddenly 90% potatoes (though I would probably be okay with it if it was). It doesn’t mean that I’ve suddenly let myself go, that I don’t care about my health or how I look or how I feel.

It just means that I’ve stopped putting so much pressure on myself to “be good.” Because what the hell does that really mean, anyway? Would I be a better person if I were another 20 pounds lighter? Does it make the world a better place every time I ask for dressing on the side? Am I being a change for good because I’m skipping dessert?

If anything, I’m sure I’m making the world a worse place by not having dessert, because I’m still just me. But I’m me without cheesecake. And that never bodes well for anyone.

I just feel like I am in such a good place in my life right now. I am so happy some days I nauseate even myself. Apart from the whole happy relationship/awesome family/cuddly dogs part of the equation, I’m not doing too bad a job of taking care of myself either. On the days when I’m not being treated to an epic steakhouse smorgasbord, I actually eat pretty well.

I still like vegetables (Brussels sprouts for life!), I still enjoy having variety in my diet, I still like experimenting with new recipes that are fulfilling flavor-wise as well as nutritionally. Granted, I still have to work on continuing to be active, but fitness has ALWAYS been a struggle for me, even when I was dropping pounds like hot cakes.

I’m not saying that I’m never going to be motivated to lose weight again in the future. I mean, I think we all know that if/when a certain piece of jewelry appears in my life, this blog will probably take a rapid redirection yet again, hahaha. And, as you already know, I already went through a couple of attempted re-vamps, and (happily!) I did take down a few of those extra libbies that had creeped back on last year, which I am definitely happy about. I don’t want anyone to mistake my current perspective as an excuse for me to just eat whatever I want and be fat and lazy with abandon. Of course it’s not about that.

I’ve talked a little bit before about how I think the main reason why I lost my zeal for weight loss is because it no longer became something that I wanted to do, but something that I felt I had to do. After all, I built a name for myself blogging about weight loss! It was what I did! It was who I was! And I didn’t want to let anybody down by admitting that I didn’t want to do or be any longer.

I’ve never been particularly good at doing things I don’t want to do — chalk it up to the rebellious youngest child aspect of my upbringing (read: I’m a total brat) — and I honestly feel that if I hadn’t put so much pressure on myself to continue being the Honey, I Shrunk the Gretchen-Gretchen to the world, I might not have put as much weight back on as I did. Because I do know that the very worst thing I can do when it comes to my health is try to hide.

Hiding is how I ended up at 246 pounds back in 2010, after all. Eating in secret. Never weighing myself. Only going shopping alone so I never had to tell anyone what size I wore. And it wasn’t until I stopped hiding — literally and figuratively — and announced my weight, size, and habits on the flippin’ interwebs, that things changed.

So it’s the same for me now. I’m not hiding the fact that I’m not interested in losing weight. I’m not shying away from the fact that I’m actually okay with my body and how I look right now, even if some people in the world would rather I still be trying to “fix” myself. I’m not going to love myself in secret.

And if or when I do decide that I’m ready to lose weight again or finally train for that half-marathon or do whatever, I’ll won’t be hiding that either. I’ll be right here, where I’ve always been, sharing my journey with you.

15 Comments

  1. Nicolesays:

    Just wanted to say kudos! I’ve been in the same boat. Hit my lowest weight about 4 (ahhh! four!) years ago, and slowly let anywhere from 10-20 lbs back on. Hitting that 20 lb mark was definitely a wake-up call, and I’ve since gotten back down to what I think is my “set point” halfway. I actively “tried” losing again at the end of last year, but by January, was already kind of over it (weight loss fatigue is real, yo). Since then, I’ve just been honest with myself. I eat what I want, when I want it, to the point I want it, and I call it done. Since January, I’ve actually lost about 3 lbs. Earth shattering? No, but I also didn’t kill myself over it either. Finding peace is a magical thing!

  2. love this post! Its weird that after so many years of being upset with my body because it did not look the way I wanted it to finally accept it. It really frees up a lot of time!

  3. Lynsays:

    Amen, sister! You wrote the words that I am constantly thinking! Thank you!

  4. BAM!!! Beautiful and perfect post Gretchen!!

  5. Christinesays:

    This was such a beautiful and honest post! Thanks!

  6. Yes yes yes yes! THIS! I follow a lot of healthy living blogs and so many of them just show pictures of their food and exact portions/measurements and justify everything like “I ate most of this and couldn’t finish it so I saved a bite for later.” I’m so sick of the calorie counting thing, why can’t everyone just be normal and eat something without considering the consequences? This post is so refreshing, as usual! Thanks, Gretchen!

  7. preach girlfriend. preach. 🙂

  8. Chloesays:

    Love the sentiment of the post, except for that one little thing you slipped in about losing weight when/if you get engaged. Don’t do it! I mean, yeah, if you happen to get healthier by that time it’s great & all, but as a recently married woman (2 weeks woo!) I am so glad I didn’t stress about losing weight before our big day, because I was certainly stressed enough as it is! It was definitely hard to shut out the wedding industrial complex’s incessant babble about looking perfect on my wedding day, but it can be done, and I have made significant progress in my own body acceptance journey because of it.

    • That’s a great point, and I definitely didn’t mean anything significant by slipping that little line into the post. I’m sure that it would be a huge victory for me not to be impacted by the pressure to lose weight for my wedding day, if or when that eventually happens. But I also don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with toning up for your big day (or for any other reason!) if that’s what you want, as long as you’re not going to any kind of drastic measures or, as you said, stressing about it too much. I’m sure that wedding planning is absolutely stressful enough!

      Congrats on your recent nuptials! 2 weeks and many more to go. 🙂

  9. I really like this post, and I totally empathize with the sentiment that sometimes there are other aspects of life that become more important than losing weight. For me, both losing weight and training for races sometimes is important, and sometimes takes a back seat to enjoying other stuff, and I think that’s ok (as long as it’s not a perpetual thing).

    But the implied “of course I’ll go back on a diet when I get engaged! hee hee!” is really disappointing to read (*especially* in the context of an otherwise awesome message!). Whether you were trying to just be funny or actually partly meant it, that’s a gross sellout to an industry that’s already really damaging to our society.

    • I totally respect your opinion and definitely didn’t mean to disappoint anyone with that little throw away line. I was indeed mainly just trying to be funny, and I agree that the pressures that the wedding industry puts on women to look a particular way are just as pervasive and perverse as the fashion industry as a whole. I definitely don’t subscribe to the idea that I need to look one particular way on my wedding day (hell, I don’t even know if I want a white dress!), I just also know myself, and I know that if I do someday get engaged, it may very well result in me being motivated to tone up for my wedding day.

  10. The phrase that hit me the hardest, right in the kisser, right in the heart was this: “I am not going to love myself in secret.”

    That is my new goal. I’m not going to love myself alone in my house. When I’m behind closed doors with my friends. When I feel like I’m at a point when I’m ‘acceptable’ as confident.

    I am not going to love myself in secret.

    That’s powerful.

  11. This post is EVERYTHING! Gretchen, I am almost in tears right thinking about how brave and how REAL you are, for feeling this way & embracing it & then being so open about it. Thank you, thank you!! I have been feeling this way for a while now … the desire to just BE and stop counting and stop weighing and stop measuring. Just learn to trust myself to stop when I’m full and make healthy choices. The truth is I’m SCARED. I’m still at a higher weight than I’d like to be … what if it gets worse? Oh…so many things to say. Thanks for making me think about this & for being YOU!

  12. I think that the thing that can be most detrimental to our weight loss and health efforts is our OBSESSION with it. Counting every little calorie, saying no to drinks or dinner out with a group of friends for fear it will sabotage the 3 pounds you lost last week. It can be imprisoning. When you realize that life is meant to be enjoyed and savored, that is when you can truly succeed. Ain’t nothing wrong with that cute little cheesecake. Looks delicious and your smile is even more beautiful!

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