May 11, 2010

Why Lose Weight?

There are a lot of answers to the question "Why lose weight?". Over the last 2 or 3 decades of my life, I have answered that question in a myriad of ways. Wouldn't you like to find the one answer, the one reason to lose weight that will, once and for all, result in never finding it again?

Does that sound like the impossible dream? Let's talk about it.

We all get it that knowing why we want to do something is extremely important if we are to navigate everyday ups and downs and still hold on to our plans. But, perhaps the "knowing why" we should be more concerned about isn't the more surface reasons (i.e. to fit in that sexy black dress by July 1 or my husband and/or family deserves it), as important as these things might be. I think there is a deeper why that we must address before our weight loss efforts will become something we own instead of something we are regularly shopping for.

Don't believe me? See if this scenario resonates with you at all:

Sally starts out all fired up and motivated, has a little bit of early success and begins thinking the rest of the journey is going to be a breeze. She has figured it out, she has this thing nailed.

And then the dreaded day comes when, well, Sally just doesn't "feel" like doing it anymore. It all seems like so much work. Maybe she is PMSing or her progress has slowed down. Or maybe her husband loses his job. Or she is in the middle of a two week funk with her partner. Or her cousin dies. And, she starts thinking to herself "only if this weren't happening right now, I could stick to my plan."

It would, in some ways, be ideal if the conditions of Sally's life were always perfectly orchestrated to help her reach her goals. She think if only SHE could be on the Biggest Loser ranch separated from the distractions of her day life.

But, the truth is that the ups and downs in Sally's life and how she handles them says an awful lot about her, and if she listens, truly listens she might just get in touch with the deeper whys . . . why she eats when she isn't hungry, why she feeds her body things that don't REALLY feed it, why she places so much emphasis on getting pleasure from food to the point where she is denied pleasure of a much deeper variety.

Maybe Sally isn't the introspective type. She likes to just run with a plan and not get into all this deep, psychological, mumbo-jumbo stuff. The last thing she wants to do is waste time sitting still.

It's true, it all takes time and I have thought to myself, like Sally that if I stop to do this work, I will never reach my goal of 10 pounds a month. I've felt the pressure to even do things that are unhealthy in order to reach my "reasonable" goals.

But, when I stop for a second and actually think about that, how crazy is THAT??? The whole point is to get healthy, and getting slender in the process of getting healthy! The "healthy" comes first. It is not secondary or a nice addition. It's the main thing.

That means that as I get healthy, my body will naturally start to reveal its curves, something we know our men love!

It means that my heart will be strong and able to endure the stress and pressure of every day life!

It means my mind will be able to process information better and my decisions will be wiser!

It means my emotions are settled and my relationships are healthier!

And, it means I get into that sexy black dress eventually and give my partner and family what they deserve!

But, first, what comes FIRST is the health part. All of these wonderful consequences are a result of getting healthy being the primary thing.

Does that mean wanting to look good is unimportant or worse, superficial? Only if its primary. Focusing on the outside more than the inside is like planting a garden full of gorgeous flowers without any concern for the soil, sun exposure or nutrient needs. America's obsession with looking good is producing a garden that looks beautiful for awhile, but will eventually start to look sickly, withered with all the signs of life disappearing. The flowers ARE important, but what makes and keeps them gorgeous is how they got that way.

Losing weight is a practice of self preservation. It is a part of maintaining our most valuable resource, our body, and being a good and wise steward of it. If losing weight becomes a practice of anything else, could it be that it is doomed to fail from the get-go?

What do you think?


  1. Yes. I totally agree, and that is me.
    Thanks Cheryl for sharing.
    I love when obvious slaps me in the face.

  2. This is my philosophy exactly! I am doing this for my health and to live a long time to be there for the people who count on me. If I can get my body curves back, it will be icing on the cake!

    Great post!

  3. Great thoughts! You MUST do it for your health and everything will follow. I didn't get the whole journey really going until I was doing it for those... RIGHT reasons! Thanks for the reminder in why it has to continue!


  4. I realize this post states the obvious...and yet sometimes we get into the thick of our lives and lose sight of what's really driving us. I wrote this as much for myself as anyone who reads! Thanks you guys for your support!

  5. I started sooo strong over a year ago. And I realllly needed to read that today. Thank you.

  6. i think this is true in every single area of our lives. if we focus on how things look rather than the things that are about values and much deeper issues the changes (or the life) will only go skin deep. this is a huge struggle for me because i can be such a people-pleaser to the expense of everything else including my health and even my integrity if i'm not very careful. thanks for this reminder.

    hope things are going in a good direction for you these days. peace...

  7. Great post. I think the reason I'm succeeding this time around is a couple different reasons. (1)it's about a lifestyle change not a diet, (2)I'm doing this for ME not because my family wanted me to lose weight, etc and (3)I'm focused on getting healthy and not so worried about getting back down into a size 12. I'm in a totally different place emotionally this time around than anytime in the past I've tried to lose weight.