A friend recently challenged me to examine why I was on this diet and exercise kick. Did I truly feel the need to lose weight for ME or for someone else? Is it just due to poor body image or did I feel the need to lose weight for other reasons.
I’ve thought long and hard about this question since it was posed to me. It keeps popping back up into my head. Certainly there are a plethora of reasons that I go to the gym and try to eat healthier. Here are just a few:
– The government tells me I am bordering on “obese”. That’s right. Obese. I weigh 179 pounds, aged 38 and am 5″6″ tall. They say I should weigh 150. (!!) I haven’t weighed 150 since I was… like… 11.
– Clothes manufacturers indicate that I am “wrongly shaped” – I have a narrow waist and larger hips. This means most pants, jeans and slacks do not fit me properly. (I am learning that skirts work out well though and have been wearing them more when the weather is warmer.) If I get a pair that fits my hips the waist is too big. And if I get a pair that fits my waist… well I doubt they would go over my thighs to begin with!
– My family has heart issues. Every. single. person. on my father’s side of the family has died from a heart attack. ALL OF THEM. None have lived past the age of 75 (although several of my father’s siblings are approaching this age now and I believe will live longer). I don’t want to cut my life short with something I could have prevented.
– I have back and hip issues. I have the onset of arthritis in my back, neck and hands. In order for me to feel good, be able to walk around normally and to have less pain: I need to workout. I need to weigh less. When I weigh more and don’t work out – I ache, my joints get stiff, my muscles don’t want to hold me up anymore.
So. These are all good reasons to want to weigh less, workout more, and be healthier. Here is one more:
– I have been told my whole life that I am overweight and I’m sick of it. I was moo’d at in school. I was asked if I was pregnant when I was a senior in high school (I wasn’t). I was pretty much dateless until college. People are cruel. My last boyfriend (fiance really… sadly) berated me everyday about going to the gym and about what I had eaten that day. I fit the mold of a good girlfriend except the physical aspect he was looking for in one. And it hurt when he left because I couldn’t get to the size he wanted.
So do I have body issues? Heck yes. And I hold on to that even though I am very happily married to a man that would never dream of leaving me, much less leave me for a smaller version of me. But it sticks. It gets in there. It burrows its way into your soul and you can’t get it out no matter how hard you try.
So, yes, I do have body issues, but I choose to workout, eat better and maintain who I am DESPITE them. God tells me that I am created in His image, and that even the hairs on my head are so precious to Him that He has them numbered! (Matthew 10:30) Isn’t that a great reason to keep going? To keep trying? To not give up? I think so.