Your Weight Isn't the Problem
It’s that time special time of year when we verbally abuse ourselves, listing everything we hate and want to change about who we are, and then pretend the stroke of midnight is magically going to bring a blast of willpower. Ah yes, New Year’s.
All jokes aside, I think it’s perfectly reasonable to use January as a reset. The end-of-year holiday season is so chaotic and excessive for most people that it’s natural to look forward to a clean slate, an opportunity to refocus and get back on track.
I’m certainly not discouraging anyone from getting healthier or pursuing happiness. But that’s the thing. Too often we think that the resolution (or rather, the completion of the thing we’ve resolved to do) is going to make us happy. And that’s just not true.
Your weight isn’t the problem.
It’s what you think about your weight that’s the problem.
Your cellulite isn’t the problem. Your stretch marks, your jiggling thighs, your crooked tooth, your unshaven legs, your chipped nails, your unplucked eyebrows, your deflated boobs, your sparse eyelashes, your double chins — none of these things are the problem.
Your. Body. Isn’t. The. Problem.
It’s your mind you’ve got to work on.
No, I’m not gonna sit here and tell you to accept yourself exactly as you are and never even bother to brush your teeth again because if you truly love yourself you won’t care about a few cavities or some zombie-level breath.
I have no objections to anyone choosing to drink more water or limiting alcohol or hitting the gym regularly or eating some actual vegetables instead of processed junk food all the time.
All I’m saying is if you’re doing any of those things out of anger or hatred for yourself, you’re going to end up disappointed. You’ll either give up before you see the results you want or you’ll get the results but they won’t last, and most importantly of all, even if they were to last, you won’t find yourself abruptly happy just because you look different.
You’re more likely to end up resenting yourself — and for good reason. Because deep down, you already know that you’re good enough and that you’re valuable and that you’re lovable and no one should need you to change in order to love you — not even you.
So I’m gonna let you in on a little secret, not to discourage you from making a New Year’s resolution but to help you succeed at your goal. I feel confident I can do that because I already know what your goal is… because I know what everyone’s goal is: to be happy. No matter what the specifics are — losing weight, making more money, falling in love, having kids, traveling, getting a shit ton of followers on social media— no one wants anything at all unless they believe on some level it will bring relief and/or happiness.
(Shout out to Abraham Hicks for making this point over and over until I finally fully grasped it.)
Here’s the good news. You can be happy right now. You can be happy while pursuing your objective. You can be happy and proud of yourself just for making the decision, even before you lose a single pound.
You can be happy when you exercise instead of hating every second, and instead of beating yourself up, you can be happy when you skip a day and give your body a rest. You can be happy when you choose vegetables over French fries and you can be happy when you have a slice of delicious birthday cake to celebrate a friend.
There’s only one thing you really have to do differently.
Stop using your mirror as a weapon.
(Same for the numbers on your scale and on your clothes.)
I’ve known people to hurt themselves more deeply with an intact mirror than they ever could have with the broken shards of glass. Trust me, I know. I’m a person who used to intentionally cut herself, and my physical scars have nothing on the emotional mutilation I endured.
Just like your boss, a mirror is nothing but a tool. It lets you know when you’ve got broccoli in your teeth or when you’re missing a spot while dying your hair or if the shirt you’re wearing kinda clashes with your pants.
It doesn’t tell you a goddamn thing that’s actually important.
Maybe you’ve got one of those fancy bathroom scales that goes above and beyond telling you your weight, and it tells you the percentage of muscle mass or your bone density or some other shit that most of us don’t really understand.
Your scale doesn’t actually tell you anything about yourself that matters.
I know you’ve probably heard that or something like it before, but just for a moment really think about it.
Those numbers don’t tell you anything about your sense of humor, how hard you work at your job, how many times you’ve been the one to kiss a boo-boo away, how many people smile when they think about you, or how your best friend always feels better after talking to you.
Those numbers don’t know the sound of your laugh or the depth of your compassion or the way you light up when you get a new idea or how your favorite song never fails to give you chill bumps or that you gave your last ten dollars of cash to a homeless person or how your heart flutters when your favorite person sends you a meme or how good you are at picking out gifts for someone.
Your mirror can show you when you have a blemish on your skin but it can’t tell you how it feels to have a warm ocean breeze against your cheek or a lover’s mouth against your throat. Your bathroom scale can tell you how much you weigh but it can’t tell you how it feels to have the weight of a sleepy toddler in your arms.
Your jeans can tell you the size of your waist but they can’t tell you how luxurious it feels to curl up by a window on a rainy day or how amazing it is to hike a mountain just in time to witness the sunrise or the deliciousness of diving into cool water on a hot day.
None of those things can tell you what it feels like when the person you’re crushing on shares his drink and the little zing that zips through you just because you got to put your lips where his were on the glass. The number on the scale tells you nothing about what it’s like dance to a thrumming beat or what it’s like to taste a marshmallow roasted over an outdoor fire. The mirror will never mimic the way your baby makes you feel the moment he makes eye contact with you for the first time
We are here to have experiences, not to be obsessed with what we look like.
So, sure, this year go ahead and experience how nice it feels to hydrate your body and fuel it with healthy food and have lots of energy. Experience how exhilarating it can be to get your heart rate up during a jog or how exciting it feels when you finally nail that tricky yoga position.
But experience it because you love yourself and what your body is capable of, do it because the idea of accomplishing your fitness goals thrills you. Don’t punish yourself because you don’t think you’re worthy yet.
You can want to make changes and be motivated by your potential without hating who you currently are. Who you are, right now, is already good enough. No arguments.
Reduce your waistline if you want, but don’t you fucking dare reduce who you are.