I subscribe to emails from Jen Comas Keck of http://www.beautyliesinstrength.com because I have found that witnessing the journeys of other women who are trying to figure out the whole food/body/soul/self equation in a multitude of ways is super helpful. This was a recent offering of hers. Note that Jen is a nutrition coach, former figure competitor and power lifter, which is not my context or perspective, and likely isn’t yours either, and that she’s not addressing eating disorders per se, but rather the low grade body image concerns and disordered relationships women often have with food regardless of diagnosis. Her words follow:
“Should I Lose Weight?”
“Should I try to lose weight? Sometimes I wonder if I should try to get leaner.”
I was at Sushi Samba in the Palazzo in Vegas a couple of weeks ago with an amazing group of people. There was never a lull in the conversation, which ranged from business, to religion, and then training, and on to food, which inevitably led to …
It seems to be a hot topic when I’m around, and with both Molly and I sitting there, it wasn’t a surprise that it came up. Helping women become healthier, stronger, and feel better is our jam. While we never initiate these types of conversations, people often want to talk to us about our work, and are interested in hearing our opinions.
But, back to our girlfriend.
Let me tell you a little bit about her, because as you know, context always matters, and this scenario is no different.
First off, she is a beautiful woman both inside and out.
She is a Professor for not one, but two, Master’s courses at a University, all while working on her thesis for her PhD that is due later this year.
She is married, very involved with her community, and cherishes her social life.
To say she is busy would be putting it mildly.
She consistently makes time for exercise, and makes really solid nutrition choices the overwhelming majority of the time. She is healthy, radiant, and fit.
Even though she is healthy, she still had that niggling question in the back of her mind that so many women do:
Should I try to lose some weight?
I followed up to her question with one of my own, “Why?”
“I don’t know…” she told me. “I just feel like maybe I’m supposed to. But the thing is, I’m already eating pretty well, and I exercise consistently.”
“What kind of changes do you think you could make to get results?” I asked her.
She paused for a moment, and then, with the saddest face I’ve ever seen, said, “I guess I could give up my weekly dinner and wine night with the girls. And I suppose I could stop going to breakfast with my husband on the weekends….”
Stop. Stop. Stop.
We are talking about a woman who is healthy and fit. One that is so richly scheduled that her weekly dinner and wine night with her girlfriends, and weekend breakfasts with her husband are the highlight of her week. Are we seriously going to pull the plug on those things so she can lose – maybe – four or five pounds?
Instead of voicing my opinion as strongly as I did above, I asked her the following question:
“What is going to bring you more overall happiness? Continuing to have dinner and wine with your girls once a week, and breakfasts out with your husband on the weekend, or really having to buckle down to lose a few measly pounds?”
“Well, the dinners and breakfasts, for sure.” she said. “Thank you. I had never looked at it that way.”
When it comes to setting our goals, it’s important to figure out the why.
Do you need to lose fat to feel better and improve your health? If so, that is completely understandable, and you know that I’m an ardent supporter of improving quality of life.
But… if you’re trying to lose a bit of body fat just because it’s what you think you’re “supposed” to do, or that is what society thinks you should be doing, eff that.
Shooting you straight,
always and forever,
PS. Go to Happy Hour at Sushi Samba next time you’re in Vegas. Trust me.