Vanity is NOT a reason to stop losing weight
Sunday, April 22, 2012
Aren't we a funny species! Vanity, marketing, just silly really...
If you want to lose 15 lbs to look better in a bathing suit - and then you get depressed when losing weight that you don't look like the swimsuit model you were shooting for, then I guess I understand your feelings. Afterall, people have different shapes - losing weight will bring you to a smaller version of You; you may be looking at a photo of a fitness model who has much more muscle tone that you have; and there are people paid to airbrush the photos of models to make their bodies look "perfect", so what are we normal humans to do?!?!?!?! Is it any wonder our expectations are often unrealistic.
However, if you need to lose a significant amount of weight for health reasons, and get derailed by body image issues (looking at your naked body during the process of losing weight), then you need to give yourself a break and vanity needs to be put in check!
I had dinner last night with a friend who is also currently loosing weight (needs to loose 75-100 lbs for health reasons). As we spoke, suddently all these body image issue started coming out. There was awareness of the weight loss (scale feedback, clothes are getting smaller, etc.), yet due to all the media presentation of the "Perfect Body", this person is having a hard time getting in touch with the reality that while they ARE going to lose weight, they are NOT going to end up with a hot "teen body" at the end of the process without significant exercise and possible surgical intervention!!
Perhaps it's my previous experience with weight loss that leads me to think I may NEVER choose to wear a bikini in public, but with appropriate shapewear - I know I can look amazing in almost any formal or casual outfit.
There are a few common complaints people have as they lose weight pertaining to excess skin (bat wings under the arms or desire for a tummy tuck or breast lift) or losing weight in the "wrong areas" and not losing enough in other areas. And let's acknowledge that men are not immune from these body image issues either!
Vanity exists within our society (at the very least we all want to look our best); however, when "vanity issue", caused by not liking the look of your body during transition, become so overwhelming that a person actually gets derailed from their health efforts, I become sad because I've been there - I was derailed from losing weight for health reasons by body image issues during my weight loss efforts in my 30s.
I'm down 80 pounds from my highest weight. Do I look like I did last time I was at this weight? Probably not! I've got a little more padding on the hips/thighs and a little less padding and fullness in the breasts - but I'm also 20 years older. Am I stopping? No way! But if I could speak to my 30-something self who stopped a diet when I thought my inner thighs were starting to look like deflated balloons - I'd tell her to keep going! To get the weight in check, and see what the final results look like, then make decisions as to what if any steps need to be taken....
Have you been derailed by vanity before? If so, are you willing to share what derailed you and how you got yourself back on track? My hope is that our stories will help keep someone else stay on track - so they don't have to Waste an extra 10+ years with a large Waist!