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Saying Good-bye to the 'Fat' Girl: Losing Weight Only for Myself

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Body image is in the news. There are concerns over the message designers send when they use size zero models and then there is the appearance of plus size models who aren't really plus anything, just different body types. Everyone is obsessed with weight.

Weight is such a personal thing, probably one of the most personal issues a person can have. How we look to others isn't nearly as important as how we look, and more importantly feel, to ourselves. My belief has always been that numbers and sizes are subjective; you are the only one who can make the call about what you want to do or not do about your own weight. Do something or don't do something about it, that is your choice and your decision. No one else should tell you what to do.

Several years ago I came to a conclusion that I had to make a major decision concerning my weight. As I saw it I had two options. Was I going to be happy carrying around thirty extra pounds for the rest of my life? Or was I finally going to deal with losing that weight and keeping it off? Tough choices for a girl who likes to eat.

If I chose to accept it then I had also better stop complaining about it. I knew that that wasn't an option because I wasn't happy with how I looked or how clothes fit and God forbid anyone wanted to take a picture of me. In fact, those pounds were affecting how I lived my everyday life. My husband was tired of hearing me complain about how I felt and my editor joked that whenever I attended the magazine's annual black-tie dinner I wore my "uniform" which consisted of a cocktail dress completely covered up by a long shawl.

However, the "deal with it" choice would bring with it a commitment, a real one. I knew that if I chose to lose weight I would be bound by my own tenacity to keep it off.

The thirty pounds had snuck up on a woman who had always had to watch her weight but who had pretty much had it under control all her life. But lack of exercise, (I was more than content to sit at my computer all day),unhealthy eating habits, and the demands of a family and a career, just the simple craziness of daily life, had made control a thing of the past.

I chose to deal with the process of losing the weight and getting to where I wanted to be which was a nice solid size ten. A well-intentioned friend told me I should try for a size six but I declined. Six and I would never get along because to get there and stay there I would have to starve myself. I wanted to be healthy and feel good, not hungry. Size ten and I, on the other hand, could make it work. Weight is subjective; we all know where we feel and look our best. No one else knows your body the way you do.

Before I began my weight-loss journey, I made my one and only rule; this had to be done for me alone. Not my husband, not my friends; just me. Putting myself first was my priority in this matter. A-list, number one, feeling good priority. It was a happy if startling feeling to be number one again.

Writers are excellent researchers and I used that ability to find a healthy way of eating. No restricted diet here, I wanted to have food that I could live with. I chose eating plans from a few different healthy ones I found and mixed them into one that felt good for me. It had to include one night a week where I could indulge in a "little something extra."

It took me five months to lose twenty-seven pounds through eating lots of fruits, vegetables, salads, and lean meats. Extra sleep proved a weight-loss plus. I joined a dance/Pilates class and, after my body got over the shock of moving again, I loved it. The added energy was so good that I began playing tennis again.

It is amazing how feeling good about yourself can impact your life. I like the new me and how I feel. A colleague said rather bluntly that when I lost weight I said good-bye to the "fat" girl. However I disagree. I'm still me, just a "newer and improved" version, me but healthier; sort of like a freshly picked peach instead of one canned in heavy syrup.

The great thing is that I did it only for myself. I could have lived with the extra pounds but it was my choice to make the change. No one else made that choice.

As I said, weight is subjective. You need to be happy with yourself no matter what you weigh.

copyright 2010 Kristen Houghton

And Then I'll Be Happy! Look Inside the Book

To read more from Kristen Houghton, peruse her articles at Kristen Houghton.com and visit her and visit her Keys to Happiness blog.

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