What should you do about those last ten pounds? Embrace them!
At a recent family event, my sister leaned over to me during dinner and asked, “How much do you weigh?”
“About 160 pounds,” I replied.
“Same,” she said. “And you know what? We’re both beautiful and we don’t stress about everything we eat. Isn’t it great?”
Before you think my sister was gloating, just know that it hasn’t always been this way for us. We both have a history of dieting, gaining weight, dieting again, working out obsessively, and so on in an effort to lose those same 10-20 pounds. It’s been a journey to figure out what works for each of us individually.
So what’s my secret? How did I finally stop having to worry about those last ten pounds?
I said, “Eff ’em!”
I stopped desperately trying to get rid of them. No more tracking calories or macros. No more intense workouts every. single. day. No more measuring and weighing myself. Instead, I started focusing on my health and learning to embrace my curves and squishy spots.
I do not have a flat stomach. I do not have a thigh gap. I am not a size 4. But I am healthy and I am beautiful.
This mindset shift didn’t happen overnight. Like I said, I have years of dieting and weight loss efforts under my belt (odds are you do, too). Personally, all I ever wanted was to get to my “happy weight” and then just be able to maintain it. The problem was, anytime I would lose weight, I would gain it back. Sound familiar? That’s because it’s very difficult to maintain weight loss if the steps it took to get there aren’t sustainable. It’s also hard to maintain weight loss if you and your body have different ideas of what your “happy weight” should be. In my mind, a flat, toned stomach was ideal. To my body, what it took to achieve that flat, toned stomach wasn’t worth the effort. It had other, more important things to worry about.
I got to a point where I was tired of fighting with my body. I decided enough was enough. I decided to relax a little bit, to be kind to myself. For me, that meant eating clean, nutritious food most of the time, and also not freaking out if I had a scoop of ice cream or if I really wanted a bite (or two) or a gluten- and dairy-laden croissant. It meant not forcing myself to do workouts I hated, but to find forms of movement that I enjoyed and that made me feel good, like walking, hiking and yoga. It meant being okay with gaining a few pounds. And you know what? With all of that came an amazing sense of freedom and joy.
If you’re still struggling to lose those last ten pounds, here’s a few things you should know:
You can be healthy and be “overweight.”
Movies, magazines, and Instagram celebs have set the standard for beauty. We have been manipulated to believe that being healthy and fit means having a flat stomach, an ample booty (with no cellulite, mind you), and slender legs. Even with the growing movement of “strong before skinny” and “health first,” you might still be gauging your so-called “success” with dietary changes, fitness efforts, etc. based on how they affect your outward appearance.
As women, we often feel we need to do more and try harder. If you aren’t seeing the results you want, you feel it must be your fault. Somehow you did something wrong or you’re not doing enough or you need to try something–anything–else to achieve your goal. You start thinking, Maybe I should eat less, or workout more, or cut carbs, or cut fat, or start lifting, or stop lifting, or…
Maybe you don’t need to do more. Maybe your ideal weight is simply higher than you think it is.
Women are designed to have more body fat than men.
After all, we need the extra resources to be able to conceive and carry children. Often, when women over-exercise, under-eat or have too low of a body fat percentage, they experience a host of hormonal imbalances and reproductive disorders. These can be anything from heavy, irregular or missing periods, PMS, PCOS, breast tenderness, acne, fatigue, depression, infertility, and so on.
You have to ask yourself, is getting to your “goal weight” worth sacrificing your health?
To me, it’s worth being a little heavier if that means my body systems are working the way they should. I am healthier now at 160 pounds than I was five years ago at 140 pounds. Back then, I had poor digestion, low energy, intense sugar cravings, dry skin and persistent rashes, and a terrible relationship with food. Now, I poop every day (hooray!), have steady energy, my skin is rash-free, and, like my sister said, I no longer stress out or feel guilt about my food choices.
Focus on wellbeing, rather than weight.
To be clear, I’m not saying to just let yourself go. Don’t throw in the towel when it comes to taking care of your body. It is still incredibly important to eat high-quality food and to avoid junky, processed, food-like products. You still need to get up and move your body daily. There are still health issues associated with obesity (though obesity is really a symptom of poor health, rather than the cause).
What I am saying is that those last ten pounds, the ones that you feel like you’ve done everything to get rid of, well maybe you don’t need to get rid of them at all.
Instead of focusing on weight loss this year, focus on some other, more impactful measures of health, such as:
- eating a nutrient-dense diet
- drinking plenty of water
- getting enough sleep
- finding forms of movement that make you happy
- enjoying the company of friends and family
- reducing stress and improving mindset
When your health is in line and you feel your best, trust me, that extra fluff becomes a non-issue. I’m not saying it’s easy. I still find myself pinching my belly rolls from time to time. But then I think, Who says these rolls are bad? Who says I have to have a flat stomach? You can be a beautiful, sexy, and worthwhile woman, thunder thighs and all!