(That time is now)
When I got sick, I gained weight. A small part of it post knee-surgery, but most after I got sick thanks to mononucleosis. in the time afterwards I never started exercising (which I love!) again thanks to chronic pain.
In total I’ve gained over 30 pounds.
I’m not a fan of weighing myself as it can make me fall into a downward spiral of feeling worthless and a strong urge to restrict my diet (which only “works” very short term, and then it’s hello binge!).
Recently I’ve had to start weighing myself again*. At the pain clinic, I’ve started on a medication that can cause rapid major weight gain, and so they want keep an eye on my weight…
And apparently I’m down 15 pounds (and I hadn’t even noticed) 🤷
(Which kinda shows how body image, how you feel about your body, can be completely separate from your objective body)
In terms of health, most people vastly overestimate the role of weight (health behaviours at any weight is more important, and there’s a lot of factors that are out of an individual’s control).
Most people focus on weight for superficial reasons – regardless of whether they’re conscious of it.
Saying “It’s not about looks or weight, I just want to feel healthy and good in my body” before going on a detox or weird diet (which has no scientific merit) doesn’t make it true.
But I understand why, and sometimes want to do the same. Because the thin and toned body ideal is so dominating (see Diet Culture).
I feel the pressure and want to lose weight too – but the rational part of my brain knows it’s not sustainable, and quickly makes me feel completely crazy around food.
I feel it would be easier to love my body if I was thinner – but growing up, I was always thin and I still felt too big and wanted to lose weight (even when I was underweight). Thinness is a dream, a mirage that will always be just out of reach, no matter how much you shrink – to be at peace with your body, you gotta work on the inside.
Instead, my approach can be summed up by “Eat well, be active, and the weight will take of itself”
This is sometimes interpreted as “Eat well, be active, and you are guaranteed to lose weight”. If you don’t it’s because you’re not eating well enough and not moving enough – and if you are losing weight, you are doing the above (neither of which are accurate).
When I say it, I mean “Eat a balanced diet, and move in a way that’s safe for your body (chronic pain has a lot to say here) and your body will settle into its healthiest weight for now.”.
(Taking care of my mental health and doing what’s best for managing my chronic pain is important too, of course).
Maybe that means I’ll continue to lose weight, maybe I won’t. It doesn’t really matter.
Bodies change throughout our lives, it’s a fact of life. I want to embrace it, rather than try to fight the inevitable.
* “Recently” is relative here. I wrote this back in the spring, but then went back and forth on whether I should hit publish.