This is an article by my colleague, Janine Quigley, from her blog:
New Wellness for Me: Health & wellness, fitness, and attuned eating
Last night, I had a great time with some friends from college. Oddly enough, there was a time in my life when I may not have even gone. Last night would have been an “event” for me; something that I had to prepare for. I’m not talking about a new outfit, I mean a whole new me… because back then, the old me was never “good enough”.
Let’s make this simple… an event called for the “diet-down” and the weeks leading up to it typically went like this:
You need to lose weight!
Diet more, eat less! … time is running short!!!
Work harder, exercise more!
If you don’t lose weight, you don’t deserve to go.
Possible scenarios? Oh yeah, these were great:
If I “allowed” myself to go I wasn’t fully present. I felt self-conscious and preoccupied. I played the body-check game and compared myself to my friends. Someone thinner or more fit than me meant I didn’t try hard enough. And, of course, dieting down usually meant I’d gain the weight back (or even more) when the event was over.
If I didn’t lose “enough”, or even worse I gained weight (typical when I pressured myself to lose)… I couldn’t go at all. Missing good times in my life because of the scale, oh yes this makes sense.
Is it all worth it? Life goes by quickly. Watching my children grow from helpless infants to independent young adults in what seems to be a blink of an eye helped me realize this. I began to notice what I was missing. I started questioning what all this worrying and obsessing over my weight was gaining me. My thoughts began to shift. I learned to appreciate myself for who I am, from the inside out first. There is much more to me than my jean size. Focusing on the positive things I have to offer took the focus away from my appearance. I felt happier and freer. I realized I need to respect who I am right now, in this very moment… not the person I thought I needed to be. It finally dawned on my how much of my life was passing me by! I had a choice. I could continue on this self-destructive path that never left me feeling good about myself or I could begin to accept me for who I am and enjoy what my life had to offer me.
I have a challenge for you. Think of 3 influential people in your life; individuals whom you admire and look up to. Why are they important you? What characteristics make them special? Do these qualities have anything to do with their weight? No matter what your size, you matter. You have things that only you can offer. There are people in your life who depend on you and look up to you. By putting your life on hold or not being fully present in it, you cheat yourself and those around you from getting the very best of you! You can’t enjoy life if you don’t allow yourself to experience it!
I did buy a new outfit for dinner last night but that was the extent of my “preparation”. Instead of stressing, I found myself looking forward to being able to share a night with some special people. We remembered (or at least tried to remember LOL) the fun times we had, shared stories about our families and our lives. We had many laughs and a lot of fun. And the best part, I was there, enjoying every bit of it :)