Yesterday, I left off talking about a lifetime of viewing food and exercise as a way to affect my appearance, not my health…and the big realization that thinking healthy not thin is no small task. You can read it HERE
A few years ago, I broke through the first wall of thinking thin, when I realized that those nachos I mentioned were just as delicious as fruit salad. I lightbulb seemed to go off over my head, and I thought: “To hell with this dieting nonsense! I am going to eat them both because I love myself just the way I am!”
I am chubby girl, hear me roar!
I was in my mid-thirties and I had just made a huge life change—closing my business to pursue a writing career. Losing this monkey on my back allowed me to eliminate some toxic situations and it freed me up to spend more time with those I love. There was suddenly opportunities to rekindle my love of dancing and cultivate new and meaningful friendships. Even my writing was even taking off! To put it simply, I was loving life and soaking in everything it had to offer. Including the wine and cheese, and everything else gourmet and delicious I could get my insatiable little hands on. I was exercising regularly, too, and even had a personal trainer, though my waistline didn’t reflect it. I was so happy with the direction my life had taken, however, that I didn’t care about the calories, because every one of them was consumed in celebration.
Enter the years I broke the 200s on the scale.
This “to hell with dieting” phase had a major plus side—pun intended!
Somehow, at a full size 16, I developed a more realistic and healthy body expectation. While my jean size never prevented me from having fun—I do believe there are pics of chubby-me dancing on a stage in a club somewhere, jeesh—the jeans I wanted to wear from the time I was sixteen were never going to fit my body. No one was ever going to be “minding the gap” on me. Don’t know what that means? It’s a viral pic thing of chicks with a gap between their thighs, and apparently the new sexy. Yeah, when I was a buck twenty my thighs touched, so that was never gonna happen.
During this transition in my life, I realized that I would never achieve the “perfect body” I longed for in my twenties. By gaining weight, I learned to stop forcing myself into clothing in another failed attempt to look like “the ideal” women. I began to develop a more confident and mature approach to shopping and dressing my body.
And you know what? It felt pretty damn good!
Yet, if I’m being honest, in the back of my mind, I did want to lose weight.
Oh, to be as thin as I was when I thought I was fat!
While I had shed the very unrealistic physical expectations for my height and body shape, my decision to finally do something about those extra fifty pounds was purely for appearance, NOT health reasons. Though as soon as I lost it…goodbye, heartburn!
For the past few years, I’ve managed to maintain a healthier weight which fluctuates a little more than I would like. And if I bothered to exercise like I used to, I would probably look even better.
Did you see what I just did there?
Exercising to look better? How is that any different than eating to be thin?
Hmmm, maybe I haven’t grown as much as I thought.
While my outlook on my body type has improved, I still mentally correlate food and exercise with my appearance. I work out and avoid fattening foods because I don’t want to get fat again. I don’t do it to be healthy. I see chili-cheese fries and I think, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips,” or “That is so not worth the calories.”
Shouldn’t I be thinking, “Those chili-cheese fries are not worth the cholesterol, the sodium or my insulin level dropping after such an unhealthy snack? And let’s not even start thinking about what all the hydrogenated oils are doing to my insides!”
Maybe I should start a new saying, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime in the arteries.”
I want to think healthy not thin, but all I see when I look at those chili-cheese fries is a plate of thunder thighs with a side of muffin-top.
Why is this healthy mindset so complicated?
Yes, I dropped the unrealistic ideas about my body, but I cannot deny that my lifestyle choices are and always have been made to affect my appearance. Sure, I am no longer desperate to be a size six because physically I know that won’t work. All that means is that I got smarter—a natural by-product of growing older. Though I’m not setting unrealistic goals for diet and exercise, I am still thinking thin not healthy.
My thin just isn’t as foolish as it was when I was twenty.
Jeesh! How long will I be stuck in this sycophantic way to thinking? I feel like a big cosmic daisy where some alien super-model is plucking my petals one-by-one chanting and taunting me with refrains of, “She loves her body! She loves it not!”
Does all of this mean I am going to spend the last half of my life constantly hung up on what I look like—wait a minute!
Back up the truck on that melodramatic soliloquy….. did I just write: The last half of my life?
That’s a sobering thought.
In eighteen months, I’ll be turning forty.
I do not dread the big Four-O because I love my life. I have a wonderful husband, good friends, and nice home. I’ve even done a little traveling. Oh, and that life’s dream of becoming a published author? Yeah, that happened, too. Even hit a couple bestseller lists. **huge Cheshire Cat grin**
So, no, I’m not afraid of turning forty, but I am a pretty logical gal. While I might want to be a centurion one day, statistically speaking I’ll probably kick the bucket in my 80s, just like most people.
That being said, forty marks my midway point.
Which means I can either make a change now, or remain hung up on the futile thoughts and worries about being thin rather than concentrating on my health. Frankly, if I intend to make that change, it will take a lot of time and dedication on my part. And setting the all-powerful New Year’s resolution isn’t gonna cut it.
Rewiring my brain to think healthy not thin is going to take some work!
But I have two jobs, I volunteer, I have a garden and a house to manage. And maybe in this lifetime I would like to spend some time with my hubby while we catch up on Doctor Who.
Even if I want to make that change, who has the energy or the time?
Unless I want to spend the last half of my life punishing myself with food and exercise because I want to look a certain way, I’m gonna have to make the time.
I must begin with baby steps, setting goals I can achieve, then carry them out long enough for them to become a habitual way of life. Only by doing this, do I have a chance of changing the way I correlate my lifestyle with my health.
And why not use the next eighteen months as a start?
Remember, I did say that I was a plotter, right?
So here’s the plot: I have come up with eighteen small, but life changing goals, one for each month leading up to my 40th birthday. Each of these monthly goals requires sacrifice and work, but all of them are doable, even for my busy schedule. While I make these physical changes in my life, I will need to give myself constant reminders as to why I am doing this, hence the blog. This is not about being thin—though I can tell you now, honestly, I am hoping that is one of my end results. Which, ladies and gents, is exactly why I need to do this. Until I learn my health is more important than my appearance, I will remain stuck in this pointless way of thinking that holds so many of us captive.
What are some of these goals you may ask? Well, I hope you stick around long enough to find out, because a few are daunting and I will need your support. Cardio and weight training three times a week? Walking my dog every day? Eliminating hydrogenated oils from my diet—those cancer and heart disease causing things are in EVERYTHING, including my favorite garlic salt! Oh the humanity!
But I digress—I have a few months before I make that change lol
Each month, I will chronicle my successes and failures. Sharing my journey with all of you will force me into reflection so that I can hopefully view the world in a different light. And journaling it here will also hold me accountable for my goals. After all, I can say that I want to change my life, but if I don’t actually DO it, what’s the point?
While I live my life with a positive outlook, I am also a realist. I know some of these are going to be harder than I think, if not completely unrealistic for my lifestyle. Even now, I am stressing about giving up my garlic salt for a month.
Here is my promise: Throughout this journey, I will be honest and admit where I failed. But I am not going to give up. More than simply making a lifestyle change, I want to change my way of thinking.
I want to THINK HEALTHY NOT THIN.
Won’t you please join me tomorrow? I can use all the support I can get.
As you can see by looking all around this website, I am not a health professional, nor am I a dietitian. I’m a writer. Like you, my clever readers, I know it doesn’t take a doctor to be smart or healthy. This series is not intended to offer medical or nutritional advice. It is simply one woman’s journey toward thinking healthy not thin.