Six Reasons I am NOT Trying to Lose Weight This Year

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6 reasons I am not trying to lose weight this year

#1 – Though I’m overweight, I’m under nourished. As a child of the 80s and 90s, when I focus on losing weight, it is as if I have a calorie and fat counting app that I can’t seem to delete from my brain. Even when I intend to lose weight through healthy lifestyle changes, I find that I end up monitoring my eating choices at least partially based on calories and fat grams. This means, I may say no to super-nourishing foods like avocado or coconut oil. Ironically, avoiding these high-calorie health foods not only robs my body of incredible things I need to flourish, but it also means that I will be much more likely to veer from my intentions to eat healthfully because I will end up feeling hungry and unsatisfied. That’s why this year, I want to focus on providing my body the best nourishment possible through nutrient-rich, non-processed whole foods.

Expanding diet to be healthy

My plan is to eat abundantly, keeping my choices as close to their unprocessed, natural state as possible and asking myself if something will truly nourish my body before taking my first bite. If I tell myself I’m not trying to lose weight, I will enjoy myself more on this nutrient-dense journey and end up feeling more satisfied while accomplishing my goal of staying away from the foods that are dragging me down and filling me out. 

 

#2 – “Losing weight” triggers negative images, thoughts and feelings. Overeating and making unhealthy food choices are often fueled by negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, guilt, shame and worry. Not only do restrictive diets deprive us of our familiar, go-to coping mechanisms of feel-good comfort food, but they also trigger even more negative emotions and unhelpful concepts related to “ideal” physical beauty, dieting anxiety and self-criticism.

Stop being hypercritical quote

Instead of enjoying my body, having fun with fashion and celebrating who I am, I’m worried about what people are thinking, anxious for when I’m going to fit into my “skinny” clothes and zeroed in on how my butt/tummy/thighs look when I could be meditating on the beautiful day at the park or enjoying my little boy’s beaming smile as he reaches out to tickle my belly. At the end of the day, if my goal is to become as healthy as possible by eating nutrionally dense food, I can avoid these negative thoughts and feelings regarding my weight and find the on-ramp to making healthy choices. I won’t be so tempted to reach for that sugary milk chocolate bar, fast food mystery burger or over-processed glazed donut to relieve the stress complex of trying to lose weight as a remedy for feeling bad about myself. It’s true, I may very well be healthier at a lower weight, but I am going to courageously let nutrition guide the way instead of the numbers on the scale, low self esteem, unrealistic Photoshopped models and cultural dieting propaganda.

 

#3 – I just went on a plus-sized shopping spree. It sounds counter intuitive, doesn’t it? Let me explain. When I’ve packed on some extra pounds in the past, I used to feel so ashamed of my weight that I would avoid buying new clothes to flatter my fuller body. Whether it was because I thought I would look terrible in anything, felt embarrassed to shop in the plus-sized section or feared the letdown of not being able to zip up the largest pair of jeans a store carried, I couldn’t bring myself to take the time to find clothes that looked nice on me. What’s worse, I would end up feeling so bad about myself that I would gradually stop doing my make up and styling my hair.

I felt like nothing could hide how bad I looked.

My self worth has grown by leaps and bounds since then and this time around, I’m facing those unhealthy, self-degrading patterns head on by investing in a comfortable and stylish wardrobe that fits well and that I feel proud to wear.

Over the last year, I steadily put on weight to the point that I am 2 sizes larger than most of my wardrobe.  I started identifying those old panicky feelings of having nothing to wear that wasn’t obviously too tight or ill fitting since I could no longer squeeze into my favorite clothes. I decided since I’m going to focus my efforts on better nutrition instead of some crazy crash diet, I probably won’t comfortably fit into my current attire for a while. So, I branched out to find clothes that fit me well now, that not only express my own unique sense of style, creativity and personality but also show how much I value myself. This will give me the freedom to embrace the changes of long-term nutrition instead of feeling pressured into some temporary sure-to-fail extreme diet scheme. 

 

#4 – I’ll exercise more if I’m not trying to lose weight. I find that I actually enjoy moderate exercise like jogging, cardio workouts and light weight training if I’m not preoccupied with how many calories I’m burning, what my heart rate is and whether or not I’m doing it “right” to make those pounds drop off. When I focus on those things, I feel like I’m never doing enough or get discouraged that I have so far to go.

Enjoy exercise because it is good for you

 This doesn’t mean that I can’t set goals or have a regular exercise routine, but instead of checking my weight before and after and then focusing on how much smaller I wish I was while I workout, I am going to enjoy exercise for the sake of health and how good it makes me feel. Here’s the best part: if I’m having fun, feeling good and enjoying myself, I will be much more likely to slip on those sneakers and hit the trail than if I’m dreading another session of beating myself up while I attempt an unrealistic “weight loss” workout. 

 

#5 – I want to avoid fake food and false highs. What got me into this mess in the first place are the non-nutritive imposter foods filling our grocery store shelves. These fake, over-processed foods hijack my brain with temporary spikes of comfort, energy or euphoria but then leave me crashing down, craving more and full of unhelpful preservatives, fillers, chemicals and toxins. Processed foods are notorious for being packed full of way too much salt, sugar and hydrolyzed oils while at the same time being devoid of nutritional value. What you get in exchange are lots of empty calories at the high cost of depriving your body of what it really needs.

Most diet foods, supplements, bars and shakes are no better – in fact, they can be worse. Diet foods are usually marketed to be fat free or lower in calories but in order to create these imposter health foods, companies often have to use even more stabilizers and additives to imitate the foods people often eliminate when dieting. Instead of perpetuating my dependence on fake foods to feel good, I am going to focus on minimally processed or unprocessed foods that are full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, healthy fats and other micronutrients that will truly provide what my body needs to maintain a sustained feeling of wellness and health.

 

#6 – I am strengthening healthy mental habits and emotional attitudes towards myself, my body and my food. There is power in action. I can sit around all day and say that I value and enjoy myself just the way that I am, but intentionally choosing to push pause on the knee-jerk panic reaction of trying to lose weight fast puts these claims of self-acceptance to the test.

Focus on nutrition instead of the scale

 

 I am looking forward to eliminating the negative emotional thought patterns that feed the vicious cycle of overeating and gaining weight. By releasing myself to learn to respect my body, mind, soul and spirit – instead of bowing to some unrealistic cultural ideal – I hope to heal physically, mentally and emotionally from years of misguided eating and well intentioned dieting.

To clarify, I’m not advocating irresponsibly refusing to lose weight. Instead, I’m proposing a radical shift in my self-concept and how I relate to food, trusting that when holistic health and vitality are my goals, a healthy weight and sound mind will naturally follow. Will you join me? 

Please share your insight and encouragement with me along the way and don’t forget to check out our two free printables to establish your own reasonable weekly goals regarding nutrition this month. Comment below with your own experiences on your journey towards health, wellness and healthy weight management. 

Written by:: Rachel

Rachel Shivers has written 59 post in this blog.

Rachel is a family and infant photographer in Manhattan, Kansas. She enjoys adventuring with her two-year-old son, innovating with fresh ingredients in the kitchen and falling in love all over again with her handsome hubby.

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Comments

  1. Laura Laughlin says

    This is a great post! I can relate to how you feel about yourself, the highs and lows. I just went on a shopping spree too! These are great suggestions to implement. Thanks for sharing!

    • Rachel says

      Thanks, Natalie! It helps to hear someone who feels the same way as you do, doesn’t it! Make sure you’re kind to yourself and don’t put too much pressure on yourself. It’s taking a lot of courage, but this is kind of an experiment for me to see if I can get to a healthy weight without all the mental/emotional drama that usually comes with “trying to lose weight.” Best of luck to you!

    • Rachel says

      Hi Beth! What a compliment!! This post really came from my heart. I’ve been sensing for a while that I need to make some healthy changes, but I just knew that “trying to lose weight” was not going to be a step in the right direction. I’m still trying to feel out the “practicals” but one thing I am focusing on it making sure what I am eating is as natural and nutritious as possible.

    • Rachel says

      Thanks, Shannon! It is definitely taking courage, but I know it’s what is right for me right now. If I’m ever going to learn these “lifestyle” changes for longterm health, I know from past experience it won’t come through the mind games of dieting!!

  2. says

    What a great attitude and a different way to look at losing weight. This is one of the smartest posts I’ve seen regarding this subject, too! It makes a lot of sense.

    • Rachel says

      Hi Donna, thanks for your encouragement. Like I’ve said, it’s taking courage and creativity but I’m choosing to focus on the positive instead of the negative. I’d rather “fill up” on what’s good for me instead of eat a package of diet cookies and still be hungry. There are some diets out there focused on this type of concept (Eat to Live comes to mind) but there are still a lot of restrictions of even foods that are good for you, so I just decided to use some of the helpful concepts and do my own thing.

  3. says

    Awesome post. I have struggled with my attitude towards myself for so long — not liking myself enough because I don’t look like everyone on TV or in magazines. It has taken me years to be okay with the fact that I will never be a size 0 (or even out of the double digits!). I am hoping to lose some weight this year, but I don’t count calories — I just focus on eating whole foods and avoid processed stuff, and I am trying to get back into running. Thank you for inspiring me to continue to change how I think about myself and to look at my body in a more positive light. I can’t wait to follow your journey :)

    • Rachel says

      Be encouraged, Jessie!! You’re on the right track!! I’m glad that my post was helpful to you. It’s so nice to know others have felt the same way as we do. Isolation increases shame and it’s the WORST! A few years ago I finally adjusted to the fact that for me, being a size 12 is my “skinny” – and size 10 is my dream – I would say these sizes are even my “healthy” weight because my blood work is always in the healthy ranges for cholesterol and blood sugar at that size, which means I am staying out of the pre-diabetic range. Being only 5′ 1″ tall, size 12 is definitely bigger than our cultural standards, but what’s important is that I learn how to feel good about myself, make healthy choices for the right reasons and enjoy my body, even when I’m several sizes larger than my personal ideal. What’s interesting is that being pregnant actually helped shift my attitude about my body. Never before had I seen my stomach as “cute” — it was such a new feeling — and after the baby was born I thought it would be crazy to be negative towards my body just because a baby wasn’t inside. If I value his human life and baby chubbiness I decided to value my own!

  4. says

    Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times yes! You just summed up essentially my entire relationship with food, health and weight in one post. Seriously, thank you for this.

    • Rachel says

      Shell — I’m SO GLAD that my post resonated with you!! Here’s to changing our mindsets about our bodies and what goes into them!! Here’s to being brave and daring not to diet while learning how eat healthy and value ourselves!!

  5. says

    This is written so well, and honestly motivates me. I could stand to loose a few pounds, but when I focus on those pounds it depresses me — because I didn’t used to have to worry about my weight. That said, I would like to be healthier, and if I focused on that as my goal… pounds might be a side benefit instead of the objective.

    • Rachel says

      Jen — exactly!! I definitely hope to lose some weight as a result of making healthy changes but I’m refusing to focus on the weight because like you said it is so depressing and no one feels motivated to change when they’re depressed! Depression makes it feel impossible or like it will never change. Getting excited to learn new recipes or to find a physical activity that I can look forward to because it’s fun (and not worry about if I’m burning enough calories) are two things I am really looking forward to!!

      • Rachel says

        Annie — I’m glad the post inspired you :-) Nourishment is a good focus word that helps to summarize and condense my goals for the year. Thanks for pointing that out!

    • Rachel says

      Thanks, Trisha! I know, I just finally put together in my head all the things that I have learned are full of nutrients and couldn’t think of any diets that really included ALL of those things. Like I’ve mentioned, I do hope some of the weight does come off but it’s not what I am focusing on as my goal and I’m not going to stress if it doesn’t happen in the near future.

    • Rachel says

      Theresa, you are welcome! Glad I could put words out there for you to relate with. Doesn’t it feel good just to let yourself “off the hook”?!? Not so that you can eat “whatever you want” but so that you really can eat what’s good for you without worrying about whether it’s going to make you lose weight or not!

  6. says

    I am probably at my healthiest these past few years. People think there is a trick – an app – count SOMETHING. But I don’t count calories, because as an older teen the numbers and counting drove me to anorexia. So no apps, no fat grams, no tracking. It would make me insane. Instead I lift weights, run and walk, enjoy playing outside and eat LOTS is whole foods. And I am strong and healthy because of it. I think your plan will work in many ways.

    • Rachel says

      Erin! So glad to hear your success story!! I know, when I was a teen I lost a ton of weight on 1,000 calories a day and then when that slowed my metabolism down, I went down to 500 calories and then to just eating every other day. CRAZY! The worst part is when I got down to the weight I was finally satisfied with, I tried going back to “eating normal” it was a disaster. Thankfully I’ve learned and grown a lot since then and other diets have been more balanced, like you, still consumed my every thought. I love that you get to eat whole foods (delish!) and have lots of physical activities that you enjoy. What a great balance!

  7. says

    These are probably the best reasons I have ever heard for not trying to loose weight. I hope that it works well for you and by ‘not trying’ you will succeed.

  8. Melody says

    Loved this Rachel! Such beautiful insight into the journey of healthy living. I’ve had many of these thoughts myself and your articulated them so well. :-)

  9. Jessica @FoundtheMarbles says

    Good for you! I was feeling great and then earlier this week I got on the scale. The number was way higher than I had expected and have been down on myself ever since. Clearly that makes no sense. Bye Bye, scale!

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