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Weight Loss and Self-Love

Alexandra Williams, MA
picture of woman scared of scale

Noooo. I’ll never be Perfect.

Women, why are we so hard on ourselves? Why will we always look good “as soon as…?” And we all the know the joke about how men who are 30 pounds overweight look in the mirror and see a good-looking guy, while women who have 5 extra pounds see themselves as 30 pounds over! Except it’s not really a joke.

Valentine’s Day just passed, and I am glad to see it go. Not for myself, but for those who feel sad. Sometimes it’s from being single; though it can also come from being lonely in a relationship. But I think it’s most sad when it’s a case of feeling unlovable, which is totally different from unloved. In high school I thought I was ugly (I wasn’t – see that pic of me? Nothing to run from), which to me equalled unlovable. My high school experience was so unpleasant that I found a way to graduate a year early. I feel so lucky and grateful to have found confidence in my mid-20s.

Now here we are, many years past high school, and many of us are so self-denigrating about those extra pounds we’ve put on since high school that we don’t even know it. It’s habit. Automatic. “I’d be happy if I just lost 20 pounds.” “I’d love to date, but who’d want me at this weight?” I’ve been paying attention to my habitual thoughts about my weight as I lose the few pounds I gained over the holidays, and mine are definitely tied into looks and self-acceptance.

pic of Kymberly & Alexandra from the 1970s

Kymberly is smiling. Alexandra not so much. Too bad. We obviously had admirers!

Those of us who are moms are so good about showing our kids unconditional love, yet we let them see us denigrate ourselves. Worse, they see us defining ourselves by external, non-achievable goals and measures.

Time to rethink and reframe, dear Boom-Chicka-Boomers. We need to separate health from aesthetics. I’ll use myself as an example. Do my extra 5-10 extra pounds (I picked this number, not the government charts, which means the numbers are flawed from the start) affect my health? Truly, not in the least. I have no trouble going uphill or exercising or doing anything, except for playing soccer, which is due to a reconstructed knee, not an inability to have running stamina. And all my health and medical tests say that I’m secretly in the body of a 29-year-old (insert joke here!!). Which leaves aesthetics. Beauty. Looks. Which is a slippery ideal, as the definition changes from culture to culture, and person to person.

Am I saying we should give up on looking our best? Not at all. I’m totally vain and wouldn’t dream of going in public without at least lipstick! I’m saying:

A. Health is measurable. We can know if we’ve achieved it. Beauty is not measurable. The beholder really does have all the power.
B. We need to love ourselves for the things we accomplish that matter. We need to recognize the limits we place on loving ourselves, ESPECIALLY when those limits are based on ever-shifting criteria.

Picture yourself 20 years ago. Don’t you wish you looked like that now? But back then you were too busy unloving yourself to appreciate what you had. Picture yourself now. Flaw, flaw, flaw, comparison, comparison, disapproval, disappointment. Picture yourself 20 years from now, wishing you looked like you do now. Why wait 20 years to know how great you looked in 2014?

pic of Alexandra at Last Book Store in L.A.

Dear Myself in 2034 – You Sure Looked Great in 2014

Just so you know – when you exercise and eat well for health reasons, you gain confidence. When you gain confidence, you look happier. When you look happy, people are attracted to you. Ka-Ching. Definition of “attractive.” Along the way, the weight will fall off. But I know that when I’m 75 and still teaching group fitness, I’ll feel good about myself. And people will be attracted to me. Good health includes self-love. Health leads to Beauty. Beauty doesn’t necessarily lead to Health.

Watch this video and watch how happy this talented woman is at dancing. How can you not help but love her? And her wild abandon! YouTube Preview Image

 

 

While you’re at it, view this video of four “regular” women who got the looks of their dreams. Did it make them happy?

I’ll probably never care for the artificially created Valentine’s holiday. And l’ll still lose those last few pounds. With friends to support me. I am one of those friends.

Photo credits: Woman on Scale: Chelsea3883

Want to love us as much as we love ourselves? Here ya go:

1) Follow us on Google +Alexandra and +Kymberly, on Twitter:  AlexandraFunFit and KymberlyFunFit and Instagram: KymberlyFunFit and AlexandraFunFit.

2) Pick up the phone or email us to book us to speak at your next meeting or conference. Call (805) 403-4338 or email info@funandfit.org.

 

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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22 Responses to Weight Loss and Self-Love

  1. Bharat February 17, 2014 at 3:10 am #

    So true, If you really love yourself then you should focus on your own health than any other thing. Eat well and do regular exercise, you’ll certainly remain fit, active, and beautiful.

  2. Tamara February 17, 2014 at 9:31 am #

    I love this post and have shared it so that all my other beautiful, smart, talented and fit friends can see themselves the way others truly see them (I needed this today too…)
    Tamara recently posted..Health benefits of chocolate | a potential remedy for peri-menopause too?My Profile

  3. Cathy Chester February 17, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    I can’t tell you how many ways I love this post. I think it’s because you are me and I am you. Wearing glasses since I was eight I was also that girl. Being besties with identical twins with blonde hair and turned up noses who the boys fell all over (but they didn’t care; they are still my besties) was tough, at best.

    You are funny yet honest, and I love how you came to the same conclusion I did. We have to love ourselves first and foremost.

    Not always easy, but so worth it.

    I do need you around to get me to exercise. That is something I am simply awful about. I know someday I’ll pay the price. Visiting my dad at rehab yesterday showed me what lack of exercise does. He was telling my son to start now…
    Cathy Chester recently posted..What Was Your Self-Image In Grade School? A Baby Boomer’s Tale Of Changing How We View OurselvesMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit February 17, 2014 at 10:56 am #

      Thanks Cathy. I’m physically like my Dad, and he uses a walker. All of his issues are self-induced, and related to his lack of movement. On one hand, it’s easy, because I know I’m genetically created to be healthy as long as I exercise and eat well for the rest of my life. On the other hand, it’s hard for the exact same reasons.
      Until the day you can come out west, or we can come to you, I recommend choosing friends who move. Go on slow, short walks with them within the parameters of your MS. A colleague of ours was diagnoses 20 years ago with MS, and she discovered that her symptoms decreased when she stuck to moving. Now in her 50s, she’s still teaching.
      As to those gorgeous twin besties, they were probably envious of your curls.
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..Lose Weight! Gain Friends!My Profile

  4. Laura Pauli February 17, 2014 at 11:37 am #

    Soooooo true!!! Love this thanks!

  5. Jody - Fit at 56 February 17, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

    LOVE LOVE this post! It really is so friggin true! I look back on pictures when I know I thought I was ugly & I really was not… I do admit that I still dislike the pics when I was heavy before I lost weight. I also had a hard time in school… I had friends but I was also teased by others for being heavy when I was heavy & Jewish when there were not any Jews around me.. it really set the stage for how I felt about myself for life… even after weight loss, I still saw the sane person in the mirror for so many years.. which lead me to not believe in myself which lead to wrong choices work wise .. which lead to well.. now.. it is a hard battle to overcome even now. I see many people write about how just do it or make it sound easy but with years of baggage, it really is tough & especially when you have had some very bad experiences along the way. Not saying there was not good.. but often the good is a facade in your mind cause you still feel bad about yourself under all that.

    I think it is way harder to overcome than some make it depending on the circumstances.. but I know it can be done…

    I do love the focus now on health vs. looks BUT I wish the media would embrace it more cause kids watch, listen, hear… there is still a battle out there for them for the most part… although changing little by little…
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Gratitude Monday & ThanksMy Profile

  6. donna February 17, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    So many of the words here resonated with me. The past 12 months or so I have really been trying to work on getting healthy as opposed to losing weight. As one who has about 60 pounds to lose, this is hard. Many times in a day I find myself talking the negative self-talk. BUT, I can see progress in that I recognize the thoughts and do my darndest to replace them with a POSITIVE spin. I don’t know if I will ever be at the point where this negative self-talk and unrealistic expectations ever fully “go away”. I wish we had these kind of positive resources back in the 80’s when most of my friends were throwing up their meals and I felt as big as a house wearing a size 10.
    Great post!
    donna recently posted..It’s Not Always About the FoodMy Profile

    • AlexandraFunFit February 17, 2014 at 8:21 pm #

      If you are to the point where you can recognize the self-talk and consciously replace it with self-supportive encouragement, you’re halfway there Donna. So sad that throwing up meals is somehow associated with beauty. How did that come to pass?
      AlexandraFunFit recently posted..How Do I Kick Back Pain from Kickboxing?My Profile

  7. Sharon Greenthal February 17, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    As much as I’d like to look like I did in college (when of course I was so dissatisfied with my body), I’m content with how I look now. I have said many times to many people when they complain about how they look at midlife “you’ll look back in 25 years and miss what you look like today.” I refuse to waste anymore time wishing I looked different!
    Sharon Greenthal recently posted..Chase Away Your Blues with a WinterventionMy Profile

  8. Kathia February 18, 2014 at 2:59 am #

    Wowza!! Love this post! I really hit home for me and to top it off you have that JD that I loveeee!! I am so glad that I found this on the blog tribe. The title was perfect and caught my attention. I will certainly subscribe to continue coming here for inspiration and laughs!

  9. Walker Thornton February 18, 2014 at 4:30 am #

    My mother commented on and criticized my looks all my life–my sway-backedness, the way I walked, not wearing enough makeup, etc… It’s been a hard thing to get past! So while I’m comfortable most of the time, I dislike 95% of the photos of me. Now I’m heavier than I want to be and that makes me self-conscious!
    Walker Thornton recently posted..Looking for a Relationship When You’re Over 60My Profile

  10. GiGi Eats Celebrities February 18, 2014 at 9:39 pm #

    “when you exercise and eat well for health reasons, you gain confidence. When you gain confidence, you look happier. When you look happy, people are attracted to you.”

    KACHING IS RIGHT!!!!!!!! You’re so smart and so right!!!!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..Quiz: What Food-borne Illness Are You?My Profile

  11. Justin February 20, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    great read Alexandra….We can all be beautiful on the inside and even more on the outside if we eat healthy, exercise regularly. It’s not enough to feel inspired to get started, you have to make a long term commitment for change to take effect. Only then will you gain confidence and feel happy about your health and body. I’ve been working out for over 10 years now and it saddens me to see how the gyms are always packed in January and in February it all dies down. Don’t be one of those people that quit because they don’t see positive results after 4 weeks. stick to your workout for 4-6 months and you’ll be dancing all the way to the gym! Good luck!
    Justin recently posted..What Exercises Burn the Most Fat In Less Time?My Profile

  12. Evelyn February 21, 2014 at 8:59 am #

    I love this post and will add it to my series post. Sorry so late in checking out your article, but I am so glad I did. It really makes me feel good. I’m trying to drop a few pounds and reading this article at this time was right on time.

    I especially love the video, it made me smile because she is having fun and dancing her butt off, not caring about anything else.

    Have a great weekend!

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