I Refuse to Super-Small My Body

Starting is easy, but stopping is hard without a vision.

When I told someone about my weight loss accomplishments recently, I was asked when I thought I’d stop pursuing weight loss. In other words, do I have an ideal weight in mind? What do I think my body should look like?

My original weight loss goal three years ago was to get to 150 lbs., which is on the cusp of normal weight for my height, according to BMI charts. But after having seen where my body is going with the weight loss I’ve experienced so far, and after having read reports that say the official BMI parameters don’t necessarily take into consideration the body composition realities for everyone, I’ve changed that magic number to 165 lbs. Why? I’m thinking that I will look like the best me at that point (which is currently about 15 lbs. away). Thinner, sleeker, and more toned, but not devoid of curves. I guesstimate I’d be well-ensconced into a size 10 at that point, which sounds appropriate for me–I can’t fathom myself as a single-digit sizer. Not that there’s anything wrong with that size; I just don’t think a weight in that range would fit me aesthetically. (Fortunately for me, I don’t need to take my vital statistics into consideration for my final weight number, as my stats are in a healthy, normal range. Losing more weight at this point and having the numbers go down more would be icing on the cake, in that regard.)

When I was asked the question, there was a little concern simmering underneath that I’d shoot for something arbitrarily–making my standard based on society’s standards, without regard for the actual reality of my look and my body’s needs. This was coming from someone who understands my bent toward perfectionism in certain areas of my life, and my history of shaping my life to others’ rules for approval. Contrary to that concern, this has been something that’s been at the back of my mind for a while. It’s felt like the part of the movie “Forrest Gump” when Forrest was running across the country for no particular reason and, after having amassed a large throng of acolytes (and a critical mass of facial hair), he stopped abruptly, for no particular reason then, either. For me, weight loss has felt like “I’ll know I’ve arrived when I get there.”

Now, as I’ve said, I’ve realized lately that though my body is in the home stretch, my mind isn’t, in many ways. I am still wrapping my head around how I look now, compared to at 227 lbs. That’s something I want to shut down at all costs. I want to boost my awareness of now taking up less space on the planet. To see myself the way strangers see me, not through the filter that’s been entrenched in my mind for so long.

Long story short, I lived for many years in a super-sized body, because I was protecting myself from my fears, giving myself a comfortable, padded isolation chamber. Now, I refuse to “super-small” myself as I step more prominently into my own life and determine how it should look, how it should be. If you are reading this column and are either at the beginning or near the end of your weight loss journey, I would encourage you to similarly determine what body size works best for you, health-wise and aesthetically–based on standards that you’ve created. And to be flexible on that number, as you observe where your health statistics go and where the weight is whittled away from your body. The decision should be yours, for reasons that make sense to you.

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