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I am often asked “What you gonna do when you lose all your weight? You’ll have to change the name of your blog?” because weight loss of course is the ultimate goal right?

No wrong!!

I used to think that way though, seriously I used to believe that life would be so much easier if I could just lose my excess weight. I would be happier, more succesful in my career, and generally more fulfilled…that’s when life would really start I used to tell myself.

But that view kept be in a weird kind of weight loss limbo where I was existing rather than living, where I judged my progress in life by what the scales told me or whether I was being good or not this week, and that attitude was sucking the fun out of life.

I bet there are still lots of people who read this blog that think I should just stick to a healthy diet for a few months, ramp up my training and just commit to reaching a normal weight, and then people would be truly inspired by what I have achieved.

I don’t buy into that.

You see, we often believe that weight loss in itself should be celebrated, regardless of how we got there and more importantly how likely we are to stay there. That is the basic marketing premise of the whole diet industry that has got us in this mess in the first place. How often do you hear people who barely know you say “wow, you have lost so much weight, you look great” yet they keep their thoughts to themselves next time they see you when you have put some of that weight back on…but are probably thinking “Wow, she’s let herself go again”

We are basically conditioned by the mainstream media to think this way. Television shows like The Biggest Loser, Supersize vs Superskinny and a Year to Save my Life have a lot to answer for, and now the internet is full of copycat sites dedicated to women showing how they have transformed their bodies…some real, but many fake and selling some kind of weight loss solution.

Now I have nothing against the women who post these picture, because rightly so they are proud of what they have personally achieved and I must admit when I was at my largest seeing women who had lost significant amounts of weight did inspire me, but more than that it gave me faith that it was possible, even for me. When I was at my largest I felt trapped by my body, I didn’t feel like it belonged to me and feared my health would only get worse if I didn’t make serious change to my lifestyle. Those pictures gave me hope.

I never took a before photo though all those years ago, I guess because there wasn’t really an actual beginning point… instead I had a series of start point and start again points and never really believed that much would change. There are very few photos of me at my largest, as I became really good at the head and shoulder selfie and standing behind people in groups, a series of beach photos of me in Crete in 2006 are probably the closest I have to a reminder, oh and this photo of me at the start of a boot camp a few weeks later.

run fatty tun

I am of course slimmer than that now, but that is beside the point.

My story is not about what I have lost it is instead about what I have gained and I guess that is why I have mixed feelings about the rise in transformational pictures on social media, because in essence they are simply supporting the mainstream view we are trying to fight against…a world where we are judged by what we look like and where health assessments are made in pretty much the same way.

I have seen picture of women who have lost significant amounts of weight via quite dodgy methods, having not made any inroads to changing their mindset or integrating healthier choices into their lives, yet they have hundreds of messages of support, and probably loads of women wishing it was as easy for them.

Health is never a linear journey, we have peaks and troughs, sometimes we come full circle, sometimes we nose dive reaching rock bottom before we can reemerge, sometimes we can influence our health status and sometimes we have to accept that there are limits to what we can do given our personal circumstances…that is just the reality of the situation…and even now I know there are Personal Trainers reading this and thinking “cobblers…you are just lazy and don’t want to commit”

Over 60% of the UK are classed as overweight or obese, inactivity is responsible for 1 in 6 deaths but equally as worrying is the fact that only 3% of women in the UK are totally happy with their bodies…that is ABSOLUTELY CRAZY…even the slim people are bloody unhappy with their bodies…don’t you get it? slimness shouldn’t be the goal…happiness should be regardless of what size you are. I argue that being unhappy is THE most unhealthiest way to be.

What do we do when we are unhappy?

  • We make bad food choices
  • We don’t want to go out much
  • We stick our head in the sand
  • We chose not to socialize
  • Or we self medicate with drink, drugs and often food

And of course the last thing we want to do when we are unhappy is exercise, because often that just feels like an extra dose of punishment when we are already in pain. Yet it is that regular exercise that will eventually lift us out of that unhappy state.

So next time you look at one of those “you could look like me” images, think about that persons journey, think about how happy they are now, how free they are from their past demons and what the true picture of health looks like for them…also accept that they are not you, because you are great just as you are.

We seriously need to accept our bodies and love them for what they do for us, we can’t spend half of our lives hating them the way we do…its no wonder we abuse them…there is no such thing as a perfect body…even if you work your arse off for one.

Remember you are on your own journey and transformation may look and feel completely different for you, and so it should.

What do you think guys, are transformation pictures helpful or unhelpful?

  1. November 26, 2014

    Ideally we’d realise that happiness is the goal not weight loss and the latter doesn’t bring about the former. I have been lighter in my adult life than I am now (maybe half a stone) but considerably heavier (by maybe three and a half stone). I was no happier when lighter and no sadder (or more obsessed by my weight) when heavier. The irony is I’m still chasing that seven pounds despite knowing it won’t make me happier. No one who chases perfection achieves it – it’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. By stopping defining our bodies against some unrealistic, unattainable and frankly if we thought about it, undesirable goals (do you know what kind of restrictive lives fitness models and celebrities lead to stay looking that way?) we would open ourselves to celebrating what we have. Why not aspire to be strong, not thin, powerful, not hungry, soft and warm instead of hard and angular? I Invite you all to celebrate what you have and change the markers by which you define perfection. Aspire to be fit, healthy and happy. Everyone can achieve that without pills, self-loathing, shame, or celery sticks!

  2. November 25, 2014

    I am wildly in love with your message & this post is my favorite yet. After a lifetime of hating and abusing my body, I have learned to listen to it & treat it with respect. I’m still overweight and maybe I always will be, but I’m healthy and strong and just ran my fastest 5K yet. Thank you for your transparency and kindness.

  3. November 25, 2014

    I am heavier now than I used to be as although I was slim I was very unhealthy and unfit! So now I exercise, I run at least 3-4 times a week and go to 2 classes and the gym when I can. I have gained maybe a stone (not weighed in months) but that gain is muscle as I have toned up a lot. Now I run 10k races (1st 1/2 marathon in march!) and I can lift more than a lot of the men at the gym 🙂
    I am now happy with how I look and feel and have no interest in what I weigh.

  4. November 25, 2014

    My story is similar to Jayne’s above. I’ve lost about 60 pounds about 10 years ago now and am about a size 18 and people will say to me “when are you going to finish this?” I, too average about a 1 pound weight loss per month. (my doctor is the one who noticed this at the last physical) I’m a peri-menopausal woman who is on NO heart meds; no blood pressure, no cholesterol meds, NOTHING. When my dad was my age, he had double bypass heart surgery. Do I want to lose more weight? Sure I do. But my focus is on health! And I think I’m pretty darn successful so far!

  5. November 25, 2014

    I COMPLETELY agree. I lost a lot of weight about 8 years ago going from a size 26 to a size 18. But, I have kept it off by stopping dieting, concentrating on eating what I want, when I am hungry, and doing weight training, aqua, pilates and now trying to start running. I am the fittest and the strongest I have ever been. I am also the happiest. I no longer stress about food and because I have stopped dieting I have stopped the diet/binge/guilt cycle. I buy clothes that fit me NOW. I .love the gym, I walk miles with my dogs – not for weight loss, but because I LOVE how it makes me feel. I am rarely ill. But…I am still overweight. My weight is slowly dropping – I average about 2 pounds a month, (when I can be bothered to get weighed and find out) I concentrate now on what my body can DO and that makes me a lot happier than anything the scales can tell me.

    • November 25, 2014

      It is so nice to hear a proper success story Jayne, I am really pleased you have found what sounds to be like balance and true happiness xx

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