For so many of us weighing less not only becomes a goal we strive for. It also becomes intertwined with all sorts of things. Our self-worth. (“I am only worthy if I lose weight. I’m terrible, unlikeable, unloveable, _______ if I don’t lose anything, or worse, if I gain and gain.”) Our lives. We assume it gives us meaning. Fulfillment. And we pursue weight loss with the same passion, perseverance and all-in attitude that we might devote to something else. Like a relationship. Like writing. Like learning another craft.
In a recent blog post Rachel Cole talks about the signs that someone is done with dieting. One sign, she mentions, is the realization that weighing less simply isn’t worth it.
Margarita Tartakovsky is an associate editor at PsychCentral.com, an award-winning mental health website, and the voice behind Weightless, a blog that helps women deal with body image issues and disordered eating. She also writes a monthly feature for Beliefnet.com, covering topics such as patience and procrastination.
Editor: Nadeem Noor
She writes, “As we live, we learn. It can take a while but eventually, if we’re lucky, where we find meaning and fulfillment becomes clear and it turns out that’s it’s never found in how we look or what we weigh or how “perfect” of an eater we are. Meaning is found in relationships, in creative expression, in service, in play, in nature, in enjoying our bodies, and in loving one another. It’s not found in a pants size.”
If you could take weight out of the equation—out of your laser-like focus—where else could you find fulfillment? Or meaning? What other areas in your life can you channel that passion, perseverance and zeal? Where else can you channel your heart?
Because, after all, our time, energy and attention are finite resources. They easily get depleted. And there are only so many hours in the day. So when you pause and really think about it, maybe you want to re-evaluate the emphasis you’re putting on your weight (and maybe other things, too).
Maybe you want to focus your time, energy and attention on what really matters to you. Healing your heart. Building a beautiful relationship with your spouse. With yourself. Finding things that inspire and enchant you. Cultivating your gratitude. Playing more and channeling your inner child.
Shifting your focus can happen one different activity, one tiny step at a time. Maybe instead of weighing yourself every morning, you jot down one thing you’re grateful for. Or you listen to a self-compassionate meditation. Maybe you schedule a fun date with your partner. Maybe you take yourself out on an artist date for a few hours. Maybe you read a body positive book (instead of a diet book). Maybe instead of forcing yourself to go to the gym and burn X number of calories, you ride your bike, because it’s a great day, and it’s one of your favorite activities.
We can find meaning and fulfillment in so many fascinating, rewarding, exciting, playful, powerful things. Maybe it’s time to take a break from hyper-focusing on weight, and explore them.