I sometimes struggle with whether, when, and how I should mention bodyweight changes on this blog.
I have been very grateful for online support in my healthy habits practice. Some of my favorite groups have a lot in common. They recommend focusing on:
- the process of creating healthy habits, as opposed to the outcome
- loving your body as it is, now
- finding a form of movement you enjoy doing consistently
- learning to pay attention to your hunger and satiety signals, and recognizing factors that might prevent you from doing this
- getting enough rest
- taking care of mental and emotional health
- getting treatment for any medical conditions you may have
- setting healthy boundaries
- cultivating patience and long term, sustainable habits that fit into your life
But when it comes to the question of “should we discuss bodyweight / weight loss?” , there is definitely a difference of opinion. Of course there are shades of gray in everything, but I’ve noticed that the support groups I love tend to fall into one of two camps: the “HAES/no weight loss talk allowed” camp, and the “discussion about habits that encourage weight loss is allowed and encouraged” camp.
Since I learn from and benefit from groups in both of these camps, I sometimes struggle with “what direction do I take for this blog?”
When I started this blog in July, my opinion was “I don’t want to discuss body weight in anything other than vague terms.” Such as, “when I was a child I was forced to diet. Then I engaged in restrictive diets that did a number on my health. When I started taking better care of my health, my weight went back up. But I felt better. And then I learned about research that shows that habits have more of an effect on health outcomes than bodyweight does. So I felt free to focus on other aspects of my life for the first time ever. And life got amazing.” No numbers, no specifics.
However, I’ve been working on adding new habits to my life for the past 14 months, and about 3 months ago I started losing weight. Even though I am aware of the research that shows that 95 percent of people who lose weight gain it back by the 5 year mark, I am okay with this weight loss, because it is coming without any restriction whatsoever. All the habits I am working on are habits that would result in improved health for me even if they didn’t result in a single pound lost. And so I struggle with the question “how much do I want to talk about what happens with my weight on this blog?”
The answer is “I don’t know.” I see pros and cons to talking about what is happening with my weight.
The biggest “pro” is that it will give my readers a more complete picture of some of the effects of practicing certain habits. On the other hand, I have several big reservations.
One reservation I have about talking about what is happening with my weight is that people in our culture tend to take that information out of context. If I start talking about this, I worry that some people are going to try doing exactly what I do, or avoiding what I do, trying to create a specific result. I am not a scientific study; I am one person, and the combination of habits that produces a certain result in ME produces said result in me BECAUSE I am me. Because of my habits, genetics, environment, history, emotional temperament, personality, responsibilities, and more. I am me and I am unique. Everyone else has their own unique combination of habits, genetics, environment, history, emotional temperament, personality, responsibilities, and more. And I am afraid that if I start talking about what is happening with my weight, people will put too much stock in trying to follow my personal process instead of figuring out what makes sense for them, and then get discouraged when it doesn’t produce the same result in them as it does for me.
I also worry that if I start talking about what is happening with my weight, assholes on the internet will point out that if one person gets a certain result, everyone should be able to and expected to. I don’t believe that everyone will get the same results if they do the same things (see preceding paragraph). And I don’t believe they should be expected to. And I don’t believe that people should treat other people poorly, even if they don’t agree with their life choices. I strongly believe we should treat others with respect, even if we don’t agree with their life choices. (If you need help with this, check out this post.)
I also fear that if I start talking about what is happening with my weight, I’ll be feeding into the culture that believes that smaller bodies are more worthy of respect than larger bodies, and I don’t believe that at all and I don’t want to do that. I fear that I will be feeding into the good fatty / bad fatty dichotomy. I believe all people are worthy of respect, regardless of their body size and how they choose to prioritize healthy behaviors in their lives.
I also fear that if I start talking about what is happening with my weight, people will start praising me (because that is what we seem to do in our culture when someone’s weight goes down, without even stopping to consider whether it is a positive thing or not). And that if one day my weight starts going in the other direction, people will feel disappointed in me or even disgust towards me (and based on all the research out there, there is a MUCH higher probability that it will than that it won’t). I worry about how I might feel when that happens. How it may feel how it did when I was growing up and felt the weight of expectations and fear about my body size.
I also fear that if I start talking about what is happening with my weight, that is ALL people are going to ask me about, and I’m kinda enjoying a life where I focus on habits and health rather than body weight. I dread the thought of going back to a place where people talk about weight all. the. time.
All of that said, the primary purpose of this blog is for me to write about my own experience. And lately, part of my experience has included internal conversations about what is happening with my weight, and how it is happening, and what it means for me in the context of a body-positive habits practice and not a diet / disordered eating patterns practice. And I don’t want to stifle that portion of my internal monologue for the sake of some of my readers, as I would do to comply with the rules in a group that doesn’t allow that kind of talk. Of course, I will continue to comply with the rules set forth in the groups from which I find support and learning opportunities. But in my own space (this blog), I may start including some talk about these internal conversations. As I have said, I have many reservations about doing that. But I also have reservations about intentionally omitting my thoughts on an entire outcome of my practice.
So, you might start to see occasional mentions of what is happening with my bodyweight. I will mention it in a morally neutral way, much like I discuss medical treatments or other self awareness things I am experiencing, or other symptoms and improvements I notice. It probably won’t happen very often, because I don’t own a scale and I don’t plan to get one. But I do weigh myself if I find myself in a doctors office (either for myself or my kid) or if I go to get blood work done and there is a scale available, so I get a data point roughly every couple months. And I can feel what is going on with my clothes, of course.
I know that some people may unfollow this blog as a result of this experiment, but I’ve decided that this blog is mine and they are free to do that.
Thanks for reading! I’ve been struggling with this question for a while, and finally I realized that I am just going to put all these thoughts out there honestly and try what I have been thinking of trying….and see how it feels. Just like I do with every other habit where I test the waters. Self awareness is key.