While scanning the Medium.com daily digest the other day, this title jumped out at me: “What Is More Important Than Weight Loss?”
Now it could have gone either way… it could have been about how weight loss is the most important thing above all else and equate good health with weight loss (even though there’s plenty of good, solid research supporting Health at Every Size).
But this article, beautifully written by Emily Kate, actually brought tears to my eyes. It brought back memories of that dark, lonely place I existed for so many years, desperate to lose weight, and (delusionally) thinking if I did, the binge eating would stop as well.
I don’t know if my deeply ingrained diet mentality would have understood there are many things (most things!) more important than weight loss. What hit me right in the heart was a quote the author shared…
Those extra 5-10 pounds, that place where your body naturally wants to be – that’s your life. That’s your late night pizza with your man, that Sunday morning bottomless brunch, your favorite cupcake in the whole entire world because you wanted to treat yourself. Those 5-10 pounds are your favorite memories, your unforgettable trips, your celebrations of life.
Those extra 5-10 pounds are your spontaneity, your freedom, your love.
It’s worth noting the author is struggling with bulimia and actively working on recovery. I wonder how I would have reacted to the quote above when I was resisting the possibility of gaining weight in order to recover from binge eating disorder. Hopefully, it would have got me thinking about why a small amount of weight gain would be the end of the world for me.
If nothing else, it definitely would have given me a different way to think about that weight.
A List Worth Writing Down
The author goes on to create her own list of, “…things worth gaining weight for/things that are more important than weight loss…” While I definitely suggest you create your own list, it’s worth sharing a few of her gems. This was #1 on her list:
A steady, fulfilling social life. It’s not a secret that a lot of social scenes include food — dates, movie nights, brunches, even just getting coffee with a relative. If you’re constantly avoiding food, or jonesing for your next bulimic fix, you become isolated almost immediately.
This idea is really fundamental to eating:
Enjoying food, rather than just interacting with it.
Somehow the concept of eating as a pleasurable experience has been lost in our diet culture. You hear comments like, “Food is fuel. I must eat high-quality food to nourish my body so it runs like a well-oiled machine.” Oh yeah? Well, sometimes you just want a damn cookie… or two!
One more item on her list stood out for me, probably because I related strongly to it:
More ability and opportunity to help others through their struggles.
Even as I was recovering, I wanted nothing more than to help others caught in the diet-binge cycle. No one deserves to suffer like that. I would guess that about 80 percent of the professionals in this field that I personally know or that I follow have a background that includes an eating disorder or some level of disordered eating and/or body dissatisfaction. There’s a strong drive to reach out and help others when you can relate and empathize with them.
I encourage you to read Emily Kate’s entire article as well as others she has posted on Medium. You may not always relate to what she’s writing about if your experience hasn’t included bulimia. But I’m sure much of it will get you thinking or inspire you to keep moving forward.
I want to know what’s on your list! What’s more important than weight loss and/or worth gaining weight for in your world? Please share in the comments!
Beautifully written and expressed, Gillian. This one is timely for me and will help me to reframe my goals, both short and long-term.
Connie Ragen Green