Monday, August 15, 2011

Radical self-acceptance

Walking around at the triathlon yesterday was like walking into a 3D vision board. This is what I want for myself, I kept thinking.  There were all kinds of different bodies, of course, but I wanted the kind of body that could finish an Olympic-distance triathlon (1500m swim, 25 mile bike, 10K run) and feel tired and happy but not completely whipped afterward.  The last sprint I did was hard, and there is no denying that the excess baggage I am carrying was a big part of the problem. Yes, there were a few people who sent me "you don't belong" messages, but the one that bothered me most was myself -- I didn't feel like I belonged.  I want to feel like I do.  I can work on the head stuff, dealing with shame, thinking loving thoughts, but I also need to gently work toward a more comfortable weight.  I was thinking that if I got down to 150-155 again, I could be an amazing Athena triathlete and probably win awards.  Those categories, Athena and Clydesdale, were originally created to help people like me who even when they are fit and healthy tend to carry a lot more body mass than other athletes.

I have resisted really admitting to myself that I really, truly, want to change.  I kept feeling on some level that self-acceptance meant that I couldn't admit that there was anything I wanted to change about the way I am now.  But hiding from cameras because you don't want to see what you look like in the pictures is not self-acceptance. That's denial.

Every weight-loss book worth its salt asks you to write out the reasons you really want to change and I have been resisting that like crazy. I have written some half-hearted attempts, but here is the real deal?

Why do I want to lose weight?
  • I want to feel streamlined and sleek. I want to be carrying the exact amount of weight around that I need to accomplish my goals, no more, no less.  That might not look like someone else's idea of fitness, but I want to look like MY idea of fitness.
  • I want to be up for a challenge.  I want to feel ready to go if someone suggests an adventure.
  • I want to be able to do an Olympic-distance triathlon and finish strong. (First stop is the sprint, but this is my long-range goal).
  • I want to get dressed quickly and feel like I look great instead of rooting through my closet for something that will hide all my flaws.
  • I want my husband to feel like he has a partner who will help him live a healthy lifestyle.
  • I want to feel great no matter what I'm wearing (or not wearing).
  • I want to feel like smiling when someone points a camera at me.
  • I want to be fit and healthy into my 70s and beyond like those awesome triathletes I saw picking up their awards yesterday.
  • I want to be happy to be me.  
  • I want to be truthful with myself and take care of myself.

Time to get to work. Tomorrow I will write more about what I plan to do about all this.


  1. Great post! Did you make copies of it and hang it all over your house? Are you carrying a copy of it in your pocket to reflect on during your day? Focus on what you want and make it your reality!

  2. Oh Jen I am with you on every word of this post. Your reasons why are great :)

  3. Great list and I'm so happy to hear you're making a plan.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07