Saturday, April 20, 2013

Less isn't More

Something odd has been happening to me lately (besides the awful events going on in Boston- can I get a "thankgodthisweekisover" cheer from anyone?).

I have been losing weight. Without trying. That goal weight I have kept in the back of my head for years that I thought once I reached my life would be magically "better" and "happier" has been achieved.

And you know what? It doesn't make any difference.

I spoke in my post before I ran my half marathon about how training for that race brought me to terms with my body and what it can accomplish. How health is so much more about balance, living healthy and challanging yourself than a silly, arbitrary number that determines if you feel good about yourself or not and does not show your health or worth as a person.

Well, my thoughts on this have been even further reinforced.

Since the half I have kept up with my running, but I have dropped my weekly mileage greatly, and instead of going on long weekend runs, I do anywhere from 3-6 miles a few times a week while still using Saturday or Sunday as my "longer" run days. I have been feeling great. I also have continued tracking my food and nutrients like I did before my half on www.sparkpeople.com, because it is a good way to make sure I am eating balanced and helps me plan my meals. While my calorie needs have decreased, I definitely am still eating plenty and include lots of sugar in my diet! I also went to Spain, and while I ran three times there, I also walked constantly and enjoyed the delicious foods.

When I came back from Spain, I was 3 pounds lighter than when I had run the half marathon. This shocked me because even though we had walked a lot, I had definitely enjoyed the tappas, sangria and chocolate and churros whilst traveling. I figured my weight would level back out once I got back into my normal routine. Then, unexpectedly, this weight has not only continued to stay off, but I have also in the 2 weeks since I have been home dropped another 2 pounds.

Besides thinking I might be dying or have some sort of crazy illness causing this change (I have never dropped weight like this without trying), it has been more eye-opening than anything else. I don't look different and I don't feel different, so why on earth would I think that this was something that would change my life when I thought this would be my "ideal weight?"

As women especially, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to look or be a certain way, not only to make ourselves feel good or to look good for other people, but because we honestly believe that if we are our absolute BEST selves (which often has to due with us being at the lowest weight as possible), that will somehow change our life.

But you know what I think? I think we should change our lives by doing things that bring us fulfillment in other ways- running a race for charity, donating blood, being passionate about a job, finding a hobby that brings us joy, helping a friend in need or volunteering to help others.

Weight is selfish. It only benefits yourself (unless you are overweight and then losing weight is preferable for health). If you look around at the world, or on the TV like last night, THAT is what really matters and what really makes a difference. People helping other people. People uniting to make this world a safer place. People supporting one another and working together for a great cause. That is what makes a happier and better life.

These last 5 pounds? They might be gone for now, but I know better. I know that they don't make a difference in my life in terms of how I feel OR how I look. I know that they won't be gone forever (because I honestly do not know what is up with my metabolism right now). Instead, truthfully, I want my clothes to fit me again instead of hanging off of me, and I want to enjoy nights out on the town eating good food and drinking good wine with great friends knowing I am able to get up and run the next morning for miles and miles and miles because my body is strong enough to take me that far.

That is happiness. You should live for your ideal life. Not for your ideal weight.
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