I posted on Facebook and Twitter this week that I would like to invite some people to join me in a research project. Specifically, I stated that I am going to research dieting and why we do it. Of course the initial answer would be “to lose weight, duh!”, but I’m looking for more than that. Really, I should say, “Why do we want to lose weight?” That begs a different answer altogether.
I have spent most of my life working at losing or not gaining weight. Most people who know me will tell you that other than when I’ve had my kids and a year or so surrounding that, I’ve pretty much stayed the same size. I gain a pound here and lose a pound there, but mostly I stay the same. This is by design, not by accident.
For me, up until around two years ago, being a certain weight has been an obsession and an attempt at perfection. When I was a teenager, I wanted to look like someone else, not like me. There are many reasons for this, but the strongest reason was because I didn’t think I was attractive. Somewhere in my youth I heard that in order to have the perfect body your proportions had to be just right. The numbers in my head right now are 36″, 26″, and 36″. Those measurements are breast, waist, and hips respectively. I think my hips were bigger than 36″ from the time I was 11 or 12, so what was I supposed to do with that? I didn’t realize then that those numbers were not meant for every woman and not even attainable for some. Something else I remember was a chart that said my optimal weight was 120 lb. So, that is something else I tried to achieve for most of my adult life. I’m sad to admit I went way below that a few times in pursuit of my picture of perfection. It turned out that I was really pursuing looking like a skeleton, but I couldn’t see that.
For many people, but I think women especially, self-image has a lot to do with the reason they want to lose weight. I know it was for me. I thought if I looked better, people would love me more. I thought if I weighed less I would somehow be more attractive and accepted by my peers. I thought that what was on the outside was so much more important than who I was on the inside. I was wrong. About all of it.
I am starting a project and I would like as many people to join me as possible. I want to find out why we want to lose weight, why it’s so important to us to fit into a size 6 (I don’t know what that “perfect” size is for men), and what we can do to lose weight for the right reasons if we need to lose weight at all.
If you have chased diet after diet, weight loss program after weight loss program and still struggle with your weight or your perception of your weight, please get in touch with me. Let’s figure this out together and see if we can’t bring about a change in our perceptions and if necessary our bodies.
You can contact me by leaving a comment, emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connecting with me on Facebook or Twitter.