This morning I weighed myself for the first time in two months and I was 5 pounds lighter since I started running. Excited, I told one sister that I lost five pounds without trying and the younger one’s eyes lit up and she asked me how. My reply was a little boring for her taste–“Start running and eat your vegetables”–but that much eagerness to lose weight in a girl barely in her double digits saddened me. This is a letter to a younger me, a little sister, or anyone who needs to read it.
Losing weight is not all it is cracked up to be. I promise, and I can because I did it once. I wanted to be pretty and confident and popular and all I got was frustration and lots of tears. I cried because I ate too many calories, I cried because I hated myself and my lack of determination, and I cried because I hated myself, the shape of my body, and that I couldn’t see change even as the number on the scale dropped. Or on the days when the number went up–water weight or whatever–I hated myself more.
I wanted to feel pretty, confident, likable. I didn’t find that in a diet and you won’t either. Diets make you insecure, stressed, and short-tempered–hardly the makings of confident or likable. Not to mention that it is hard to feel pretty when you are so focused on every single ‘problem’ with your body.
If not in a diet,then where do you find these attributes? Confident is easy–do what you are good at: paint, or write, or do calculus. Bake, garden, sew, hike, swim, fix up the car in the garage. And I will not listen to “But I’m no good at anything.” Make something you are good at: start working out. Maybe for now you run a 15 minute mile and you can’t hold a plank for more than 5 seconds but that gives you somewhere to start. Soon, you will see progress and nothing boosts confidence like knowing you are improving.
What about pretty? That one is harder, I am sure you are thinking. Not really–if you can take the time to go out and walk a mile just to start with, you can take the time to take care of yourself (and it makes a big difference in how you feel). Find a cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen you like. Use it daily. Iron your clothes–wearing a cute outfit feels great and most of your favorite cotton dresses need a good de-wrinkling. Laugh lots. Eat your vegetables (how else do you think you’ll get glowing skin and silky hair?).
Being likable is that much easier when you like yourself–if you take care of your fitness, take time to nurture your talents, and take care of your health, you find more to like. The grass is greener where you water it, so make like a gardener: take care of yourself and your life will bloom.