“We raise (girls) to cater to the fragile egos of men. We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
“Ladies, tell them: I woke up like this… Say, ‘I look so good tonight.’” – Beyonce, “Flawless”
Starting tomorrow, many of us – myself included – will be hitting up the gyms and saying no to sweets.
I have advice for my fellow lifestyle changers: Do it for the right reason.
If you’ve been a faithful reader of the Daily Journal for the past several years, you may have read I was on a weight loss journey.
My doctor said I needed to lose 75 pounds to get healthy, to get my sugar and blood pressure under control, to feel better.
I’d wanted to lose weight for years. I wanted to be prettier, more attractive. I wanted to fit in straight-sized clothes, not plus-sized.
But after my almost-diabetic diagnosis, I suddenly wanted to lose weight for a more important reason: I wanted to take care of myself.
There’s light years worth of difference between wanting to be “pretty” or “attractive” and wanting to take care of yourself.
When you want to be pretty, you want that for other people, to conform to their standards of beauty and worth. You’re putting your worth in their hands.
When you want to take care of yourself, you want that for yourself. No one else. You see yourself as worthy of being taken care of, and no one can take care of you better than you.
I lost 60 pounds and I felt better than ever. I no longer feared doctor’s visits because I got good results every time I went – even at the eye doctor, who said my eyes improved thanks to my weight loss.
I learned that losing weight is mental, not physical. Sure, you have to put in time at the gym – no getting around that at all – but you have to consider what you’re putting in your body, how your workouts can benefit you, that sort of thing. There’s a lot of thinking, consideration and planning. It’s worth it, because you’re worth it.
But this year was difficult for me. Priorities shifted. Taking care of myself meant finding comfort. That meant less time at the gym and more marshmallow creme and “Golden Girls” marathons.
I’ve gained back about 16 pounds, and I won’t lie, I feel terrible – physically. No energy, no focus, all of that.
My self-worth, though, is still there.
Am I still pretty? Still worthy of being taken care of? Of course. None of that changes with the loss or gain of a few pounds.
And I’m ready to feel better physically and have an obnoxious amount of energy, so yeah, pretty soon I’ll take care of myself with clean eating and regular gym visits – but I may still have to have a few “Golden Girls” marathons.
Let’s do this together, and do it for ourselves.
Here’s to us in 2014.
Sheena Barnett covers entertainment for the Daily Journal. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or(662) 678-1580.