Why Am I Doing This Hard Thing? 20 Personal Reasons to Lose Weight
Weight loss—true weight loss, where you change lifelong habits permanently—is butt-crushingly hard. So motivation is important. One day Deanie Jennings, director of clinical programs at the Washington Center for Weight Management and Research, asks members of my group to jot down answers to this question: “Why am I doing this hard thing, anyway?”
Good question. I list all the reasons why I want “go the distance” on weight loss and paste them in the front of my food diary. I’m way past caring how silly the reason is. Sometimes the silliest motives spur me the most. Some of these reasons are embarrassing. But I guess I’m way past caring about that, too! Every time I think of a new reason, I scribble it in at the bottom of the list. When I start a new food diary, I update the list in my computer, and paste it in.
This list is for the days when I whine, “Oh, I can’t stand to add up calories one more time!” This list is for the days when the scale is being uncooperative and is probably broken, because it seems to be showing that I gained two pounds, even though I’ve been really, really good! Readers: What are YOUR personal reasons?
I am doing this hard thing . . .
1. . . . so I can wear pencil skirts and look more like a pencil and less like a shrink-wrapped eraser.
2. . . . so I can fit into my favorite black velvet Christmas party dress.
3. . . . so I will look less like a terrorist in the photo on my driver’s license.
4. . . . so I can tie my shoes without my tummy getting in the way.
5. . . . so I can want eat what I want without my children glaring at me.
6. . . . so that when we play that party game where someone asks, “If your wife were an article of clothing, what would she be?” my husband doesn’t answer, “A comfortable sweater.”
7. . . . so I can sit down in a meeting and cross my legs without causing men to cringe. Well, honestly? This is embarrassing, but I’d settle for crossing my legs without my fat popping them open again.
8. . . . so I can actually lift my leg when we do leg lifts in strength class.
9. . . . so my thighs don’t rub together so tightly on hot summer days that the skin chafes, creating painful raw spots.
10. . . . so I can run upstairs without sounding like The Little Engine That Could.
11. . . . so I will stop embarrassing myself by snoring.
12. . . . so I can live in the present without feeling a need to numb my feelings with food.
13. . . . so I won’t suffer from discrimination at work.
14. . . . so I can walk all the way from a bad parking spot to the store door without feeling dismayed about it.
15. . . . so my waist will be under 35 inches and I’ll avoid the dreaded “abdominal obesity,” shown not only to correlate strongly with heart disease, but—how awful is this? “Smaller brain volumes and increased risk of dementia.” (Annals of Neurology, May 2010)
Excess adipose tissue (in a male, thank God)
16. . . . so I won’t catch any of the other diseases that are caused, or made more likely by, obesity, such as: type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, gallbladder infection, breast cancer, colon cancer, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, and who knows what else.
17. . . . so I stop burying feelings with food.
18. . . . so that I will never again feel the shame and self-loathing that follow a binge.
19. . . . so I can speak more with my voice than with my tummy.
20. . . . because my husband and daughters don’t want me to die young.
Readers: I would love, love, love to know any of your personal reasons for losing weight—especially the funny little everyday reasons. Please share them here!
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