I Didn’t Set a Resolution to Lose Weight This Year

2011 January 18
by Grace Boyle

This is the first year (I can remember) that I didn’t set a resolution to lose weight.

I didn’t really think anything of it, but then again, I was sick as I rolled into the New Year and the first week of January I hit the ground running with meetings, lunches and phone calls everyday.

The second week into this year I read Gluten Free Girl’s honest and inspiring post about weight loss, acceptance of yourself and how January is rocked with foodie guilt and lack of exercise from the holidays. She lovingly asked:

What if January were the month we all owned the fact that we ate cookies and cinnamon rolls and rich dishes and too much food at parties because we stood at the table nibbling while talking to friends, even though every health magazine told us not to do that? What if January were the month we walked into a room not pulling at our shirts to cover the extra three pounds we gained in December and threw out our arms wide instead, and shouted, “Hey everyone! I’m here. So happy to see you!”

What if January were the time to say, “Wow. I survived another year. And I’m alive. Hell yeah!”

What if January were a fresh start, a chance to quiet the guilt and nastiness to ourselves, and in the silence we had the chance listen to our bodies and hear that they just want more vegetables, please?

And it hit me. Something is different. I didn’t set a resolution to lose weight this year and what a beautiful reminder this is.

I’ve never spoken of it before, but most of my adolescence, I have been unhappily unsatisfied with my body.

Like many other wonderful women I know, I’ve tried every diet and repeatedly restricted myself enjoyment. I was never able to share clothes with my girlfriends, my body was so curvy. I gained 15 pounds in college (oh yeah, Freshman 15) and never lost it. I have self-loathed until there was no more loathing left to do.

I’ve wished I looked different or even wondered what it might be like to look like my beautiful, thin blonde girlfriends. I always fall into the “overweight” category according to Body Mass Index (BMI) standards with my athletic build but short height. I weighed more than my friends who were 5’9″ who have almost 9 inches on me.

I know I’m not an anomaly.

I’m not trying to trump your weight story, your dieting or body image – I am simply relaying the way I have felt for most of my life.

In a study by BBC, they state that 80% of their respondents (all women) “thought about their body size or shape everyday and 1/3 were always on a diet.” In addition, 70% felt “depressed about their shape and size.”

All this wishing, wanting and trying was always a roller coaster and I know that no one but myself truly chose to feel this way. I have been incredibly supported by friends, family and even boyfriends over the years. I was in sports for as long as I can remember and really active. But still…I can recall being younger and being called “chubby,” but I know besides a few mean jabs I was supported collectively and that this insecurity came from within and societal standards I let get to me.

So, 2011 rolled around and I’ve recognized that I am healthy. Nothing has really “changed” in terms of my weight. I will always look like me, but my health is a priority. I am active, I eat right (most of the time!) and a sense of acceptance crept in.

Acceptance let me exhale. And I exhaled a long deep breath, “wooooooh,” as if I haven’t exhaled in years…

Healthier feels better, but the number on the scale isn’t how I measure my greatness. I don’t even own a scale (this isn’t toward avoidance either, I don’t need it). I know when I’m healthy.

I agree with the other inspiration (a foodie too of course) from one of my favorite food bloggers /Food Network Star, Aarti Sequeira. She writes about her own “pleasantly plump” moniker and says:

Instead of trying to be thinner, a quest that I hadn’t managed to emerge from victorious, I was going to focus on getting STRONGER.

I have made a commitment where 3-5 times a week I’m active. I have a yoga studio membership, gym membership, season pass to the mountains, I walk to work each day and I have mountains at my fingertips for warm weather hiking. This will never change. When you’re aligned with health, you feel better everywhere even if it does take commitment.

Acceptance Over the Holidays and No Judgment (January):

This holiday, I didn’t work out for two weeks. I traveled (causes stress, more eating) flew home to the Midwest, drove to the East coast and then flew back to Colorado. I ate cookies, a lot. I drank with my closest friends I see once a year when we’re all home. I sat on the couch all afternoon with my mother and best friends, doing nothing, because I wanted to. And every holiday event I was at involved rich foods and lots of drinks.

But in ingesting all that, somewhere along the lines, I started to quit the guilt and nastiness I project to myself. Not worth it. Life is filled with change, just pivot and realign. Pivot and realign.

If anything, use that fuel to vow to be active. To eat more vegetables. To laugh a little more (hello, belly laugh calories burned). To love deeper. To smile one extra time today. To take a walk around your block if that’s all you can muster. To give yourself the biggest hug, because you’re not alone and we could all use a little more self-love. To look at yourself in the mirror and love you.

Love just that.

We all have our demons.

Maybe this year, you do want to lose X amount of pounds. That’s great. Go for it. There are reasons to lose weight and there are health risks to extra weight. But, you are beautiful. You are. Losing weight is healthy, but doesn’t mean it will “fix” everything. Maybe you can also remember that you are truly not alone. That the girl next to you ordering her coffee or behind you in line at the bank has probably felt pain, lacked acceptance and struggled.

We could all use a little less judgment. Why not start now?

Thank you for Shauna’s beautiful, eloquently written post for inspiring this post and reminding me of my past, my present and my future self.

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  • Jacqueline Soboti

    hooray! first reaction.. probably because i live across the hall from you and you just screamed to me, “jacqq it’s up!” yay :)
    i loved it. and cannot thank you enough for sharing your story and struggles honestly. its humbling and comforting to know that we are not alone. all anyone wants is to feel “normal”. and by writing this i know you have made a handful of girls feel normal because they to have similar struggles.

    beautifully written and of course, well done. xo.

  • http://blog.alligerkman.com Alli

    Grace, I always love your balanced perspective on this. Silly as it seems, I think Colorado has helped me change my perspective. Or maybe it’s age. But it matters less to me now that I can pull off a pair of jeans (though I can’t say it doesn’t matter at all) than that I can, say, haul my body up some wall of rock.

    Oh, and cooking has changed my perspective, as well. :)

  • http://akhilak.com/blog Akhila

    What a beautiful post, Grace. As someone said below I really admire your perspective and ability to be honest, and tell your story to readers. I think every woman (even women who seem to have a perfect figure from the outside!) struggle with these feelings because of the way societal pressures and the mass media work on women. It’s up to us to resist these influences and love ourselves (while being healthy, of course) despite it all!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Jacq, thank you! I always feel better when I know I’m not the only one. Even if it’s still a “problem,” I think we thrive off of empathy and understanding as humans. It’s a huge reason I was so drawn to write this post.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Alli, thank you. I wasn’t always balanced and I’m pretty sure it’s always a struggle, but I can choose the mentality.

    You bring up a great point with cooking. When you take the power back into what you create and cook, it can not only be fun but delicious for your body!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Akhila, thank you! It is a struggle and after reading Gluten Free Girl’s post (you should read the whole thing!) I knew it was something I wanted to talk about.

    I have gotten over many misconceptions about my body and image and it feels a lot healthier and happier (even I didn’t drastically change my body physically). Thanks fro your support :)

  • http://twitter.com/ChelsTalksSmack Chelsea Talks Smack

    Stunning, amazing, perfect post Grace. You’re beautiful and were so poignant- we all have our “things” , that last paragraph in bold slayed my dear. Perfect. Thank you for the reminder, to be kinder to myself today.

  • http://twitter.com/ChelsTalksSmack Chelsea Talks Smack

    Stunning, amazing, perfect post Grace. You’re beautiful and were so poignant- we all have our “things” , that last paragraph in bold slayed my dear. Perfect. Thank you for the reminder, to be kinder to myself today.

  • http://harrietmay.com Harriet May

    Thank you for reminding me of this. All of it. It’s so silly but I drive myself crazy over 10 pounds. And then today I was watching Ellen and she had a girl who sings on YouTube on the show, who was talking about getting lots of hits even though she was a larger girl, and how she has reached self-acceptance and loves who she is, no matter what criticism she may get on the web. And my boyfriend said, why can’t you think that way? And I don’t know, but it’s nice to be bombarded with positive messages for a change, and not skinny skinny skinny messages. So thank you. :)

  • David

    Every post, everytime, gets me. A proud Brother I am. <3

    A messed up week, a stressful school week, the fuel to keep me going-may just be your blog :)

  • http://www.BeHappyLifeCoach.com Lenora

    This is your best post yet, Grace, and that’s saying a lot! Like a laser from your heart deep into anyone’s soul who has ever doubted or judged themselves, or compared themselves to others. Thanks.

  • Diana

    Wise words Grace …. How wonderful to really feel them!!!

  • Stacey

    Grace, Your words and your sentiment, your step by step dawning of a new reality, are a gift that goes out to many, many (mostly) women. good blog entry. :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Chelsea baby, thank you. It came flowing out and I know, that so many of us can relate whatever that demon might be. A little less judgment…a little less :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Harriet, I understand. It’s very true and I totally commiserate. I do what I can and although this was/is such a struggle for me, the no judgment felt so so good. I hope you can keep spreading that message too :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    I love you brother :) xoxo Thank you, you always inspire me.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Thanks Momma. You raised me so well and were always so incredibly supportive.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Thank you Diana :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Thank you, Stacey. A little less judgment is always a wonderful thing. Thanks for the comment :)

  • Debs

    thank you for the reminders we all need, young or old, within our weight limit or not. I for the most part, I stay within my goals, but not always, and tonight while I sit eating the English muffin at my house sitting job that someone left behind for me to gobble, the guilt melts and I simply enjoyed being a little devil! I’m glad your ‘post’ was shared with me, I enjoyed your writing, all the best Debs (as in Galls Mom!)

  • carol

    Many things change with generations, but this is one thing that never does. Great post Grace. Very inspirational and honest. Can’t wait to show this to my friends.

  • Nancy

    This is just what I needed to hear, Grace! You express yourself so beautifully and with such honesty. This will propel me to a more settled approach of winter health. Thanks.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    I love that: “the guilt melts and I simply enjoyed being a little devil…” I think that’s so important. Thanks for your continual support, Deb! :) xo

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    I know, isn’t it funny? I find any women can talk about this topic, even a group of women of ALL sizes. I think sharing and writing about it was therapeutic to me and was also easier to share because empathy is such a human emotion. Thanks for the sweet comment, Carol :) xo

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Hi Nancy! I’m so happy you’ve stopped by and good to hear from you. If anyone is left inspired, a little happier, a little less judgment inflicted on themselves, then I have done my job :) Here’s to health and happiness!

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  • http://www.opheliaswebb.com Elisa Doucette

    This is also the first year that I didn’t say “I want to weigh X/lose X this year.” While I know I am much healthier than I have been, I know that I still have a lot of work to do in that respect. Thus I went “lose sizes” which really means “get to a place that I’m comfortable/happy in my body.” Like you my small frame and athletic build don’t do me any favors in the BMI or comparing weight categories. I’m so moved by this post, it’s beautiful to see someone I admire so much being happy with where they are. It is a goal we should all hope to achieve.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Elisa, that’s great. I definitely measure the health and where I’m at by my skinny jeans and inches make a big difference.

    I now chuckle, if you’re going to get insurance (e.g. pay for your own, freelancer) they check your BMI for your ‘health’ to determine the price and package.

    I think our reality is often skewed, as well about what is truly healthy and what we see everyday in our culture. Feeling good internally is a wonderful step though. Thanks :)

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  • http://gradtao.com Alex

    Awesome. YES. I second Elisa by saying I’m thankful for role models, strong, wonderful women like you.
    I did set a goal to be healthier this year and I want to lose a few pounds. I’m still too hard on myself. I just want to get back to a healthier lifestyle and be strong again. I will always love to cook. I will always love food. I’ll never be size 4 or 6 again. And all of that is OK.

  • Denadenaki

    Ah, to find this “acceptance of what is” at such a young age is a true blessing! To your young readers, I look back forty years ago to diets of 800 calories a day …. and think how foolish and destructive. I believe I had and wrecked a perfectly wonderful metabolism trying to be “tall and thin” when I was short and athletic. You are so right: Healthy is the goal! Great blog!!

  • Mehnaz

    Loved this. Haven’t set any sort of weight loss anything in about 5 years now. Couldn’t be happier. I also made a promise to myself to never talk about weight and all its discomforts on my blog as a reminder that there are more important things in life.

    Also came across a book the other day called “Sexy Women Eat” and I couldn’t agree more. Here is to enjoying the fine things in life, and to being stronger :)
    Nicely done, Ms. Boyle

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    We all have different battles and I’m pretty certain, that I can choose or will struggle with body image my whole life just because we care about our looks and well-being. Nothing WRONG with that and it’s also important to note that I don’t want anyone to just “fall away” or gain a lot of weight. It is unhealthy.

    I would be floored that I am a role model, but I also know that the judgment got me NOWHERE. Health is important and if I focus on health, I let the “weight” dissipate. xo

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Thank you for sharing your story :) I love all the women coming together to express how they feel and sharing sentiments.

    Recognizing who you are and what you’re capable of is so important. I can only hope my small message can change and affect those who also might be younger and detrimental to themselves.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Mehnaz, thank you and good for you! Oh I like the name of that book :) I’m going to check it out.

    Thanks for your support and sharing your own story. Power to the women and health!

  • Sofie Kovalenko

     this is amazing and i completely understand / am beginning to understand self acceptance and self love. cheers to you and love!