I Can't Lose Weight... I Went Swimming Anyway
Nicole is former client who became a good friend. I recently invited her to a party at my house where there were quite a few people she did not know. Nicole put on a bathing suit and went swimming with her son in our pond. She was the only woman at the party who got into the water. Seems pretty unremarkable, right?
There's something else you should know about Nicole: she's overweight.
For the past 16 months I've watched this woman despise her body and try everything to lose weight. Paleo, Keto, carb cycling, weightlifting, Crossfit, meditation, deep breathing...she's done it all. Nicole also has a diagnosed thyroid problem and various other health issues that essentially prevent weight loss - or in the least cause her to lose extremely slowly.
It's heartbreaking to watch someone put their life on hold while they wait to get thin...but thousands of women are doing just that. That's why I wanted to let Nicole share her experience in her own words.
Author: Nicole Glatz
So, yesterday, I did a thing. I went to a party with about 20 people I didn’t know, and I swam with my son.
Ok, let me back up a little bit.
A year ago, I accepted the fact that I was not going to be able to lose weight on my own, so I broke down and hired a health and fitness coach. Enter my life changer, Kelly Bailey. She fought her way through my convoluted thinking, attacked my preconceived beliefs about what it meant to “be healthy”, and why “feeling healthy” was just as important, reversed the importance I placed on numbers – scale numbers, clothing tag numbers, “why haven’t I lost any weight in this many months” numbers – and expunged the blinding value I gave to my perception of how others perceived me. I know I’m making her sound like the greatest person alive, and I’m right! My clothes fit better, I’m down to two chins, and a few key parts have started moving into much, um, higher places.
About three months ago, this new me went into a very important doctor’s appointment, and, after receiving some unfortunate news, was told that my BMI was too high. (Here comes those stupid numbers again!) SO, I added in a wellness program. I dehydrated myself in saunas. I marinated in those weird, plastic-type, awful saran-wrap inspired body wraps. I was even HYPNOTIZED. Because, dammit, there HAD to be a reason why my body was fighting so hard against my mind, and I WAS going to figure out why.
Two weeks ago, down another size, and feeling VERY confident, I walked into, yet ANOTHER, specialist’s office, and stepped on that scale. TEN POUNDS!!! Yes, that’s right, I GAINED TEN POUNDS!!! I chalked it up to faulty equipment. There was NO WAY, after 12 months of healthy eating, exercise, and losing 4 sizes, was I going to accept that I was TEN POUNDS HEAVIER than when I started. I completed my assessment, and received an explanation I had never heard before:
At 5’2”, my healthy weight range is from 105 to 135 pounds. Anything above that would be deemed overweight or obese. In addition, a healthy body fat percentage for a fit woman is anywhere from 21-30% body fat. My assessment concluded that my body is comprised of 112 lbs. of lean muscle. At almost 0% body fat, I would be about half way to being considered overweight. Add on the minimum fat% of a fit woman, and I’m officially overweight. Add on a more reasonable fat% at the higher end for healthy, and I’m nearing obesity.
I went home and threw my scale out. I readopted my disgust for those “numbers”. I accepted that I would never get to a number on a scale that would be considered socially acceptable, and I knew, if I didn’t give up the scale, that my mind would never accept my progress, and my true beauty, until my eyes saw the number that I perceived others would accept me at.
But most importantly, I finally understood that all of these thoughts: I'm disgusting. Am I thin enough? Does this make me look fat? Will people laugh at me? I used to be so much prettier. Why don’t I weigh less?
These thoughts would continue to consume my mind, and take me away from the most important thing in my life – my son.
How can I witness the smile on his face when he goes down his first water slide, or help him learn how to swim without floaties, if I’m too scared to wear a bathing suit in public? Something tells me my husband wouldn’t be too keen on building a water park in our back yard, just so I could stay protected by my privacy fence.
How can I take him to eat ice cream in the park, if I can’t get over the thought that people are looking at me and thinking “she could afford to skip dessert”? And, who really wants to give up dessert anyway?
How can I contribute to his development and growth to do anything he can dream, and be anyone he can believe, if I’m only willing to engage so far as my own senseless fears and limitations will allow me?
So, yesterday, I did a thing. I went to a party with about 20 people I didn’t know, and I swam with my son. And I felt strong. And I felt beautiful. And I felt liberated. And I felt that confidence and unhindered, genuine happiness will always overshadow the cellulite on your thighs, or the saggy belly you developed when you grew a life within you. And Caden held on to me for dear life, because I’m his mommy, and he needs me present, beyond my own personal limitations. And I never missed a smile.
There’s a bigger reason why I’m telling this awkwardly personal and unfiltered story. Lately, I’ve seen and heard a lot of people in my life, both men and women, talk about their “flaws”. I’ve listened to their stories, and watched their tears fall. I’ve witnessed their children take on the same beliefs about themselves – the same poor body image, the same beliefs of inferiority, the same sadness. In a time that is consumed with bullying, hatred, and judgment, the most important lesson we can teach, and learn, is that strength and beauty come from within, and that the only perception that matters is our own. Once we start to see ourselves as the beautiful being we are, we will be able to fully enjoy living, and, in turn, we will only want to help others enjoy life too.
Stop living for the numbers, and start living for the memories.
Every moment is a new opportunity to choose to love yourself.
It’s never too late to put on a bathing suit.
I want to extend a big thank you to my friend Nikki for allowing me to share this story on my blog. These real stories and messages of body positivity are so important for other women to see and hear! We live in a "thinner-is-better" society...but you don't have to let that keep you from living your dreams today!