With weight loss often being viewed as going hand-in-hand with feeling unsatisfied with how you look, my decision to make weight loss a goal whilst also being an advocate of loving your body does sometimes leave me feeling like a bit of a hypocrite (rightly or wrongly).
Although one of my main motivations for weight loss was to try and improve my health following my PCOS diagnosis, I would be lying if I said there weren’t ‘aesthetic’ reasons too. Navigating loving your body whilst also trying to change it can be kind of complicated, but I do think it is possible.
Whatever weight I have ever been, I’ve always had a positive relationship with my body and been a fierce advocate of self-love. That’s not to say I don’t have days where I felt less confident or happy in my own skin, but I think that’s completely normal.
Since making the decision to pursue a weight loss goal, I often find myself thinking “if I’m trying to change my body and make it smaller, how can I say that I ever fully accepted myself at a higher weight?”
But I think the key is in our intentions. I decided I wanted to lose weight for me. For my health, my fitness goals and, yes, to look the way I wanted to look. Did I want to change the physical appearance of my body? Yes. But, crucially, I loved my body at my start weight, and I love my body now. As someone who has had an interest in fitness for many years and struggled to make progress due to an underlying health condition, succeeding in reaching my weight loss goals has given me a huge confidence boost.
I love my body even more now, but not simply because I’ve lost weight. I love my body because this journey has made me feel powerful, capable and strong. It has allowed me to take back control of my body. My years of dealing with PCOS symptoms and being unable to lose weight knocked my confidence massively; I felt like my body was working against me.
Focusing on this goal has made me feel stronger, fitter, healthier, and proud. And crucially, I have made sure to treat my body and mind with love every step of the way. I did not start this journey because I disliked my body, I started it because I loved it.
Because of my motivations, I have gained a lot more from the process than I perhaps otherwise would have. I’ve enjoyed improving on other areas of my health and life; making sure I get enough sleep, focusing in on my dreams, getting outdoors more, trying out new styles and practicing self-care more frequently.
For me, it’s been the right time to work on weight loss, and my journey thus far has been so overwhelmingly positive. I loved myself at a higher weight, and I love myself now. And at the end of the day, as long as whatever fitness goals you’re striving for are coming from a place of love and wishing to care for your body, then that is absolutely great – you do you.
This is why I would suggest working on loving and cherishing your body before embarking on any weight loss journey. The process is going to be much more fulfilling if you’re not simply aiming for that next lb off and nothing else.
Repeat after me: Weight. Loss. Should. Never. Be. A. Punishment.
And, as I’ve discovered in the past few months, weight loss is much more about what you can gain than what you lose.
So, in conclusion, can you love your body and still want to lose weight? Yes! Just make sure your intentions are right, your goals are realistic and the process is healthy.