I am trying to lose weight.
I gained about 30kg since both of my pregnancies. In my second pregnancy, rapid weight gain gave me lots of issues. I was mobile, for sure, but so big that it was hard to be active for long. Once I gave birth, the weight did not drop off like it did the first time round.
Sixteen months later, and my body is still clinging on.
Why, body? Why do you need this extra fat? Are you worried you may starve if it slips off?
I joked to my husband that my body is such that if we were in a famine, and everybody became bags of bones, I would probably put on weight.
My body clings to fat in a most efficient manner. If I go into a calorie deficit, I can lose weight consistently for 3 weeks. After that, my body adjusts to this and I plateau or even start going up in weight!
My research tells me that some bodies are more efficient than others, built to last through seasons of no food, built to carry boulders on low energy. I know this to be true. I ate so little for a month, and yet piled on the weights at the gym, leg pressing up to 150kgs, muscles growing stronger, bigger, more defined – and I could be satiated on so little.
But I want to shed these heavy 20kgs. They feel uncomfortable on me. They make my face look unrecognisable, and my legs feel bulky, and I feel like I am dragging my body around. I want to feel free of it, to run fast across a field like before and not worry too much about uncomfortable jiggles and things falling out of place.
I don’t want to lose weight for looks or because I feel insecure. I want to do it for comfort.
Yet when I mention this, the immediate response is wide eyed surprise, and exclamations that I don’t ‘need’ to lose anything and not to ‘buy into’ our appearance-obsessed culture.
I get it.
But since when does wanting to change how your body looks and feels equate to a bad thing?
Why rush to tell someone they don’t need to do something, when they really want to?
Why assume that one wants to change the shape of their body purely due to insecurity or appearance-obsession?
Is it unhealthy to want to lose weight?
If it is unhealthy for some, why make it so everybody feels weird about trying to lose weight, one way or another? Do we apologise for this desire, and assure the ‘Body-Positive’ community that we aren’t mentally ill, and aren’t harming their agenda, but just want to change something for us?