Why Weight? How to Embrace Your Greatness and Enjoy Life Right Now

by Stacey Curnow on · 6 comments

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The photo above was taken of me in 1995 — 25 pounds heav­ier than I am now-and still happy.

I was 8 years old the first time I remem­ber being called fat. I started suck­ing in my stom­ach in pho­tos from that moment on. I started exer­cis­ing with the inten­tion of los­ing weight when I was 10. I started my first seri­ous diet (only eat­ing tiny por­tions of what­ever my mom served) when I was 11.

By the time I got to col­lege I had been watch­ing and burn­ing calo­ries for almost a decade, and I was exhausted.

Luck­ily I went to a very pro­gres­sive col­lege, one which had set up an “ExCo” –short for “Exper­i­men­tal College”-where stu­dents got to teach their own classes on a diverse range of topics.

You could take courses on every­thing from Beginner’s Sex to Advanced Klin­gon. As a fresh­man I imme­di­ately signed up for the course Women and Body Image. After I took it for a semes­ter, I taught it for my remain­ing years in college.

That class taught me that when all per­sonal motives for los­ing weight are stripped away — the desire to be attrac­tive, to be loved, to be suc­cess­ful — what unites the women who seek to reduce their weight is the fact that they’re look­ing for an answer to life’s prob­lems in the con­trol of their bod­ies and appetites.

In other words, these women, hav­ing dis­cov­ered that they couldn’t con­trol the world around them, chose to exert a destruc­tive con­trol over them­selves. When I made that con­nec­tion, that was it for me. I decided I was no longer going to allow this spe­cious, almost super­sti­tious rea­son­ing to deter­mine how I felt about myself.

Fast for­ward 5 years and I was a full-time stu­dent with a part-time job and I ate on the go a lot. I also ate a lot at night just to give me energy to stay up late and work or study. And I gained and main­tained 25 “extra” pounds.

Through it all I learned to love myself in spite of my weight, and I con­sider that one of the great­est achieve­ments of my twen­ties. And then I met the love of my life — now my hus­band — and when he loved me back, even though I didn’t fit into a model’s size, I knew he was a keeper.

Shortly after my hus­band and I mar­ried we acquired a puppy, a very high-spirited Golden Retriever, and I learned that if she was going to be happy she would need to run at least once day.

So I started to run with her. I’m still not sure if it was her enthu­si­asm for the activ­ity or if it was because I, like my retriever (and Bruce Spring­steen), was born to run, but I loved it from the first time we set out on a trail.

And while I had exercised-sometimes to excess-throughout my teens, and always with the aim to lose weight, this time I never thought of run­ning as a means to burn calories.

As a new health care provider, I also con­sid­ered it my respon­si­bil­ity to inform my patients of prac­tices in nutri­tion and exer­cise that were based in sci­ence, not the lat­est fad.

It was then, in my early thir­ties, that I lost those 25 extra pounds and I’ve never gained them back.

From work­ing with many women who strug­gle with food and weight, I real­ize that fig­ur­ing out how to escape that is really not about how smart you are or how much dis­ci­pline you have (look at my bril­liant physi­cian friend!).

I’ve even come to believe that intel­li­gence and willpower are irrel­e­vant. The key is to believe that you can achieve a healthy weight. It’s just as impor­tant as fol­low­ing science-based guide­lines for eat­ing and exercising.

Now in my early for­ties, I no longer run long dis­tances, but I still do 20 min­utes of heart-raising car­dio every day. I do this because I feel so much bet­ter when I do. In much the same way, I eat when I’m hun­gry and with pleasure.

And so, after over 20 years of research, study, prac­tice, and, well, liv­ing, I have come to one sim­ple, non-earth-shattering con­clu­sion: the way we eat is sim­ply a part of how we live.

Obsess­ing over our food and focus­ing on our weight keeps us from find­ing the joy that is avail­able to us right here and now. But chances are good that if eat­ing is doing that to us, then the way we approach other parts of our life is doing the same.

For­tu­nately, though, the same skills that help us to release stress­ful thoughts and bad feel­ings, those essen­tial skills of stay­ing present, valu­ing our­selves, tun­ing in to our bod­ies and emo­tions, ask­ing for what we need, and keep­ing our­selves open to receiv­ing what we need-all those things that enable us to live full and happy lives-will also help us as we strug­gle with issues related to food.

What I learned in the jour­ney to self-acceptance and self-love made a huge dif­fer­ence in my life, and has helped me in so many ways. I believe it can in yours, too.


by Stacey Curnow

Stacey is a pur­pose and suc­cess coach who helps you give birth to your BIG dreams. To find your pur­pose and pas­sion, check out her FREE eBook, The Pur­pose and Pas­sion Guide­book.
Stacey Curnow
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