Looking Good Naked

j0423115At this time of  year, fitness centers typically experience an increase in membership.  If you belong to a club or gym you might find that for the next eight weeks it will be tough to find an open treadmill or elliptical trainer. It seems looking good naked is on everyone’s mind after the holidays.

There is another excellent post over at Big Little Wolf’s Daily Plate of Crazy about physical appearance vs. feeling good. She brings up a number of great talking points on the topic of body image issues, being a slave to the scale and our self-esteem and how it connects to our physical appearance.  We often say that our self concept shouldn’t be based on how we look but, for so many of us, it is.  I maintain that for many of us, how we look matters a great deal because how we care for our bodies is often indicative of deeper feelings we have toward ourselves and our value as individuals.  If we want that to change then how we go about changing our physical appearance is the first step in beginning to care about and for ourselves.

Lose the Scale

j0422209Being an ex-competitive swimmer, swim coach and cyclist, and also and ex-aerobics and fitness trainer, I know how ineffective the scale is and how it can really work against one’s efforts at getting healthy. One’s weight can fluctuate a pound or two every day and even more for some women, depending on the time of the month.  In addition, if you are enslaved to the number on the scale, but you are truly about percent body fat rather than weight you might get to a place in your fitness regimen where you actually begin to gain weight while continuing to lose inches.  Those who absolutely use the scale as the sole measuring device in their quest to look good naked run the risk of ignoring some better health indicators. They can become easily discouraged and frustrated.  This is counterproductive to the person who really has the goal in mind of becoming a healthier, more physically fit individual.

Percent of Body Fat is A Better Indicator of Fitness

I prefer to consider percent body fat or Body Mass Index  and inches lost when I work on improving my fitness level (because muscle weighs more than fat and building muscle eats fat).  One can be a size 3 and still be very fat.  I don’t want that for me.  I want the toned look and you can’t get that by merely losing weight on a scale you must transfer fat to muscle somehow.  If you are seriously overweight or out of shape or have never really done any serious training, please do two things:

First, get a physical and a physician’s okay before you begin any exercise program.  Even if you are relatively good health, this is always a smart move. 

Second, seriously consider investing in a personal trainer who will meet with you for an hour once ever two weeks for, at least, the first eight weeks of your program.  Even two sessions with a personal trainer can be incredibly valuable in helping you jumpstart your motivation and your journey back to fitness.

Toward A Healthier Lifestyle…A Personal Journey

While I know a great deal about the right things to do and the right ways to think about my body, its appearance and its health, I like many, many others have become negligent over the last decade. Sure there have been periods of good fitness, but I haven’t really stuck with them.  Of course, I have to cut myself some slack.  I’ve endured a pretty volatile decade personally, have been homeless and battled an emotionally abusive ex.  When survival is priority one, looking good naked gets much lower priority.  Even so, I’ve let go of some really great eating habits, stopped the consistent exercise and weight training program I had going and simply shifted my fitness priorities to the bottom of the list.  I don’t look horrible, but I really don’t look my best.  More importantly and more significantly I don’t feel my best. I find that it is when I don’t feel my best that I am most prone to worrying about my appearance, suffering a loss of confidence and self-esteem and I’m especially prone to really stupid questions like “How hot am I, really?”  I hate being in that place mentally and physically. 

j0402353Big Little Wolf’s post, my own personal journey to date, and experiences like these are crystallizing for me a sense of direction as I consider my own health and levels of fitness.  Note that I did not say weight loss program.  Because for me, though weight loss will inevitably be an outcome I hope to accomplish,, I am not venturing down this road with that goal in mind. In my post, two days ago, I spoke of moving toward a healthier lifestyle.  It’s true, I want to look good naked because that mirror in my bathroom is not exactly gentle in revealing the truth about my physical appearance, but I most certainly and more importantly want to feel good all of the time, not just naked.  I don’t just want to get smaller, I want to get better.  And better, might not necessarily weigh that much less, but it will look better naked.  It will walk further and faster.  It will not get winded. And, since I am the one looking at myself in the mirror, groaning daily with disappointment in myself about the extra pounds I’ve packed on and the muscle tone I’ve lost, and feeling disappointed with what I see (because the disappointment represents not beauty or lack thereof, but a deeper sense of loss) then looking good naked becomes important to no one…else…but me.  I’m the only one that matters.  It is indeed a deeply personal journey, but one with very visible results.

Getting Comfortable

But there is something even more significant at play here for me.  It is that idea of feeling comfortable in my own skin.  It is that idea that it is what it is and it is the best I can do so who cares what anyone else thinks.  Now, realistically I know, I should feel this way no matter what I weigh or what my muscle tone is, but the reality is, this is not the case for me.  Because the big reality is this, how we feel inside our own skin is largely determined by our fitness levels.  Our fitness levels often determine whether or not we look and perform at optimum levels.  All of those things conspire to impact our self image and our confidence in our abilities in other areas. True, self acceptance no matter what, is important.  I’m not suggesting we all have to be stellar examples of fitness and brawn, but when our ability to function at our best each day is implicated, then I suggest that’s the time to really rethink our health and our habits.  Feeling comfortable in our own skin is more about doing the best we can with what we’ve got under the circumstances and I, for one, am not doing the best I can right now.  Not even close.  This bothers me.  It bothers me enough to make a change.  For me, it’s what 2010 is going to be about.

Starting Measurements…The First Steps

j0321131 So, yes, yesterday, I pulled out the tape measure, hopped on the scale and took the front-back-side before pictures in my bikini.  Not because I intend to obsess over every little thing I eat or don’t eat.  Not because I intend to go on a crash starvation diet or crazy workout plan to burn that fat fast.  I’m smarter than that.  And, though I know my body will quickly respond to increased exercise and improved diet due to its past fitness, the reason I am doing it is not to get skinny…it is to change my lifestyle. It is to change my thinking.  It is to become comfortable in my own skin. Taking the measurements now, before I’ve really begun will help me gauge my progress and will motivate me to keep going.  It gives me a starting point.

Fitness is About Character Development and Personal Growth

While this is about looking good naked on one level, it is also about so much more than looking good naked because whenever one begins a journey of this nature there are mental challenges that must be faced and obstacles that must be overcome.  I’d like to suggest that the journey toward improved health for me will be less a journey of fitness than a supreme course in character development.  I will need to test my commitment.  I will be forced to persevere.  I will need to focus and stay focused and that, because I am so easily distracted, will be challenge enough. I will need to flex and adapt to a schedule that changes dramatically twice a year while still keeping up my regimen of good eating and daily activity.  I will need to make some hard choices that won’t be pleasant or instantaneously gratifying (like that second glass of wine or that extra helping of pasta or saying no when I’m just not hungry) if I am to move myself into a place that bodes well for the health and longevity of this physical thing I call my body, not to mention the mind and spirit that it contains.  It won’t “feel” good sometimes at first, at others it will feel better than anything.  It will require me to flex my discipline muscles, tone my determination, and exercise my mental fortitude and push my commitment to my own improvement to the limits. j0402666

But that’s the cost for every one who would accomplish anything of value. 

The Wild Mind

Success is often not a matter of talent, but a matter of tenacity.”  ~Nathaniel Bronner Jr.

How am I going to live today in order to create the tomorrow I’m committed to?  ~Anthony Robbins

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42 thoughts on “Looking Good Naked

  1. Nicki

    I know from experience this is a rocky journey, especially with full-time work and children. It is a journey most women ignore through their child bearing years and then have to play huge catch-up with once the babies are gone. I know I spent years telling myself that chasing around toddlers and going up and down stairs for laundry.

    I started my healthy journey in September of 2007. It is ongoing and will continue through 2010.

  2. I’m totally with you on this – love that you aren’t calling it a weight loss/diet thing, because you’re right, it’s more than that. It’s a life change, not a short term goal. Good luck!!

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  5. I have words to say on this subject. Some of you will not like my words because they are tough, but they are plain and simple fact.
    Looking good naked, physical fitness, health, whatever you want to call it, all boils down to the same thing. Self discipline. You either have it or you do not have it. You can rationalize, euphemize, philosophize, bullshit, kid yourself, whatever, but if you want to lose the weight, you are going to lose it. If you do not want to, you won’t. It is as simple as that.
    There is no easy way to do it and this is why fad diets do not work. They do not teach you self discipline, without which, all such endeavours are ultimately doomed.
    I work with a bunch of ladies who eat lunch together every day at the same time. All of them are quite large with brobdingnabian butts that would intimidate a hippo in a hula-hoop contest. Yet, every day I watch them sit at their table eating these tiny, petite salads that do not appear to have a single calorie in them. Yet, week after week, month after month, year after year, those Godzilla-like butts grow no smaller. If anything, most of them have grown larger.
    This is evidence of a great truth. These ladies are vying with one another to give the appearance of being serious dieters, but as soon as they get home from work they are rushing for their fridges after that leftover pizza, chocolate chip ice cream, sugar doughnuts, kentucky fried chicken, banana cream pie, mashed potatoes and country gravy, chicken-fried steak, pistachio pudding, pork rinds, root beer floats, ad infinitum.
    No one is better at bullshitting themselves than fat people. They are able to endlessly rationalize in order to have an excuse to keep shoveling german brand weiners and peanut butter sandwiches into their mouths. An example is the street folklore that has been going around for several years in the circles of the baluga-butted unfortunates. This folklore says that if you cut down on your eating your body thinks you are starving and will not lose weight.
    This, and make no mistake about it, is pure and total self-serving nonsense. If the body stopped losing weight when you stop eating, there would obviously be no such thing as starvation in the world. We could just tell all the starving people on our planet, “Hey, all you have to do is stop eating and you will be fine.” The human body is not a perpetual motion machine and it takes the burning of x amount of calories to generate x amount of necessary energy, period. No matter what you do or how you do it, it will still take x amount of calories to generate x amount of energy, perilod. You can no more change this than you can the speed of light. For things to be otherwise would mean that the laws of thermodynamics are flawed and the greatest physicists on the planet are full of hydrogen sulphide.
    The first you have to do if you want to lose weight, is to stop lying to yourself. Stop the rationalizing, stop the excusing. Most of us know what has calories and what does not. If you don’t know, it is rather simple. If it tastes good, stop eating it. Period. When you go to the supermarket, do not go down the potato chip aisle, do not go down the soda aisle, do not go down the deli aisle, do not go down the dairy aisle. Especially stay away from the Butter Finger aisle and that evil little woman with the white chef’s hat who wants to hand you free samples.
    If it has been processed, pressed, chipped, mixed, powdered, puttied, salted, spread, baked, fried, hydrogenated, creamed, frosted, deviled or breaded, DO NOT EAT IT!
    There is a whole big, wonderful, nutritious, healthy, wholesome, sexy, vitamin-laden pile of things that are good for you in the supermarket. It is called the Produce Section. If you make this your only stop in the supermarket, I can guarantee you that your elephantine buns will swiftly shrink. I promise it. Your cellulite will vanish into the dark caverns of hell from which it came. The fatty apron that prevents you from seeing your toes when you look down will mysteriously go away. Your boobs will become two separate entities again instead of one big blob with two nipples on it.
    Self discipline. Think about these words. Look them up in the dictionary if necessary. Meditate on them while sitting in a tub full of carrots. Self discipline. It will free you.

    • Well, Custis, though it wasn’t exactly PC, and you might get some comments in response (in fact, I hope you do…and I know you do too!), I am going to reserve my response to your response for a blog post all its own. Look for it. :)

    • Well Custis, I’m calling ignorance, assumptions, generalizations, and bullshit on your remarks. No offense.

      Let’s make this assumption, shall we? Healthy eating, reasonable exercise, even an acceptable ‘healthy” weight. What about illness that knocks you on your ass, and your body takes a hit and is never he same? What about an accident that robs you of your ability to exercise? What about the birth of multiple babies, that leaves (normal) traces on the flesh, that a tight-ab-obsessed and superficial culture would suggest requires 5 hours of major surgery in which a woman is sliced open, hip to hip, flesh and muscle cut, hoisted, tossed, battened down, then stitched up with a 4 to 6 month recovery and permanent scarring the price (not to mention the actual price) of this happy process?

      I dare say your assumption of a life in which there are no dependencies, no “issues” of situational stressors beyond the individual’s control is – at best – ignorant.

      Real life has other things in store, for men and women both. I venture to say that emotional and physical health come in all sizes, shapes, weights, and other variations. And those of us who hang in, as loving and contributing parents, children, siblings, lovers, members of a community are far more than a pair of perky breasts, tight cheeks, or a shadow figure to be passed by.

      • Loved it, BLW!
        I took a way different approach in my blog post response to Custis, but I agree wholeheartedly with you. While my personal journey here is about improving my health I also want to go on record as saying that I am moment my moment completely grateful that I can. I am incredibly grateful that I have enough fitness and strength still in me to improve my situation. I have good friends who due to severe health issues and who are much younger than I cannot even contemplate the journey I am on. My heart breaks for them because I know they would love to be out on the slopes skiing or running trails, but they, instead, are imprisoned inside bodies that fail them as all of ours eventually do and must.

        I especially loved your comment:

        I dare say your assumption of a life in which there are no dependencies, no “issues” of situational stressors beyond the individual’s control is – at best – ignorant.

        Real life has other things in store, for men and women both. I venture to say that emotional and physical health come in all sizes, shapes, weights, and other variations. And those of us who hang in, as loving and contributing parents, children, siblings, lovers, members of a community are far more than a pair of perky breasts, tight cheeks, or a shadow figure to be passed by.

        This brought tears to my eyes, because, this is what our slice-and-dice image oriented culture tends to forget with families often paying the price because so many in error adopt these views. This also underscores for me how very, very important that internal journey of patience, kindness (to myself and others less fortunate), respect (always a biggie) and humility are going to be.

        And, please, to all my readers, never ever hear me say that this is easy or that “If I can do it you can too”. It’s a very individual and personal journey with a lot of spiritual and emotional elements tied to it for me which I have not shared here. This really is not about “just looking good naked”. The goal to get in shape is just the starting point, the “looking good naked” is just a bonus, the real deal is what will happen inside me, hopefully translating out to those in my world as the result.

        I’m just so feeling another post brewing here!

    • Nicki

      Custis – I am totally floored that a human being would say these things about another human being.

      First, cellulite. The prevailing medical opinion is that it is merely the “normal condition of many women and some men.” (MedlinePlus Encyclopedia, Cellulite) This does not mean it will vanish when the produce aisle is visited.

      Now, self discipline. While will power and self discipline do come into play with changing one’s lifestyle, they are not the only players. There is the environment, the current lifestyle, the new lifestyle to be strived for. Then there are the pieces to the person’s environment – what the body has been through already, children if female, previous surgeries, previous workout abilities. There are more but these are a few.

      Nothing in the realm of the human being is as simple as you make it out to be. There is the mother who eats nothing but crap so she can afford the produce you mention for her growing children. There is the father who buys the cheapest thing in the grocery as he has paid his money to his ex-wife and his children. There is the woman who has birthed six children and three of those by c-section whose stomach muscles will never be the same again. There is the man who blew out his knee in college and lost all chances of working out when the doctor didn’t do the surgery correctly.

      You are over simplifying a complicated issue.

  6. Uh oh, am I in trouble?

    • Absolutely not, but I had so much to say in response that I figured it would just as easily make another post later this week. I believe it will go live on Tuesday. If you haven’t done so, check out my new page here that shares my journey toward a healthier life. Look up at the tabs at the top. You’ll see they’ve changed.

  7. Not that I want to get in between this – yikes! Healthy living, like The Wild Mind said, is not all about looking good naked. The bottom line is health. The body needs good foods and exercise in order to maintain itself, thus maintain all these creative minds who are responding to this post. I made a conscious, intrinsic choice about 7 years ago to want to be around to see my children graduate, to participate in their weddings, and to possibly see grandchildren. Hopefully not from a wheel chair or the window of a nursing home. After noticeable heath deterioration in my early 40’s it was evident that I had to make the choice to pay now or pay later. Frankly, the pain of running 30 + miles a week is worth it if I can avoid the pain of some surgeon cracking open my chest to switch out clogged arteries. There is no guarantee, I know this. I could drop dead tomorrow, but studies show that there is a far less incidence of certain cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease when one is on a long-standing health/nutrition/exercise plan.

    Looking good naked may happen, or it may not, but the bottom line is, quality of life.

    • Totally agreed, jassnight, and I am really glad you mentioned the thing about…

      “that there is a far less incidence of certain cancers, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease when one is on a long-standing health/nutrition/exercise plan.”

      Which is part of the reason I ventured down this road to begin with. Thanks for commenting.

  8. Izador Millet

    Custis, the girls are talking about feeling good about all aspects of their lives. What I appreciate in this article is the ability to transcend the bio-physical and the psycho-social components of a real touchy issue. I have a female friend who managed to lose about a hundred pounds and keep it off. What she did was instead of dieting (because she discovered that SHE was setting HERSELF up for disappointment), that she would eat as much as she wanted, but she would also have to eat the same volume of fresh fruit and vegetables. Also, she had been very active as a younger person. As an athlete she trained military as an advisor in survival skills. So she knew how to train and train hard. But, what she did to give herself a chance was to choose an activity that she liked. In her case it was walking. So, she put the eating plan and walking together and over time lost the weight, kept it off, and really has a balanced life now.

    As for the discipline and all that . . . this article gives me permission to SUCCEED at at least giving myself a shot at improving my health along with my self image. The discipline that Custis proposes makes as much sense as suggesting a person using a walker should use plyometrics!

  9. Well quite a debate brewing here. As a man, I have a different pov (hence my column name, “A Dad’s Point-of-View”) and a decidedly male opinion. How you look naked matters to ME. And, if you care about your male partner, then it should matter to YOU. Yes, overall health is primary and the scale itself doesn’t reveal the truth about your cardio well-being or other (health) factors. But, if you’re a middle-aged single woman (likely divorced with kids), then paying attention to your body is just a fact of life if you want to get men’s attention. A “good man” will see more than a body, but it is generally the first thing a man responds to (looks).

    I’ve had a re-adjustment in my life due to an injury that gave me more sympathy for those that have trouble losing weight. I had a head injury that evidently caused some metabolic change in which I gained some weight that otherwise I used to be able to lose easily and quickly. For the first time in my life, it’s been tough in spite of extra time at the gym and some dietary adjustments. I thought it was my comeuppance for thinking overweight people were often just lazy.

    Anyway, if I want to lose those few extra pounds, I will just have to adjust accordingly and eat less, period. I already do more than enough exercise.

    Bottom line, caring about your looks means respecting yourself and your partner, if you’re in a relationship and if you’re not, it just enhances your chances for getting in one. Plain and simple, that’s the way it works.

    Good blog; good post; good dialogue!

  10. “What about illness that knocks you on your ass, and your body takes a hit and is never he same? What about an accident that robs you of your ability to exercise? What about the birth of multiple babies, that leaves (normal) traces on the flesh”

    I do not understand what the paragraph above has to do with the simple facts in what I said Biglittlewolf. I do not see what it has to do with ANYTHING I said. I do not remember stretch-marks being part of the discussion either. Do you want to share any more of your physical secrets? It is just a kneejerk reaction because you think I am being mean to fat people and you are taking it as an attack against you. The post is about health and losing weight. I spoke simple fact without candy-coating it with crap. It does not matter if you are a triple amputee and get around by crawling on the fingers of one hand, if you do not take in the calories you are still going to lose weight. My point was not to attack anyone. I only point out simple scientific fact, presented with no malice. I am the living proof of what I say.

    “Custis – I am totally floored that a human being would say these things about another human being.”

    Who did I say anything about Nicki? You? The big-butted women at work? YOu can kneejerk all you want, but everything I said was true. Everything. There is no sense in getting mad at me just because you are fat and I tell you how to lose it. Do you folks think I am pulling this stuff out of a hat? I found out the hard way, trying various fad diets and failing.
    I have now lost over fifty lbs since March so I think I am a bit justified in thinking that I know what I am talking about. I lost it via the one and only method that works. You simply have to stop shoving the wrong stuff into your mouth. You can make excuses till the sun fails to come up, it does not change that one great truth by one iota (never really have figured out just what the hell an iota is, but it seems to work). I am sorry if the overweighters are offended by plain stark facts. You can believe what I say and lose your weight, or you can stay fat and continue to get angry at people who bypass the crap and tell it to you straight.

    “The discipline that Custis proposes makes as much sense as suggesting a person using a walker should use plyometrics!”

    Keep believing this Izador and you will remain overweight for the rest of your days. After all, isn’t it easier to do that than to actually do anything about the weight? Go ahead, get angry at me. Get angry enough to stop eating.
    I spent years being personally involved in helping handicapped people to lose weight, and yes, they can do it too. Your statement is just more excuses and rationalizations. I can lead horses to water but,,,,,,,,,,,
    There comes a time when you have to realize that you can either lose the weight or you can spend the rest of your life being unhappy about it and continuing to dig your grave with your teeth. It was not easy to lose my weight, but I did it my own fool self without any outside help. Oh yea, I had a lot of well-meaning friends trying to give me dieting advice, but they were all fat and still are.
    I still have about thirty pounds to go, but it will be shed. I may not win the Nobel Peace Prize, but I will be thin rather instead of just talking about it. What about the rest of you? If you will just listen instead of taking offense, you will someday come back and thank your uncle Custis.

    • Careful, Custis,
      You are completely entitled to your own opinions, however, I am going to ask that you present them respectfully. Personal insults or flaming have no place here. I appreciate the dialogue and the very strong opinions that are all over the board here, but I hope to open dialogue on the topic, not shut it down.
      TWM

    • Nicki

      Custis – I can’t imagine talking about co-workers behind their backs. That would have been what I was talking about.

      I am not trying to lose weight. If weight loss comes with a change in lifestyle, so be it but that is not the goal. The goal is to be healthy and keep at bay the health issues that have plagued my parents. As I jokingly told one friend, I run away from my heredity, from everything my parents want to give me.

      I am not kneejerking. I am, and I believe I may be paraphrasing BigLittleWolf from another site, trying to realize I do not know what goes on behind others’ closed doors. Or try walking a mile in their shoes before you think you know what someone else does.

  11. Kurt

    “Looking good naked”
    Inherently beautiful
    Exposed and vulnerable
    But confident you’ve nothing to hide
    Behind slim physique, chocolate cake, financial success, nice house
    and car, a gallon of gin every three weeks (not too much tonic and
    plenty of lime).
    This is the discipline of living well
    Health of mind and body follows.

    • Sigh.
      Those words are beautiful on so many levels. To me that speaks of love, of trust, of relationship, of life.
      I’m not there yet in all the areas, but I hope to be, or…at least…more so than I am now….someday…

      Now…about that gallon of gin every three weeks… :D
      (That was a dirty trick to play on a “dieting” gal…lol!)

  12. Gin and tonic is ok, but I much prefer a regular Martini. Two olives, put in AFTER the gin, and then I hold the glass very close to my mouth, quietly whisper the name of the dude who invented vermouth and drink.

  13. “You are completely entitled to your own opinions, however, I am going to ask that you present them respectfully. Personal insults or flaming have no place here. ”

    I insulted someone?

    • It’s the namecalling I am specifically referring to. You are welcome to your opinions and I do appreciate that you shared them. All perspectives are welcome and your experience is as valid as the next person’s, but it would be my goal that we be respectful in sharing our perspectives, that’s all.

  14. I will say no more on the subject.

  15. Thought I’d come out of lurking and comment too. This is a topic that is dear to my heart. Actually, I read Custis’ comments and inside was cheering him on. I found his honesty refreshing – not insulting – because I’ve said the same things to myself. I was one of those women he described, although for YEARS I was in denial about it. I’ve lost nearly 80 pounds -aiming for 100 – and the only thing that got me fat was me. The only thing that got me thin – and I am thin now – was me. I did the work. I had a lot of support, but I did the work. And I have all the other excuses and rationalizations that other people have surfaced. I have degenerative disc disease and fibromyalgia – but I have not let that stop me from running two 5k and one 12k run so far or bicycling 35 miles at a stretch. I can hurt and be fat and unhealthy, or I can hurt and be healthy and lean.

    I also LOVED what the other man (dad’s point of view?) said about it mattering to men. It does matter to them, no matter how we women want to deny it. It’s human nature. Attractiveness is appealing. Would you eat unattractive food, live in an ugly house? We love the beauty in nature (beaches, mountains), what makes our bodies any different? And how I look DOES matter to me, and I DO care that men like how I look. I’m not in a relationship and I really don’t care about being in one or not being in one. I love feeling feminine, attractive, and I love how smaller, prettier clothes fit on me. And a side bonus – smaller sized clothes are less expensive and easier to fit into. Sweet!

    I’ve been around a lot of women – and men – who are successfully losing weight and they all have their obstacles. But they persist at their own speed and their own timeline, but they persist. That counts for something too.

    • Claire,
      So glad you decided to stop by and comment! Love what you had to say. Excuse making is not healthy, and, yes, appearance does matter to men. I, too, appreciated Bruce’s comments there.

      As for the eating unattractive food, ummm, yeah, story of my life. (I’m hoping to change that on this journey as well.) Right now it still seems I’m still trying out for that reality TV show “How To Destroy A Great Meal” and ugly house? Yeah, I’d live in one and do, because it is what I can afford…but the rest of your examples work for me…and…even if they didn’t I totally get your point and can only say “Agreed!” or “What she said” or whatever it is the trendy, edgy young things are saying today.

      Oh, and one more bonus about the smaller sized clothes…there are more cute ones to choose from…after a certain size they just look…well…wrong. What’s up with that?

    • Nicki

      Claire – you are right. It does take work and we should all know that. I am not saying that Custis is incorrect in that it takes self-discipline. I think that he is oversimplifying a very difficult situation for many people. And, yes, I was insulted because I didn’t think I would see those women he was talking about here defending themselves.

  16. Glad you got my point – sometimes my analogies don’t work right.

    Smaller clothes – are you referring to the super duper skinny, skinny jeans that are cut so that they sit real low on the hips and cut in across the bootay? Those look wrong. I can now buy a pair of $9 skinny jeans from WalMart but I have to say the cut in the rise is just wrong and I’m constantly trying to pull them up! LMAO.

    Oh, and you know what? I used to think I was the world’s worst cook too. I always swore that my next hubby – if I had one – would be the cook cuz I couldn’t cook. That’s changed right along with the weight loss. I actually like my cooking now, and so do my kids. My son-in-law is my toughest critic and he’s liked some of my dishes.

    Point being: there’s hope for you too. :)

    • No, no I’m not talking about those super duper skinny, skinny jeans…LOL!
      I know, I ran into someone recently who is a great cook, and he said, “Hey, I like eating good food. I can’t afford it so I had to learn to cook it.” That’s when I decided my own excuse making about the cooking needed to end. It was the same time that it crystallized for me how many excuses I was making in so many other areas of my life. I realized I had a choice, continue with the excuse making (which suddenly I could no longer do because for some reason I really heard myself that time and it sounded lame) or do something about it. This is the result of that decision. So, here I go.

      And, yes, I’ve seen some of your recipes and I will be leaning on them heavily, because if I don’t have good healthy stuff on stand by it won’t matter how much I exercise!!! :D

  17. “It’s the namecalling I am specifically referring to.”

    Who, specifically, did I call a name? And what name did I call them?

  18. I was on that journey. I was looking good. I was feeling good. I was running on a regular basis. I was biking. I was skiing. I was active. Life was going along great. Then I started to not feel so well until one day, I woke up and something was terribly wrong. I ended up in the hospital for nearly a week. I had emergency surgery. I was completely dependent on others for everything including using the restroom and taking a shower. I couldn’t walk without a walker and even at that, I still needed assistance. I could go on, but I’ll save you the details because they really don’t matter.

    I had a genetic disorder that I was unaware of. As a result, I was put on meds. I was also reliant on others to provide food for me because I was on bed rest for nearly 3 months. I noticed that I was gaining weight and pointed it out to my doctor. He shrugged it off. In the end, I ended up gaining 40 pounds primarily because of the meds (it is a known side effect of the medication that I was on) and lack of activity. So while I agree that it does take discipline, I don’t believe that it’s ever as simple as some are claiming it to be.

    After a year and a half and a summer of physical therapy, I was recently “released” to start walking again. I was told I still can’t bike. I can’t ski although I am really hoping to be able to next season. Due to the damage, I’ll never be able to run again. Literally, in one night, my life was turned upside down. Let’s put the weight aside and look at lifestyle because that’s what it’s really about. I don’t care if you think I look good or not. I care if I think I look good. I care if I am able to ski with my children again. I care if I can be able to do the simple things in life again like being able to sit or stand for long periods (yep, I can’t even SIT for long periods – and again, because of the damage, I’ll never be able to).

    You can sit there and call those women in the cafeteria names and put them down for what you assume to be true. That’s ok. Really, it’s just making you look like a jerk. You don’t know their reality. You don’t know what they go home to and what they deal with. You judge them based on a lunch that you watch them eat. I’m not justifying what they eat or don’t eat because I agree that there is something going on in their life, but you have no idea what. Up until the last couple of months, I went home on a regular basis crying from the total pain that I was in and went to sleep…and I did this all being fat. Was I lacking discipline? I suppose I was lacking discipline to make the best food choices, but I was using all of my self discipline just to make myself get up in the mornings and work a full day in a job in which I am surrounded by the public eye. I had to fake my smile and pretend all was well. Let me tell you, that takes some serious self-discipline.

    I don’t really think it matters, but for the record, I am losing weight now and I am working pretty hard at it. It’s also very difficult to do when your activity level is extremely limited, but I am determined…not because I want you or some other stranger or even a man to think I look good…I want to FEEL good about myself, both the reflection that I see and my overall perception of myself. I want my life as back to normal as I can possibly get it and that is going to take a lot of work.

  19. “Really? You want me to go here? I think you can figure that out on your own.”

    Yes. I called no one a name.

  20. Nicki – I think Custis’ discussion of the ladies eating lunch was – from how I interpret it – being used as an analogy – not as a direct slam against those women. The example is something that I did all the time and I am one of the most self-disciplined people around. I would eat one way in public and another way in secret. That’s the way it is with dysfunction. I don’t think he offered that scenario up as a way to insult people or call names so there’s no need for people to feel personally insulted. I could have chosen to feel that way but I’m trying not to take myself so seriously.

    No one is saying that there aren’t personal challenges for each of us. I go back to my statement that I have fibromyalgia. I live in pain every day and that will NEVER go away unless they magically find the cause of it and a cure for it. For the first 4-6 MONTHS of my lifestyle change, I was unable to do ANY activity. *But I still lost weight*. It boiled down to self-discipline, calories in, calories out. Very simple. It wasn’t until after my first year of weight loss that I was able to do any running or even any substantial walking.

    I also submit that healthy eating is not necessarily expensive. I find that buying produce is less expensive and goes farther than boxed mac & cheese, not to mention it’s better for you and more filling.

    Bottom line, if you want something bad enough, you’ll do the work involved to get you there. If you are hurting bad enough, you’ll do the work required to change. It’s a basic fact of nature. Until then, nothing anyone does or says will convince you otherwise.

    Disclaimer: *you* here is the generic *you* and not intended to be a jab or insult toward anyone who wears their feelings on their sleeves.

    I may get censored for that disclaimer too. LOL.

    That’s my take on it.

  21. Nicki

    Claire – we all view what we read and what we see through the looking glass of our own environments and experiences. All of these are different. I see your point of view and I see Custis’s point of view, along with Wild Mind’s, jassnight’s, BigLittleWolf’s and the others here.

    I hold that thinking all it takes is self-discipline is simplistic and not seeing the whole picture. Maybe that is just through my looking glass and not any other’s.

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