Do you find that you can’t lose weight? Have you ever set a goal to lose weight and you were going along well…until you had a bad day and then all bets were off? Me too. For years, I’d diet for 3 days and then binge. Or I’d work out so I’d look good at some event but as soon as the event was over, I’d give up.
I’m going to change that.
I’ve decided to set a goal and get real about losing weight. This is the story of my quest to fit comfortably and appear publicly in a red bikini.
Weight Loss Motivation
Why Should I Lose Weight?
There are lots of great reasons for losing weight. Carrying extra fat around your middle increases your risk of heart disease. Just a few extra pounds increases the load on your joints exponentially, leading to knee problems, among other things. Bad eating habits and low activity can lead to diabetes and many other health problems.
Losing Weight for your health, is a worthy aim!
Or maybe you’ve got an event coming up. A wedding where you’ll be photographed next to your skinny and beautiful cousin, perhaps. Or a high school reunion. “I will not go just so everyone can think wow, she got fat.” I love to lose weight before vacations. It’s a combination of being photographed and feeling beautiful.
Lots of people lose weight just before and event.
And then there’s the ever-popular, always in season goal of looking better in your clothes. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel prettier and more stylish. When your belly flops over the waistband of your pants, that’s a downer, right there. Looking good means feeling good. When you’re confident in your appearance, you’re more apt to take chances or be bold. You aren’t afraid of showing up in the world.
To feel more confident in your appearance is perhaps the best reason to lose weight. But none of those worked as motivation for me. Here’s why:
In order to accomplish a long-term goal, you need to get perfectly clear on your reasons for doing it. Even in weight loss, it starts with why!
Why I Couldn’t Lose Weight
I felt like my health was in pretty good order. I’m not obese. I’m just slightly over the healthy BMI range for my height and age. I knew I should lose weight to be “healthy” but I didn’t feel like it was urgent.
There was no event coming up. Plus, I know all about how to hold my body, how to pose to look thinner and conceal extra pounds. As a photographer, this was my specialty…so I wasn’t worried about that.
I felt great in my clothes most of the time. After years of learning, I know my body type. I know what shapes, textures, and colors flatter my figure and how to make the most of my best assets.
So none of the main reasons for losing weight were compelling enough to keep me on the track to a healthier figure.
My husband and I recently celebrated our 15th anniversary. We took a week-long cruise without the children. This was the first time since our honeymoon that we have been away for that long together.
We’re normally very kind, very body-image friendly, never talk about other people… What I’m trying to say is, we’re good people and we don’t talk this way in front of our kids, but…
We talked a lot about the other people on the beach.
It started out innocently enough:
“That’s a cute swimsuit.”
Then escalated just a tad:
“Why do teenage girls think that’s cute to wear stuff like that?”
“Oh my goodness, is that a cry for attention or what?”
Before long it was getting out of hand:
“Whoa! Don’t look now, but that lady’s wearing a beige bikini and she’s the most naked-looking clothed person I’ve ever seen!”
At this point in the story, you might think you know where this is headed: that I began to wonder what people thought of me. Nope. I didn’t. I actually think I look pretty good for a thirty-something mom of 4 kids. And I bought a super cute swimsuit that flattered my figure like WOW.
If people were talking bad about me, who cares?!
The Red Bikini
Then I saw her… the woman in the red bikini.
She was 30-something, maybe even in her 40’s. She wasn’t bouncing around and drawing attention to herself like the young girls. Not chasing after any one or desperate for approval.
She walked into the ocean alongside her man, and I said to my husband, “Now, that’s a classy bikini.”
I couldn’t stop watching her.
She had an elegance about her. And yet, she looked like she could have a lot of fun too.
Suddenly and without warning… I wanted a red bikini! Not the skimpy string-y kind the teens were wearing, an elegant two-piece like hers. But I could never pull that off.
I got a little mad.
Suddenly, I no longer wanted to choose clothes based on what flattered my mom-bod. I wanted to pick the clothes that made me happy!
I wanted a bikini… or at least the option of wearing one if I choose.
I wanted the confidence and grace that the woman in the red bikini had.
The self-assured sexiness that only a grown-up woman can have.
What I felt wasn’t envy. It was like my eyes were opened and I realized how much I’d been hiding.
My slumped shoulders told of too many hours at the computer.
My thick middle was a testament to the desserts I ate every night as a way to soothe my stress and feel some joy.
My cute one-piece wasn’t chosen from some godly choice to be modest…it was an attempt to slenderize my figure and hide the parts I don’t like.
I wanted a body that told of discipline, self-care, internal peace.
A few days later, I was still thinking about it.
My husband’s entire outlook on life changed earlier this year when he started doing push-ups daily. Just a small change in physical activity and eating habits and he’s lost 20 lbs!
If he can do it, I can do it.
I’ve been meaning to join him in taking better care of ourselves, but until now I didn’t have a goal that inspired me.
No number on the scale spurred my enthusiasm.
There wasn’t some event I wanted to look great at.
I knew what to do–diet & exercise–I just lacked the motivation.
Motivation came in a desire to be free from any insecurity about my body. I didn’t just want to look good in my clothes, I wanted to feel confident in anything I chose to wear.
The brave little woman inside of me said, “I dare you.”
I bought a red bikini.
So this is about me
- owning my body
- owning my sexuality
- feeling my own strength
- overcoming the urge to hide
- finding joy in life, relationships, God… not just food.
It’s about not letting “late thirties” be the start of a downhill slide.
Dang it, I’ve been a child, a naive teen, a wife and a mother, but it’s time to feel like a woman.
Before I’m an old woman.
Here’s my plan for now.
I’m going to eat very low carb or no carb 3 days a week.
I am going to do low to moderate exercise consistently until I feel stronger. This includes things like yoga, Pilates, walking, riding my bike casually.
I’m going to focus on core strength exercises to improve my posture.
I joined a modern dance class…this isn’t really for fitness, but it’s a way for me to connect to my body and enjoy physical activity. It also happens to be full of teenagers so it’s a brave move!
I’ll be using the LoseIt! app to track my weight every morning and I’ll think about tracking my meals too…not sure if I want to do that yet.
I’ll take a photo in the red bikini once a month to track progress and non-scale victories. #doingitscared
Once a week, I’ll be jumping in to share how I’m doing, how much I’ve lost and what’s been working for me.
I started with a “Before” photo, but I’m too scared to share it publicly until there’s an after to go with it. If you’d like to see it and get inspiration for your weight loss journey, let me know the best email for you and I’ll keep you updated! Let’s do this!
Losing weight shouldn’t be about shame or denial. It should be a gift you give yourself. I’m giving myself the confidence to wear a red bikini, even if I choose to stay modestly covered in my one-piece. I’m feeding my body better, I’m giving myself strength and flexibility, and I’m giving myself the permission to shine!
You deserve that too. Join me?
Lemon Water and Celery Sticks,