Should I lose weight if it's stopping me from doing what I want to?
I had a question land in my Instagram DMs recently on something that I wasn't expecting.
A very lovely lady (who is cool about me sharing the query on my blog) reached out to ask my advice. Whilst I don't claim to be an expert on anything other than brunch and the mid to late noughties series of Big Brother, I am always happy to offer a shoulder to lean on with antidiet stuff if poss. The question that hit me this week was as follows:
I really want to do a skydive but there's a weight limit and I'm over it. Obviously I'm now considering losing weight for it, but don't want to become fixated on it. I already have a pretty skewed relationship with food and exercise so I don't know how to approach this.
What I'd say, from my highly unqualified and can-only-speak-from-my-own-anecdotal experience, is that figuring this out might be a case of weighing up (soz) what's more important to you in the long term: losing weight or doing the skydive? And no judgement from me for choosing either option. I never judge people for wanting to lose weight. It's a tough, fatphobia world out there, chaps, and we're all just trying to muddle through it. All I'm here to do is (hopefully) show that happiness and a good relationship with food, exercise and yourself isn't waiting for you in a calorie restricted diet and a size six skirt. But anyway, I digress.
Whilst I've never had to deal with this specific problem (mainly because I'm way too much of a wimp to do a skydive), I feel like I can relate to this in a couple of tiny ways. Personally, whenever I feel even a little bit disordered in my thoughts around food and my body, I have to make difficult decisions in the interest of good selfcare. So if I'm not feeling 100% antidiet and 100% anti-me and I'd planned to go for a run, I won't go for the run. Even though my brain is telling me that I have to and that, indeed, physically and cardiovascularly it would be 'good for me', I don't go, because I know that challenging those thoughts now means a less disordered me in the long run and preserving my sanity is a lot more important to me than pounding the pavements.
Equally, even though I generally feel pretty good, solid and stable in my relationship with my changing body and gaining weight, I still don't weigh myself or look at the scale when I get weighed at the doctor. Even though, just out of curiosity, I would be interested to know my weight, and even though I feel like knowing it wouldn't adversely affect me, I don't want all the hard work I've done to feel less disordered to go to waste. Because there are still days when I don't feel great about the whole thing, so I know that I still have it in me to be triggered by the scale (for example). And so, I don't weigh myself (or use a tape measure or overanalyse the fit of my jeans or anything). Maybe there will be a day where it won't affect me and even though the curiosity kills me every time I see a scale, I know that it's not in my best interest to do it right now. Never say never, but not right now.
So if you feel, similarly, like going on the skydive and having to intentionally lose weight to do so would be detrimental to the journey you're on, then maybe you could give it some time and keep working to better your relationship with food. You don't have to totally table the idea, as this might lead to you blaming your body for what it inhibits you from doing, rather than being grateful for what it allows you to do, but I feel like dieting and a healthy relationship with food and your body just don't go hand in hand. But maybe, in a little while, if you're still desperate to do it, you could return to the skydive idea if and when you feel a little more solid in your relationship with food and your body, if you really feel like it either won't make you feel disordered and is truly more important to you than the possibility that it might.
I hope this is helpful to anyone going through a similar situation and would love to hear any more thoughts on conundrums like this if you have any!