Why "Being Thin" Is The Wrong Fitness Goal

mbg Contributor By Jennifer Hand
mbg Contributor
Jenn Hand is a food coach, blogger, speaker, and retreat leader at Jenn Hand, LLC, helping clients overcome their struggles around food. She has a bachelor's in communications, advertising, and public relations from Penn State University, and currently lives in the Greater Denver area.
Why "Being Thin" Is The Wrong Fitness Goal

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I spent about 20 years of my life wishing I was thinner. But no matter how much weight I lost, I still never thought my body looked "right." I always wanted to change it or fix it so that I would look different from how I was in that moment.

So much of my mental energy and thoughts over the years have been consumed with thinking about my body and wanting to be thinner. The fantasy of thinness becomes the promise of a new life.

When I'm thinner, I'll start dating. When I lose weight, I'll stop avoiding social outings and go out with friends more. When I get back to where I was last year, I'll rock this new dress I bought. When I'm a different size, I'll sign up for that dance class I've always wanted to take.

But when we do lose the weight and actually get to the size we want to be...then what?

It may bring a moment of elation: We fit into that dress, we look great in a pair of jeans, or we don't mind being naked as much. But then?

We still have to deal with life. The tub of ice cream will still be our go-to coping mechanism or we'll hear the call of the cookies when conflict arises and we don't want to deal with it.

We lose the weight, but we are still us, with the same habits, behaviors, and reactions.

This desperate "wishing to be thinner" only derails the journey. The real work is about going inside and looking at WHY we do what we do with food. (But that's for another post!)

So when you find yourself desperately wishing you were thinner, remember these two things:

1. Find your "enoughness."

We are all born knowing we are enough. Little kids don't ever question whether or not they're enough. They simply know. They show up exactly as they are in this world and never for a second wonder if they are "good enough."

Being "not enough" or thinking we aren't acceptable until X (e.g., we're thinner, have a nicer car, get a better job, etc.) is a learned behavior. But gradually we've grown up learning that in order to be acceptable, we've got to look or be different than we are.

But I'm calling BS on all of it. Who ever said that a size 16 is "less than" a size 4? Who actually determined that this shape is better than that body type?

It all begins with how we perceive ourselves. And it starts with finding enoughness. The deep belief that you are acceptable just as you are.

So, where and how do you find this? You find it inside of you.

If you can't find it, don't know what it feels like, or are confusing being enough with needing to change…make this your mission. Fervently explore how to "find" the feeling of enough.

I found it through meditation, journaling, connection inside, and a deep knowing that innately, I AM enough.

You may find it through any of these or something else: religion, spiritual work, writing, a passion, affirmations, etc.

If you need permission to believe it, here is that permission, permission to be exactly who are you in this world. You are enough just by being you.

This isn't something you find once you're done searching. It's a lifelong process of remembering and forgetting.

How do you believe you are enough? Because you just are.

You're still YOU with or without the extra weight. There is no one as beautifully unique, with exactly your qualities, look, quirks, personality, and way of being in this world. Accept that. Embrace it.

Enoughness isn't something you "get." It's something you discover that was there all along…a deep whisper in your soul that beckons and calls and waits for you to connect with it.

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2. Find what you really want.

What else do you want besides being thinner or having a different body? Go deeper here. What do you deeply, truly, desire for more than anything?

Comfort in your skin? To look better in clothes? Confidence?

These are all just scratching the surface. What else do you really want?

For me when I desperately struggled with food and my weight, I asked myself this question. It took some prodding to go deeper and hear the answer because for so long, I stuffed it down and ignored it.

I wanted to travel and explore the world. I wanted to do something big with my life. I wanted to explore my passion for writing. I wanted to find deep connection in an intimate relationship, and I wanted to end a relationship that I was in. I wanted freedom to explore who I was without the expectations of others.

But wanting to be thinner was easier. I knew how to "fix" that problem. Diet, exercise, restrict, control my food. Boom, problem solved.

Except you all know how that cycle goes (cue binge, overeating, then promising to start over again).

You see, I wanted to travel but felt terrified of quitting my job. I wanted to do something big and bold with my life but was afraid I never would. I wanted to explore my passion for writing but was scared of what others would think. I wanted to be more intimate but was horrified at the thought of baring my soul to someone. I wanted to end a relationship but was scared at the thought of being alone. I wanted so much more, but change, uncertainty, and failure terrified me.

Focusing on controlling my food and changing the number on the scale was a much more familiar issue. It made it possible to avoid facing my biggest desires. It was an easy, familiar problem that I knew how to "fix."

So what is it that you deeply want? If you don't know, ask the question anyway. See if anything comes up. Begin to open the conversation with the deeper part of you—she's always speaking to you; the hard part is just learning how to listen.

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