Advantages of Staying Overweight

Young girl measuring her waist.

NOTE: I probably should’ve named this post the “advantages of not dieting” rather than the advantages of staying overweight. What will happen to my weight when I focus my energies on other goals than actively trying to lose weight? I don’t know but  I hope that I don’t gain more weight.  Of course it’s also quite possible I don’t lose any weight either.

I’m going to do it anyway. 🙂

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The last four months have been pretty busy and I haven’t used much energy to further my weight loss.

The good news is that even though I haven’t lost any weight, I haven’t gained more weight either.

On the other hand, when I was running some errands yesterday, I happened to see my reflection in a window I was passing. What I saw was this short, plump and waist-less middle-aged woman, which was a nasty reminder about the fact that what I appear on the outside doesn’t correspond to what I feel like on the inside.

Now that I’m not so busy, I thought I would restart my weight loss efforts by gauging my motivation for losing weight.

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I decided to do a paradoxical version of the cost benefit analysis technique I’ve used many times before. Paradoxical means that I only list the advantages of staying overweight. That is what I did yesterday evening.

Here are my advantages of staying overweight (or not dieting)

 

  1. I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want
  2. I don’t need to diet anymore and I can focus on other things in my life
  3. I can feel morally superior to the superficial culture that is overly focused on looks and body weight 🙂
  4. I can comfort myself with food any time I feel like it
  5. I can make my food choices on the basis of what I want to eat, not what I feel I should eat to lose weight or for “health”
  6. I don’t need to feel guilty about my food choices
  7. Men who are interested in me will (presumably) be interested in my because of my personality and what I am, not because of my looks
  8. I can finally stop overthinking my diet, looks and weight
  9. NO need to exert self-control over eating

 

I started doing my little task with the expectation that I would be more motivated to lose weight. The opposite thing happened.

My list of advantages of losing weight – like getting rid of my flabby underarms and being able to find better-looking clothes* – was no match to the advantages of not dieting anymore. The bolded items on my list are the ones that count, the rest are virtually insignificant.

I’m so tired of putting all this mental energy to weight loss when my life could benefit so much if I put the same amount of energy to improving it in other ways.

Nevertheless, there are a couple of questions I need to address before I give up dieting.

* I have a list of all the advantages of losing weight too. It has seventeen items on it.  🙂

Will I be happy with my looks?

No, I am not happy with the way I look at the moment. I know I won’t be happy when I’m shopping for new clothes or a pair of bras or when I catch my reflection in a shop window. But I think I can live with it – my appearance is not the most important thing in my life and I don’t spend much of my time shopping for clothes either.

I don’t love the way I look but I don’t loath my looks either.

What about my health?

What about my health them? Am I not putting it in jeopardy if I don’t try to lose weight?

I don’t think so. My BMI is 29,2 at the moment, and as long as it stays under 30 I think I will be pretty safe health-wise. And of course I wont stop doing the other things that are good for my health like exercising and eating a mostly reasonable diet.

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I can’t really put it into words how happy and liberated I feel. Now I can finally concentrate on the important things in my life. 🙂

If you’re curious about the cost benefit analysis technique, check my post on weight loss excuses.

Your thoughts, please!

Comments

  1. Marion says:

    Hi Satu! Well… well, well. I think your above comparison of benefits of each is not really fair or accurate–because you don’t accurately remember the benefits of being slim. It is SO MUCH better than you describe above. Very much better!!! There are so many reasons(!!!) that it is better that I was going to do a blog post about that–but the reasons got so detailed and lengthy that it could make up to 6 blog posts just on happiness of being slim. It’s almost as though you didn’t want losing weight to win, so your thoughts formulated toward that goal of it not doing so well. I think there are a lot of mind games involved, which lead to self-sabotage. You can do what you want, but this thought process above does NOT sound like your normal self that I’ve come to know. 😀

    🙂 Marion

    • Satu says:

      Hi Marion!

      I don’t think you’re right about my not remembering the advantages of being slim because I do. I was at my goal weight 4 years ago before I got depressed and promptly ballooned to my current size. Also, 10 years ago I lost weight till I was size 6 and I kept most of my weight loss for quite a long time. Was I happy with my figure or my life then? Not at all. Did I have a happy relationship with food? Of course not!

      Losing weight is not a problem per se, I’ve done it may times in my adult life. What really bugs me is the fact that dieting never seems to end and paying too much attention to the details of my diet seems to make me unhappy and obsessed. So either I find a way to lose my extra weight in a less obsessed way or I’ll be plump from now on.

      Of course I’m free to reverse my decision any time I feel fit. I can always get back to losing weight the usual way. 🙂

  2. Linda says:

    HI Satu!
    Well, your post came at an interesting time as while I was doing a huge amount of errands today, my thought process started to go in the direction of what if I just decided to stop trying to lose weight and eat whatever I want again. In all honesty, it was very tempting to think about, especially while passing a favourite restaurant where I used to eat a lot of unhealthy stuff. Then I remembered how awful I used to feel after eating it. Of course, I now also have a health issue, resulting from being obese, that if I stop eating healthy, I will not live long, so that answers that!
    Maybe you just need a break from it all – like you say, the obsessing about calories in and types of foods, etc.., or as you say a change in how it is done. Only you will figure that out! Either way, I wish you continued good health!

    • Satu says:

      Hi Linda! it’s the process of tracking calories and macronutrients and keeping a food journal is what brings out the neurotic in me. And that is what I find so tiring, not eating the diet I do. I’m also not tempted to go eat at restaurants or have fast food (I do that very rarely ) so I doubt I will start that now either….

      I also don’t have acute health problems to worry about – I’m actually feeling great if you don’t take into account those bumps with low back pain etc.

      • Linda says:

        Hi Satu! If you feel great, you do what works for you for sure. I completely understand feeling burnt out with the details as I have the tendency to become neurotic about it myself – hence the feeling burnt out! Glad to here you are feeling well! 🙂

  3. Deb says:

    I completely understand this. For me it had gotten to the stage that my binge eating was outweighing the benefits of trying to ‘diet’. I’ve found it very freeing – not HAVING to make certain choices or restrictions. It’s certainly empowering… the notion of being able to eat what you want and not thinking you SHOULD be doing something differently.

    Of course the assumption of the not-dieting approach is that once we feel happier about ourselves and our lives, we stop making bad choices (bingeing in my case) and perhaps even start to lose weight.

    Not dieting has – for me – made the past year or so liveable, but I still struggle with the weight issue. However, finally I’m seeing it from a different perspective.

    Deb

    • Satu says:

      Hi Deb! I knew that you would understand me. 🙂

      What I’m looking for is peace of mind around food. I didn’t find that in any of my earlier weight loss attempts even when they were successful. I certainly learned nothing useful about eating when I lost 26 lbs (13 kg) of weight with WW 10 years ago.

      That is also why I’ve worked so hard to learn to be more relaxed around food (it has taken me 2 years to get there). I’ve even learned to eat chocolate and candy in moderation which wasn’t possible for me 3 years ago. But I think I still have mindset issues with food I need to work with before I’m done. Those issues aren’t resolved with tracking calories and focusing on the minutiae of eating.

  4. Lori says:

    Satu – nothing wrong with maintaining where you are. Losing weight is stressful – especially when you are at it for a long, long period of time (which it seems as women we are). Happiness and self-acceptance comes only from the inside and not the scale. Finding peace with food is a big step to actually losing again. When you don’t associate food with guilt or punishment and it becomes something that you enjoy, bot don’t overdo – then you will shed weight easier.

    • Satu says:

      Hi Lori! You pinpointed exactly what the problem seems to be for me. 🙂 But then I guess you’ve thought about these things yourself…

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