Its not uncommon to see “Reasons Why” on thinspo or proana blogs— lists of reasons to become skinny. Almost every time I read one of these lists I get upset. Why? Because the reasons listed support an unhealthy lifestyle and mindset and the achievements listed are dubious at best and completely untrue at their worst. I feel like a lot of girls might read these lists and say “I want that too!” and convince themselves that unhealthy weight loss will help them to get it (whatever it is.)
So, I decided to offer my own perspective— a list of reasons to lose weight the healthy way. I hope that reading this list can convince at least one girl that healthy weight loss is the way to go.
1) Healthy weight loss is actually more effective. Starving your body causes it to pump out stress hormones and these hormones tell your body to hold on to every calorie it can. Your body literally thinks you are on a desert island with no food in sight and it is trying to conserve your calories as fat so that you won’t die. This means even though you may be eating drastically less than is healthy, your weight loss will slow to a crawl, and you’ll end up losing weight at a far slower pace than if you were actually eating more, living healthier and being happier. Why put yourself through hell to get worse results?
2) Those who eat healthy as less likely to binge. If you feed your body nutrient-rich foods when you are hungry, your hunger won’t build until it is uncontrollable. Also, cravings are often your body’s way of telling you it is lacking certain nutrients. Give your body these nutrients daily and watch your craving diminish!
3) You will have more energy. Food is fuel, and without it you will slow down. Lack of energy can impact your mood, your grades or work performance, your ability to exercise, your relationships, etc.
4) You will be more beautiful. Seriously. Your body requires healthy fats and a range of nutrients to produce new skin, hair, and nail cells. Without these, you are likely to develop brittle hair and nails, even premature wrinkles.
5) You won’t be lonely. I’ve seen a lot of “reasons why” that list things like “people will like you more” or “all the boys will like you” etc. But you know what? If you dedicate 80% of your thoughts to food and weight loss, you have a lot less time to think of everyone else. You may ignore your friends or significant other. You will find yourself turning down plans or invites to parties for fear of the food that awaits you there. You will lie to the people you love. You will keep secrets from them. And you know what? If all that is happening, it doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or 22, your relationships will suffer. Healthy weight loss is something you can actually share with your friends and family. You can go to the gym together, cook healthy meals, run a 5k together, and you can be happy and open and proud of all these things.
6) You will be stronger. Every time I read “stay strong” in reference to unhealthy or disordered eating I get seriously pissed off. Unhealthy eating will diminish your physical and mental strength. You are not getting stronger. You are getting weaker. It makes me really angry that society has taught us that women need to appear weak in order to have worth or be loved. More, it has made us think that weakness is, in itself, a form of strength. FUCK THAT. Be strong, truly strong, by being healthy. If there is someone out there that you think will only like you if you appear weak and fragile, then that person is weak. People who are strong and confident look for those qualities in a significant other. Do you want to date someone who is looking for someone weak who they can control, or someone who is strong and wants a partner, someone who is truly their equal?
7) You won’t regret it. You won’t find yourself 20 years from now unable to have children because you ruined your hormones. You won’t have osteoporosis at the age of 30. You won’t need a kidney transplant at the age of 35. You won’t wear dentures at 40. You won’t have an abbreviated life-span, even after you have given up your disordered eating. If you lose weight the healthy way you will live longer and you will live better. End of story.
8) You will like yourself more. Many girls think that if they starve themselves into a size zero, they will suddenly love themselves. This is not true. If you don’t respect yourself, you can’t love yourself, and starving your body is no way to show it respect. But if you set healthy goals and reach them, if you see yourself getting stronger and smarter as a result of your weight loss journey, you will be proud of yourself. You will realize that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. You will be able to appreciate your progress and the work it took to get there.
9) You will be less flabby and saggy. When you lose weight too quickly, your skin doesn’t have time to catch up. This results in saggy skin and low-hanging lady lumps. (Yes, I just said lady lumps.) Also, if you’re not getting enough protein, you will lose muscle tone (regardless of how many muscle building exercises you do) resulting in a squishier body.
This list is far from complete — there are so many reasons to fight for a healthy body and mind. Can you think of one I left out? Head over to my ask box and let me know.