If I’m forgoing the usual methods of measuring lifestyle changes *cough* diets *cough* such as getting on the scales or out with the tape measure, then how am I to know if the program is a success or not?
Well, usually when I’ve gone on a program I’ve been totally invested in the fantasy of being thin. My fantasy includes:
- Losing 1/3 of my body size, effortlessly and without any residual flabbiness ie I’m toned, taught and terrific, and somehow look and feel ten years younger
- My hair and make-up is flawless (though I’m at a loss to understand how losing weight is going to accomplish this one)
- I have a fabulous wardrobe of wonderful clothes now that suddenly the whole world of shopping hitherto denied me because of my size is available and of course it will all fit perfectly
- I’m making loads more money because now I’m confident and outgoing and above all thin
- I’m making loads of friends because now I’m confident and blah, blah, blah …
And of course my favourite and oft rehearsed part, I will have my revenge on every person who was nasty and dismissive of me whilst I was fat by rejecting categorically their every attempt to become part of my august presence.
OK I’m making light of those fantasies, but they really are the thoughts that have powered my desire to be thin. A desire to be thought attractive, a desire to have nice clothes and lots of money and be able to have and be and do all the things I’ve always wanted to do. And you know, have others be jealous of me like I was jealous of them. And maybe, just maybe, share even the slightest portion of the pain and anguish that their very real discrimination and humiliation caused me.
But, here’s the thing: I don’t really want to hurt other people. Even those who hurt me. In the moment I really, really do, but that moment passes and I think too much of my own well-being to really pursue vengeance.
And the other things, the clothes, the money, the relationships. I can have them now, at the size and shape I am right now. Sure it may be a harder whilst I’m fatter, but it can happen. Apart from the fact that it’s ridiculous to assume being thin will be a magical portal to having those things anyway.
So why then am I embarking on this HAES journey? What do I want to achieve and what can I expect?
- I want to strengthen my core muscles and reduce back pain
- I want to release my feelings of resentment and anger
- I want to heal my relationship with food so I can enjoy eating without negative feelings
- I want to be strong, flexible and resilient
- I want to forgive those who’ve hurt me and let go of my pain
- I want to be confident and believe in the goodness of people again
- I want to enjoy more physical activities without being preoccupied with fatness
- I want to be happy and joyful with who I am right now
- I want to live a long, active life
That’s what I want.
It seems kind of a lot of pressure to put onto one simple program. What can I expect from HAES?
I can expect to create regular movement habits.
I can expect to create nutrition habits.
I can expect to deal with and release some of my issues re bodies, fat and health.
I can expect to be happier and to stabilise my moods. I can expect to get involved.
Most importantly I can expect improvement of those things that really do measure health – cholesterol levels, levels of trans fat and so on. Instances of pain and illness will be less overall and easier to recover from when they happen.
I can expect to become healthier as a result of regular movement and good nutrition.
The rest is kind of up to me.
Further reading – 40 Ways To Measure Success Beyond The Scale.