"All I Want is to be Skinny."

*This honest and open reflection was written by SPU student J.S. who was a student of mine and I post it here with permission. 

weight loss


Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and said I wish I could lose 30 pounds? Well if you said yes I have something to tell you.

Every morning I stand in front of my mirror and take a good hard look at myself and tell myself that I need to change. I tell myself that I am not good enough for anyone and that my exterior is drastically more important than my character. After that I get dressed and AGAIN take a good hard look at myself. I will tell myself that what I am wearing is good enough because no one even sees me anyways.

BUT I want to tell you something.

You are beautiful and strong. You are fighting a battle that God has already won for you. He is the one that you can find your identity in. Your health does not necessarily represent your weight. Your desired weight is just a unit of measurement that is completely unrealistic of an actual human being. You are so much more than a number.

And if you are thinking that people only see you as the fat person, they don’t. They see you for your character, your personality, if you make them laugh, and your kindness. These things are who you are. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to change because your BMI says you are obese. If you want to change do it because it feels right to you. Don’t let anyone else set your goals for you. You need to tell yourself that you are changing for YOU and not for the world.

The world will never stop throwing you down until you decide to lift yourself up!

This is one of the hardest truths to hear. I have struggled with weight gain and obesity my whole life. I wish I could explain to you the lies that I tell myself everyday. Putting this in writing is scary for me. I have always seen myself as the fat girl. Everywhere I go I only see skinny people. I take there beauty and compare it to myself and will tell myself that I am worth nothing because I don’t look like what society wants me to look like.

But I have decided that the way I perceive myself is the first thing that needs to change. If I lost those 30 pounds but continued to perceive myself as not good enough those thoughts would still be there and I would probably just gain the weight back. This battle is not an easy one.

I want to encourage you to stand in front of a mirror and out loud tell yourself that you are beautiful. This may seem crazy but I promise you this works. When you learn to compliment yourself you will see that the size of your jeans won’t matter as much because you can see yourself for more than a number.

God never created you to fight this battle alone. He is our Rock and we can always lean on him. To be completely honest there will be good days and there will be really bad days.  That's normal.  Everyone does. Continue fighting your battle and remember that being skinny is NOT the goal.

Your goal is up to you and you are the only one who can change the way you perceive yourself.

When You Ask: But Isn't Sugar "Bad?"

sugar bad?.png

This is probably one of the questions I get the most from my clients, students, friends and family! 

But you see, it's not that simple.  I would have to ask you a whole bunch of questions right back: 

1. "BAD" for what?

"Bad" is a word we throw around so much yet is not very descriptive nor scientific.  What is the context we're talking about? Are we talking about the effect of sugar on cavities? On weight? On managing a specific condition or preventing a condition?  

Sure, there are adverse health effects that can potentially come from eating sugar, but that can be said about pretty much ANY food depending on what context we're putting it in. 

2. WHAT KIND of sugar are we talking about?

Equally, "sugar" is also not a very specific term.  Are we talking about only sucrose, aka table sugar, or fructose(found in fruits) and lactose(found in dairy), the starches(found in grains or starchy vegetables like potatoes), or other type of sweeteners? 

But even if we were to just be speaking about "sugar" as in mostly "sweet foods," we still need more information. 

3. HOW MUCH (sugar) are we talking? 

This is one of the most important questions we need to think about when discussing something as a "bad food" and feel like we must ban it forever and never touch it again!  Are we talking eating loads of it 3 times a day? Once a day? Twice a week? Maybe very occasionally? Again, we need to put it in context.

When you read about research results about the potential effects of any food, there is most likely something called a dose-dependent effect, which means it takes a certain amount/frequency for a potential effect to happen (if it happens at all!), and the strength of the effect will likely increase as the dose increases.  Therefore, how much, how often really does matter. 

Then again, food is ONE factor of health, but it definitely isn't the ONLY factor.  Genetics, environment, stress levels, other lifestyle behaviors (just to name a few!) also have significant effects on health and disease, which also need to be taken into consideration if we want to talk about the effects of food and nutrition.

is sugar bad

4. WHAT ELSE are you eating?

Another really important follow-up question!  Is the amount and frequency of sugary foods a person is eating crowding out room for other nutrients and potentially creating various nutrient deficiencies?  OR are they still eating a a pretty good variety of foods?  Those would be two very different situations. 

Perhaps a person eats a cup of ice cream almost every evening.  But let's say that person also eats a pretty balanced meals 3 times a day with a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables that would give them a lot of vitamins and minerals.  Would the effect of "sugar" in that person's diet be the same as someone who also eats a cup of ice cream every evening, but whose remaining diet consists mostly of less nutritious options such as soda, fast foods, and other processed foods?

5. WHEN and WHY are you eating sugar? 

This is also such an important question to think about and I will often have many conversations around this with my clients.  Are you eating sugar constantly, because it just sounds so good? Is it mostly mindless and/or emotional eating after a long stressful day at work?  Do you dislike other foods and only like the taste of sweet foods?

Or do you not think about sweets too much at all, but just happen to have it on an occasional night or at a celebration like a birthday party or wedding?  WHY we eat something matters, because a lot of times, when someone has undesirable eating behaviors going on, there is likely a very good reason behind it that may even have NOTHING to do with food. (This warrants a whole other type of conversation!)

Getting the point yet?!

There are MANY factors that need to be considered before we can start talking about the potential effects, and depending on all of these different factors for which every individual will differ, the answer to the question "but isn't sugar bad?" can have many, MANY different answers.

And if anyone tries to tell you--without considering those different factors and individual complexities--that sugar is simply BAD period, stop listening to that person and run in the other direction. They are not using sound science and evidence, but fear and restriction, which I can most confidently tell you is NOT the way to finding your health(physical AND emotional) or happiness.