Making it about how I feel, not how I look

I’m fatter than ever. At least I think I am. I certainly feel it. Part of me wants to lock myself away and wallow in self loathing. At least I feel like I should. However the fact I’m not indulging in self-flagellation reminds me of how far I’ve come – body image (self-acceptance) wise. Although I may just be in denial… 😉

Of course the flip side of that is that – while I feel hugely fat and unhealthy and suspect I look even worse – I don’t really despise myself enough to get motivated to do something about my weight.

I want to (lose weight, not despise myself #obvs). But I’m torn. Still.

I haven’t talked for ages about my weight, dieting, not dieting, exercise or food. Indeed, I can’t remember the last time I had to select ‘Diet Schmiet’ as a blog post category.

It’s because I’ve been struggling. A lot. I yo-you between: 1. not-dieting and binge-eating, or at least over eating regularly; to 2. late night decisions that I’m about to embark on a protein shake / no carbs / semi-starvation type diet.

I know ‘extreme’ diets and fast weight loss aren’t sustainable but I feel desperate and I feel uncomfortable. I hate to admit it but my weight has become an issue. (And yes, I know that probably is an understatement for someone with a BMI of 41.7!)

Quite frankly if someone could knock me on the head, render me unconscious and drip feed me for two months until I lost 20kg I’d be happy. Of course I’d still have another 20kg to be at my ‘ideal’ weight, but still…

I’m trying not to panic. I’m trying to remind myself that ANY weight loss from where I’m at is a good thing. Even if it’s slow and steady.

And very importantly, I’m trying to make it less about how I look and more about feel. Of course if I was a more evolved person it’d be more about my health, however I take the wins where I can get them. And I can’t help but think when I’m focussing on ‘how I look’ it’s about what others think; rather than something more intrinsically-driven.


I’m hoping that by admitting to these five issues it’ll somehow get etched into my brain and remain there as a reminder.

Being (very) overweight means:

1. Walking is a struggle. I get shin splints from walking very short distances and an aching hip / lower back (note this is an old injury which has obviously been exacerbated by my weight gain). This makes any weight-bearing exercise problematic.

2. My joints are under more pressure. Following on from (1), if I have to stand for ages at the sink or vacuum (etc) my lower back and hip start to ache. (This is new.)

3. I’ve become one of those people who struggle to get out of low chairs. My sofa’s quite low and I’ve noticed that – like a fat person (yes, I am in denial!) – I have to plant my feet like a sumo wrestler to stand.

4. My stomach gets in the way. Often. The last time I did yoga I felt super-self -conscious of my large belly. It impeded HEAPS of poses and was really frustrating. In fact, it’s basically preventing me going back – which I realise is kinda ironic as some calorie-burning exercise would help my big distended belly!

5. I feel very unfit. Before I did Weight Watchers (and lost the 12kg earlier this year) I talked about having some heartburn and pains and being unable to take large breaths. That had improved a little but is problematic again.

The biggest challenge is to avoid labelling myself (fat, lazy, weak, pathetic – as examples of labels I would NEVER use!?!) and feeling sufficiently depressed that I give up completely, content to binge-eat myself into oblivion.

Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits sometimes annoys me cos he’s always so bloody virtuous and optimistic, but he suggests changing our habits or lifestyle is a matter of making small, iterative and sustainable changes, so I’m trying to jump on board that bandwagon. But more on that next time…

On the health / weight front, do you focus on how you feel rather than how you look?

Linking up With Some Grace today.


  1. I definitely focus on how I feel rather than how I look but it’s been a long, long struggle to get there. I’ve been helped by people such as you telling me to focus on the here and now and dealing with some extremely long standing issues.

  2. I focus on both Deb. As a confirmed hypochondriac I tend to picture my blood and what I’m eating and how that affected by what’s going into my mouth, alcohol included. They just make food too delicious these days. It’s so hard to resist. Especially when you’re using it for a release of some kind. You have my empathy. If it makes you feel better I struggle to get out of a chair too.

  3. We love you, no matter what size/shape/weight you are #justsayin

    I’ve been wanting to shift 6kgs for literally years now. I know it’s not much by comparison, but it’s a revision of my previous ideal weight (which would mean losing an additional 5kgs). But quite frankly, most days I’m happy with how I look & feel.

    See paragraph one again please x

    • Thanks xxx

      Yes, long are the days I even want to reach my official ‘ideal’ weight. My own goal weight is about 10-20kg heavier than that. I can now look at some plus-sized models (etc) and think they look good – especially if they look fit and healthy. I no longer aspire to slim, but if I’m a bit overweight I want to be fit with it. (Unlike now when I am neither of those things!)

  4. I definitely focus more on how I feel. I don’t have a weight issue at the moment but if I eat just any old thing I can feel crap. And by crap I mean low in energy and just wanting to nap all afternoon. If I eat better quality food I generally feel a lot better. I still choose to eat poorly some days but those days are great reminders of why I should eat well.

    • Ah yes, you’ve reminded me of a positive Char – I actually don’t feel lethargic all of the time. I go through stages when I do and want to sleep a lot. At the moment I just feel lazy and the idea of even going for a walk is more than I can handle. 😦

  5. I try to focus on how I feel but that’s all tied up in how I look. After a stressful period, including the breakdown of an almost four year relationship, I went on a baking binge and gained about 10 kilos. Which sucks because I had been about 5 kilos away from my goal weight.
    Weight issues sucks. Just do what feels right for you, take it easy and look after yourself 🙂

  6. Deb – I’m in the same boat. Know exactly how you feel. Fatter than I’ve ever been in my life. It’s harder to lose weight at the age I am now but I’m trying real hard at the moment coz I’ve had some health issues. I’ve lost 2.8kg’s in the last 4 weeks. Just gotta keep chipping away and find a way to do it that we can live with. xo

  7. Well I should be focused on eating healthier but this week I’ve binged and as a result I feel flat and am fighting a cold. I try and focus on both but any kind of weight loss is a journey and takes time to break bad habits. I’m not into fad diets but if you start one to get your mind in the right place on your weight loss journey I think that’s a good start. I’ve always loved your honesty Deb and no matter how many layers you’ve got you are a gorgeous person inside and out. Just take one step at a time as you work out a good approach to your weight loss. You’re no.t the only one that struggles with this and many like myself are relieved someone else feels the same as we do. X

  8. I’m feeling the same, Deb. I’m at my heaviest and not feeling great. I’m trying, and getting there slowly, just wish it was as easy to lose as it is to put on.
    I agree Leo’s words can be a bit annoying, but then I remind myself that they’re true; bit by bit is the best way.
    Just know you’re not in this alone, lots of us struggling together I think xx

  9. I have an up and down relationship with my weight and I’m definitely at my heaviest ever. But I’ve done 2 half marathons and a whole series of other runs and I figure, as long as I’m staying fit, that’s the most important thing. To me, anyway. I feel I’ll lose weight when I’m ready to and in the time frame that suits me. I wish more weight loss/dieting programs focused on that.

    • Oh absolutely Grace. When I made my seachange (2yrs ago) I will still pretty overweight but I’d been gymming 4-5 days a week. I regret that I lost that fitness (as much as I regret my weight gain!)


  10. I would love to say I am solely motivated by health but looks is a much bigger component than it should be. Although when I am exercising and eating well I am less concerned by mu looks as I feel better about myself and feel on the right track, if that makes any sense.

    I think you are an amazing writer, very intelligent and you look gorgeous in all of your photos. I think having food issues can be a huge whack to your self esteem as it makes life feel out of control or something. The trouble with food is that it has to be part of your life too you can’t just quit amd stay away from it. I felt my absolute worst when I was on the binge cycle and sadly awesome when I was anorexic, as I was so in control. Even though I looked horrific. The real Deb is awesome, I know how easily distorted our own view of ourselves can be.

    • Oh thank you for your lovely words. I really wish it didn’t impact on my life as much. I’m pretty good at faking it – but quite honestly – it’s the one area of my life which really gets me down and I find myself blaming everything (that’s wrong) on my weight and blame myself for being so weak-willed.

  11. I can relate so much to these thoughts. I also come from a history of disordered eating so I have to be careful not to fall back into bad habits when I do start to do something about my health. I can relate to those physical feelings as well, and I am at the heaviest that I have ever been. I know that I need to do something, because clothes (and I am already a size 26) are getting harder to fit in to.

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