The weight loss battle. It goes on and on and seems to never end. Eat right, exercise, get enough sleep and reduce stress—then you’ll lose weight. But, miss a day and it all comes back. I’m starting to think about my weight loss battle, similar to the battle against oppression.
Step 1: choose that losing weight is something to work on everyday, a real effort. Halfway won’t do it. Weight loss or ending oppression–it is an everyday job. You have to push past your habits and learn a new way of living. Pushing outside the comfort zone is worth the change. Accept the challenge for yourself.
Then once you put it out there and say you’re ready to make the change, doesn’t it feel like all of a sudden everyone is challenging you? I said, I’m gonna start going to the gym regularly and all of a sudden my friends were asking if I’d gone to the gym, the gym was pushing me to get a trainer, my really fit co-worker is inviting me to her run group. You never even knew there was such a thing as an anti-oppression training and then you give $5 to the YWCA and you start getting notices of social justice training, blogs, events, books you should read, a whole new world of knowledge that you don’t have.
Step 2: others will press you and you need to appreciate that. I chose spin class to guide my weight loss. I needed to be guided and surrounded by others working on their wellness. But, geez do those people bother me sometimes. One day, I’m loving them, the cheers and screams they give when we’re all pushing hard. Another day, they can all go to hell, I’m too tired to be here. And, I really don’t want to hear the teacher. What do you know? You were probably born fit and skinny. Bob, if you play another Britney Spears song I’m going to consider finding you out in the parking lot. Oh, you created this mix because Toxic is the right BPM to match the RPMs to get me to an afterburn effect. Alright, I see your point. The people around us, the ones who teach us, they challenge and give critical feedback because it is exactly what we need to make the change we’re working towards. They say it over and over again, because we must be challenged. How would I challenge my biases if I’d never been needled to deconstruct the movies and TV I love? What would stop me from marginalizing others if someone doesn’t point out my privilege?
Step 3: you don’t deserve a parade for participating. So, I’ve put in a ton of work and so far it has resulted in 5 lbs. And, nobody, not one person, has noticed the weight loss. Those 5 lbs. took me a month of no dessert, 5:30AM cycling classes 3 days a week, quinoa and kale, and no alcohol (wine, liquor or beer). Shouldn’t everyone be praising me for the change and telling me how great I look? We put in this hard work and the world may never notice. No one is going to take a moment to praise me for not laughing at a racist joke. No one knows that before I started this journey I would have made unfair, stereotypical responses about the person in front of me. I have to recognize the change in myself and let that be the motivation for more. I don’t get to quit, even though I’ve made some changes for the better, I’m not done. Just like weight loss, the change is hard, but maintaining it is even harder and it is my daily life forever.