I’m at a party. The party is made up of women I have known for a lot of years. They are all smart, capable women, and they are all thin and gorgeous. Most of them are fit as a fiddle too. They are, in fact, perfect with no problems or insecurities that jump up half-way through their showers mixing the lather of soap with shame. I’m sure of it. I notice, as I furiously chew my oversized bite of roll in an attempt to swallow so that I can answer a question that one of the skinny beauties has asked me, that everyone else has finished eating, food still scattered on their plates. I am suddenly very aware of my tummy. When I lie awake in bed that night, over-thinking the days events, the images of these wonderful women inspire me, and as I drift off to sleep I am excited about all of the weight I am going to lose tomorrow.
I am on my couch/at a restaurant/in my car/at another party. I am hungry/munchy/bored/feeling like I deserve a treat to eat. I spend some time thinking about what I should eat and then I spend some time thinking about what I COULD eat. I remember that I want to be skinnier. Then I spend some time negotiating which snacks will and won’t adversely affect my intention. Either I then spend the rest of the evening thinking about food, or I am able to negotiate my way into a tub full of popcorn/order of french fries/bag of chips/so much cheese plate.
All I want is to want to lose weight.
In March of 2004, I marched my 245 lb self into a Weight Watcher meeting. After the first week, there was no doubt in my mind: I was going to lose weight. In fact, for the rest of the year, that’s what I did. People would ask the dreaded, “What are you up to?” and I enthusiastically answered, “I’ve been losing weight.” It was pretty much all I was doing.
When I am in the mental state of wanting to want to lose weight, I would give anything to be able to flip that switch again and turn on the light that I had back then. It has yet to be that easy. Because, fortunately, life goes on. Losing all that weight changed me both externally and internally. It opened up parts of the world that I had never been able to conceptualize, let alone see. Not to mention I got married, had a baby, had lots of jobs, made dozens of new friends, had multiple professional successes, multiple professional failures, and aged 10 years. So it’s understandable that I might find it difficult to flip the switch that illuminates the world through the eyes of 2004 Jen.
It does not mean that I have failed. It only means that other switches that turn on new perspectives and possibilities must exist. And maybe it’s easier than I’ve been making it. Maybe the best way to find these switches is to merely be open to their existence. I know that sounds cuckoo, but try it. Go ahead and take a minute to think about the fact that the switch is already within you, Luke Skywalker. Can’t you feel the possibility of success already?
So if you are in “I want to want to lose weight,” then fear not. You will find a new switch, and when that switch stops working, you will find another, and another after that. As long as you can remember that they exist and just waiting to be found.