My High Self-Esteem is Killing My Workouts

Posted October 1, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Life After Five

It’s no secret that I’ve been a yo-yo dieter for most of my life. I’ve been every size from a 6 to a 20 and have spent most of my adolescence and adulthood wishing I were thinner, stronger, faster, better, prettier, blah, blah, blah.

I reached my highest weight during the end of a bad marriage and over the course of the 18 months following, lost nearly 100 lbs (2008-2009). Since 2009, I’ve pretty much maintained my size 14 GAP Jeans frame and spent the last three years trying to “finish” my weight loss to get to that elusive size 10…with little success.

This summer, I completed a body image online class, and something inside me changed. To continue on my good body image path, I took the following steps:

  • I cleaned out my closet. If it didn’t fit or didn’t make me feel good, I let it go! If I didn’t love it, it was donated. If it was too big or small but still a quality piece I loved, it went into storage. You won’t believe how freeing and confidence-building having a closet full of clothes that fit can be. I don’t agonize over what I’m wearing anymore. I just pick out what I love and go.
  • I stopped agonizing about sizes and started focusing on what looks awesome on my body. Who gives a crap if it’s size 2 or 10 or 16? Wear what fits you and your body. The moment I let myself feel this way, I finally found skinny jeans that fit and silk tops that button. Because I stopped trying to be a 12 and a medium!
  • I quit saying “if….when….then….” I asked my husband, “How many times have I told you something would be ‘perfect in 5 lbs'”– his reluctant answer? “Countless.” So I stopped. I stopped thinking about the way I’d look if I were 5 lbs thinner, when I worked out 30 days straight, and the like. Today is fine.
  • Budget schmudget. Sometimes I think we worry too much about the cost of clothes when we gain or lose weight. Like instead of buying a new pair of jeans to fit the 5-10 lbs you gained this winter, we starve ourselves to get into the ones that can’t button. But whatever the price, it’s not worth your misery.

But now, a side effect is developing. My high self-esteem is killing my workouts. I’m realizing that my gym-going self was motivated by one thing and one thing only – self hatred. I went to the gym to “get off” pounds and fat. Or…I went because my stress level had become scary and I needed to work out on the spin bike what I’d not worked out in my life. So here I am now: happy, content with my body, loving myself (knowing I could still stand to be a size or two smaller) and I have zero motivation to go to the gym.

So I’m taking a new stand in my body image journey and health and fitness lifespan. I’m going to learn to love exercise for the right reasons. Again, I’m taking actions. Here they are:

  • Career Girl’s own Rebecca Niziol is going to coach me weekly on setting goals for the right reasons and tapping into how working out makes my life better in ways other than the battle of the bulge.
  • I’m recognizing the things I love that are healthy. One is juicing. So I purchased a 14-punch juice pass at a local juice bar and plan to start my day (or snack during the day) with a juice!
  • I find I’m more healthy when my iPod is filled and charged, so I’m going to put those ear buds in every morning on my walk to work/meetings and get my blood pumping.

It’s a good problem to have I suppose. I feel so good about myself, I’m not motivated. But it’s the perfect time to get motivated for the right reasons for the first time ever in my life. Are you with me?


About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."