“What is your goal? What is it that you want to achieve with your book?”
These are some of the questions coming up in the book publication course I’m taking, and it’s helping to remind me to keep my focus in my mind as I work on my memoir. If I don’t, my concern is that people will come away with the completely wrong idea: that I’m telling them to lose weight, and furthermore how to do it.
It would be an easy mistake to make. After all, how many people write about their experience with weight loss and food without advocating for that and implicitly encouraging others to do the same. But I truly do not want to tell anyone they must lose weight in order to be happy or healthy or a worthwhile human being. We get those messages loud and clear as it is, and believing that only ever made me miserable.
On the flip side, I’m also not telling people not to lose weight. Who am I to say that? After all, you might have very good reasons for wanting to shed pounds. For myself, I doubt I would have ever seen the top of Mt. Katahdin again had I not lost at least some weight, and for me, achieving that was important.
So, then what do I want to say with my book? Put simply, I want to write the story I wish I could have read as a fat teenager.
I want to remind others in similar circumstances that they are not alone, that someone else might understand at least some of what they’re experiencing, that they are worthy of love and respect whatever their body size, that eating is not something to be ashamed of or feel guilty about, that they can decide for themselves what works best for them and their bodies, and that being thin is not a miraculous cure to give you the perfect life.
I want to share my experience because I did believe all the negative focus on weight for long, and it came as something of a shock when I got to my desired weight – and I still had problems. I didn’t have a perfect body, I still lost people I loved, I still had job stress. What truly brought me happiness was accepting myself as I was, finding pleasure in food and my physical self, and letting myself strive for what I wanted in life without waiting for some external validation.
That, I suppose, is my overarching goal. To say that from my experience, being thin or fat are simply parts of the journey; they are not necessarily the destination. The real key is finding your goal in life, and then going for it, in whatever way or shape you can, fast or slow, the direct or scenic route, and to hopefully find joy along the way.