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To Lose or Not To Lose

You’ve probably heard the conflicting information about body size and its implications for health. Some say that a larger size is, by default, bad. Some say that a little extra weight may actually be a good thing. Some people who are morbidly obese live happily to their 90’s, like my great-grandfather. And that doesn’t even get into all of the social connotations and other issues around weight and how people react to those who carry a little (or a lot) extra.

Give that, how do you sort through all the noise to decide for yourself if you want to lose weight?

This is a question I recently debated for myself. Not that most people would look at me and instantly think, “She’s overweight.” It’s more that I considered whether or not I wanted to shed the few pounds I gained over winter, especially since I had never lost the few pounds from the year before.

On the fact of it, that small gain isn’t the end of the world, especially since it’s not enough to impact my health. And unlike my major weight loss years ago, I don’t need to lose the weight in order to do the physical activities I want, like hiking.

Those are the main things I always think of when people are concerned about their weight: health and being able to do what you want. If those are fine, is the weight really an issue? And yet, still the question came up for me. Why?

Part of the reason, I’ll admit, is the numbers, though not in the typical sense. I’m not aiming for something on the height/weight charts, but rather I was measuring against myself. I could no longer say that I had become 130 pounds lighter than I was, having lost half of my body weight. It was more like 126 pounds lighter. In the grand scheme, those few pounds are negligible, but I still have an odd vanity about the numbers.

Plus, I couldn’t do one thing that I wanted: fit comfortably into some of my clothes. Again, not the end of the world, but I really like some of those clothes, and I intensely dislike clothes shopping. It means I’ve avoided buying anything new and have gotten tired of rotating through the same subset of items I can easily wear.

Finally, I wanted to still the niggling doubt in my head. I’m more than ten years older than when I started losing before, with 40 approaching in just a couple of years. Could I still do it?

So, I decided to go for it, with the aim of bearing able to wear the clothes I wanted by the time I leave for Florence on May 21, and next week I’ll write a little about that process.

For now, I’ll close by saying that while my reasons this time may not be as noble as my initial weight loss, the important point is, they are my reasons, something I’m doing for me and no one else. That, in the end, is the only way I think you can truly answer the question: to lose or not to lose?

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