Let’s applaud ACTUAL accomplishments, shall we?

I was just over at Casual blasphemies where I read this recent post regarding the desire of dieters to get huge accolades for losing weight and it got me to thinking.

“I won’t encourage self-hatred. I won’t congratulate self-abuse. I won’t lead a cheer for obsession.”

Well said.  It is always so discouraging to me when people (especially women) around me are so quick and eager to gush over some nominal downward movement on a scale rather than real accomplishments.  Tell me about the latest book you read and loved; gush about the latest dance move you learned and mastered; let me congratulate you on getting an “A” on your first Master’s degree project.  But stop expecting me to fall down in ecstatic glee when you’ve managed to cajole your body into crying away some weight.  That, to me, is not an accomplishment.  “Winning” that ever-present and usually female war council of self-loathing by putting out the most self-hateful comment of all those present does NOT somehow grant you a prize.  Unless by “prize” you mean “YAY!  I hate myself the MOST.  Party time for ME!”.  Right.

Now here’s a novel thought.  Stop focusing on changes in your weight as the only worthwhile accomplishment in your life.  Stop thinking of slowly (or quickly) disappearing; of shrinking your space on this planet (not your carbon footprint, your actual SPACE in the world), as being the be-all, end-all and highest reward out there. It isn’t.  What else do you have in your bag of tricks?  Any neat hobbies?  Any great interests?  Gotten a good grade lately?  Joined a new cause? Because frankly that weight-loss has gotten old, the shine is gone and now you have to give me something actually interesting to congratulate.

It has been a sort of wives’s tale bit of wisdom that after the initial lust of any relationship cools each individual needs to be able to connect with the other in ways that don’t pertain to sex.  Similarly, I think that once your weight loss goal is reached (or not), once you’ve lost that start-up glowing blush of novelty that comes with dieting and counting every calorie burned or eaten, what ELSE do you have to fall back on?  Are  you waiting to get a hobby or find interesting things that you want to do because you want to lose weight FIRST?  Why?  Why continue to let your body’s size dictate what you can or can not do in such a restrictive manner?  Why let the focus on weight-loss become so all-consuming in your life that it is only by applauding your weight-loss numbers that you gain any recognition at all?

I say: break free of those mental chains!  You are an adult, a free-thinking human being.  You have the CHOICE to live your life as you want and to shape it as you will; adding ways to succeed that don’t involve dropping pounds.  If you want to still diet, fine.  That is your choice.  I am not going to join you.  And I’m not going to applaud you.  Like that sexy relationship that has lost its luster you’re going to have to show me what ELSE you have up your sleeve.  Because those boring weight-loss numbers just ain’t gonna cut it anymore; they no longer rate on my Richter-scale of approval and certainly won’t merit the space you no longer take up.


6 thoughts on “Let’s applaud ACTUAL accomplishments, shall we?

  1. I say let people celebrate what they want. I have MANY accomplishments INCLUDING managing to lose a few pounds, run faster and longer, and dare I say lose weight. Just as you’re more than just fat, I’m more than just my fitness goals, and I deserve praise for ALL my accomplishments, as do you.

  2. Perhaps Maria, but certainly not to the exclusion of everything else; not as though your body changing its shape/size is the most amazingly wonderful accomplishment that one can possibly achieve in this lifetime. The problem I have is that dieters I have known tend to focus ONLY on any weight loss as their sole achievement in life; to the detriment of any other possible pursuits.

    And personally, I really don’t consider starving your body into submission an accomplishment to praise. That may tick some people off but I also don’t expect everyone to feel the same amazement that I personally do at my learning a new dance routine so I’m always a bit puzzled when a dieter expects me to jump for joy when they lose a half a pound or something.

  3. I said much the same thing as you here:

    And got much the same response as I expect you’ll get, in that most women are absolutely unwilling to give up on the idea that weight loss is praiseworthy, and very few women are willing to actually question the implications of praising someone for that.

    To say what you’ve said means that you’re refusing to participate in the female economy of self-loathing via fat-bashing and diet-talk.

  4. Maria,

    Research shows that dieting tends to result in short-term weight loss and long-term weight gain. Yes, there are exceptions, and maybe you’re one of them, but for MOST people, it’s a yo-yo of up and down. Kinda like staying with a cheating boyfriend – one month it’s “He left her, and he really loves me!” and the next it’s “Oh shit, I think he has a new lady!” Would it possibly get just a wee bit boring to hear it over and over and over? Might you not want to scream, “So move out if you don’t like it!”?

    Guess what. That’s how I feel about the “I lost weight and feel great” one month and “Oh shit, I gained 5lbs” the next.

    Heck, I’m not spouting “I’ve been working out with bigger dumbbells and now I can lift the heavy sound equipment the man of the house takes to gigs!” either. I just watch friends’ eyes go wide when I pick up the 50lbs, all nonchalant-like, and saunter out to the truck. (If I act like it’s easy, then it’s easy, right? 😉

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