AIM: Is Vanity Fair?


Vanity. How much of a role does this play in weight loss and maintenance. And is it needed?

A definition of vanity is this from

Excessive pride in one’s appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.

Vanity really has a negative connotation now, although it didn’t always used to be the case. Now we think of vanity pretty much as one of the 7 deadly sins, as in pride.  When you lose weight or maintain, is there any shame in feeling pride for your accomplishments? Does pride itself help keep you on track?  And where does pride cross the line to vanity?  I don’t know any answers to these questions. These are what I was asking myself when doing this post. I don’t even know if I have a cohesive opinion on it LOL!

Let’s face it, most of us start our weight loss journeys with the hope of looking good at the end. It’s human to want that. However, we don’t always have a realistic vision of what we will look like, particularly after losing a very large amount of weight. You just aren’t going to look like a size 0 model that never had a weight problem. Sometimes I think that makes people give up after a while. They figure if you aren’t going to look spectacular and head turning when you are finished, why bother doing all that hard work (because it is really hard work).  Is that vanity getting in the way of the goal? Probably.  While I was losing, I was thrilled at how I was looking and fitting into regular clothes rather than plus size clothes made me feel proud and vain, I am sure. That does drive the motivation to keep going. I find after staying the same size for a couple of years now that the excitement of all that has worn off and as I settled into a body that hasn’t changed much in a couple years it doesn’t feel like something prideful anymore.

Is it fair to judge someone who is vain about their appearance even though being vain actually gives them the ability to stay that way? I don’t think so.

Vanity doesn’t have to be just about looks, either. I take a lot of pride in being strong. I am strong and I love it. I love being at the gym and pushing a new lifting goal and it makes me want to strut around. It’s powerful, prideful and something I work hard on achieving.  It’s funny, though – I’ll be feeling that and then a young tiny thing will come bopping through the gym in front of me and I can feel that pride deflate like an old balloon. Then I just get back to lifting because I know how much better life I will be as I age strong. Reality checks -they sure are good for you sometimes.



**I also noted the other definitions of vanity when I checked the dictionary and noted this: Vanity is also: “Something worthless, trivial, or pointless.”  Hmmm… interesting, no?

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Make sure you read more at my fellow AIMers’ blogs for their thoughts on this topic!

Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh

Debby @ Debby Weighs in

Shelley @ My Journey to Fit

Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you would like us to address!

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17 thoughts on “AIM: Is Vanity Fair?

  1. Lynn Haraldson

    Vanity definitely played a role in my decision to lose weight this last time (oh heck, EVERY time!). I was so vain that I had stopped going out in public as much as I could. There are still days when I feel painfully awkward in my appearance and want to crawl under a rock. Those are the days that I most need the self-compassion.
    Lynn Haraldson´s last blog post ..AIM: Is Vanity Fair?

  2. Fran

    Vanity is not a reason why I want to lose weight because I try to look good now too and succeed most of the times. But I am vain meaning that I like to look good. And I don’t think that’s a sin. I much more prefer to look at someone who took care of how he/she looks than someone with that out of bed look (although I look like that sometimes too on a Sunday 🙂 )
    Fran´s last blog post ..Saturday May 3, 2014: Brandweerpost Baarn

    1. Lori Post author

      I don’t think wanting to look good is being vain. Some people can perfect that out of bed look and try to be like that. I don’t look good when I get out of bed, LOL!

  3. Linda E.

    Very interesting topic. I have been thinking this through lots lately. When I first started to lose weight it was because my health scared me. My brohter had just gone through a double by-pass and within a year of then had to have stents put in because he couldn’t even enjoy his “mall walks”. I didn’t want that to be me. My cholesterol was 384, triglycerides in the thousands. So my initial motivation was health, then I got to where I am today- lots of hard work yes! Now I worried about being vain, because I realized I am thrilled with the outward appearance change. Over the last couple months I am learning that isn’t so much a bad thing, if I control my emotions over it. I am happy with the results, both on a health level and looks level. Hope that makes sense. We are all beautiful, we need to hold that close to our hearts- literally !

  4. debby

    “However, we don’t always have a realistic vision of what we will look like, particularly after losing a very large amount of weight.”–exactly! I don’t think I’ve seen that mentioned too often. Even if it was, I’m afraid that’s one of those instances where people would just think “I’m going to be different.”
    debby´s last blog post ..AIM: Is Vanity Fair?

  5. Cammy@TippyToeDiet

    What struck me as odd when I wrote my post was that in all the times I tried to lose weight because I wanted to be thin, I failed. When I put the emphasis on something else (better health), I succeeded. Lends a bit of credence to that last definition of vanity. 🙂
    Cammy@TippyToeDiet´s last blog post ..AIM: Is Vanity Fair?

  6. Shelley B

    You made an excellent point (and Debby quoted it above) about not having a realistic vision of what we’ll look like after weight loss. That can be a shocker, and definitely destroy one’s ideal image – vanity definitely takes a hit when that happens. So maybe we need an extra helping of it when we start, just so there’s some left at the finish?
    Shelley B´s last blog post ..AIM: Is Vanity Fair?

  7. Kitty

    Vanity is not my main motivation in losing weight this time around. There were times that it was and it was never enough to — by itself — sustain my weight loss. This is probably why I failed maintenance when I got to goal 20+ years ago. But, now, as I get older and I do think that my health would be enhanced by losing weight, I’m really more motivated by the health aspects.

    That said — yes vanity plays a part. I like it when I look better. And, losing weight I look better. I’m just getting to a point of where my weight loss this time is really becoming noticeable. I sometimes enjoy looking in the mirror and seeing the changes (even though I still have almost 30 pounds to go). And, it does help sustain my motivation.
    Kitty´s last blog post ..Birthday Celebrating

  8. Grace @ Grace Dishes

    I definitely think being 100% honest about how vanity factors in the journey is important. I had to learn to love myself regardless of where I was in life. I had to learn to love the journey as well as the destination but vanity helped me get there.

    Great post for us all do some reflection 🙂

  9. Leah

    I commented on some other posts that I was wondering if I had become vain as I got thinner because I suddenly liked how I looked “good” in my smaller clothes, but the more I’ve read over these posts and thought some I realize that it’s not just looks for me.

    Yes, I admit to liking my appearance better in smaller sizes, but more than that I like the feeling of accomplishment after a tough workout or having the feeling of control over food. ( and funny thing is my “smaller” size would be the “overweight version of some women I know. lol)

    The weight I’ve put on recently is a result of losing some control over food and I miss that feeling even more than the feeling of fitting into my medium capris. My clothes fitting tight has just been a reminder, or a reality check even, of something that needs fixing.

    And vanity vs pride…hmmm… there is a difference and you’ve got me thinking… Thanks! 🙂
    Leah´s last blog post ..May Goals

  10. Jody - Fit at 55

    Loving these posts Lori!! Vanity does take on different meanings. Yes, I lost weight way back when to look good & get boys – that was the goal & it has morphed so many times thru my life & so different now than in each decade too! 🙂

    I often wonder if the weight loss shows like Extreme Makeover Weight Loss Edition – which I watch – deters heavier people from losing because of the excess skin & maybe knowing they can’t afford to get rid of it…. what do you think?
    Jody – Fit at 55´s last blog post ..Muscles of ALL Sizes are Beautiful!

    1. Lori Post author

      I think loose skin worries people way more than it should. It’s better to have the loose skin than to be morbidly obese.

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