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 Dictionary.com:
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!
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!