You know the angel and devil scenario where they are sitting on shoulders persuading you to do only the things that angels and devils are required to do while sitting on your shoulders? Well, I had a situation like that about a month ago, however it had nothing to do with doing right or wrong and had everything to do with weight loss. Here’s how it started, I’m sitting between two friends during a recent lunch we shared together. These two friends happen to be complete opposites with regards to their body type. The lunch time discussion ended up giving me a very interesting observation with regards to body weight and weight loss, and what each of these friends expected for themselves.
The first friend has finally gotten herself hooked on an exercise and diet program. She has been successful with this program now for almost two solid months and when I saw her that day, I noticed right away that she had lost weight and a significant amount of inches. When I asked her how much she had lost, she explained that she has decided to not become obsessed with the scale and that she honestly didn’t know how much weight she had lost. She decided that her exercise and dieting wasn’t about how much she was going to or needed to lose, it was totally about feeling better and getting healthier.
My other friend sitting on the opposite side of me was discussing an upcoming trip where a bikini was going to be necessary. Yes, she owns a bikini body, by anyone’s standards, and is fortunate to be blessed with being able to keep her bikini body without much fuss. So the conversation on the other side of me was how she was focused on losing two pounds before the weekend trip. The consensus at the table was that she would have to chop off her right foot to make that happen, because there wasn’t two pounds to be lost on that body of hers. We all managed to sympathize with her as she passed on sharing the triple-chocolate cake we all shared for dessert. (What are girlfriends for anyway, right?)
So here I am sitting between two extreme philosophies regarding weight loss and personal expectations about what they want to accomplish with their bodies. I look over my right shoulder and there is one philosophy and then I look over my left shoulder and there is a completely different one. Is either philosophy right or better than the other; right shoulder, weight loss for health and feeling better or left shoulder, weight loss to keep that bikini body in check? Right shoulder or left shoulder, what do you think?
Here’s my opinion. There’s no devil in this scenario. The bottom line is that we all must accept and understand our motivations behind achieving our goals. I work with individuals of every body type, size and age on a daily basis and there is very little about a person’s outward appearance that dictates their internal motivations. I believe that if it is two pounds that motivates an individual to focus on watching what they eat then let that angel on their shoulder keep yelling. If it is the desire to be healthier and feel better in general then sing angel, sing!
In today’s world, we’ve allowed the media and the standards that they have set dictate how we must think and feel about ourselves. We might fall victim to that thinking and agree that two pounds on a body that already looks great in a bikini is ridiculous. However, it’s those two pounds that are added to the two pounds she is guaranteed to add on vacation, now equals four pounds. Then it’s four that will double on the next vacation and become eight. So what’s wrong with thinking about two pounds right now?
Then the other angel is singing, “Hallelujah” to exercising and dieting for general health and feeling better? Who cares if she might not be what the media portrays as being the perfect body type. She has discovered her motivation and has reaped the rewards of feeling great and that attitude will knock any devil off her shoulder, trying to tell her something different!