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  • Writer's pictureAllison Canter

What I've Learned From Hitting My Goal Weight

Updated: Aug 10, 2023

Then

I was originally going to title this blog “How I Lost 10 Pounds in a Month.” I wanted it to be a thing where I clickbaited everyone and drug you through a really philosophical rant about quick fixes and our toxic relationships with our bodies. But honestly, I would click that if I saw it posted by someone else, so I don't think I can say too much.


I’ve always had a horrible relationship with my body, food, and exercise. I dealt with having an alcoholic dad and the stress of my parents’ divorce by eating every snack in the house in one day, which was consistently a habit of mine from the time I was 7, up until I was about 14. The first time I remember putting myself on a “diet” I was probably about 10. I didn’t grow up with an almond mom. Nobody ever told me that my weight meant something negative or positive about me. But I did grow up with a TV, and I do remember the Yoplait commercials that would promote opting for yogurt over real food in order to look good in a bikini.


I was consistently the friend that couldn’t fit into my other friends' clothes, didn’t own a bikini, and wouldn’t wear tank tops in the summer. Boys really didn’t like me until I was about 21, and I’ve never really felt like an equal among a group of girls my age. I decided to be a vegetarian at about 16, and while I do like animals, that wasn’t a factor in my decision. I’ve always had a hard time dealing with things that I can’t control.


I did the vegetarian thing for about 5 years, saw some mild weight loss from it, and then asked a personal trainer if I’d gain weight if I started eating chicken. All it took was her saying, “Honestly, you’d probably lose weight,” for me to change my mind about the previous 5 years. It’s easy for me to stop eating meat when I don’t like the fact that my dad’s an alcoholic, or for me to decide to eat chicken when I feel like I lack meaningful relationships in my life, what I choose to put in my body has always been easier to control than the other factors in my life.


Losing weight, or having a more toned body, was always the light at the end of the tunnel for me. It was something to look forward to. I figured that when I liked myself more it’d be easier to handle everything else. The first time I saw a significant weight loss was during the Summer of 2020. Otherwise known as the era of Chloe Ting challenges and telling people that I loved running. I also wasn’t eating meat, or anything with flour in it. If anyone were to have asked me, I would’ve said it was the healthiest that I’ve ever been. But I survived off of sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs and if I was around a scale I’d weigh myself 3 times a day. Coincidentally, it was also the summer my dad died. And I didn’t really cry about that, but if I ate pizza while I was drunk I’d think about it for days. That year, my favorite thing to say in therapy was, "If this is my peak and the best I'll ever look, then I'm not sure what that means for the rest of my life."


Then (Just More Recently)

That brings me to mid-2022. At that point, anything bad that happened to me became about how I looked. I literally felt trapped in my body and didn't want to leave my house, unless it was 1,000 miles away where nobody I knew could see me.


Since I decided everything I was experiencing was somehow linked back to my body (my control issues, just in a different font) I felt extremely responsible to be a different person. I was also hyper aware of everyone around me. I was taking notes constantly. The lyric from "You're On Your Own Kid" that says, "I searched the party of better bodies," could've easily been about the last year (or 10) of my life.


But anyway, anything that someone told me would work, I would do. I tried barre classes 5 days a week for months. I stopped eating meat again. I counted macros. I didn’t drink alcohol for a month. I enrolled myself in metabolic training courses. I literally tried anything and everything. There was a really ironic juxtaposition between that lifestyle and writing blogs for women encouraging them to have a healthy relationship with their bodies.


After months of no changes and working harder towards “being consistent” with no results, I hit a wall of defeat. It's a pretty pivotal moment to reach a plateau when all that you know how to do as a coping mechanism is lose weight and have bi-annual glowups.


"Eat 1200 calories," "Eat 1600 calories," "Try 15 reps," "Stop doing so much cardio," "Try harder." Everyone was telling me there was nothing wrong with me and that I was doing something wrong, including my doctor. I got my PCOS diagnosis in May, and that changed everything for me. Getting the reassurance that I wasn’t just tired because I was lazy, or not losing weight because I wasn’t trying hard enough was honestly the most cathartic thing that’s happened to me in a year. To have written in my chart, by a doctor that my body doesn’t respond to diet and exercise like everyone else’s without medication was an extremely freeing experience as someone who responds to tragedy by crash dieting.


I’ve pretty much always labeled numbers as either good or bad in relation to my body. After my diagnosis, for the first time in my life, I hit a number that brought my BMI to the normal range. I know that the BMI scale is a bullshit measurement, but it still matters to most of my doctors and my health insurance. What mattered most at that point was that I hit my goal.


And then, the number that was supposed to mean self-love was flashing on the scale, and all I could think about was how bloated I looked and that I needed to switch my training split that next week.


Now

I’m at my goal weight, and I feel nothing even slightly congruent with the narrative I imagined a few months ago. Last night I had a dream that I was watching a video called “How to Eat 400 Calories a Day,” which made me realize, it’s always going to be impossible to win against myself as long as I'm on the path I've been on.


I’d never advise someone I cared about to do any of the things I was telling myself that I should’ve been doing. The only arguments I’ve ever gotten into with my best friends stem from me thinking that their diet isn’t sustainable or because I didn’t like the way that they talked about themselves. I worked for a women’s training app for years, I know how to take care of my body. I know how to build someone a sustainable routine.


There is nothing celebratory about hitting your goal weight when your goal isn’t actually weight loss. If the goal is happiness, then weight loss isn’t going to help that for more than a few hours. Being smaller didn't, and doesn’t, numb any of the anger I have or the resentment I hold. Funneling my negative feelings into the areas that actually deserve them is only fair to my body. My thighs measuring two inches thicker had nothing to do with how people decided to treat me. It doesn't heal any of the wounds I developed. I just weigh less. That's it.


I’m not writing this because I want someone to send me a DM telling me how good I look, or because I want to announce this to everyone, both of which honestly would've been a large factor for me a few months ago. I’m sincerely only choosing to write this because I’ve talked to probably six different people this week that are boiling everything down to a theoretical feeling that is associated with a desired number on the scale.


I'll be the first one to admit that you don’t lose the habits of someone that hates their body the second you see a number on the scale. You’ll say the scale is broken and avoid dinner, or feel dizzy as you stand up to leave for the gym. It seems like it's all going to dissipate when you get to your goal, but truly, if your goal was about your health to begin with, then those wouldn't be positive reinforcements.


Leo Skepi has a podcast episode where he talks about how to stop hating your body. The thing that stuck with me the most and changed my perception of weight loss, and gain, is that your body isn't reacting a certain way because it hates you. With that being said, it's not fair to continuously take out your anger and sadness on the only thing that you will consistently have for the rest of your life.


I’ll link the episode, because if I would’ve found it sooner, I might've made my goal to feel healthy and not to be a certain weight. I probably would’ve started taking supplements to care for my body, not to make it respond quicker. I would’ve taken medicine because my body needed it, and not because I wanted to look a certain way for the Taylor Swift concert.


It’s really easy to make your goal something you can materialize. You can say a certain number means a certain thing and you can get on the scale and prove it. It’s not as easy to make healthy the goal, healthy might not feel like you thought it would. It’s a lot harder for us to prove “healthier” over “skinnier.”


At my goal weight, I’m still learning that every bad thing that happens to me isn’t a consequence of how I looked. I’m still learning that nobody else was staring at my arms in a picture the way that I was. I’m still learning that weight fluctuates and scales are kind of bullshit. But I’m learning, and I know my body isn’t my enemy, and that’s the light at the end of the tunnel.


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