Stop postponing your life until you lose the weight

Stop postponing your life until you lose the weight

I spent years of my life totally disconnected from my body. Either I was at war with my body, trying to control it by dieting or I was punishing it through disordered eating, or just ignoring it altogether. I felt as if  my body was wrong and somehow had nothing to do with the “real me”. I was waiting until I lost weight to live my life. Waiting for my ideal body to show up one day and rescue me, and give me permission to live out loud. I probably don’t have to tell you that living like that is pretty miserable. I’ve been fortunate; yoga, hiking and being in nature, and learning to stay present have cracked open a whole different way of life.

Lots of us feel as if our bodies have betrayed us. They don’t do what we say. Plenty of us are postponing “living our real life” until we lose weight. I want you to stop doing that.

You look fine

How many times have you heard someone say, “Ugh, I’d kill to be the weight I was in high school,” only to be directly followed by, “… but I thought I was so fat and hideous back then, too.” They weren’t fat and hideous then. They aren’t fat and hideous now. In ten years they will probably look at pictures of themselves now and think, “Jeez, I thought I was fat and hideous, why did I waste time worrying about how I looked when my body was clearly slammin’ hot?!” All along, they looked fine. Guess what else? You look fine.

If you’re not living out loud because you think you’re going to look hideous in a bathing suit at the beach or that you’ll clear out a room if you walk in wearing a pair of shorts that actually show a bit of cellulite, then why is life worth living at all? If everyone waited until they looked perfect to go outside, the streets of your city would be more deserted than an episode of The Walking Dead.

Let me ask you – when you’ve gotten naked in front of someone new, has that person ever looked at you in disgust, gotten up, and left the room? No. Seriously, you look fine.

The past is a real jerk

Stress is caused by being ‘here’ but wanting to be ‘there’. -Eckhart Tolle

Stop and think about it – really and truly, the only reason any given sucky moment, day, or situation feels miserable or bad is because you are comparing it to a past moment, day, situation. Now I know this thinking can get a little woo-woo – of course if you’ve just been in a car accident and you are in physical pain from broken bones, or you’ve just been diagnosed with cancer – yes… clearly, that sucks.

But if some jerk on the street just called you fat or you are having a bad hair day or your skin just broke out before your big date, or you stammered a bit when you gave that speech and you’re beating yourself up over it, STOP. Get some perspective.

  • This moment is just one flash in a series of a million other moments.
  • This too shall pass.
  • No feeling is final.

Stay present

A surefire way to make yourself miserable is to live in the past or in some future fantasy in your head. You can stop making yourself miserable by coming to this moment. Being present. Staying. Yoga has taught me how to get out of the past and stay present, but over and over, thousands of times a day, I have to remind myself. I have to pull myself out of comparing today to the past, out of a fantasy conversation in my head (well if I said that, she would come back with this, then I’d have to say that) and pull myself into the present moment.

How to stop living in the past and return to the present moment: stop what you are doing. Close your eyes. Start to notice your breath. What does your body feel like? Don’t tell a story about it, don’t judge it, just notice. What sensations are there? Give them a name. Do you feel a black, deep hole in your heart? Is your stomach on fire? Are there colors? Does it hurt? Do you actually notice that your body feels fine?

Breathe. Feel the feeling in your body. This feeling is not final. It will move through you. For me, almost every time I actually let the feeling in (not the memory, or the thought about the feeling, but the actual feeling in my body), it feels awful for a moment, but then almost immediately, it dissipates. It’s kind of magical.

Please, stop postponing your life

This moment is all that I own. -Most Precious Blood

Please stop waiting for some magic moment (that may never happen) to come around. Some magic moment where you are tall, thin, have smooth skin, no cellulite, have a voice that doesn’t sound annoying when you hear yourself recorded.

Please stop waiting to go live your life, put on a swimsuit, dance at a club, give that hot guy your phone number, buy a pair of shorts, join a book club, show up for that exercise class, start practicing yoga, start lifting weights, start moving your body.

Just show up. Just go do what you love. Stop worrying about whether or not you look cool or nerdy or fat or stupid.  You look fine. Your body is fine. You are the only one judging yourself as harshly as you are.

Meet Holly Mangold

Image of Holly Mangold, a fat female athlete and olympic hopeful, snatching 110 kilos

Holley Mangold successfully snatches 110 kilograms during Sunday’s U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Women’s Weightlifting.

Holly is 5-foot-8 and weighs 374 pounds. She is a weightlifter and now will competing as a 2012 Olympian. Here she is snatching 242 pounds over her head. If you don’t know what a snatch is, it is an Olympic lifting move that takes an amazing amount of technical prowess, speed, strength, and flexibility. Holly doesn’t “look” like an athlete. I’m sure she gets harassed on the street just like every fat person has been harassed. She has to wear the stupid unflattering weightlifting outfit.

But Holly isn’t waiting until she loses weight to do what she was born to do. Holly is showing up. She’s living her life. She’s doing what she loves. She’s inspiring the heck out of me, knowing that my personal best on the snatch is a measly 45 kilos. Holly rules.

Photo credit: SIPhotos

Take the first step

Don’t get caught up in planning.

“I want to start lifting weights so first I need to get stronger. I want to be a yogi so I need to get more flexible first.” Do you know how people get strong? They lift weights. Do you know how yogis do backbends? They practice yoga.

Image of me, a fat person, in urdvha dhanurasana or Wheel pose

That's me in urdvha dhanurasana

Stop planning and just start doing.

Please don’t wait until you’re thinner or have the perfect outfit. Don’t wait for motivation, just show up. Go outside. Start walking. Get on your bike and pedal. Go to the beginners yoga class. Call the gym and ask for a tour. Text your friend and invite her to go dancing with you. Give the hot guy your phone number. Laugh. Be loud. Louder, please.

When you’re on your deathbed, I guarantee you won’t wish that you did more situps or worried a little more about your fat thighs. Go live your life. You totally deserve it.

What’s stopping you?

What little things are stopping you from living the life you want? What “first step” can you take today? Tell me in the comments.

About Amber

I'm Amber and this is my blog about yoga, body acceptance, and making friends with yourself in the process! Like what you're reading? Subscribe via RSS or receive posts by email. Want to be the first to know when I do something awesome like teach a class or publish an eBook? Then the email newsletter is for you. Or, just follow me on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Are you in the DC area yet? Now we’ve GOT to hang out, you badass! ;)

  2. Excellent post. And 45kg beats the pants off my snatch!

  3. Paige Orloff says:

    Yes, yes, yes and again: YES. Thank you!

  4. GORGEOUSLY, POWERFULLY, PASSIONATELY said, Amber. YES, yes, and more yes on this. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. And your backbend? I want to put it in my pocket, it is so gorgeous and inspirational. One day I’ll get there (and I’ll get there by practicing yoga every day– in practice and out).

  5. Genevieve says:

    girl i love you so. you are amazing in more ways than i could begin to count <3

  6. Thank you, Amber!

  7. This is such a great post. My relationship to my body ebbs and flows, and lately I’ve been feeling that push-and-pull internally about getting up and moving more. It was all or nothing, and subsequently I was drowning in my own indecisiveness/ambivalence. Not doing anything is so easy, but the impact of it is so hard. So I decided to find some middle ground, a Zumba DVD in my living room instead of a class at a gym with friends, and I’m going to do what I can until I can do more. And I’m going to laugh and enjoy it either way (because seriously, Zumba is hilarious).

    Are you going to teach Body Positive Yoga when you get up to the DC area? I hope you’re able to make time to teach some classes, specifically on a Saturday. I would genuinely love to take one! I’ve never done yoga before, and I want to try. Sharing your journey with body image, weight, food habits, etc. has made me feel (and I’m sure a lot of other people, too!) like you are a completely compassionate, trustworthy person. Thank you for opening yourself up like that!

    • First, yes, Zumba is hilarious. I can’t get over the branded music. ZUMBA! ZUMBA!

      I will be about a 90-minute drive from DC, so it might be tough, but if I can connect with a DC studio, I will definitely do some workshops! I may try to start teaching regularly in Winchester, which is the closest town to where I will be moving.

      I hope I get to see you on the mat! :)

      • I realize this comment is old, but I just found your blog– I can introduce you to a great yoga studio in the NoVa/DC area, if you’re still interested. And if you do teach sometime in Winchester, I might be able to make it– I have family there.

  8. Every time I read one of your blog posts, I swear I sit up a bit stronger, and my day gets a little better. This one is never the less one of those again! ;-) Yes that backbend is gorgeous, beautiful, strong and focused. I’m hoping too some day they can design a better outfit for weight lifters, if golfing fashion moved forward for women so can weight lifting.

  9. Amazing post Amber! I can’t even count how many times I have done this in my own life. I’m a CrossFit coach and I get caught up in the fact that I should look perfect, have a perfect snatch technique, eat perfectly before I can “live” my passion and coach other people. You are so right! Enough! Thank you for putting into words what I was feeling in my heart! Love this!

  10. where is the mother f’ing love button?

  11. Really inspiring post, Amber…love the urdvha dhanurasana!

  12. Jessica says:

    Thank you! AWESOME article!! :)

  13. You just made my day Amber. I keep telling myself this for my 4 pregnancies and how unhappy I am with some parts of my body. It affects an entire relationship when you’re just waiting for magic to happen and are not living in the present. I am going to go for a swim today even though I know my tigger strippes will show : )

  14. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! I JUST love this post! I just found your website today…so glad I did. Can’t wait to read more!

  15. This is such an awesome and empowering post!! Your writing is so poignant and passionate. I truly appreciate your voice.

  16. Soleil Harford says:

    This is Soleils mom, I had her read this article, she is 10 and in 5th Grade. Here’s her response.

    this… was amazing its like you told the planet to accept for who YOU are. thank you for writing this down to tell me that i don’t need to be skiny and beautiful because i am . P.S i love what you said on that one sentence about The Walking Dead.<3

  17. beth allums says:

    I love this so very very much. I am sharing it with anyone and everyone! I hope this damn thing goes viral!! You are amazing.

  18. Thank you so much for this post. I am sure it will help many people. I am a 51 year old overweight woman, and struggle with these feelings all the time. I am always waiting on something, or afraid I will look dumb if I try something etc. You have inspired me!

  19. Holly Burgess says:

    Amber…you are so super fantastic. :) That is all!

  20. Jessica says:

    Beautifully spoken, my sister sent me this link because she loves me..I have been waiting. Ive joined the gym and am making a promise to myself to go out to the gym, a walk anywhere at least once a week, then twice.. three times..maybe I can find the present. Thank you <3

  21. I don’t know you but I love you for this. Simply put…thank you.

  22. Amber woman-you absolutely rule! Thank you for this. I am getting out there. You are a gift and I am so glad I found you!
    xo

  23. This post is effing gorgeous. Thank. You. So. Much.

  24. Found this post through the amazing Mara. And
    I love it. Thank you for the timely reminder and some incredible inspirations. I’m trying to live and love my life in exactly this way. No more waiting, lots more doing. So wonderful to find your blog! I will be following. Thank you!

  25. I totally agree with this. Weight is just a number and it’s not a death sentence or imprisonment unless you allow it to be. I realized a while ago I’d rather live a crazy full awesome life than be scared to do anything in public because I’m fat. It’s worked out pretty well so far.

  26. Beautiful post and directed perfectly. Keep on helping your fellow humans!

  27. Thank you, thank you, thank you! As someone who has battled this flawed perspective for what seems like forever, I need sane people such as yourself to slap me in the face with a reality check!

  28. This is awesome, AND includes a MPB quote. Love.

  29. Margot Foster says:

    Linked over from The Clothes Make the Girl, this is a great post. I remember my first back bend in my yoga class and how exhilarating it was in that moment I loved my body and knew I could do anything. At that point I was probably the heaviest I’d ever been at 267.

  30. Mathness says:

    Friendly FYI… in the picture she appears to be snatching (20+25)x2 = 90 kg, or about 198 lb. Neither the article or the caption reflects that.

    Great writeup!

    • Ah! Thanks for catching that. I got that caption off the site I pulled it from. Maybe she is not snatching that weight in this pic, but the 110 kilo snatch was what qualified her for the Olympic team. :)

  31. Incredible post! I’ve been learning this myself and trying to just live, rather than worry about getting to a goal. It feels good!

  32. 22 years ago, I was grappling with this “never quite conquered” issue and read a book called Overcoming Overeating. The author presented this one scenario, which I come back to over and over again: What if, tomorrow, a gas was spread throughout the atmosphere that made it impossible for anyone’s weight to change? What would you be doing, if you were freed from the need to lose weight? Would you be on the beach getting a tan? splashing around in the water? roller skating? The idea they presented is the same as your fabulous post today. Freeing yourself from the idea that joy is only an entitlement of the few is such a powerful statement.

    As for myself, I hopped over here from The Clothes Make the Girl as I’m bouncing around trying to figure out why my once joyful Crossfit workouts feel horrible. I am strongly suspecting that I’ve fallen into the insidious trap of letting the numbers decide how I’m doing…this time, though, the numbers are on the clock or the plates on the barbell. Thanks for more food for thought and the reminder that the numbers only have the value I give them.

    Have a great day!

  33. I started following your blog years ago when I wanted a recap of my missed ‘Project Runway’ episodes. Strangely enough I continued following even after you stopped doing the recaps- your life is so interesting!
    This is a greatly inspiring article- I was skinny 2 yrs ago and due to various heartbreaks personally and professionally, the weight just piled on. I am still not at the stage of forgiving myself for it so that I can do something about it, but this article might be the push I need!

    Thanks Amber!

  34. JMarshall says:

    You have touched my heart. I am bawling like a little baby right now. I am 36 years old and have postponed my life and my dreams because I have so much hate for my body. Thank you for this.

  35. Love your blog :) I spent many years waiting for the perfect time to start living…I’ve been making up for lost time. It’s never too late!

  36. Love your blog :) I spent many years waiting for the right time to start living…I’ve been making up for lost time…It’s never too late!

  37. Thanks so much for this post. I too, am struggling with this issue, and you have inspired me. I have shared with my sister, who teaches yoga and struggles as well.

  38. So nicely written – thank you for this! That’s exactly the way I felt a year ago… like I was always making excuses as to why “now” wasn’t a good time to start a diet or an exercise routine. It wasn’t the first of the month, a vacation was coming, or a holiday… but finally, mid April last year I just decided to do it and 50 pounds (down) later… I’m so glad I started and am sad I waited so long!

  39. Amazing! You’ve seriously touched my heart. I just found your blog through Robb Wolf’s website. I’ve always had struggles with my body, and you are SO right. We need to start living, instead of waiting.

  40. Brilliant post! I’ve caught myself so many times just waiting: I’ll start lifting when I’m lighter, I’ll start running when I’m lighter, I’ll start wearing nice clothes when I’m lighter. The list can just go on and on forever unless you stop now and do something about it. Thanks for sharing, it’s people like you who helps us open our eyes and restore life to us. Thanks a bunch!

  41. Marlo h says:

    Perfect. Thank you!

  42. Oh man, I am such a “wait until I lose weight”-er. I got a crossfit groupon and I’ve been postponing it because I’m scared of how bad I’ll be at it. I even did a month long at-home crossfit primer. But still couldn’t follow through.
    I’m waiting until I lose weight to sign up for online dating because I’m scared nobody will contact me if I’m honest with my photos (I’m really photogenic and can easily hide my fatness)… and if I’m not honest with them, I fear the guy will run away when he sees the real me.
    Great post, I hope some of it sinks in!

  43. i like your spirit . start right now should be the key .keep rocking !!

    Yoga is awesume :)

  44. just discovered your lovely blog. thanks for this inspiring post

  45. Amber, I want to thank you for having this website. I found it when I searched “Should I wait until I lose weight to date?”. I am in the middle of divorcing my cheating husband after 17 years. He had an affar two years ago and I forgave him. I discovered the day after Christmas that he was at it again. So, I am faced not only with being an older single woman, but I am also overweight. I have struggled with my body…well, I can’t remember ever not struggling with it. I have also had this dream of how perfect my life will be when I get to my ideal weight. I have wasted 46 years of my life waiting on that. It is time to start living and your website has helped me. I have been telling myself since I read your post that “I look just fine.” I am a stable woman with reliable job, three college degrees, grown children and own my home. Although I am overweight, and should lose some for health reasons, I am happy with my looks. I have aged well, and need to start realizing what a catch I am. However, I also need to get to the point where I am so happy with myself that I don’t think I won’t be totally happy until I am with the love of my life. I must first understand my worthyness and love myself, mind, body and soul. Thank you for what you do. Happening upon your webpage helped me make a step forward in my new life!

  46. Such a beautiful and heartfelt post! Thank you for sharing & thank you for the courage to authentically be brave and embrace life.

  47. What an inspirational post! Thank you so much. As someone who has suffered from both anorexia and bulimia, I have spent too much of my time postponing my life waiting for the perfect body. Now is the time to live, not tomorrow!

  48. Stacey Hanrahan says:

    you’re so full of inspiration and everything in this post radiates and resonates with me. The high school comment is fierce. I was 100 lbs lighter and underweight for my body during high school, I just have to remind myself how strong my body is to take on my emotional pain as weight and birth 4 babies and it is still here for me to walk, bend and work myself into some amazing yoga poses. I thank my body for supporting me everyday and only ask for health so I can stay with my children and their children as long as possible.

    Cheers

  49. I have to tell you this is one of the best articles in health, in fitness, in movement, hell, in life that I have ever read ! I would love to print this and hand it to my clients, put it up on bulletin boards, plaster it everywhere I can…..do I have permission to do this?

  50. Mom of three says:

    Thank you for this much needed reminder – you said exactly what EVERY woman feels at least some point in their life!

  51. hello, I’d like to thank you first for this great thoughts and advices you have shared, and then I’d like to say that what you’re saying is exactly what’s happening to me I had always thought I was the only one postponing my life, but now , I’ll live my life to the fullest, Thank you a lot !!

  52. Hi to all, because I am actually eager of reading this blog’s post to be updated on a regular basis. It contains good material.

  53. average aussie says:

    Awesome Amber! What a wonderful thing to stumble across… this made me cry and it’s sooo true.
    By the way, you have a gorgeous voice, I downloaded your podcasts because I thought you had the loveliest voice I’ve heard in a Yoga instructor (Down this way we struggle to tolerate American accents!) and so down-to-earth. Please keep it up – this is so important and motivating for those of us who are bigger or think we are!

  54. found you because of your badass frye boots and am following you because of your badass perspective on life. thanks for both.

  55. Amber – I found such solace in your wise words! Thank you! I have been waiting to live my life and I’m 52, I need to get on it! I felt like you were speaking directly to me! I am working on accepting my body and am going to use your 30 minute, beginner podcast as a jumping off point. If you have any suggestions for a Yoga DVD for beginners, would love to hear. I would also like to find one for meditation – an acceptance of oneself type of meditation. Thank you again! Carrie

  56. i cant believe i only just found you now, this is the precise realization i had 2 years ago, start living life now and get doing the things i want to.i am fortunate enough to have a super supportive husband who is holding my hand and caring for me while i transform my life to be the best me i can. i go to yoga class each week with the goal of trying something new and i amaze myself with how much my body can do. i started my journey at 254 pounds in may 2011 and i got on the scale today at 191, eating healthily and enjoying being me, i am half way through couch to 5k, i go to cross fit and i do yoga 6 days a week (2 at classes) i attend my first yoga retreat this weekend and cant wait. thank you for sharing your love and warmth and inspiration with us Amber. i truly look forward to your future posts. Namaste

  57. Thank you.

  58. I can’t even express how much I needed every. Single. Word. Of this post. Thank you.

  59. Shircara says:

    Hi Amber,
    Thank you , thank you , thank you for this article!!! In the past few years I have gone from a size 3 to a size 10-12 and for me I have felt so disgusting that I have not been able to fully live my life. I feel as if I am a prisoner in this body.. But reading this has given me some hope and is very inspiring .. Thank you

  60. You are so refreshing. Thanks

  61. I just discovered this website and am absolutely in LOVE. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! And if I wasn’t already adoring every post I was reading by now, seeing a quote from Most Precious Blood pretty much sealed the deal :D

    You are amazing and I am inspired!

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Trackbacks

  1. [...] MUST READ: Stop Postponing Your Life Until You Lose Weight If you only read one thing in this post, make it this one! Amber Karnes — adorable girl, multi-blogger, and cohort of Robb Wolf — writes passionately and challenges us to be in the present and stop postponing our missions to have the things we want. Brilliant! [...]

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  3. [...] they think they (the thin ones) are disgusting, you must be the worst thing ever. You’re not. You look fine. They look fine. I wish you’d stand up for yourself and say what you’re thinking, which is, [...]

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  6. [...] climbing Spy Rock, Humpback Rocks, Sharp Top, and countless other difficult hikes. I decided to stop postponing my life until I lost weight. I decided to take chances, try new things, and choose healthy habits. And stop [...]

  7. [...] or feels, and movement forces us to face that in ways that make us feel uncomfortable or depressed. Maybe we feel like we’re so out of shape that there’s no point in even trying. This video actually motivated me to re-start my yoga practice, because it’s fucking [...]

  8. [...] of my yoga instructors posted this article recently, and I couldn’t help but think how true it is. How much of my life have I spent [...]

  9. [...] the weight loss one because I can’t tell you how many times that has been cited as a barrier. Stop postponing your life until you lose weight, says fitness blogger and yoga teacher Amber, and how right she is. She conveninently linked to this [...]

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