Work Out, Eat Less.

In my opinion, the decision to change something about yourself—physically, visually—should either be based on an unabashed personal aesthetic choice, or else should be accompanied by a separate decision to change something else that people can’t readily see. (In other words, the former should really be a byproduct of the latter—for instance, “I am going to go on more hikes to experience nature, and in doing so I will lose those last five pounds.”)

So, as for the first point, I am a strong believer that if you want to look a certain way, you should go ahead. Nose gauges? If that is your choice and it pleases you, then it pleases me. Earlier in the summer, I decided I really liked red hair, so I dyed my hair. Other people’s opinions just don’t matter when your choice visually and emotionally pleases you. This is very true of your figure also. Gwyneth Paltrow evidently prefers to be fairly thin. Kim Kardashian is happy with her curves and fuller figure. Rebel Wilson blithely goes about her day showing off her “plus size” beauty. There will of course be criticisms of whatever BMI you rock, but again, these criticisms are of no importance if you are happy. Some women may say that “real women have curves”, others may try to push “overweight” girls toward new diets and workout regimens, but the truth is that some women are simply predisposed to be skinny, and other women just look better with some love handles. In the end, if you say to yourself, I want to look a certain way, take steps to look that way.

With regard to the second tidbit, about supplementing your decision, the benefits are simply too numerous to not give it a whirl. If you are dead set on gaining two pounds (and don’t laugh, I know people who are), decide that you aren’t just going to up your portion size, you’re going to learn to bake, or learn to make traditional Armenian dishes from the old woman two houses down. As you can imagine, the benefits are both mental and tangible: you’re proud of learning a new skill AND full of delicious food. In the end, gaining or losing weight comes down to motivation, and personally my desire to attain a certain number just isn’t enough to keep me exercising or dieting. (Moreover, I’ve chosen to be happy with the way I look and to surround myself with people who appreciate me physically, emotionally, irrevocably, humorously, and otherwise.) For me the issue used to be losing weight, but I thought I was too busy with school and homework and choir to really exercise regularly… until I discovered biking to school. (I really love my bike by the way.) It was great because it combined my need for exercise with my desire to leave a smaller carbon footprint. Plus, I got to learn how to successfully ride a bike in a skirt (success being measured by not showing the world your panties).

All in all, if you want something, start walking the path you need to be on to achieve it. If you don’t know how to get there, create for yourself a world that is conducive to attaining your goals. It will sometimes be difficult to get the things you want, but if you want them and you make yourself a battle plan, you will get them and it will be so satisfying when you do.

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