What role, if any, does vanity play in our weight maintenance? Debby prodded us to explore that question in this month’s Adventures in Maintenance topic. I have all sorts of thoughts on vanity churning through my mind, but I’m going to try to keep this on or close to the topic of weight maintenance.
To get started, it might help to clarify my understanding of vanity, at least as it pertains to ME. Your definition might vary, and that’s okay. I’m not vain enough to believe my thinking is the ONLY way to view it, I am, however, vain enough to think it’s worth consideration.
For me, vanity is an obsessive or excessive focus on one’s self, be it appearance, accomplishments, or something else. This absorption could take one of two forms: either a belief that the person is “more than” or “less than” other people. “You/they aren’t good enough” vs. “I’m not good enough.”
By that definition, you’ve probably figured out already that vanity isn’t a huge factor for me in weight maintenance. Sorry, probably should’ve given a spoiler alert.
There’s nothing at all wrong with wanting to look our best or do our best, but thanks to many years of cultural indoctrination that had thin as the ideal, I’ve spent far too much of my life feeling “less than” because of my weight. While on the path to losing that weight, I was fortunate to learn this lesson, which I shared in an earlier AIM post:
I am a good and worthy person no matter what I weigh, what size I wear, or how many “packs” are in my abs (currently none). My value to society is in my heart and mind and demonstrated by my actions.
I’m proud of the physical changes I’ve made and the successes I’ve had, and I certainly want to maintain them, but the greatest reward was in taking charge of my life and living mindfully, passionately, and intentionally. The desire to maintain that energy for living is a far greater factor than vanity.
But all that said, I’d hate to have to buy new clothes.
If you haven’t done so already, be sure to check out the other AIM bloggers to read their stories:
Lynn @ Lynn’s Weigh
Lori @ Finding Radiance
Debby @ Debby Weighs In
Shelley @ My Journey to Fit
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’d like us to address!