A couple months ago, I purchased an adorable pink skirt from J. Crew. It was a bit of an impulse purchase — I read a lot of fashion blogs and so many of my favorite bloggers were wearing this skirt in their posts. When a fashion blogger posts a photo of their outfit, they’ll also include details about where they bought the different pieces, and one mentioned the J. Crew skirt, linked to it and said, “It’s on sale!” This triggered me to check out the skirt, and not only was it on sale, it was an extra 30 percent off the sale price. This extra sale still made it expensive, but after finding several other items I wanted, I rationalized that buying the skirt was the thing putting me above the free shipping mark, so I might as well. Ha! Not the logic I would recommend to anyone on a budget.
The adorable pink skirt is slightly too small. Not hideously, embarrassingly too small, but just smaller than what I feel comfortable wearing.
Since I don’t like wasting money, I told myself that this skirt was going to be my motivation for getting back into running and making a better effort to eat healthier. I told an abbreviated version of this story to a coworker, then got ridiculed.
“I just lost all respect for you!” and “You’re going to starve yourself and run marathons because of a skirt?! You should be ashamed!”
So then I tried to back-pedal as much as possible to clarify my intentions. I have no intentions of cutting back majorly on my food intake — I’m still going to eat three meals a day, and snack, and Mountain Dew will continue to be a twice weekly treat. I just meant that I would make an effort to eat less processed food and more whole foods, like fruits and vegetables — I’m going to cut back on the number of times I eat out and work on the meals I make at home (read: less spiral-shaped mac & cheese, more yummy salads).
I also have no intentions of running enough to run a marathon. Not that there is anything wrong with running marathons — kudos to anyone who does! I don’t have the willpower — or interest — in running that much. I plan to just run three or four times a week, averaging 8-12 miles per week for now, and trying to find some kind of strength training routine that I’ll actually stick with. That’s all — no plans of running 10 miles a day, 257 times a week. Geesh.
I tried to explain that I’m not trying to lose tons of weight, maybe just some excess fat or “inches.”
However, no explanation of my intentions mattered. My coworker had already decided that I was a crazy, fashion-obsessed person who was going to let a skirt dictate my life, and that my self-worth was measured solely based on my ability to fit into said skirt, which was only possible if I lost 60 pounds through extreme dieting and intense workouts.
As a communications person, not feeling understood has to be one of the most frustrating things ever. So it was almost infuriating for me to feel like no matter what I said, no matter how logical I tried to sound, the only message she heard was that I planned to stop eating and run every spare minute of every day until I lose 800 pounds in order to fit into an over-priced skirt that I can’t return because I bought it on final clearance.
Everyone has something that motivates them, whether it’s a special event like a wedding, a certain number on a scale or a distance they can run. While any kind of extreme change probably isn’t safe, I think almost anything that motivates you to make healthier choices, even if it is because you want to fit into a bright pink, absolutely adorable skirt that all your favorite fashion bloggers are wearing, it should be OK. Back off!
On a side note, I do like this coworker a lot. I just won’t share personal goals with her anymore 🙂 I’ll save those for this blog!