Why do you want to lose weight?

Great. This question again.

Yesterday, during a spark of massive anxiety, I impulsively jumped onto Thumbtack in search of a piano teacher, horseback riding lessons, and a personal trainer.

No kidding.

I emailed back and forth with a potential trainer candidate for a while. I told him I wanted to lose weight because doctors think it’ll help with my mental health, I wouldn’t mind having more energy, and I’d like to be a role model for my daughter.

I get that I’m not supposed to go down this rabbit hole. I’m supposed to embrace body-positivity. Every body is a great body. I fully support this. No joke. I am on board.

Self-love: Good. Body-shaming: Bad.

Well, presuming my body isn’t included in this discussion.

NOTE: I, ignorantly, posted an image that was not mine to share. To see this artist’s amazing work, I encourage you to visit Ruby Roberts’ Instagram page.

I’ve been on and off diets for two decades. I’ve nearly acquired Oprah and Kirstie Alley levels of dieting street cred.

The truth is, when I think about losing weight, there are other issues at hand. I mean, let’s be honest— there are always other reasons. First, the body-specific stuff: I don’t want the weird stomach hang. I’d like to have a nice neck (my world for a nice neck, for real). It’d be awesome to rediscover life with one chin. I want to be proud of other parts of my body beyond my boobs. My boobs are big, just like the rest of me, but it works in my favor in this case.

Clothes? I’d love to not have to shop in the plus-size department. I’d kill to buy a swimsuit that doesn’t require a skirt. It would be the coolest to buy some super hot lingerie for no other reason than because I can. Like, something that wouldn’t be impeded by back fat, or aforementioned stomach hang. I’d love to be able to try something on at a local boutique store. I wouldn’t be able to afford it, of course, but at least I could try it on. It would thrill me to get excited about the clothing swap party I’m invited to later this month, instead of making me fear that I’ll be the only one bringing bigger clothes and have nothing to take home for myself other than scarves and more scarves. Even though, seriously, I adore scarves.

I would LOVE to not be the fat friend. Correction: I would LOVE to not identify myself as the fat friend. I’d love to weigh less than my brother. I’d love to weigh less than my dad. I’d love to not be aware of the fact that I weigh more than twice the amount of my sister-in-law. I’d love to be less self-deprecating. I’d love to not feel like a failure walking into the doctor’s office.

I’d love to feel sexy. Oh my god. My world to rediscover what it is to feel sexy and desired.

I want to be able to go hiking without winding up in tears because I can’t keep up. It would be so great not to sweat all the time. I want to be able to jog, kind of. I’d like to look at doing outdoor recreation as a fun thing, as opposed to dreading looking like the out of shape fool who can’t keep up. I don’t want to cry while exercising, because my inner critic is bullying the shit out of me. I don’t want to cry when I exercise because I’m so embarrassed. I don’t want to then make jokes about it because that’s my default coping mechanism. I’d like to not be afraid of trying a yoga class. I bet I’d really like yoga.

I don’t want to blame others for my weight. I don’t want to rely on others to lose weight. I don’t want to play the victim card. I don’t want to blame my weight on meds. I don’t need to be reminded that I’m pretty. I don’t want my friends to feel sorry for me and feel like they need to defend me to myself. I absolutely love my friends who do it anyway.

I don’t want to mention the word “diet” on social media only to discover countless weight loss-oriented accounts have suddenly started following me.

I am not a marketing opportunity. I’m just a woman struggling with low self-esteem who would rather speak her truth than try to pretend these thoughts and feelings don’t exist. Learning to love myself is a process.