So I’ve gained a little over ten pounds in the past year and-a-half year or so. In a boring non-twist of convention, I’ve also been in a relationship for the past year-and-a-half or so. Are these two things related? Maybe a little; my boyfriend and I are lazy as fuck when we’re together. At times when I might otherwise be zipping around on my bike to various parties, we order Thai food, drink beer and watch movies on the couch. I’ve also been pretty busy with work (busier than ever before!), which often leads me to order in for lunch instead of cooking myself delicious, healthy meals like I used to when I was underemployed because I had all the time in the world and was so, so bored. Basically, certain positive developments in my life have made me much happier, but have also caused me to neglect my physical self somewhat.

I don’t believe a person’s weight and lifestyle always go hand in hand; there are plenty of people who eat healthy and exercise, but are technically overweight by our current medical standards and would have to exist in a constant state of hunger in order to achieve a “healthy” weight. I’m not one of them. I’m pretty sure my weight gain is the direct result of my lifestyle changes. (Then again, who knows?)

In trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, I have to fight every socially received notion that says my end goal should be losing weight. It’s not always easy to ignore this, and part of me really, really wants to just start counting calories and obsessing over everything I eat, but I’m not going to do that, because that would be letting The Man win. (Plus, I’m pretty sure it would make me crazy.) I hate everything about the American diet industry and how it’s designed to profit off of telling women they’re not good enough the way they are. If a certain diet works for you and you’re sincerely happy on it and not constantly hungry, good for you. I would like to hear about it, and I’d also like to take some DNA samples to see what type of genetic abnormality you have.

However, I also don’t want to keep stuffing my face with junk (which in my case means take-out, baked goods, and delicious processed soy products), because I don’t feel as good this way, yada yada. I also don’t ride my bike much in the winter, so I’ve begrudgingly joined a gym. It feels much weirder than it should to eat healthy and exercise with the goal of health and not of weight loss, because most of these conversations sadly center around weight as a metric of health (as well as attractiveness, happiness, character, love-ability…ugh). I’m far from immune to these pressure, but in an effort to model good behavior, I’m going to try to think of health only. If I happen to lose weight as a result, that will be okay with me. If I don’t, I’m going to love my new tummy anyway with the knowledge that my heart is working properly.

Plus, let’s be honest, I haven’t gained that much weight. To the untrained eye, I look relatively the same. Which just goes to show, you can’t necessarily tell much about someone’s lifestyle just by looking at them. The difference between me eating right and exercising and me sitting on my ass eating vegan donuts all day might not look like a lot, because looks are a terrible indicator of someone’s internal health.

And if that all sounds like a bunch of hippie bullshit, you probably don’t want to read my next post, which will be about the things that I’ve eaten these past few days. The answer to the question “what does a normal, healthy, non-disordered diet look like?” is different for everyone, but I’m going to model what it looks like for me. I will never deny myself food when I’m hungry, and I’m going to eat until I’m satisfied. One of the main differences between eating healthy and “going on a diet,” in my opinion, is being allowed to honor your body’s cues, so that’s what I’m going to keep on doing.