To The Women Who Think Their Lives Would Change If They Just Lost That Last 5 Pounds

Sarah Swinton
Sarah Swinton

The New Year is well on its way and I’m wondering how many of you vowed to lose weight? Maybe become just a little more active? Eat less Ben & Jerry’s?

Whatever it is that you want to do, I hope you do it. I hope you find whatever it is that you’re looking for in this lifestyle adjustment. If you are hellbent on a thigh gap and a six pack, this isn’t for you.

This is for the women who can’t seem to shake those extra 10-15 pounds they’ve been carrying around.

The women who eat relatively healthy. Are relatively active. But can’t lose that extra weight.

It’s those few pounds that don’t make the major difference in your appearance.

The average person probably doesn’t notice them, especially if you’re clothed.

But, there’s that moment you look into the mirror and think, if I could just lose these few pounds I’d look so much better in my bathing suit.

And, yes! That is true. You probably would. You’d feel good, too!

This is where the waters begin to muddy.

I am absolutely in concurrence with the need to make our country more healthy.

Less processed foods. Less preservatives. More physical activity.

I’m a physical therapy student for crying out loud. I was a dancer for 20 years. I have degrees in exercise physiology and dance studies. I freaking love physical activity.

The problem is this obsession with the perfect body.

What does that even mean? Why is there this pressure on us to look a certain way?

The body shaming has gotten so out of control. It’s absolutely atrocious the way we talk about each other and vilify each other. I don’t understand how women can address one another so negatively.

We are all perfectly capable of being “healthy” without having rock hard abs.

I actually read an article of a woman bashing Lane Bryant’s campaign about self-love with their “I’m No Angel” slogan. This campaign was created to tell women of all shapes and sizes that their bodies should be cherished. This woman slammed it for telling women it’s okay to be overweight.

There are so many factors that play into why we look the way we do. Why we’re shaped the way we are. Lane Bryant wasn’t celebrating obesity or poor health. They were celebrating women in all of our many forms.

Our bodies are sacred. They are our temple. So, yes, treat it with kindness with what you feed it, but also treat it with kindness in how you talk about it.

Don’t be ashamed of it. It doesn’t deserve that.

There’s this sick guilt we feel if we over-indulge every once in a while (again, I’m saying every once in a while. Not going to McDonald’s five times a week).

My friend and I sometimes crave something sweet, end up eating 14 servings of Reese’s, then the self-loathing sinks in. The balance is what’s difficult.

But the self-loathing is what’s bothersome to me. I’ve seen people tear themselves apart for slipping on their diet.

I’ve heard women insult their own character for eating a slice of pizza on a Friday night instead of snacking on carrot sticks as planned.

Life happens. I just want to encourage women to eliminate this self-hatred.

I typically exercise five to six times a week. During the weekdays, I cook all of my meals and follow a comparatively structured diet consisting of healthy fats, natural carbs and lean protein.

When the weekend rolls around, however, I enjoy myself.

I want pizza, I eat pizza. If I need chips and quéso, it’s all mine. And it doesn’t bother me anymore. This works for me and I will continue to treat myself whenever the hell I want. To each his own, right?

Sure, if I spent my weekends with my kale salads and egg whites as I do during the week, I’d probably be sporting a slightly better figure (whatever that means), but I’m happy.

My dearest friend and I have this discussion about balance regularly. We love to treat ourselves to our favorite meals, but we’re also quite serious about maintaining an overall healthy diet.

The nights my mom would walk into my room before bed and say, “Come on! We’re going for ice cream!” and we’d head to the ice cream shop in our PJs.

The evenings I’d walk into my best friend’s house and her mom would immediately fill the table with pretzels, chips and M&Ms as we sat around until 2 AM talking about life.

The celebratory pizza and root beer (*GASP* SHE DRANK SODA!) my grandma and I shared the day I moved into my first apartment by myself.

I wouldn’t have traded those moments or those calories for anything in the world.

We need to remember that life is short. Too short.

Enjoy your time here. Eat five tacos this Saturday to celebrate your friend’s job promotion, then sweat it out Sunday morning at yoga together.

More balance, less dramatic bouts of self-criticism.

At the end of the day, you are the one person you will always have in life. Don’t let yourself down. Don’t be your own enemy. Don’t add to all of the negativity we’re already trying to escape.

You are a warrior. You are beautiful. You are a woman. You are you. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

As my story unraveled in unexpected ways, writing has blossomed into my chosen art form and my saving grace.

Keep up with Emily on Instagram, Twitter and

More From Thought Catalog