Something I read somewhere made me wonder if vanity played a fair role in weight loss maintenance. Or was vanity just one factor that got people started in losing weight? Most conventional wisdom would say that vanity is NOT a good long-term weight loss motivator. So following through on that thought, one would presume that by the time you got to weight loss maintenance, vanity would have long since flown the coop.
But has it? The day after I proposed this topic to our AIM group, my BF and I had our usual daily conversation. She mentioned that at her quilt club meeting, someone said something about the wonderful goodies in the snack room. And my BF just said, “well, I wear a swimsuit year round (she is a scuba diver) and so that is a good motivator for me to stay away from the snack room.” I hadn’t even mentioned this topic!
The next day I had some friends over for lunch. One of the women only ate half of the [most worthy] cake that I served. She is my age and has the same sweet tooth that I have, but is fashion model beautiful. She periodically goes back to Weight Watchers to maintain the thin weight that she believes looks best on her. For her, vanity is a major motivator in maintaining her weight.
But what about the normal run-of-the-mill weight loss maintainer? What about a short dumpy arthritic wrinkled middle-aged woman who lost 100 pounds but is still overweight by all conventional wisdom? SURELY, vanity wouldn’t play a role in her weight loss maintenance?
Ha! As I thought about this topic for the past few weeks, and tried to objectively observe myself, I came up with a few observations.
- One of the reasons I go to the gym and work out hard is so that I will still “look good” in the clothes that I enjoy wearing.
- When the weather finally warms up in the spring, it takes me a long time to talk myself into putting on my swimsuit so I can exercise in the pool.
I kept thinking about this vanity thing. At first I thought, well its hard to be an American and not have vanity play a major role in your life. But then I thought about the women (and men) I had met in the slums of Nairobi and Port au Prince, and you could see that they enjoyed looking their best. A little bit of nail polish, a little hair product was gladly received. The young girls wearing little more than rags did their best to be “stylin’.”
Maybe its just human nature.
The problem with vanity being the MAJOR motivator for long term weight loss maintenance happens when it comes with a secondary presumption. When you believe that “looking good” will bring you joy, or contentment, or self-esteem, that is when vanity is no longer fair. That is when maintenance becomes a grand impossibility.
To see what other long term weight loss maintainers think about this topic, click on over to visit my AIM (Adventures in Maintenance) friends: