Body Image Week: Why Weight Ups and Downs Don't Matter As Much As You Think

Weight ups and downs are totally normal, natural, and usually nothing to worry about. So glad I know that now.

I’m on vacation this week in California so I’m re-publishing a series of body image posts from the archives. This one is originally ran in July.

We like to talk about little victories here at—but I’ve realized a victory lately that is anything but little. (At least it seems that way to me!) Here it is: I am 13 pounds heavier now than I was a year ago. And instead of falling into bad body image, feeling unsatisfied, being tempted to go on a crash diet, or being otherwise obsessive, I’m simply…OK with it.In fact, this little weight bump seems totally expected and perfectly natural considering what the last year has held for me. I got married last May, spent nights and weekends writing my book from January through June, and then promptly started a new (very busy) job. All of that means that my husband and I have too busy to cook and have been ordering in constantly; I’ve been giving in to that feeling of “I’m so busy, I deserve this cookie/chocolate/second helping!” And last, but not least, I haven’t been making the time to move my body. Most days, I’d rather just drag myself home from work and park on the couch with a streaming Netflix movie than stop at the gym.

The best thing about all this is that I’m just accepting it. I don’t feel guilty, or bad, or wrong. I just am. My life just is. My body just is. And now that things are settling down for me a bit, I’ve started making my usual, healthier decisions (cooking at home, making time for working out) again. I know that the better I feed myself and the more I move, the stronger, more clear-headed, and happier I feel.

Getting back to my usual healthy behaviors will likely also trigger yet some other body changes—which brings me to my main point: Our bodies, just like our minds and our lives, are constantly changing. They don’t ever stay the same, and part of our journey toward food- and body- sanity is getting OK with that.

Rebecca Radcliffe, a women’s health and self-esteem expert I interviewed for my book, pointed out to me once that women’s bodies don’t just change over months and years, they change every 28 days! Every week, we’re at a different point in our cycle with different hormone levels that can dictate or at least affect everything from our energy levels, our mood (and, of course, our bloat).

I was so pleased to realize that I’ve finally gotten OK with a thing that used to scare the hell out of me: CHANGE. Part of that has been getting OK with physical changes and natural weight ups and downs. What a revelation!

How have you dealt with weight and body changes in the past? Do they really shake you up? Or are you learning to accept them as natural? xo…Sunny

4 Responses to Body Image Week: Why Weight Ups and Downs Don't Matter As Much As You Think

  1. April5993 says:

    I haven’t responded well to these changes in the past. I think it’s great that you are looking at it with acceptance. That is what i’m striving for. For so long i have not been willing to accept my body shape. I’ve been on and off diets for the last 13 years, ever since my first stint with weight watchers where i was told I needed to lose 20 lbs to be in the “acceptable” category (BMI range). I’m tall (6 ft.) and curvy, but i’ve always thought i needed to be a size 6. I know this is not possible for my body and i would not be happy or healthy eating the minimal calories it would take to keep my body there. Working on acceptance is a struggle, but i’ve finally decided that i have to focus my attention on that rather than on calories and the number on the scale.

    • Katie says:

      Being tall can be very hard, because it’s even more important to ignore “the numbers”—the clothing sizes, the lbs on the scale. What is healthy for you will be much higher than for the 5’4″ women of the world, especially with an athletic build! I am 5’10” and have struggled to feel feminine, as well as to disregard the numbers talk. Those numbers just don’t apply to me!

  2. Chelsea says:

    I’ve come to notice that when I’ve put on a few pounds, I can usually correlate it to when I just kept ordering food to be delivered and wasn’t cooking for myself much. As much as my favorite pizza served to me at my front door is a delight, if I keep that up for days on end it will deflate my bank account and inflate me.

  3. Caycee says:

    Hey sunny! So thats amazing that you’ve come to terms with your body weight! I accept my body type( i am 17), and i like the way my natural body shape is too- but since ive gained 10 pounds binging over the last few months i have lost my body confidence and sometimes i get so sick from the binging that i refuse to do anything social. And right now its the summer time and i’ve been to the pool one time, and i can’t fit into any of my clothes…. i love eating my food late at night, alone, but i hate the way it makes me feel afterwards. I think its just a bad habit but i can’t stop. But i am ordering your book and i just stumbled upon this site, so i hope it will help!! Thanks sunny :)

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Sunny Sea Gold

About the Author

Sunny Sea Gold is a media-savvy advocate and commentator specializing in binge eating disorder, cultural obsessions around food and weight, and raising children who have a healthy body image.