There’s a poster that’s been making the rounds on Facebook, Pinterest and various blogs. It shows the back of a fit, muscular young woman wearing a sports bra and a pink boxing glove. It says:

Losing weight is hard.
Maintaining weight is hard.
Staying fat is hard.
Choose your hard. 

I have a visceral, negative reaction every time I see it. I recognize that when I have a visceral, negative reaction, it’s serves me well to understand why. I need to know why.

So here’s what I figured out:

It comes from years of hearing things like, “Life’s a bitch and then you die” and “Life is hard. Suck it up.” It’s one of those words that doesn’t work for me.

It also comes from my belief that having a healthy body (which, for some, means losing weight, maintaining that loss, and being physically fit) shouldn’t be hard – it should come easily and naturally. If it’s not coming easily and naturally then figuring out why – while sometimes hard – is totally worth it.

It also comes from my belief that having a healthy body goes hand-in-hand with having a healthy mind and spirit.

And for that, I am willing to deal with shorter-term, periodic episodes of “hard” because it is worth longer-term “easy.” The “choose your hard” poster, on the other hand, pretty much says it’s going to be hard forever and invokes fear in me.

Another blogger who remains anonymous recently wrote about her journey as being analogous to an archeological dig. She wrote: “Food/fat have always been ‘the parts I can see’. They are one component of many, many components. Most of the time they have been the easiest parts (for me) because they are pure science – numbers, balance, meal times, portions. The food/fat have been almost a relief (to me). The other components are much harder (for me) to see and therefore require so much more effort. The food/fat might be brushing off the sand, and the rest of it is the archaeological dig. But I do think we have to brush off the sand, get past the food/fat, to begin the real work.”

In response, I wrote, “For me, the deep dig has been the easy part…and brushing off the sand has been hard. Both parts of the process are needed and necessary. I have tended to operate based on the belief that doing the deep work will make the surface work easier, because I really didn’t want it to be hard. In fact, I believe that taking care of oneself should be something that one WANTS to do and that it should come easily. It never did for me, although I’ve had glimpses of it. I am having a glimpse of it now.”

So I “choose” to reframe it as choosing my easy.

Some more food for thought:

In Our Bulimic Society, Annabel Adam asks: What does a “healthful environment” look like? Should we be building a society that teaches that “health” is based predominantly on body size and accessed via restriction and prohibition? Or, should we be teaching that our health is much more than what our bodies look like; that it’s not accessed by restricting one particular indulgence; that, instead, it’s about being empowered to make the right choices for yourself.

THAT’S what I’m talking about! Make sure you read the rest of her post…she’s been hitting it out of the park lately!

“Only when we’re brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.” ~ Brené Brown

“I believe that by being the best and most healed version of ourselves we can truly make a difference in the world. I’m not an activist or politician, and I’m not able to have any direct impact on the areas of the world where help is needed. But what I can do is make a difference in the small pocket of the world I call home.” ~ Susannah Conway

Do you choose easy or hard? Why?