Here's what I looked like before I started hooping:
And here's what I look like now:
I've lost a little bit of weight in the two years and eight months I've been hooping. People often ask me if hooping is a good way to lose weight. Sometimes I tell them yes, that I lost 40 pounds since I started hooping. They always look at me in awe, and I always feel a bit guilty when I tell them this. It's not un-true, I DID lose 40 pounds after I started hooping. Yes, hooping is good exercise, and yes, I'm sure you probably could lose weight from it. But hooping is not a magic bullet, and I did not lose the bulk of my 40 pounds by hooping.
That's not to say hooping didn't play a role in my weight loss. It did. It played a HUGE role, because hooping was the catalyst that made me want to actively lose weight and keep it off.
Weight loss was never one of my reasons for picking up the hoop. To be honest, I didn't even think of it until people saw me doing it and said, "That must be a great way to lose weight!" The reason I originally picked up the hoop in the first place is I saw a video of SaFire doing it, and I thought, "Holy crap. That looks FUN."
And hooping IS fun. I found that out very quickly. I practiced tirelessly, at least an hour a day for the first few months. I became addicted, practicing with the goal of one day being able to move as if I wasn't even trying, like the hoopers I'd seen on YouTube. I got into filming and posting videos of my hooping, because I wanted to have something to gauge my progress by. Exactly five months in, I shot and posted this video:
It was a very scary video for me to post, because all I could see was my belly hanging out over my stupid plaid pajama pants. When I originally posted it, I called it something like "Fat Belly Hooping" and added a bunch of annotations basically apologizing for my belly. Here's something I did not forsee: The army of fat belly fetishists that crawled out of the woodwork to subscribe to me. I liked to click on the channels of my new subscribers to see what kinds of videos they posted or watched. Imagine my disgust when this new slew of subscribers watched videos of, I kid you not, extremely obese women prodding their belly fat for five minutes at a time.
Didn't do much for my self esteem, granted. But it did make me want to take action. I didn't want people to subscribe to my channel to watch my belly jiggle. I wanted them to subscribe to watch me hoop! And I wanted to feel PROUD in that hoop. I wanted to feel GOOD about videos I posted, without worrying that some perv was checking out my goods. And not even the right goods, for crying out loud. So I re-named the video (took "belly" out of it completely), adjusted the annotations to be more self-loving, and set out on my goal to slim down.
I completely agree with you on your last point- loving yourself. You are a beautiful, fit, and talented woman, and it makes me so happy to see that you feel happy with yourself. I know so many women in so many different lifestyles that strive to "feel thin" or to be what they believe society wants them to be, and are so unhappy for it. I would rather be what I am now, and be happy, than striving for a body that I'll never have and be unhappy. :)
LOVE IT! You are so absolutely right - i didn't pick up the hoop to lose weight either.. I just wanted to be able to hoop! And I don't care if I don't lose weight with it. True, I wouldn't mind losing the extra weight, but you know what I mean! Even when I recorded my first video, I thought OH GOD LOOK AT MY BELLY! but then all the comments that I got were all about how I moved so well and how it looked so cool! man.. i love hooping :)
Great blog post! How did you count your calories? I used myfitnesspal online. I only lost ten pounds, but it was a huge step for me continuing my recovery from exercise bulimia/anorexia. It helped me keep track of what I was doing and helped reined me in when I begin to resort to my old ways.
But I have to say my favorite part of your blog was the accepting your body as is! I still have difficulty with this some days....maybe if my abs were harder, or if my biceps were bigger...things would be different. But it won't be. I also made a list of what I liked about myself and it was longer than the list I didn't like.
My big body acceptance break through was at Burning Flipside, where I finally stripped down and frolicked with everyone else who didn't have body issues. It felt amazing to be accepted and I thought everyone would be staring and oogling, making fun of me.... but they weren't. It was a nice eye opener that body image isn't everything and people aren't really thinking what you think they are thinking.
I gained a lot of weight when I went through a tough patch of life. Then I lost most of it by eating healthier. Then I started hooping regularly in January, and everybody says "are you losing weight? Is it from hooping?". Truth is I haven't lost a pound since I started hooping, just shifted it. *:)