This Is What I Want for Losing Weight

Lipstick, mostly. Other stuff, too.

Photo: Jared Carruthers

The first ten pounds I lost was actually 12.2 pounds — I liked the idea of making my milestones round, even numbers, and I was willing to wait the extra 2.2 pounds to get there. So, at a crisp 240 pounds, I went onto my Google Doc, entered the date when the goal was achieved (February 12th, 2017), and helped myself to the reward listed beneath the weight: “Lush Order ($~100 of Product + Fast Shipping).” I spent $146.75 on my first goal weight reward. I feel good about it.

I’ve read a lot of weight loss blogs, and I haven’t seen any that say anything along the lines of “reward yourself like a parent would a petulant child who needs to stay quiet in Target.” Yet, here I am, contributing additional consumerism to an industry already bathing in it. It’s working this time, though. I think. Maybe.

Honestly, I don’t know what was the thing that made a goal to exercise more and eat healthier click into place. I’ve gained and lost weight a lot since I was a teen, with more dramatic turns mounting in my twenties. The process usually starts with me clinging to a way to lose weight fast, trying that for a month or two and losing weight fast, and then gaining it all back when I inevitably cave because nothing that’s easy is substantial and I miss food. I’ve done everything from low carb (no bread, terrible) to supplements like Raspberry Ketones (for Maximum, Best 100% Pure Natural Weight Loss! #1 to Suppress Appetite & Stop Overeating, Antioxidants, Huge 500mg Serving! No Fillers, Artificial Ingredients, & No Side Effects!). For years, I’ve been dancing that unending dance with crash diets and binge eating that keeps me unhealthy and frustrated.

Now, I’m dancing to J-Biebs on Just Dance 2017 (and incorporating a healthy diet). Weight loss isn’t my end-all, be-all goal, but a side effect from changing lifestyle habits. And after buying a house last year, I’ve been putting off purchases to thicken up my savings account. The fun stuff has sort of fallen through the cracks, so putting it back on the table as a reward for doing less-than-fun stuff has helped me stay motivated. So has keeping track of everything I eat (a lot of vegetables!), my workout habits (full resistance on that stationary bike!), measuring my waist (five inches down!), and seeing a change in my health (I’m sleeping again!).

So, what kind of things do you get yourself as a reward when you’re a 25-year-old office administrator? Coming up with a list of things that are “rewards” rather than just “usual expenses” has been like flicking myself in the nose repeatedly. I mean, when I need something, I tend to buy it. But what about want? What purchases have been put off because they were frivolous or too hefty of a chunk of change? How can I shed my Ben Wyatt and embrace my Donna Meagle?

10 lbs: As previously stated, I wanted a Lush order and allowed myself to spend $146.75 on it. Before ordering this reward, I had this container of Big that my friend Sarah got me (from Japan!). I was using, like, two granules of the salt in it every time I washed my hair because I was so anxious about running out. Now, I’m not holding back. I got a daily moisturizer that doubles as a primer, baby! (Will this create a dependence? Will this want become a “need”? I took a lot of risks on the first 10 pounds.)

20 lbs: Celebrity Skin! Anna Nicole! Blue Velvet! A hearty Jeffree Star order, bumping that cap up to $120. I currently have two Jeffree Star lipsticks that I coaxed myself into buying with my very substantial tax refund, and after using that Velour Liquid Lipstick applicator, I’m ready for this beauty awakening. Alas, at $18/lipstick, this is likely to be a pretty underwhelming unboxing when I open the package and it has, like, six lipsticks.

30 lbs: At thirty pounds down is one of my least planned presents, but I really want to indulge in an Etsy jewelry haul. I’ve had the same jewelry for forever, and you can only wear a cat pentagram necklace so many times, you know? This bronze fist is exactly the kind of look I’m going for in 2017: “I will take you down.” And this white scorpion lapel pin has a very similar vibe. So, I guess my 30 lb reward is “a few pieces of vaguely threatening jewelry.”

40 lbs: Before being a vegetarian, I had a beautiful pair of Doc Martens that one of my cats who never peed on anything peed all over. This time, I’ll be getting the vegan ones, which hopefully means my cats won’t pee on them. Causation or correlation? We’ll find out at 210 pounds.

50 lbs: Obviously I want 50 pounds to be something not-so formulaic, so at the big five-oh, I’m planning a trip to see my friend Grace, who will be moving this year to… Somewhere. She’s a pharmacist getting out of her prison/residency, and they don’t really know these things. Can you imagine not knowing where — in the entire United States of America — you would be living next year? Oh, god. I’m getting secondhand anxiety. Maybe I’ll nix this one.

Fifty pounds, five sizable rewards. When I look at them, I get a rush of confidence: I can do fifty pounds. I’ve already done fifteen. It’s only thirty five more! I toss the numbers around a lot like that, grouping them and drawing them out as circles on a sticky note. But I always stop at fifty, because thinking about getting under 200 feels like a far-off dream.

There’s this weird string that’s been running alongside my weight loss: I think a lot of my adult identity is tied into being a Fat Girl. I’m that Fat Girl with the nose ring, that Fat Girl who made you laugh at a party, that Fat Girl who works at the accounting firm. I have this chart in the same doc where I keep the list of my rewards, and it maps out how much I’ll be with different weight loss rates. My goal is five pounds a month, which puts me at 190 in the new year. I’m already ahead of that by a little bit, but 190 seems fake or something that can’t belong to me, like a life in an alternate reality or some unrealistic goal that can’t possibly happen within a year.

So, I’m putting of the 60 pound reward until I get a better sense of that. I want to be healthy, and in more than just those quantifiable numbers of blood pressure and body fat. I want to feel good, I want to sleep well, I want to write and work hard and be present. And I really, really want some Velour Liquid Lipsticks.

Hale Goetz works as a freelance writer alongside an illustrious career as an office administrator. If you’d like to contact Hale, please email her at halegoetz@gmail.com or tweet her your best joke.

This story is part of The Billfold’s I Want It Now series.

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