I've been reading in bed this morning, and it happened to be a book on the psychological relationship we have with food and slimming - something I picked up from my flatmate's bookshelf. It's actually pretty interesting.
One of the first things it advises you to do, is to physically write down the reasons you want to change - so here are mine in no particular order:
Fashion - I love fashion, and I hate being constrained by the shops' ideas of what I should be wearing at my size (incidentally, an 18, going on 20 in some shops - although getting a little smaller already). I want to be able to shop where I want to, and try on any style, before I make my own decision as to whether or not it suits me.
In a similar way, I get deeply annoyed that it's so hard for me to find clothes for the sports I do. Gym stuff is fine, but try finding decent clothes for mountain biking, snowboarding and windsurfing when you're above a 14 - it drives me demented.
I want to be more comfortable with myself and my appearance - whether it's swimming, in front of the doctor / physio, or in front of a man - the times when everything's on show shouldn't automatically turn into stressful moments.
I want to smile at the world more, and be more open to people. I think that years of little negative reinforcements have left me too defensive with the world. I have a big wall around me to keep people out, and I don't want it to be there anymore - I don't want to be scared of rejection, and I think I link rejection to my size in my head. I don't know if this is because I occasionally got teased about my size when I was younger, or at least I was so conscious of it in my formative years that I interpreted it as teasing, but whatever it is - I need to reverse it. I'm fed up of wanting to hide that bit of me away, the fat bit, of being so controlling of what image people see of me. These thoughts are all so confused in my head, and maybe most people would tell me I need to sort them out before I change my appearance, but I guess there's plenty of time along the way to work on them.
I don't want to be held back from trying things because I'm scared I'll look stupid - well, stupid due to my size anyway. I don't have a particular fear of looking stupid, but it's a different brand of humiliating when it's due to something like them not having a climbing harness big enough to fit you (actually despite all my worst fears, that's never happened to me yet - 4 out of 4 occasions they've fitted me - phew!!!).
I don't want my size to be a factor in how good I am when I try new sports / activities. If I'm rubbish because I have no inherent ability, so be it. But I can't help wondering how much my snowboarding and windsurfing would improve with a smaller, lighter me - I'd be less scared of falling and hurting myself, it'd be easier to get back up (well, certainly for skiing and windsurfing anyway), and I'd be more agile.
Which brings me to my fitness - I would love to be a fitter me with better endurance. To not tire as quickly, to be better able to keep up on the long walks and to have more energy.
This one's important - my health. Whilst I might not be physically aware of it now, I'm conscious that my weight could have a serious impact on my health in future years if I don't start looking after myself properly now. My dad has what I suspect is mild angina, and my mother suffered from arthritis from the early age of her mid-40's - if I can go someway to preventing this being me, then I should grab the opportunity with both hands. My grandma was also diagnosed with breast cancer last year, at the age of 94 (? - actually it's a bit of mystery what age my grandma is - even she's not entirely sure!) - as it happens she's responded incredibly well to treatment, but that's not the point. Cancer is said to be higher risk with obesity, and that's enough warning for me!
I think that list covers the major points - there's probably a few other minor ones, like wanting to feel more attractive, but to be honest, I think that falls out from achieving the ones above - the more confident you are, the more attractive people find you, and the more confident you become. It's a bit of a vicious circle, but having the confidence in myself is where it starts.