I’ve been holding off on creating a blog at all about my weight loss journey. Whether because I didn’t think I’d succeed or because I didn’t think anyone would care to read it, I’m not sure. But, tonight I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter if nobody reads this thing — I’m still going to TRY to write it. I’ve often wished that I’d started a blog sooner…at the beginning of my journey. I’ve used that as an excuse to continue to avoid blogging. But, tonight I’ve decided that it doesn’t matter if I’m at the beginning, middle, second beginning, or wherever in this journey — I can still write about it.
I’ve seen a lot of people’s before and after pictures. I’ve taken a few of my own (we’ll call them before and “during” or progress pictures). It kind of just struck me tonight that I’m not the 235-lb girl I was a few years ago. I always feel like my “before” is only a few weeks away and will return again. I feel this way about a lot of things — my teenage years and childhood. The past never seems like it’s behind me; it seems like I’m waiting for those days to roll back around.
Poor Chris has to be part of my before pictures tonight. Sorry, Chris!
Before, I tried to hide behind whatever was available. I followed a set of rules to make myself as non-offensive as possible. Bow my head just a bit to somewhat hide the double chin; tilt my head so my hair would fall just a bit down near my chin to hide the fat in my face; put someone or something in front of a part of me to keep my body outline from showing; and, above all else, do not look at the photos later. Photos were always terrible things to me. Mirrors didn’t bother me as much — but photos were terrible. I was trained to see every flaw.
Before…humor was something done at my expense in order for me to hide my insecurities. Except, of course, self-deprecating humor really exposes your insecurities to the whole world. I KNEW I was fat. (For the record – why do some people think that overweight folks don’t KNOW that they’re overweight? You think because we’re inside the skin we don’t SEE the body?) So, yes, I KNEW I was fat. I was hoping that nobody else would know. I was hoping that I was invisible.
Before, I thought color was a skinny girl’s privilege. I owned and wore primarily black. I had been trained to avoid patterns, the color red, and life in general. I caved into myself, curled into myself, trying to hide as much of me as I could.
Before, I was afraid to smile because it made my face bigger. Even when I did smile, it was never real. I was always in the background and afraid to actually go through experiences. In my mind, I was too fat for everything. I watched others live life and retreated into my own mind and fantasy.
Before is behind me.
Before is not around the corner waiting to return.
I am not to After yet, but I am closer to After than to Before. You know, this is not my first rodeo; far from it. I’ve seen those numbers on the scale jump around all my life. I remember breaking 100 in grade school (and being proud of it). I remember the shame coming later – in middle school – when I hit the 180s. I remember going on Ritalin and dropping very quickly to a normal 145….and only eating 1 meal a day. I remember begging my friend to share her weight with me when I was back up in the 180s again (without the Ritalin)…I wanted to know that her weight wasn’t so far from mine..that maybe I had a fighting chance to still look normal.
I remember in college shooting over 200. I remember joining a pro-anorexia group and starving myself down 20 pounds in 2 weeks. I remember burning 1000 calories in the gym and only eating 400 that day.
I remember 235. I remember 190. I remember 200. And, I remember 226.2 — the day that I decided to try one last thing before resigning myself to needing weight loss surgery someday. The day – July 31, 2010 – that I joined Weight Watchers.
And that day is where my “before” ends. Because since that day, no matter if the scale has gone up or down, I have always been a part of Now. I have always been a work in progress. This has not been nor will it be an easy or simple journey. There is nothing simple or easy about it. It is, however, not the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do — losing weight. The hardest things I’ve had to do had nothing to do with numbers on the scale. Because what I’ve discovered most of all throughout this journey so far is that my weight was never the problem.
One last thing that came to me tonight…one last thing I need to say. Before, you see, I never experienced life because I was too afraid of what everyone else was thinking about me. I was ashamed of myself and my looks.
The best part about learning to love yourself and no longer caring what other people think about how you look is getting to live life. When other people’s opinions about your body stop defining your life, you stop caring if you look like an idiot and start enjoying the experience instead.