Before

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.

Before…

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 the bigger the piece of clothing, the more invisible the body would be.

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, I never felt like I belonged. I felt alone no matter who was with me.

Before, I felt like the blemish in a perfect family. I saw no beauty even when I was beautiful.

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.

Bye Bye, Before. Hello, Today!

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31 thoughts on “Before

  1. Pingback: The “After” Myth | Can Anybody Hear Me?

  2. Lisa, you hit home on so many things. 10 years ago I lost 100 lbs and I didn’t see myself as loosing weight. I am now 61 and struggling to loose 20 or 30 lbs and it isn’t easy but I am trying. I read all that you wrote and your right it really isn’t about the scale it is about learning to like/love ourselves. I love the way you put that you are still the same person.
    I remember recently a friend of mine kept on telling me (she is a smaller person) wow you lost a ton of weight about five times. I was very sensitive and said a ton is 2,000 lbs and I didn’t loose that much.
    My biggest pet peve is I wish people would think before they speak! Do they think when we are heavier we don’t have feelings? I had feeling with the weight and was more sensitive without the weight being on. My husband of at the time 31 years was having a heard time dealing with my loosing weight. Funny how when you loose the weight they think your going to cheat and leave them! I am still with him and now it is 41 years and 3 children 8 grands and one great grand.
    I am going to stop looking at the scale and keep on looking inside of me.
    Thanks for sharing your story it is very inspiring.
    God bless,
    Joyce L

  3. Well I start reading the “After” and I couldn’t stop so I came to keep read. I teared too, a bit, some things you writed I knew as “mine things”, and others I just found out on me too and understand some questions I tryed to understand before but never did. Thks a lot. It helps and it matters!

  4. Thank you for this. I have been on my own weight loss journey for about a year now and your blog is so inspirational and comforting, in the sense that I don’t feel alone in this. You’ve taken thoughts outta my head and words outta my mouth, thank you thank you, thank you!!!

  5. God Bless you Lisa – – – you have had an amazing journey of self. Hold onto that love – it is so precious – just as you are. However you are. Whomever you decide to become.

  6. I have literally felt the way you explain for so many years and it wasn’t until I started working with my company that I have learned the most valuable gift “myself and truly living this life” we have the most incredible group all over this globe that inspires each other daily it has filled beyond my dreams and I am so grateful to know myself completely and love this life who would have ever known. Our heads can hold us back from ever living the life we were truly meant to live and I get to spend my everyday inspiring so many others to live their very best life. Forever I had let the life experiences I grew up around control my mind, heart and choices but I didn’t know how to really grasp these events completely and had to realize I don’t have to live with those pains that I was allowing to control my destiny. I didn’t want those that were undeserving to control my emotions anymore. You deserve the best gift, to truly free yourself from the core root of what brought you the pain that has you in this place your heart is in. I truly wish you the best journey and can’t wait to see your light!

  7. Lisa, reading your blog has inspired me to finally get control of the demons that have caused me to keep myself protected with my weight. I have been on my weight loss journey for 2 years and have lost a large amount of weight but I haven’t done any work on the inner me. I thought that as the weight came off my confidence would just increase and I would be happy, but what I am noticing is as the weight comes off, my insecurities are increasing. I am always thinking that people are judging me and this thought process is exhausting. You wrote, “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.” and I have to say it was an aha moment for me. I need to quit thinking that people are thinking all the negative things I say to myself but how do you change that thinking? I know this inner work will be a harder process than losing the weight but I am ready to start enjoying life.

  8. wow. this is exactly me. I don’t smile a real smile in photos. I wear my hear a special way in photos and tilt my head a certain way. It’s all an attempt to reduce how fat my face looks.

  9. Oh, Lisa, someone posted your “after”blog post to Facebook and as I read it, I fell to pieces. You put to words so much of what I have felt and thought but could never put into words. So, I came to read your whole blogged journey. As others have said, you are writing my story! You are an encouragement to me, and I have come to realize I need to work on the inside and the outside at the same time. Thank you! Thank you for thanking the risk, and sharing your blog with others!

  10. Such a beautifull blog…from its valuable content. I am impress of all the stories you can bring in front of us, explaining exactly the feelings that goes with it. Your story is something that bring comfort and confidence in human being. You are a pretty good example of a real human in action, as I think it should be. Keep the good work, you are an inspiration to someone somewhere.

  11. Lisa read your after blog on face book ,that lead to me reading the other posts. You have put this all so perfectly . I’m an after ( for the second time I’m in my 50s ) I will always think my ” before will return ” .. But your so right , I’m also discovering me just a different version.

  12. Pingback: Why There is No “Happily Ever After” with Weight Loss - Secrets of a Weight Loss Master

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  18. Hello there! My name is Sally, I am 50 and I am overweight and have been for the last twenty odd years. Thing is I have believed I was fat all my life. Reading your blog has been a revelation – the thing about being critical of photos of yourself, about always feeling not worthy about being below the skinny beautiful crowd. Thank you for being so honest. I am going to go through all 2,000 pics on my phone and find positive things to say about the ones I am in – the few which I haven’t deleted!!!! I’ve only read the first month’s blog but I will get to the end. You will help me to change my life, thank you xxx

  19. I love this authentic entry on the struggle of weight loss, especially the part you talked about the merry go round of dieting, putting back on, losing it again etc..
    Take heart. It’s nice to know I’m not alone 🙂

  20. I’m wondering why this post hasn’t also gone viral. You speak truths that only others in your position are able to recognize as such – the little tricks like the tilt of the head, the black clothing. I know because I’ve been there myself. Also, like you, I have reached an After that feels more like a Now.

    Great job, and it’s nice to see you get the recognition you deserve.

  21. Pingback: The “After” Myth – By Lisa K | Kindness Blog

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