Becoming Visible

Wow. Just, wow. I never expected that last post to go viral. I never expected so many people to ever hear me. I never expected you all… I am honored that so many people took the time to read my blog. I read through each and every one of your comments, and so many of you brought tears to my eyes with your compassion, empathy, and support. Just, wow. Thank you.

I have another confession to make: I never expected to become this visible. And, I’m scared.

I’m afraid of writing something dumb in this next post.

I’m afraid of gaining weight and it being much more public than I could’ve anticipated.

I’m afraid of not being worthy of you all reading my words. Of being heard.

I’m afraid of losing the right to speak and be heard.

The best I can do is continue, as I always have, to write for me…whatever comes out of me…and try to just be okay with however people receive that. But, that’s so much easier to say than to do. In the last week, I’ve become visible, and that’s been an ongoing struggle for me. Being seen. Being noticed.

singing

Sometimes, when someone notices me now, approaches me, speaks with me, I worry I’ve done something wrong. Fat was safe. Invisible was safe. Unapproachable was safe. Someone asked in the comments of my last post if people treated me differently now that I’ve lost weight. The truth is, it’s not that they treat me differently — they just “treat me” more often. Because I let them. Because I am working on feeling more worthy of being seen, of being “treated” at all.

One reader, Mary, posted a comment that hit me so hard I’ve been thinking about it all week. The comment was “I have no idea what scary demons I’d find to obsess over if the weight was not there to take the blame.” Can I just say… thank you for that comment. Somehow, in all this self awareness, I hadn’t even considered that maybe the reason it’s scary to be done losing weight is because now I’m left without the one “issue” in my life over which I have some semblance of control. Without that issue, I’m left with the rest of me…so very visible, so very hard for me to look at.

horseback

But, I have to look at me. I can’t cover myself back up with fat or thin: either would be temporary distractions — deflections from the actuality of me. Instead, I must stand in front of a mirror — not a physical one, but a mental and emotional one — and look at the me that’s underneath this skin I’m in, fat or thin. She’s been there all along. It’s time to stop hiding her, hiding from her. It’s time for her to be visible too. Even though visible is really rather scary.

I don’t know how many of you will stick around to read more of my blogs. If this is the last one you read, just know that I appreciate you more than I can say. Your comments, your insight, your seeing me. Without you, I would not have looked in the mirror. Thank you. For those who choose to keep reading, I hope that I don’t let you down, but I make no promises. This is a journey. It’s going to have its ups, downs, plateaus, hard rock walls… that’s life. So, I won’t promise that my posts will be awesome. I will only promise that I will write. For me. As my mirror that you’ve helped me look in once again. That, I can promise.

hiking

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112 thoughts on “Becoming Visible

      • You have expressed exactly how I felt when I lost weight too. Fat was certainly safe and no one wanted you to do things, or make decisions or talk to you. But I can remember that I had to buy clothes that fit,because as you know at some point nothing fits, not even your underwear, it is all too big. I went to the department store and just about lost it. I didn’t know what department to go to or what to loook at first, I was very very overwhelmed. I had, up to that time, had only a tiny department of Women’s sized clothing to ever look at and most of that looked like something my grandma would wear. I ended up just leaving the store with nothing. It took a few times until I could actually try something on because I just knew I would not be in any smaller clothes and be very very disppointed. I was smaller but never viewed myself like that. The only departments plump gals can shop with the rest of the world is shoes, handbags and jewelry and I still have a fetish for all three.

  1. I just found your post, and darling, you are amazing. Not because you’ve done something LOTS of people desire..but because you’re honest. To me, body acceptance and loving yourself is a practice of daily honesty, no matter how it shows up.

    You’re seen now because you’re ready to see yourself this way – us, we just get to witness too, but you hold the strength – this is your love story now.

    Thank you!
    Rachel
    Founder, More To Love

  2. I just recently started to read your blogs. I am at the very beginning ( once again,for the umpteenth time) of the journey of weight loss, making healthy lifestyle changes, etc.etc.
    This isnt my 1st attempt as i mentioned . I seem to do well for a month or even 2 but then it all falls apart after that 😦
    So I am very far from the place you are now so I have no idea how I will feel (if) I get to that stage!!
    I am just wondering what you did to get started? What type of weight loss strategies you used? When did you incorpirate exercise & what type of exercise?
    I used to enjoy walking so I really want to get back into a regular walking routine again.
    The gym isnt really my thing,financially & lack of dedication to go regularly. But Ifeel i am ready to commit to walking .
    Snacking & soda are huge problem areas for me!! I am a pepsiholic (big time)!!!
    I weigh 242 pounds (my heaviest weight ever) & i really do not want to go up anymore!!
    My weight is dragging me down,physically,emotionally & mentally 😦 I am exhausted all of the time,no energy at all ever,no interest in much at all, only want to sit & watch t.v. or be on my cell phone online !!!
    I dont like the person I have become. It’s not fair to my children or to me really!!!
    I want to be able to go outdoors with my kids & take walks & hikes & play basketball & soccer with them!!
    I could sure use your expert advice & help !!! I would be ever so grateful.
    Thank you 🙂

    • I started by joining Weight Watchers and following their program for a good 3 years. Honestly, having a real-life leader, weekly weigh-ins, stars/awards for milestones, and only ONE number to focus on was helpful to me. I never had to say “no” to any foods; I just sometimes had to say “later.” That was the big difference: the move away from deprivation. I really loved Weight Watchers even though I actually finished my weight loss using MyFitnessPal for free. I encourage people to try Weight Watchers just because it dramatically changed my relationship with food, it provided me a community of support, and it got rid of the whole concept of deprivation.

      • I totally agree. I am a lifetime WW member who went off track and now has to lose some pound. I started this journey about a month ago and am doing well. WW is the only way to go. Love your messages. They are so inspirational. Rock on…

    • It helps to surround yourself with people who are already where you want to be. We learn from people’s examples. Also remember that you have to love yourself! Seriously for real, love yourself and be willing to care for yourself. That’s where good things come from.

  3. Your post went viral because so many of us relate more than you may realize. We could be you. I could be you. When one carries extra body fat for years on end it’s near impossible not to believe we would be better, happier, more worthy, lovable, once we lose the weight. What most of us fail to understand is that when we finally reach “after” we are still the same inside. And it is the stuff that’s inside that caused the weight in first place.

    Marc David says that excess body weight is a symptom of deeper issues. It is up to us to figure out what those issues are and deal with them accordingly. When we do, the symptom(s) go away naturally. But how in the world does one figure out deep seated issues we may not even know exist??

    • I have struggled with this too, but from a different side. I have Crohn’s disease which makes me very thin (I’m male) and have had abusive comments about being too thin, even being gay, having AIDS. I felt terrible inside, and the outside reflects the inside. I have indeed realized it’s a psychological issue, whether overweight or underweight. It is all about how one feels about themselves. After twenty plus years I figured out how to find the problems that are buried from us, and deal with them, moving past them. I reverse engineered other healing techniques and put the big picture together. Along the way I picked up friends in the same situation. We are still works in progress but we feel better about ourselves. A couple of people have told me I should change careers and help others but it’s a bit scary to do so. We all have our issues. Like I said I learned to uncover these problems. They are subconscious and our subconscious determines 90% of our lives. That’s why we often never heal the inner issue. It has to be addressed at that subconscious level, which means learning a new skill. It’s still an arduous process, but there’s hope and most everyone I’ve worked with on it feels better. Some faster than others.

      Hugs
      Randy

      • Randy: Thank you for sharing. My initial reaction to your post was “Oh, thank goodness… No WONDER why I haven’t been abel to figure it out!”

        I don’t remember the issue that brought me there, but many years ago during my first ever therapy session the therapist wanted me to discuss my childhood. I told her my childhood had NOTHING to do with the issue at hand and that I couldn’t even remember most of my childhood. She strongly suggested I view childhood photos to help spark my memory (there are no photos). I never returned for session 2.

        Fast forward 30 years. With the help of one of my Precision Nutrition teammates I began remembering my formerly forgotten childhood and was flooded with all manner of emotions. I cried on and off (more on than off) for a few weeks, mourning, and eventually the need to cry about it passed. Now I’m stuck, not knowing how to proceed.

        What is the new skill you mentioned? How does one learn to ‘reach’ one’s sub-conscience? When discussing my childhood with a different (recent) therapist she suggested I envision myself as a young child interacting with a warm, loving, caring, nurturing and present mother — all things my mother was not. I did it, but it felt like a lie because that’s what it was. Now what?

        =^..^=

  4. I will be continuing to read whatever you write.
    Please know you can’t let me down, I know you are human and don’t expect you to be anything other than yourself

  5. I hope I’m not speaking out of place, but all I can say is don’t be scared, this place is yours. Use your readers as a support system but take everything with a grain of salt.

    It seems that many times we use fat as a barrier, as a fortress, as a safety blanket against everything we find uncomfortable or to deal with something terrible in our past (like me). It’s very hard to bring down that wall, and you feel overexposed once you do – this is normal! It’s like an Agoraphobic leaving their house for the first time in years. Everything is unfamiliar and feels foreign.

    Take it one step at a time. This is the internet, there are mean people who will say things just to hurt. You have to grow a new type of protection, a shield of all the things and people you love, of your beliefs – especially your belief in yourself.

    My advice would be not to concentrate on how you’re acting or what you’re doing and watching every step, but to live in the moment, enjoy the people you’re with and what you’re experiencing; the feeling of riding your beautiful horse, the wind on your skin, the sun in your eyes.

    Remember that you don’t have to be someone else now, you are still you, just a different you. Embrace your new life and everything you love.

  6. Thank you so much for your openness and honesty. Yes, it is difficult to look deep inside. But that is also where the rewards are. The beautiful light of God is waiting for you in there to explore and discover just how lovely you are! This will be a great and powerful part of your journey. I love you and pray for your continued self awareness!

  7. Hi ,I ‘m new here and I wish to God I would of done something about my weight years ago! Can you please tell me what kept you going day after day with out giving up, I believe it has to be something in our brain more then sheer will-power. You look awesome! Thank you for writing this blog!

    • My weight watchers leader told me it takes about 30 days to start a new habit, make a real change. After so many years of starting something, stopping, and then looking back and thinking “where would I be now if I’d not given up?” I decided, fine, I can give it 30 days. I can do anything for 30 days. My weight watchers leader was right: after 30 days, tracking my food became a habit. It is not an intrusive part of my life; it’s something I do because my brain simply doesn’t compute “serving sizes” like others. I need the physical assistance of measuring things. On days when I wanted to quit, I told myself “Lisa, you have two choices: stop and go back, or keep going and, at the very least, remain where you’re at.” The answer became obvious. It was far better to maintain where I was at than to risk going backwards.

      My favorite thing about weight watchers was that it never required that I say “no” to any food, and I hold onto that philosophy. Sometimes, I have to say “later,” but never “no.” Removing deprivation from the equation proved crucial.

    • I find you have to give up many, many times. And when you give up, just feel what you feel. Don’t do anything else, just wallow until you know why you feel that way. THEN – talk to someone who loves and understands you about how you feel. Then, start again.
      It’s not about never failing. It’s about getting back up after you fail. You can make yourself do this. You also have to rely on loved ones for support. Like being on a see-saw – can’t do it alone, but also have to do your part. 🙂

  8. Thank you Lisa, for your writing – it has touched and resonated with so many people. So you’ve already had an impact – don’t feel pressure to always have to have the same impact, it’s amazing what you have done so far. And best wishes as you continue on your journey!

  9. I just discovered your blog, i read your viral post and i could have cried. I am fat enough but not too fat, which leaves me invisible, or at the very least ‘unthreatening’ in any way and i have no idea who i am outside the fat. Or do i mean inside? It’s confusing. You are so brave. And you speak to and for so many of us who’ve fought the fight for so long. Thank you. X

  10. I feel like a broken record saying “thank you” like so many others before me. But your written words are the thoughts that so many of us are afraid to say out loud. This weight loss process is so scary because in losing weight, we lose a part of who we have been for so long and the unknown of what we will be after losing weight is terrifying. You obviously get it, because you have lived it. Keep writing, for you and for all of us!

  11. My wife and I we just talking about how to accept ourselves and the struggle. It makes so much sense to finally be seeing the people we are and look past any weight struggle. Thank you so much for your honest words. What you are doing here is important because it shares a truth. You talk about worrying about saying the wrong thing. Please don’t stop posting. We need to hear you as much as you need to practice your strength of expressing yourself. What you are saying resonates with me and my wife. We need speak up ourselves for ourselves and find our own voice. By you being scared and afraid, it means that happens. It means that someone other than us feels this way. That somehow makes it shared, communal, less frightening, doable. You are a face in a very dark place. You are voice in that same dark place. We hear you. We see you. That makes this dark place less frightening and makes at least someone less afraid. Thank you

  12. You are so brave. I struggle with food every moment, though as you said my real struggle is with ….”…because this blog is not about weight loss…it’s about life gain”
    Accepting myself, all of me. Loving myself.
    I hope to share more later.
    In the meantime, thank you so much for your courage in opening and sharing your process. It really touches me deeply~

  13. I am so thankful to have found your blog. It’s as if you are writing down all of the feelings that I have kept buried deep inside of me. So deep, even I didn’t know they existed. Thank you for your honesty, your bravery and your willingness to share your fears with all of us. I am certain that countless people have been touched by your words. You are helping all of us discover the hidden layers of ourselves that contribute to the beautiful people we are! God bless you!

  14. Hey Lisa, thanks for sharing yourself with us. You probably know this already, but your story is very moving and inspiring and from what I can see it may be touching and changing many lives. When you’d told me once that you grew up overweight, I was like sure okay Lisa. I had no idea. What an amazing transformational journey of self rediscovery you were on. I want you to know that I think you were as beautiful then as you are now. You were different, sure, but your beautiful glows in every single one of your photos. Your story really resonates with me too. For some time I hid behind extra weight because I was using it as a boundary to protect myself from abuse by men. Instead, I found out it didn’t work as a shield at all, and that my kids like to play with the rolls because they think its funny jelly. The truth is that you hit the nail on the head that we’ll always find some reason to obsess over that gets in the way of us just loving ourselves for who we are. We all hide behind something, making up excuses of why we are not worthy of loving ourselves or being loved by others. Whether its weight, imperfect teeth (that’s one biggie that keeps me from smiling and ashamed of being in pictures), or we simply cannot see how others could find us beautiful. Thank you for being so raw and honest. Thank you for being vulnerable. Thank you for sharing your beauty with the world.

    • Hey Tracy, Thank you for sharing some of your story. It is always interesting to me how the people who’ve only known me since I lost at least most of the weight perceive me — as just being normal sized. But the truth is, I’m a 235-pound person in a 120-pound body right now…and it baffles me that nobody can see it sometimes.

      • How I might perceive you is not nearly as important as how you perceive yourself. But yeah, I understand you a lot better now and what’s behind your smile. I know I’ve been told I can be a little stand-offish, when the truth is I was just trying to protect myself from being hurt again, I was insecure. As you lost the rest of the weight and I saw you last, I thought your distance was because you were better than the rest of us chubbies. It totally makes more sense now and I just want to give you a big squishy hug and tell you I love you!!

  15. You have no idea what you’ve done for me today. Yours is the most honest and relatable blog that addresses weight loss that I’ve seen…and I’ve seen a lot. I’m down 50 lbs since November and I am asking myself a lot of the same questions…who am I? Thank you so much for filling the void. There is so much more to every one of us than our weight. We each have a story. I’m glad you’re sharing yours!

  16. It is so easy to blame our problems on our fat, is it not? “When I’m small/skinny/beautiful, the problems I face will be easier because I won’t have the ongoing struggle of ‘BEING FAT’ on top of it all.” It’s a common refrain from me to myself, and you (well, Mary) called it out. And it is so terrifying to think that perhaps my life is not what I’d like it to be in certain ways NOT because of my body composition or size, but because of my character or skills or something entirely unrelated to the fat that I have spent most of my life trying to fix. What do we do with those? How do we live without the blinders of “being fat,” and what sort of demons might we be able to see when those blinders (and the extra flesh) finally, blessedly, come off?

    Challenging questions…

  17. Just found you and so glad I’m did. I can’t tell you what a relief it is to hear someone admit to being afraid. Especially about things I’m afraid of too. Sometimes it seems like in order to be a strong woman, that means we have to be absent of all fear or doubt. I really hope you keep writing. I have a lot of back posts still to read, but I already know I want more!

  18. Yes. You realize that reaching your goal weight didn’t change all the things we are promised it would. Life isn’t happy and perfect. Things don’t always go our way.
    My only advice is don’t let another self defeating behaviour take over. Once I was thinner and fitter booze became my thing.
    I don’t recommend that! Although getting sober has opened my eyes to the need to be happy and comfortable in my own skin.

    You will find your way too!

  19. Your previous post was so good to hear! I think it’s beautiful that you are trying to find yourself. Maybe without your weight loss journey, you’d only be going through the motions and never truly know yourself. Maybe you haven’t found out who that really is yet (I know I question that for me all the time.) But every morning brings a new day to ask yourself who you are, who you want to be. It was nice to see you looking back at your heavier self with the eyes of acceptance (that you’re still the same person) and love (even through your new fears!) I struggle to lose weight and do hold to the fantasy of ‘if I could just lose this weight, my life would be great.’ When in reality, I do struggle with emotional ups and downs that will still be there when the weight isn’t. But congratulations on kicking butt at losing weight! You’ve done what so many dream of doing! And please stop worrying so much and putting pressure on yourself to please everyone else. Find yourself. Find you. Whoever you are is beautiful, is wonderful, is talented, creative, whole, healthy, loved. And even on those days you don’t feel it, look in the mirror and tell that girl all the great things she is! And KNOW that your testimony is INSPIRATIONAL to those that want to do exactly what you’ve overcome (I know I do!)

  20. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with the world. I am just starting on my journey at 48 years young. I have hidden not only physically but emotionally behind my weight for most of my life. When I read your last entry it was like you were telling me the story going on in my own mind. I have a long way to go but I know I can get there and so can you. No need to be perfect…. just be you 🙂

  21. Thank you for your post. When you talked about looking in the mirror and seeing you, not the fat or thin, but the emotional and mental you, it occurred to me that, here I am sitting at 58 years old, & somehow over time, the me I see in the mirror is just my face. The me I see behind my eyes, in my thoughts, feelings, and interactions, that’s the real me. The me that responds unabashedly to the ebb and flow of the world around me, that’s me.

  22. A friend of mine shared your last post on Facebook, and I decided to check out your blog.

    Your last post is so honest, so true to the depth that is our human experience. Good luck on that road to self-acceptance and love – it is not an easy one to navigate and oftentimes has us chasing dead end after dead end. I’m excited to read what happens next.

    Thank you for your sincerity.

  23. Thank you so much for your bravery and willingness to share yourself. That’s why your blog struck such a chord with me. Your writing is just so real. So authentic. Each post I’ve read has touched something in me that I had tried to keep buried in my shame of gaining all the weight back.

    Please know that you never have to do, be, or say something to be “good enough” for us as readers. It’s the “weight game” we all like to play, trying to somehow prove that we’re not good enough. I’m just starting to take this on with my health coach, and it’s exciting to see someone else take on this journey too! You are such a bright light in this world, thank you for being you!

  24. I just read yesterday’s post via another blogger I follow and I’m so glad she shared it and that you shared yourself with us. It spoke so loudly to me that I’m going back to your beginning. I just finished reading your first month of posts and you have put into words my own thoughts, and even shared insights that are a lightbulb for me. Thank you so much! Your blog might just be my new favorite. You are doing amazing work inside and out and are a wonderful inspiration. I’m in a funk at the moment in my journey and finding you is a beautiful source of inspiration, acknowledgement, and keeping it real.

  25. Hi,

    I had just found your blog because of the post that went viral. I decided to read all your other posts and I love your honesty. While I am currently struggling with my weight I felt what really stuck home with me is when you wrote “Fat was safe. Invisible was safe”. I feel that way now and do everything possible not to draw attention to myself.

    I just wanted to say thank you for your honesty and I look forward to reading more.

  26. I began my “journey” in Nov 2013 after a car accident. I found myself in the hands of a chiropractic office that also offered a wellness program. Now my mantra is “turn a setback into a comeback”. It is now April 2015, I’m down in weight, inches and gained strength from working out that I never knew existed within me. I’ve pushed myself doing 5K’s, enlisted in fitness programs and healthy eating. I just wanted to first off congratulate you on your journey, putting yourself out “there” for all of us to acknowledge, appreciate, follow and second, cheer on from afar.

    I feel that even with a dramatic weight loss, change in lifestyle and the person I am outside, the inner person is still struggling….alot! I can’t see the new Lori, I see the old one, heavier, low self-esteem, no confidence, and fearing other people looking at me. After reading your blog, I wonder if I can’t see the ‘new’ Lori because there is still the ‘old’ Lori inside me. Have I changed inside, no. The only changes that were made are visable, but the inside is where the real work becomes challenging. I wish that the 2 would go hand in hand, that you could see the changes, appreciate where you are now, even if that means reflecting on just yesterday or a week ago.

    I see pictures, visually see differences, but am still in the mindset that I’m heavy and overweight. I work hard at this, some days I fall off the wagon too, but the next day force myself to get up and start over. I workout, hard. My trainer (thank god for him!) knows my limits and pushes me harder. He knows my desire to be stronger, feel better, gain confidence, and also knows where I suffer in the process. My highlights of my day and when I’m the happiest is the 90 minutes I spend in the gym. I’m happy when I’m sweating and pushing myself past the pain. Now how do we capture that feeling and walk out the door to the world and say “I can do this”? How do we keep the smile on our face, even when the day is hard, long and we fall off the path of our journey? That is my struggle. Reading your blog makes me realize I’m not alone and for that I’m thankful. What you are doing is a wonderful thing and I believe if I had met you one day walking down the street, we’d be close friends!

    Continue on your journey and I will do the same, maybe one day when we are tackling that mountain climb, our paths will meet!

    Keep it going…I’m in your corner! 🙂

  27. Love this blog and the previous one. In the past, when losing weight I would hold off on buying clothes because of the dream of being smaller. As you pointed out, I am one and the same. I am loving myself today!!! No more , waiting until I’m a size ______. I have many great qualities and they are not going to be overshadowed by my weight. Keep it coming!!

  28. You really are brilliant.

    I stumbled onto this blog because a friend of mine found it interesting enough to post to facebook. That friend was so right!

    I am a man who is still pretty severely overweight. I see that almost all of the posters here are women.

    The journey is always about being yourself and improving yourself and opening to life experiences! Whatever that is for you.

    I think it is far harder for women. I’ve never really understood the fear that women (and some men, but I think it’s worse for women) can have around weight loss and body image issues. And if anyone could, it should be me.

    I’ve always found myself unnaturally ugly. It irritates my wife so much that i say that, but it’s how I feel when there is a mirror around. I rediscovered that feeling last night. Staring into a mirror to get my form right while doing thrusts at the gym I saw everything about my look that I hate. But I’m pretty good at forgetting that I find my image that ugly. SO i live most of my life not noticing.

    Three years ago I was 410 pounds. I’m a tall guy, but not 7’6″ or anything. The charts say my weight should be at most about 200 pounds. I’ve always been pretty active so getting started in improving my health has not been that hard.

    But what I’ve noticed is the tendency to make the weight loss THE GOAL. I can imagine that reaching that goal might leave you with a feeling of but what now? What now? Enjoy life. Improve your health. Do the things you could not do before.

    I guess I have an advantage. As a lover of our parks I’ve always been an avid hiker. Two years ago in Denali I was 375 pounds and could barely do hikes that should have been easy. That was a sign for me. The sign was that the hikes I had enjoyed might be taken away by my refusal to control my weight.

    So, the target upon reaching the after – is to become a 50 year old who does mountain hikes and is not in immense amounts of pain, immobilized for days afterwards. When I saw the documentary Mile, Mile and a Half about JMT hikers I knew I wanted to do that hike. This was last December at 360 pounds that I made that decision.

    I now weigh 290 pounds and have just started slowing a dramatic run of weight loss.

    But if your goal was just a number and there wasn’t any future list of things to do, that would make it harder. But think: you’re already doing the future things that you could not have dreamed of doing before! For me, I find a freedom in knowing that it’s not about loving my looks or hating my looks – but loving what I do and dreaming about things I haven’t done yet.

    I love my life and want to be able to continue and improve it. That’s the reason motivating my weight loss.

    I guess I’ve always been loved and that makes it so different. As a man, I think that’s far easier. We may not want to acknowledge a gender bias here… but I don’t think we can ignore that, either.

    I have to commend you, Lisa. You make it much clearer why someone could be afraid of losing weight. For a man – it’s usually not a fear of losing weight – it’s just that we want that extra 24 oz steak. But for a woman it is so different, I now think.

    I always try to relate things to what I am doing and what I want to do, It’s never about what I am or who I am; it’s what am I doing, why am I doing that? For me, I think that makes it easier, too.

    You’re also right, of course: both old you and new you deserve to be loved and deserve to be recognized. They are the same person!

    Congratulations, Lisa.

  29. I love you! What a beautiful writer you are! I, too, lost a significant amount of weight and was confronted with the glaring character defects that caused me to use food as a solution to my problems in the first place. They stapled my stomach but not my brain. I was left to either DO differently or continue to be “fat” on the inside. As I changed my behaviors, My feelings and thoughts eventually followed. It IS a process, one day at a time…one glorious day at a time! 💜

  30. Both my wife and I were touched by your words in your last post. In this post, however, you stated that you have fear regarding the publicity which you have attained. 10 years ago, I went through a chrysalis event much like the one you are going through now. If I could lend any advice, it would be this. That you should in no way be ashamed of who you are as a person. And, worse than anyone else we tend to be ashamed of ourselves more than anyone around us. Many times Jesus is misquoted not in what he says but in what we hear. In Mark 11, we see the story of the withered fig tree in which Jesus curses and it withers. but immediately after the disciples point the withered tree out, Jesus says in verse 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.” Now many people read this passage as “If you don’t have faith, you will wither like the fig tree.” But, what I hear is that, if I stay the course, and truly believe then I too will have the power which Christ possesses. And, you have outlined that specifically. So, don’t worry about what people think, or how many “Followers you have” We are all working toward perfection in Christ Jesus and if you have Jesus as the number one person in your life, you will begin to think of yourself as he thinks of you, which (according to verse 23) HE THINKS YOU ARE TERRIFIC!!! YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD AND THERE IS NOTHING YOU CAN DO TO SEPARATE YOURSELF FROM GOD!!! Be blessed along your journey through life, and remember these words from Father Mulcahy in the TV series MASH,”it doesn’t matter if you feel useful or not when you’re moving from one disaster to another. The trick I guess is to just keep moving.”

  31. I will continue to read on for you are reminding me of me. I am getting motivation to get back into the things that make me feel good thanks for your post and being you today

  32. Don’t worry about disappointing your readers…write for you! Dig deep and let the pen flow. This is your journey; others will take what they need from your words and offer what they can in return. But in the end, it’s about your self discovery. I hope you will soon see how beautiful you really are, and it has nothing to do with that number on the scale. Be gentle with yourself.

  33. Thank you for writing and sharing your journey. I am 13 months post-op and I don’t recognize the person I see in the mirror. After reading your last post, I looked at some pictures of me at my heaviest weight and it struck me that I don’t recognize that person either anymore. So, who am I? If I can’t see the physical person (fat or thin) then I am forced to look at the internal (emotional, spiritual, mental) person that I am and always have been. I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of support so far, but I am fearful of what’s around the corner when I stop losing. What will be my focus? Will I regain? Can I do this for a lifetime? Am I changing on the inside as much as the outside? I am entering into a completely unknown world and yes it is one in which I am much more visible to the rest of the world. Thank you for helping me know that I am not alone in this part of my journey.

  34. You speak with a voice that is more than the topic of weight loss. This is huge. Your pure honesty and clarity on your sancuary within invisibility is felt by so many…. keep the courage! Fall, and we will be there to love you back up ❤ Stand strong, and we will be there to cheer you on!!

  35. Beautiful! Your writing, and ‘simply’ sharing your story clearly has touched many hearts – including my own.

    As an abuse survivor, I embodied shame from a very young age. Our stories may be different, but the shame you describe is the same – feeling ‘not good enough,’ being afraid to be seen, and that groundless feeling when what kept us hidden is no longer there. It impacted me to such a degree that I’ve now centered my life around teaching a new way of working with shame.

    I wish you the best, and absolutely look forward to continuing to read your blog!

  36. Someone from my weight loss group on facebook shared your link..I’m glad she did…This SPOKE volumes to me…they just “treat me” more often. Because I let them. Because I am working on feeling more worthy of being seen, of being “treated” at all.”…WOW…’because I let them’, ‘of being ‘treated’ at all…I love you heart♥

  37. I think we always need to ask “What is there about ME that doesn’t change no matter what I weigh?” The core of who we are…. BUT sometimes we get back what we project. If we are unhappy with ourselves we put out those “vibes”. If we are happy, we smile more laugh more and that invites others to respond to us in kind. I am over 4 yrs in on WW (this time) and still not to my “forever weight” as on my of WW buddies call it. Keep up the great work and the great blogging. I shared your AFTER blog on WW as I felt it was very powerful and moving, and lots of good things people needed to hear.

  38. You are a huge encouragement. Not for your weight but because of your ability to put into words what we all feel. You are blessed with a gift. Future achievement or failures can not take that away but only allow you even more understanding and wisdom to share. Thank you and God bless you! 🙂

  39. Hey Lisa,

    I am very happy for your growing success with your messages…

    A few reminders… You are touching now over a million readers as you speak your truth. You are making a difference. Know that all is well. Use your forum to continue helping others with your truth… You are an example of the New Energy in action, generating a win/win for so many who benefit from hearing your heartfelt messages… Merlin is cheering for you!! So is Y as I am as well… Rock on! We all believe in you!!

  40. I for one am thankful that you went viral as I found you that way! Your “After” post spoke to me, as well as all of those who responded. I read the post and replies with tears and a lot of tissues. I learned more about myself in the time that I read through the entire post/replies than I had in my previous 45 years and yes, I will continue reading. Please don’t worry/stress about saying something dumb or think about changing, your honesty touched many and your continued honesty will keep us here.

    Thank you Lisa AND also, thank you to all of those who posted their thoughts, experiences, and realizations. I’ve learned from many with your blog being the vehicle and I’ve only read your two most recent posts (so far).

  41. Your previous and current posts were like reading my own story and thoughts!! My “after” phase with 4 stone shred and a ‘dream goal’ achieved still had me standing in a friend’s kitchen saying “I’ve dealt with the fat but I need to deal with me”! On several subsequent social occasions I would have to reassure people that “it’s a journey, I’ve still got daily struggles”. Livestrong and MyFitnessPal were my tools of choice. They worked. 18months later and after several small roller coasters of weight gain creeping up due to night time satisfy-seeking splurges I started counselling. Another journey. More weight gain, more struggles and eventually I decided to quit sugar 3 months ago. The stabilisation has been amazing. The daily itch and gripes were gone. Like they disappeared long ago during the speedy phase of weight loss. The journey continues and THANK YOU for motivating me to return to blogging about it. All the best with your treatment from others and your treatment of yourself – stick to what works for you. Thank you!!

  42. Hi I just read your last two blog posts and I hear you. I am on that journey, have been where you are thinking that was the after! Then went all the way back to the start and can’t get motivated to do it again. I remember the hard work to loose weight, I remember not being able to enjoy being healthy. I now struggle to get back to that because i would rather not do it and fail again. I wish any of my friends were able to understand but they simply don’t. My husband doesn’t either. Alone is how I feel. But people dont expect anything from me whilst I am fat. I wish there was one to one support that didn’t cost a fortune! I don’t know how to get to the bottom of why I’m like this. But I know I’m not happy.

    I wish you the courage and strength to contine your journey and to reach your peace with after. Much love to you xx

  43. Thank you. So much. I’m on a journey myself and have gotten so scared! I’ve lost 60 pounds in 4 months- only 30 away from my goal weight and I’ve just started thinking about ‘what’s next’ . Who am I without my weight ? What goal, what direction am I supposed to go when this is done? I just stumbled across your last blog post yesterday, and you gave me hope. You put Into words what I’ve been trying To tell my friends and family, and that means so much to me. Don’t feel pressured- we’re not expecting you to be perfect. Were expecting you to keep on being you- remember, that’s what drew us to you in the first place. You’re real. And amazing. And beautiful inside and out. Please remember that.

    Keep on keeping on ✌

  44. Don’t worry about what others think or say. This is YOUR journey. Vulnerability is scary. But you, you strong amazing woman, you are what deserves your focus. There are endless reasons that prove your value that have nothing to do with this blog (despite the many being inspired by your courage to share your heart). You are sharing your experience. As long as you speak from your heart and speak your truth, you cannot disappoint, say something dumb or let anyone down. And if they say otherwise…. delete their insecurity immediately. it doesn’t belong to you.
    Being honest and vulnerable and exposing societal lies is scary. No doubt! But we so desperately need to hear the truth so we too can gain the courage necessary to join that voice of truth. We are ALL more valuable than a number on a scale. We are ALL more valuable than society says. We are ALL more valuable than we realize (except the narcissistic few). Don’t look at the numbers on your blog post and let it scare you. It just means that you are not alone. There will be a rare few that don’t get it and say hurtful things. They just aren’t at that place in their journey and don’t see the vista that you’re describing.
    Don’t worry about being inspirational or a role model or any other title that might freak you out. Please just be the most real and honest you that you can be and know that THAT is the best thing you can be. There is no other You. You are enough.

  45. My mom posted your “After” post on Facebook and from the tagline alone, I knew it was something I had to read. Reading your blog was like hearing my own voice in my head. I joined the Peace Corps and never expected to lose, or find, so much of myself in just a short year’s time. It was never my goal to lose weight. I don’t even know what my goal was, but here I am, “not to After, but closer to After than Before”.

    After reading this post, I came to a realization though. It may help you in your new found visibility. Think of this not as an After, but as a Becoming. You’re becoming the person you always were because you can now see yourself better than before. Maybe when you finally see yourself for who you are, you’ll be comfortable with being seen by others. Or maybe that’s just me.

    One piece of advice on writing that I always try to follow: Write with honesty. Offering the truth about your feelings is what brought so many people to your blog. Keep it up.

    I’m looking forward to reading more of what you write and seeing who you become.

    Erika

    • “You’re becoming the person you always were because you can now see yourself better than before. Maybe when you finally see yourself for who you are, you’ll be comfortable with being seen by others…”

      Erika, thank you for sharing statements and insight that, I believe, I’m going to find extremely beneficial.

      =^,,^=

  46. Wow, it’s like I could have written this…well, if I had lost weight. I am glad I found your blog. I am at the beginning of my journey. The ‘before’.

  47. Hi I too have lost a lot of weight and I know what you are talking about. It’s amazing how differently you are treated depending on your size. I’ve always been a happy person and never had problems making friends because I am very outgoing. But, people talk to me that wouldn’t have before I lost weight. My husband joined me and lost fifty pounds, by then I’d lost 115 pounds or so in two years time. Anyway, people he had worked with for years were much nicer to him. It made him mad like he really didn’t matter before he lost the weight. One thing we have determined we aren’t going back. We’ve both gained about ten pounds back (I had my left knee replaced and was off work for 10 weeks.) I have 30 pounds to lose yet and this blog has encouraged me to get back at it instead of just maintaining. Thanks and keep writing. Linda L.

  48. I absolutely love your blog! I just finished reading all of them from the begging and I am going to reread them again. I totally feel like everything you write is exactly what I am feeling. I just never knew how to express it. Please keep blogging!! You are so inspiring!! So glad to have found your blog!

  49. I read your last viral post which made me scroll through the rest of your blog. I’m going to start my journey soon and you’ve given me a little bit of motivation to start it as soon as I can. I think the thing that inspired me the most is that your journey is years in the making and not a quick fix. Right now I am around 230 lbs. and am looking to FINALLY start weight watchers on a consistent basis. It’s my turn to do something for myself that is a top priority and to become healthy. Thank you for sharing your most inner thoughts. Keep shining!

  50. You are such a beautiful writer. For the first time in my life, I feel like someone is able to put words to the thoughts that I have ever single day. I hope you continue to blog and share your journey — it is so helpful for those of us who struggle so very much.

  51. You are truly a remarkable writer. You encourage me with every post, don’t ever worry about “letting us down”–as long as you keep sharing your heart one post at a time, I imagine it’s going to pull a heart string and open a floodgate of tears. Every post I’ve read so far has MOVED me because it feels like you know me. I can’t ask for much for than that!

  52. Hi there. I stumbled upon your blog from a Facebook link to the after post. I have spent the remainder of my day devouring your blog. Your honesty about self image. A topic I find folks are rarely honest about has sparked a renewed self dialogue with myself. Today has been a good reminder to be thankful for a positive body image even if the world doesn’t always make it easy. Thank you

  53. Your posts are beautiful as it is You and You are special in who You are. 🙂 To me they are fun and make me smile because you are REAL, you are not pretending or trying to be someone or write what others want to hear. You are You and that’s the best healing you can give to anyone who reads them. 🙂

  54. Keep writing, it lets me know I am not alone in thinking this way. I am on the cusp of losing weight but I am so scared about becoming visible. All I know is being fat, will I recognize myself? Will I still be me? My whole identity is with food and being an ostrich when it comes to my feelings. I encourage you to keep going, I am cheering you on.

  55. Hello skinny with a large soul… 🙂 I say large soul because I read your last 2 blogs because they’ve been floating around a few fb groups I belong to. Why? Because we find the part you describe as the “after myth” as being still problematic. We, the folks from these fb groups, all have 1 thing in common… “divine truth” in which we believe is the reality in how to receive God’s love.

    This is pertinent in your case because, by what we’ve read, though we find it to be a beautiful story as most folks do, you’re not dealing with the causal emotions within you that have lead to your unhealthy habit or eating disorder. This is one of the fundamental teachings and underlying resolutions to all sickness, addictions, imperfections, and lack of self worth within all human beings, so we do believe.

    I hope they don’t mind me speaking on their behalf and I’m sure they would find it as awesome as I would if you would take a moment to consider divinetruth.com as your end game, so to speak, in discovering the “real you” who is the beautiful being that God created you to be.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Reed

  56. Congrats on your weight loss success and the journey with which you still continue! I just found your viral blog in my Facebook feed, and after reading that post and this one, just added you to my bloglovin list 🙂

    As I was reading this post and last, I was just reminded of vulnerability – your ability to put it all out there, knowing that, inevitably, you will be judged. There’s a quote that stands out to me that I found originally through reading a book called “Daring Greatly.” (Totally read it if you haven’t!) Anyways, the quote is by Theodore Roosevelt and goes like this,

    “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly…. who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly….”

    So what I always tell myself as I’m blogging, and wondering about who and how will I be judged… Dare greatly. It’s not the critic that counts, but the people putting themselves out there. Thank you for putting your story out there for us!

    Looking forward to reading more from you! 🙂
    Michelle

  57. I have journals and journals for so many years, that are all about how i must lose weight!! I wonder what on earth I’ll write about if i ever achieve the final goal I’ve set for myself about losing this weight. Very inspired and great to know others experience this struggle

  58. Some will applaud, like me. And, some will fear. Some will be in between or neutral. As long as you stay connected with the thoughtful, scared, courageous, lovely you that you are, everything will always be ok, even when it might see like it’s not. Bravo to you! ❤

  59. You are real, unique and inspiring. These are your strengths, don´t ever question it. I can relate to your words in so many levels… I used to be invisible too and somehow it felt safe. Now I know that that kind of protection is not healthy, either emotionally or physically… You´re braver than you think just for letting yourself BE YOU. 😉

  60. Girl, you are BLOWING MY MIND. Your posts are just hitting me right in the heart. I would love to personally message you-what is the best way to do that?

  61. I just started reading your blog. You are so open and honest. I would say keep writing for you, because what you are feeling resonates in all of us. Do not worry about letting us down. Just keep doing what you are doing…because that is what is lifting us up with you. We will understand. You are not alone. So don’t put all that pressure on yourself. I look forward to your future posts.

  62. Keep on keeping on, as an old song says. I will continue to follow you as your words have hit so close to home. An issue I believe many of us struggle with, you are coming to it very young, may your journey be fulfilling.

  63. What you are writing is for you. We the followers are just lucky to have you sharing your journey. So don’t worry about “letting us down” or anyone else for that matter. Thanks for your posts!

  64. Great blog! I have struggled with this off and on my entire life, I am 56. You insight has really hit home, I am working on myself also. I have lost weight the past few years (again) and am beginning to gain some of it back. Now I am learning to work on me. Losing the weight does not make you happy its deeper and more complex for many of us. Love your honesty, keep up the great posts, we need them!

  65. I just stumbled on your blog, I’m so intrigued by your posts! I hear myself whispering…yes! Yes! Me too! I am in a weightloss journey and have been for over 3 years now. I am not in my after I’m still struggling with during, 71 pounds lost and every pound is a struggle to get off. Mostly mentally, cause Its not coming off easy and I’m mentally having to stay on track and not get defeated. I have swayed a few times but I got myself back on track in reigniting my want to continue the path of loss, January setting some goals which of course I haven’t attained. Working out harder, and walking longer. But, Discouraged cause I feel I’m working harder than ever and progress is slow. Im tracking my calories on my fitness pal. What now I’m facing is it feels like this is taking forever. And when you talked in your last post about your after feelings, it hit home! I just went clothes shopping and I thought I’d be able to find clothes that would look good on me cause of all I’ve lost, but it was depressing, I’m in between sizes for one, and for another my sagging skin is gross! So although I’m in smaller sizes, my body doesn’t look any better! Love myself? Not so much, no change there. If you would have asked me what I looked forward to with a 70 lb loss, I would have said, “looking better”. But reality hit home the other day trying on those clothes, I will not look better, I will look different. Like you said. Hopefully my bottom half can catch up to my upper body loss so I can at least look the same size if viewed from the top only or bottom only! And visibility…ha! I told no one but a couple close friends of my aspirations. Probably cause I’m afraid I’ll fail. Accountability, doesn’t work for me, just makes me want to eat. Funny though I keep thinking people should say something to me about how much better I look after a 70 pound loss. So I don’t want people to know I’m loosing intentially, but disappointed when people don’t comment. Are they afraid to say something? Do they truly not notice? Maybe my loss so slow they really don’t. And yet I do get embarrassed if someone notices. It’s weird, want to be noticed don’t wat to be noticed. I don’t know, congrats on your loss you look great! However you did it, you did it! That’s what’s important! And you did it in your youth!

  66. Dear sweet soul, it pains me to see you write “I hope I won’t let you down” because it I believe it is much more important to realise that to live up to the expectations of others is to deny our need to live to “our own “true expectations.
    We sometimes let ourselves down and I believe it is good to love ourselves even then :)… I love reading your journey, it’s real, it’s raw , it’s beautiful and that’s what truly goes on in each season of our lives…
    Much love to you on whatever stage of your journey you find yourself… ❤️

  67. I love your blog, love your writing, LOVE the conversation you have opened among women here. It’s like someone finally took the dike out of the dam and women cannot stop talking about this, myself included. Just continue to be yourself and write from your heart and you will be just fine. Just write, that is all- it doesn’t need to be perfect or polished- just write.

    I have to ask – I love the picture of you standing and singing in a church – can I ask where that was? Is that your regular church you attend?

  68. After going back and reading some more comments, I had to share one more thing. Since we are being open and honest here and not painting a rosy picture of “life after (weight) loss”, it’s my turn to throw a bit at the fan. I have found that life, emotionally, has gotten a lot tougher now that the weight is off, and I didn’t relate the two until just a couple of weekends ago. I’ve been concerned about myself (our family has been through some very rough waters) because I haven’t felt like I’ve been able to get on top of things emotionally (let me say up front that I am a Christian and depend on God in all these situations, but this is just how life is hitting me right now) and instead of feeling happy and content most of the time like I used to be, I now feel a lot of pain and angst and worry and concern. This is not normally like me.

    The other weekend when I was still wondering about this, a light bulb came on. I am finally, for the first time in over 30 years, not eating my feelings. Now that I am not using the buffer of food to run to when things get wacky and stressful, life hits me full on without any filter because I’m not using ANYTHING to ward it off. It’s just all hitting, all the time. (believe me, I’m praying- all the time). One one hand, I am so thankful that I am not giving food the power any more to help me in any way – because after all, it never had that power in the first place but I was convinced that a bag of Oreos or a Hershey bar could take away my pain. It didn’t. It only made my clothes tighter and made me feel worse about myself. I’m glad I’m not using food to soothe the waters.

    But without the vice, life can hurt. Big time. Most of the time. I feel as if I never saw how many problems I really had until I stopped covering them up by eating. God is my refuge, and He wants me to only look to Him -not food- for answers and relief. But I empathize with the pain that’s expressed on this blog and in these comments. While I do not currently struggle with myself and who I am after my weight loss of 30 lbs. ( I actually like myself a lot better now that I can respect myself and my food decisions), I do struggle with all the emotional issues that seem to run in my front door like a never ending river. I know God can handle it all, and I do keep laying it at His feet.

    Thanks for letting me share!

  69. I am so glad I found your blog. I am almost 60 years old and I connect with everything you have written. I feel “heard” and “seen” by reading your words–because it is me, too. Thank-you so much.

  70. I’ve just read through your blog after finding you in the weight watchers success stories, I feel like you used to and maybe still do sometimes, how did you do it? How did you stop thinking it’ll never happen for me? I talk negatively to myself non stop and I know it’s hurting me but it’s so hard to control, I don’t know if you still look on here or read these posts but if you do I hope you find the time to email me back x well done for your journey so far, I’m jealous and wish I was that far into my journey, I’ve lost only 14lbs so far and started weight watchers yesterday x

    • Congratulations on losing 14 pounds; that is how this journey starts! It took me 5 years to lose a lifetime worth of weight gain. There were many times when I did not lose anything. I even went an entire year without losing a single pound; I gained a few pounds that year actually. The way I approach it is this: I tell myself that I have 2 choices. Choice 1: go back to my old ways and gain weight. Choice 2: follow Weight Watchers, get back on plan, stay on plan. Maybe I only maintain what I lost, maybe I lose, but it’s better than the alternative, which is doing what I’ve always done and therefore getting what I’ve always got. It’s OK to gain. It’s OK to not lose every week. It’s OK. Over time, this becomes habit: it becomes the new normal. You just keep on keeping on and take every decision one at a time.

  71. This was an interesting insight. Many years ago, I worked as a personal trainer and dealt with people with weight issues on a daily basis – had I read this back then, perhaps I would have been in a position to give better advice…

  72. I can so relate (except that I’m currently quite heavy). I’ve been up and down on scales (spanning over 150 lbs) and all I’m really concerned about these days is my inside. Working on healing the need and want to use food to comfort my emotional issues. What has surprised me the most is that I’ve actually found a way to heal cravings for certain foods (pasta, bread/ toast, and sugar), and I’m still running to food when I’m stressed out. I understand on several levels what it does for me, and it’s still an issue. I haven’t read enough of your blog to know if you’ve ever sought out counseling, but it can be helpful. As you know, food and weight concern are merely symptoms of a greater issue in the heart. Keep up the good work!

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