Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Transformation Tuesday Revelation

We need to talk about something serious, so apologies for the minor departure from my usual light-heartedness.

I had a mini-revelation this weekend when talking with a friend of a friend who's also lost a pretty significant amount of weight. We were talking about how weird things can happen to your mind when you lose a lot of weight-- a lot of people have a hard time mentally adjusting to match their new physical appearance, others develop obsessively healthy habits (to a dangerous point), and some are completely well-adjusted-- not as if they had never been overweight, but as if their high weight didn't cause them the issues that many overweight people face (low self-esteem, binge eating, etc.).

In the past year or so, I've read a LOT of stories of women who were motivated to make a major lifestyle change, and to finally carry the excess pounds that caused them so many problems, physically and emotionally. I sometimes find it hard to identify with the starting point of others because I didn't lose weight because I was fed up with years of being completely uncomfortable in my skin. My weight loss wasn't provoked by an experience of leaving the fitting room in tears. I was never told by a medical professional that I was in danger of contracting diabetes or heart disease later on (though my doctor did suggest I try Weight Watchers).

If anything, it scares me that my decision to change my habits wasn't some huge life-altering moment of empowerment to "take back my life." In a way, I fear that not having that rock bottom moment could give me a sense of complacency, at a point where I don't necessarily want to be complacent with my progress.

The real revelation, though, was how it makes me uncomfortable when people make comments about me pre-weight loss like "Wow, you really were pretty huge." Or "Yeah, I mean I had noticed that you had gotten really big."

Me at my highest weight, last October: 228lbs

I realize that a lot of women find motivation in talking like that, or remembering their "fatty days," but you'll rarely hear me refer to my pre-weight loss days/self like that because I actually had good self-esteem at my highest weight.

I didn't feel ugly or uncomfortable at my largest weight. Mostly, I felt sad when I saw a picture of me looking so happy, when I knew I was doing myself a disservice with such bad health choices. I knew I could do better for myself, but my turning point was the moment when I actually decided that I wanted to to better for myself and that I would make some serious changes.

This isn't a journey to fit into a size 4, or one that ends with weighing the same as what I weighed in high school. It's not about hitting a certain BMI or about fitting back into an old sexy dress. Of course these are milestones to celebrate! But, to me at least, they aren't the be-all-end-all.

Ultimately, for me, it's about being happy, confident, and fit. Three qualities that I possessed at my highest weight (in varying degrees) 11 months ago, and three qualities that I'm happy to say I possess ten-fold today.

I think the weight loss blogging community can sometimes put undue pressure on others. But just because someone else's starting point is your end goal, doesn't make your journey any less powerful. I really and truly love this community, but I think there's a point at which we all need to realize that our journeys are our own, and as such, they should be measured by our own standards. My hope is that others who are going through a similar journey can reach an end point marked by what matters to them, and one that will provide more lasting happiness than reaching for a number or for someone else's goals.

Have you experienced any weight loss revelations?


  1. Hi! I just started reading your blog - love it! I too had the same issue, I came to weight loss as a desire to be better to myself, not because I hated myself. I never wanted to be that person that looked back on "fat" photos with disgust. Of course now that I've lost a lot of weight...the story is different. I'm relearning how to love myself now and accept my past and it's not always easy. Great post!

  2. Love this line: "But just because someone else's starting point is your end goal, doesn't make your journey any less powerful." Very powerful and poignant.

    This is a very thoughtful and pertinent entry to everyone. It's so easy to judge or compare ourselves, but what if we just reveled in our own successes.

    I relate so much to you Carolyn and am so glad I found your space on the internet. :)

  3. Amazing post. I dont really remember what made me want to lose weight. I don't think there is a defining moment for me either. I think I got tired. I was tired of carrying around extra weight, tired of using layers of fat as a sheild and food as a drug. I was also tired of not finding clothes in styles that I loved and even more tired of people saying I had such a pretty face, meaning if only the rest of me wasn't so huge. One day I just decided I didnt want to be tired anymore. Recently, I started to feel tired again and I woke up and realized I'd gained about 30 lbs back. I'm WIDE awake now and have dropped 17 of those 30. That being said, I think its a life long process and something I'll always have to work at. I don't have an end goal because I don't think there is an end. My goal is to be wide awake and live a life that makes me happy and I'm happier when I'm not lugging around extra pounds, think nothing of walking up 5 flights of stairs, wearing clothes I think are cute and using food as fuel. Cheers!

  4. this is a wonderful message...I never thought of this but it makes so much sense, just because our starting points are different doesn't mean the effort is any less..
    Personally I always wanted to lose weight, I don't remember one particular day or one defining moment that made me want to lose weight it was just about wanting to lose weight to feel better about myself not because people made fun or said mean stuff but because I wanted to feel better about myself, I wanted to be able to fit in clothes I liked...

  5. I just want to say that you look fantastic!

  6. What a lovely post and as a parent nearly twice your age, I always want to build self esteem and let my son know he is wonderful in his own skin, physically and otherwise. He is actually quite small and thin for his age and it seems to worry him, I hope I can support him in being happy, healthy and fit in his own skin. I really enjoyed your post and although am not a fan of public commenting, could not resist the urge to thank you for setting the record straight on "fat badgering". It is your self-confidence that shines through as beauty in all your photos - independent of weight!

  7. very well written insightful post!!

    It always make me uncomfortable when people comment on my weightloss. I knew I was bigger and I don't need them to point it out to me. I never quite know what to say, especially to people I don't know very well.

  8. Okay, hello, love this. Even though our stories are different, I so feel this a hundred times over. I have always been and will continue to be who I am, regardless of the way I look outwardly, and I never want to do a disservice to where I came from by shaming or feeling negativity towards my pre-loss self, regardless of where I end up, maintenance-wise. I couldn't have said this better myself. (ps. thanks for sharing your blog with me, sweets! LOVE it already :))