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.
Have you experienced any weight loss revelations?