This weight loss question repeatedly comes through my head:
What if I lost it all the first time?
What if I never struggled with losing? What if, as everyone claims, weight loss is just ‘calories in and calories out’ and nothing more? What if I willed myself to drop the weight and did it in one go? What if the last ten years I would have shopped in the “regular” sizes and removed all the setbacks I reasoned were due to weight?
But it’s never that damn easy. Ever. It’s not just stupid calories standing in my way. I’ve TRIED the starve it out method. I’ve – in teenage desperation – PRAYED for God to give me an eating disorder that results in weight loss. I’ve tried frantically to somehow magically jam my fingers in my throat in a way that would cause me to vomit. I’ve curled into fetal position crying on holidays when a relative insists it’s now or never and that I’m a beautiful person except from the neck down. I’ve denied outings with friends because they are beach or poolside or may be an activity that my fat potentially can’t handle. I’ve picked the healthy meals and watched others eat carelessly without the consequence like it would have on my body.
I dare anyone to say to my face I haven’t tried. The fact is unsuccessful weight loss does not mean someone isn’t trying. And if people wouldn’t tell someone who was underweight because of an eating disorder “just eat more calories,” why is it okay to shove the line “just eat less” in an overweight person’s face? I’m not saying that everyone who is overweight got there because of overeating or an eating disorder. But in most cases, it’s a gradual gain despite the worst assumptions out there. Overweight and obese people are often shown as lazy or gluttonous. People don’t usually see the emotional or physical stress the weight has on the body, they only want people to calorie restrict and sweat their asses off. Literally.
This is my thorn in the flesh. This is my struggle that I will have to deal with my entire life. And even if I lose it all now, it took years to mentally get to this point.
In retrospect, I am GLAD I didn’t lose it all the first time.
I’ve learned a lot about myself in the meantime. I’ve broken down a lot of walls and conquered a lot of fears. I’ve built confidence in my body image. I’m grateful that God spared me from getting what I selfishly wanted and I never dealt with anorexia or bulimia. I’ve had people compliment me on kindness, style, personality and grace…while being over 250 pounds. I have a boyfriend that loves me and accepts me as a whole: quirks, fat, and all. I’ve learned to shut out negative comments even if they still hurt me. I’ve learned that this is the only body I get so no matter what weight, I need to treat it well. I’ve learned about nutrition and health so it’s not just restricting calories, it’s a lifestyle that helps me make healthful choices.
Most importantly, I’ve learned this weight loss journey is for me. No one else.
It’s not to make my parents proud. It’s not to make someone love me more. It’s not to conform with society’s standards of femininity and beauty. It’s not to prove to the world anything. It’s for me. And before this renaissance, it wasn’t for the right reasons. It’s because I can love myself right now that I see this chapter of weight loss as a healthy one.
You see, in the last decade, I may have put on more pounds, but I lost a lot of insecurities and emotional weight. That was my first step all along…
I know that if and when I get to goal weight, I’ll finally see the same person in mirror. Not a person I wanted to be, but the person I am, just with less weight to carry. And that’s exactly what I want – not to lose myself in the process, just the physical and emotional weight. Because the Laura minus 80 or more pounds is still Laura. And she’s been Laura all along.