Losing weight — a substantial amount of weight — can really mess with your head. It forces you to look at who you are underneath all that … well … you. It leads you to examine your life from every angle — past, present and future.
Am I the same woman I was when I had 100 extra pounds of me?
Yes. And no. I’m still the same book-loving, culture-exploring, family-adoring, country-life-loving, low-key, stay-at-home woman. But I’m stronger. And braver. And more outgoing. And confident. I’m not afraid to stand up for myself — or anyone else who may need it. Because, for some reason, shedding 100 pounds made me realize that I am worth the good things life has to offer: love, laughter, life.
It makes me sad to realize that I didn’t see truly see that I was worthy of those things before. I missed out on a lot because I didn’t think I deserved it. Why? I don’t really know. I grew up with a loving, supportive family who never gave me a hard time about my weight. I was encouraged to be myself and praised for doing well. Sure, I didn’t have a lot of really close friends. And I certainly wasn’t one of the popular crowd. And, yeah, kids teased me — sometimes brutally. But I had friends, some of whom I’m still close with today (20-plus years later). And I always knew that I was loved because I had my family standing behind me 100 percent of the time. Why wasn’t that enough?
I often look back and wonder how much of the stuff I missed out on because of me — rather than because of “them” (whoever “them” was at the time). Did I miss out on the cool parties because I was too shy and ashamed of myself to make friends with people I thought were out of my league? Did I miss out on experiencing typical high school relationships because I was afraid of being let down — without ever giving anyone a chance to actually let me down?
None of the things people were saying about me (real or imagined) were new. I was saying them all to myself — sometimes even more hatefully. I was looking in the mirror or down at my body, hating who I was. Hating every aspect of my disgusting figure. And then covering up that hate with a smile. And good grades. And good behavior. Maybe if I were smart and mature and grown up people wouldn’t notice my body. Maybe I could hide behind my humor.
Of course, now I know that these things aren’t true. Every person deserves love, respect and a feeling of belonging. I’d love to go back and tell younger me the truths I know now about life and friendship and love and pride. And what’s truly important in life.
But I can’t. I can only go forward. I can only look forward.
You see, when you lose a lot of weight, there’s a lot of comparisons made — by yourself and by others in your life. I can’t count the number of times I’ve said, “Well, ‘old me’ would have devoured that loaf of fresh bread.” Or: “The ‘old me’ would never be out here running. She’d be sitting on her bum at home watching TV.” And: “I still can’t believe I’m actually considering running a half marathon. ‘Old me’ would never have done that.”
There is no old me. There is only Me. I’m the same me, only improved because I know my value, I respect my body and I’m not afraid to live anymore. To continue on this journey, I really need to change the way I think about myself. I can’t keep comparing myself to “old me” or “future me.” I just need to be me and treat me right and do what’s right for me right now, knowing that the right thoughts and right actions will lead me to the future I’m meant to have.