“You must feel like a million bucks, now that you’ve lost all this weight, right?”
Well. Not exactly.
Sure, I feel a lot better in a lot of ways. But in other ways, I still have struggles that I never foresaw when I first began my weight loss journey.
For starters, one of the biggest challenges that tends to gnaw at my mind at times is the fact that although I’ve worked for years to lose so much weight, I’ve completely transformed my exercise and nutrition habits, and I’ve dropped a whopping 160 pounds, is that… I could still stand to drop a little more. Before you GASP, remember that there’s a LOT that can be hidden with clothing. Especially when you’ve become an expert at hiding fat — since you’ve been fat for years and years!
That annoying little truth does feel discouraging at times. If I’m not careful, I can start to feel sorry for myself, that I have a body that literally sets up shop and takes a bubble bath in any extra calories I consume at any given moment. After losing so much weight, my body is now VERY stubborn when it comes to losing weight. In order to drop even the slightest of poundage at this point, I literally have to eat perfectly and exercise a LOT. Any little slip-up, and I quickly slide into maintenance mode.
I’m mostly ok with maintaining my current weight. I don’t desire to be super thin. After all, strong is the new thin. But there are times I wish I could lean out at least a little. And in the very back of my mind I know that if I were motivated enough, I could do it. But finding motivation to lose weight is very difficult at this point. Finding the motivation to maintain, is a little easier. But even that still gets tough at times.
So that’s the annoying truth. Along with the fact that one day I can look like a size 8 and the next like a size 16. At least that’s how it feels. Thank you womanhood.
Then there’s the ugly truth.
With losing a ton of weight, comes gaining extra skin. If you lose 20 to, say 50 or 60 pounds, you may not have to deal with this problem as much. But most of us who lose a lot of weight deal with loose skin that is not so flattering. It makes wearing regular clothing like jeans and a t-shirt a real chore at times. It also causes our tummies to look pooched out, no matter how much core strength we’ve worked to achieve. At this point, I even have a six pack that I can see all jumbled up under a big layer of fluffy, saggy skin. Maybe one day I’ll get that extra skin removed, because it’s incredibly annoying and uncomfortable to carry around every day.
There you have it. The ugly truth. So the next time you see a selfie of me feeling accomplished from my workout, remember that THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF IMPERFECTION THAT YOU’RE NOT GETTING A GOOD LOOK AT IN THE LITTLE SNAP SHOT! That’s super important to remember. 😉
Then there’s the funny truth.
If you’ve known me for a decade or more, you’ve seen my body transform from 336 pounds to a’hem — what I weigh today.
If you’ve known me that long, you might think ‘wow! She has lost so much weight!’ You might even venture to use the word “thin”… But the funny thing is, I am actually not that thin in the grand scheme of things. Yes, I’m “thin” compared to what I used to be. But actually, if you pick me up and plop me down in one of the almost-daily fitness classes I take at the gym, you’ll see that I’m actually one of the “biggest” people in the room!
Now, I can hold my own in those workouts… Don’t get me wrong. I am stronger and more muscular than I’ve ever been. My endurance has soared higher than ever in the last year or so. But in all reality there’s a whole lot about my body that you can’t really tell at first glance. The real focus is “me vs. me”… Am I stronger than I was before? That’s what matters.
What all of this has taught me… are you ready for it??
The real truth.
The real truth is that no matter how much weight I ever lose, no matter what size jeans I ever fit into, no matter how big the muscles on my arms become, and no matter how much space my body takes up in a room, none of these things will ever define my self worth.
At the end of the day, it’s not about any of those things. The incredible people in my life could absolutely care less about how big I am, or how fit. They’re proud of my accomplishments, whether big or small. They love me because of what comes from the inside. It’s the passion, the encouragement, the kindness, the love that flows from my heart. It’s the relationship we share. It’s the inspiration that can be found in knowing that any step, even the smallest one, is a great accomplishment and should be celebrated.
Yes. I care. I care about my body. I care when I feel like I’ve been too lax with my eating. I care when I feel like my jeans are snug. I care when I am a poor example of healthy habits for my children. I care when I look in the mirror and see that after all this hard work, I now have to deal with excess skin. I care when my brain gets all jumbled and I’m busy, and I can’t think clearly and don’t make the right food choice. I do care.
I care enough to hit that reset button yet again, and start mapping out how I will get back on track.
If I could tell you one thing that I’ve really learned on this weight loss journey, it’s that no matter how much weight you ever lose, there will ALWAYS be things that you can find that will never be just right in your own, self-critical eyes. There is no final destination.
At this very moment I could list 10 things that I would change about myself if I could.
But what’s important is that you start practicing loving yourself even while knowing that there are things you don’t particularly like.
How? I’m glad you asked.
The most effective way to do this is to replace negative thoughts of yourself with good ones.
Ugh! My stomach is so flabby! It will never be beautiful! My stomach doesn’t look exactly how I want it to, but I know my core is getting much stronger. This is so embarrassing. I’m going to go to work and they’re going to think I’ve fallen off the weight loss train. I look so fat today!! First of all, the people who really matter aren’t critiquing every little change that happens in my body. Secondly, what does it matter if I appear skinny? And third, who defines what “skinny” actually is, anyway?! I may not feel my skinniest today, but I’m surely one of the most creative and helpful people I know. Thank you, Lord for giving me those strengths that I can share with other people. I cannot believe I ate that. I’m never going to lose this weight. Well. I think I overdid it on the cheesecake. I feel awful and I don’t like this feeling. This was one, isolated decision. And I am capable of moving forward, and making a better decision in a few hours when I’m hungry again. Every time I practice doing this, my willpower is being exercised and getting stronger and stronger.
Find those negative thoughts about yourself, learn to notice them as soon as they pop into your head, and hold them captive like thieves trying to steal your greatest treasure. Grab that thought, stop it immediately, and replace it with something better.
The greatest success you can have in drasically changing your health and fitness, is to couple it with gaining victory in your thought life and self worth as well.
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