I, myself, have lost a significant amount of weight. Give or take 100 lbs. on a good day. I started my journey about 7 years ago. It was just a matter of being fed up with feeling bad for myself and not doing anything about it, to realizing it was the smallest changes that could “change” me. I started eating like I KNEW I should and moving more.
Here’s my question for you….. about body image. Since I was always “the fat girl” I’ve always felt like the fat girl. Even now, I am healthy 150lbs (I have linebacker shoulders, haha…. not really, well maybe a little ;)) aaaanyway, I still see the fat girl when I look in the mirror, and I KNOW I’m not anymore. I have a fiance’ who adores me, a beautiful child, and the life I’ve always dreamed of. I just have to find the acceptance of self, I guess. What helped you ultimately be comfortable with the person you are? Because I want to be nothing but happy in this beautiful life :)
This is a great question. First, congratulations! What you’ve accomplished is amazing. As far as body image goes, I get it. It’s a real challenge to change the way we perceive ourselves.
The short answer is, I worked at it, every day–and still do.
As human beings, we know ourselves to be changeable. We’re driven to be better in every capacity. And no one is entirely immune to this desire to per-fect. Those of us who carried weight like a shameful badge for many years grew to know that we’d indeed be better, or at least, better received by the world, if we weighed just a few pounds less.
And when the weight was lost, if it was lost at all, we are seen. We’re better. Applauded for becoming the best versions of ourselves. What happens here is difficult. Having always believed ourselves imperfect in at least one way–our body, that fat flaw–weaves itself into the fabric of who we believe ourselves to be. It goes beyond a physical characteristic and comes to feel as if an immutable trait. Almost as inherent and fixed as freckles.
So, when we’re looking in the mirror, even as slender beings, our conditioned brain acknowledges our learned appearance- brown hair, brown eyes, 5’9″, chubby. In seconds, we realize we’re no longer chubby. But just as we come to believe our parents when they tell us we’re impatient or rambunctious as children- we have learned ourselves to be what the world perceives of us. The world saw fat and so we were.
The way to change this, to get a new pair of self-reflective glasses, is to practice. If I spent 20 years bigger than big, knowing myself to be the big girl that I was, it certainly would take me a few more years to know myself thin. I don’t know that it can happen overnight. I don’t know that I’d want it to.
Everyday, I tried to admire my appearance. I kept in mind all that I’d just done- how hard I worked to make that picture I saw in the mirror- and I whispered, “You did it. You did it.”
I felt grateful and strong and proud and all synonyms of attractive, but yes, still imperfect. Even now, I don’t know that standing naked in front of anyone or anything is as easy as an Easy Bake Oven. Even the thinnest of thin will pinpoint the part of their body that makes them self-conscious. We’re all hyper-aware of that one spot, slight jiggle, wobbly bit. “I bet that’s all they notice. I am my unruly inner right thigh.”
Find the person in your life whose shape makes you salivate. Ask them how they feel about their body. Ask if there’s anything they’d change. And then, listen as they begin to sound a lot like you. Almost no one finds themselves flawless.
It took me years to believe myself a true thin person, and not just some imposter who stole Gwyneth Paltrow’s silhouette.
And what it comes down to is this: Rock the ever-loving daylights out of your life. Your weight, your clothes, your style- they’re a fragrance, a signature- not all of who you are, but a really nice lingering presence in the world. Own all that you work to be.
One of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me came years ago from my best friend Sabrina. She said, in explaining why she loved me with her whole heart, “You know who you are and you do it on purpose.”
Everyday, I move into that compliment and try to set up a permanent residence. And eventually, it becomes home.