“I’ll do ___ as soon as I lose weight.”
This is something I used to tell myself all the time. In middle school, when I thought about auditioning for the play…oh but I’m too chubby. I’ll do it next year when I lose weight. When I wanted to ask a guy out…I have to lose weight first! When I wanted to buy new clothes…Well, it won’t make sense to buy them now when I need to lose all this weight.
When I was overweight–and not just 135 pounds heavier than I am now, but at all the weights I wished away–I connected every problem to my size. In my mind, my weight was always the problem–not my mindset, not my relationship with food, not my habits–my scale weight. And because I believed my fatness to be such a burden, such a shame, I was scared to put myself out there and do things that made me uncomfortable.
If you’re friends of this blog, or readers of my book, you know that once I lost 135 pounds, I was startled to realize that losing weight didn’t fix my life or bring me the complete happiness I spent 20 years thinking it would. Sure, it was devastating to find that out, but it was also enlightening. I credit it with waking me up to the fact that I’d been using food as a coping mechanism all my life. It forced me to start dealing with pain, anxiety, sadness…and not turn back to the comfort of food for escape. Of course it was hard. As a lifetime procrastinator, it didn’t come naturally. But dealing with my junk gave me more peace, taking risks built my confidence, and taking action empowered me. Here’s a cliche that was true then and applies here: I realized that it felt better to be playing in the game–even if the game was hard–than sitting on the sidelines.
So many of us put our lives on layaway. But do some quick math and add up all the weeks, months, and years that you’ve spent on hold because of your weight. Any amount of time is too much time. Knowing what I do now about weight loss, and the myth of the holy grail of thinness, I regret just how much stuff I didn’t do, or waited to do, because I either believed I couldn’t or didn’t deserve to do it because I was fat.
Sometimes I forget this and you might forget it, too, so let’s remind each other often: Your size doesn’t preclude you from desires and love and jobs and clothing and jobs and wild dreams and a full life. Your body is only one part of who you are — and not even close to the best part.