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A Weighty Topic

July 28, 2011

This year will mark five years since I reached my “happy weight.”

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I lost the majority of those 45 pounds over the course of a couple of months, and the entire transformation, while exciting and rewarding, was also scary, unsettling, and uncomfortable in a lot of ways.

I had gotten used to seeing myself as overweight, and it was clear that the people around me had done the same. When the weight came off, not only did it take me awhile to get adjusted to my new body (and start to figure out that I needed to shop for smaller clothes and bras!), but it took me even longer to comfortably address the very obvious and very simple fact that I had lost weight.

Here’s one of the weirdest things I realized after my weight loss: very few people (and I mean very few) are going to tell you that you need to lose weight. Doctors, immediate family, and maybe a few concerned friends at most are going to address this topic with you. But then, the minute you start dropping pounds, suddenly everyone feels like its acceptable (and maybe even expected?) to comment on your weight.

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I know it’s a difficult thing to ignore, especially if the change is so obvious, and I know most people mean well when they congratulate you on your accomplishment. But what shocked me most when I hit my goal weight was that suddenly, now that I was no longer overweight, people were more than willing to comment on how much I used to weigh. Not only that, but they were also apt to question how I had lost the weight. When I told them that I simply started eating well and exercising, most people didn’t believe me, which made for some really uncomfortable conversations.

It was a breath of fresh air when I started meeting new people who had no idea that I had recently dropped some major pounds. I know this seems silly, but instead of being proud of what I had accomplished, I felt ashamed that I had ever been that heavy to begin with. When I met Nick our senior year of college, he had no clue about my weight loss, and I made it a point not to mention it to him. I was in the best shape of my life, and I hated the idea of this guy (who I liked a LOT) imagining what I must have looked like 45 pounds heavier.

(Looking like babies in 2007!)

One day a few months into dating, Nick and I ran into an acquaintance of mine who I hadn’t seen in almost a year. Of course the first thing she commented on was my weight, and as I awkwardly tried to address her questions and comments, Nick just stood there, confused and way out of the loop. It wasn’t exactly the way I had planned to address the issue, but I guess it was as good an ice breaker as any. I explained the situation to Nick, including why I had been apprehensive to tell him about it all along, and he, being the wonderful man that he is, let me know in no uncertain terms that no amount of weight was going to change the way he felt about me. I knew he meant it then, and I know he still means it today.

I had pretty much finished my physical transformation at that point, but that moment was a big step in my psychological transformation. I realized that there was nothing to feel ashamed about; I had worked hard at a goal, and I deserved to enjoy the results without feeling self-conscious.

Now that five years have gone by, my weight loss is something I rarely think about anymore. Yes, I eat healthy and yes, I exercise, but those things are just part of my lifestyle now. I no longer have to remind myself to look for a smaller size when I’m shopping for clothes, and it’s rare that somebody is going to stop me and comment on how different I look.

Maybe the biggest and most relevant difference is that now, when someone does address my weight, I no longer feel ashamed or uncomfortable talking about it. Quite the opposite, actually. Now when I discuss my weight loss (through this blog or in regular conversation), I feel confident and proud of what I accomplished and what I continue to work to maintain.

(Feeling totally badass. Or something. Just thought we needed a little humor in here somewhere!)

Is weight a “weighty” topic for anyone else?

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 28, 2011 4:27 pm

    You bet it is. As a person who generally likes to fly “under-the-radar,” my recent weight loss has put me in a very uncomfortable spotlight, but I’m trying to adapt. Congratulations on the five years.

    Good luck in good health,
    David

    • July 28, 2011 4:46 pm

      You’ll get used to it eventually, and every time someone makes a comment, just take it as a reminder of how hard you’ve worked. Congrats to you!

  2. July 29, 2011 10:48 am

    I think the hardest thing for me has been accepting that I am not “overweight” anymore. From the time I was about 16-20 I was about 20-25 pounds overweight, wearing a size 10 (I’m 5’2). Now, I still think of myself as being overweight, even though I am at a healthy weight and have dropped 2-3 dress sizes! It’s crazy what a number being overweight can have on your self-esteem and self-image.

    • July 29, 2011 11:13 am

      That was my exact situation, Carrie. I was wearing a size 10-12 (I’m also 5’2), and I remember shopping for clothes and bras and it taking MONTHS for me to get used to trying on my “new” size instead of the old. I obviously knew I had lost weight, but it took me far longer to mentally acknowledge that I had.

  3. July 30, 2011 7:57 am

    When I met you, I would have had no idea…you look great regardless of how you got there. I think your psychological change has been great and the fact that you’re sharing how you stay at your “happy weight” is wonderful…for us!

    • July 30, 2011 8:30 am

      Thanks, Rebecca. It’s definitely not something I advertised when I moved to MD (as you can see!), but I’ve come a long way in five years. Thank you for the support!

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