I think I am okay with being 180 lbs….
I never thought I’d say that. If you had asked me a few years ago, I would have been terrified of weighing that much. I had weighed that once and more (193 pounds at my heaviest) and was terrified of going back there. I had worked long and hard at losing weight and I was successful, dropping a total of 65 pounds altogether. Each time I dropped ten poundsI wanted to drop another ten.. and another ten….and another ten. I’ll admit, it became sort of an addiction. The more results I got, the more I wanted. The more weight I lost, the more my confidence soared. As smaller clothes began to fit, I found a new love of shopping that was thrilling and fun. The further I could run, the further I wanted to go.
Most of all, when I lost weight, I felt like I had won the lottery. After all, I had achieved the dream that nearly every woman (and a lot of men) are trying to achieve. Who isn’t fighting a battle against their weight? I was complimented, praised, and celebrated everywhere I went. People were constantly telling me how great I looked, asking me for advice, and remarking on my achievement. I could feel their envy and it made me feel powerful.
But then a medical issue caused me to have to stop running and, over time, I let my eating habits slip and started to gain back the weight I had lost. Before I knew it, it seemed, I had gained back ten pounds, then twenty, then thirty…and eventually I saw that terrifying number on the scale – 193, the place where it had all started….. I was mortified.
I think I hated myself in that moment. After all, I had promised myself that I would never gain back all the weight. I would never weigh 170 or 180 pounds again much less 193. I felt fat and gross, and angry with myself. I felt like a failure and a disappointment. I felt shame and guilt. The power I had had slipped away because now I was just another person who had lost all the weight and gained it all back – like so many others. All my confidence and self-esteem that had once soared, suddenly plummeted.
And along with the weight, came the age-old battle, the struggle, and the never ending pressure – the seemingly eternal battle of trying to love myself the way I am, or working to better myself by losing weight. (I’ve always had a hard time accepting that the two can happen simultaneously and I still do). I’ve tried getting back on weight loss programs (and have had some success) but then I’d fall right back off again.
But after obsessing over my weight for so long, I have to admit that I’m tired of the pressure I put on myself. I’m tired of obsessively thinking about eating right and working out and feeling guilty and shameful if I don’t do either of those things. I’m tired of saying no to my favourite foods and feeling resentful that others can enjoy treats and I have to limit myself. So for a little while I just kind of gave up altogether.
It wasn’t easy at first. I kept telling myself You need to workout. If you keep eating like this, you’re going to gain weight and regret it. It’s just a matter of time before all this junk food catches up with you. You should do this… you should do that…. It just went on and on and on.
But then suddenly something happened that I can’t recall having experienced in a very, very long time. Suddenly the issue of my weight wasn’t really bothering me. I’d eat something unhealthy and not feel too guilty about it. I’d skip the gym and not feel an immense guilt eating away at me as I cuddled up at home with a book and a hot cocoa. Most importantly, I’d pass by a mirror and actually kind of like what I saw.
So now, instead of thinking of everything I should do, I am thinking a little bit differently. I’m thinking What if I just stopped thinking about it? What if I stopped putting the pressure on myself to lose weight? What if I stopped viewing 180 pounds as something so terrible and start to truly understand that it’s just a number? What if I start telling myself that it’s okay to feel good about the person I am now even if I’m a little overweight? What if my weight isn’t the most important thing in my life right now? What if in almost every other aspect of my life I am happy, fulfilled, and content? Then couldn’t I just try to let this go and focus on that?
Of course, it’s not all as easy as it may seem. My inner voice sometimes tells me that this is just my latest excuse. It tells me that if I am not constantly thinking of my weight it will get out of control and I’ll end up far worse off than I am now. It tells me that I am scared of failing again so I’d just rather not try.
But while that little voice is still there, a bigger voice is starting to emerge. It’s reminding me how happy I am right now. I have a wonderful marriage, two happy children, a loving family, a career that I love, a lot of friends, activities that I enjoy, time for myself, good health… My life is amazing right now and it’s been quite a while since I’ve truly felt this happy.
And while this change in my thinking is happening, other things are starting to change too. Before when I was overweight, I always struggled to get dressed and feel good in whatever it was I was wearing. I felt like I never looked as cute in my clothes as the girls with the tiny waists and longed for the day when I could fit into an XS again. But now, even though I’m bigger again, I have a closet full of clothes that I love to wear and that I feel good in. When I look in the mirror instead of fixating on my flaws, I see some of my prettier features – my thick eyelashes, my pretty hair, and my big, happy smile. Of course, that’s not to say, I still don’t have moments where I notice things I don’t like about the way I look (I am human after all), but more and more the size of my body just isn’t one of those things.
And now when I look back on my “skinny” pictures I am starting to feeling different. Not so long ago, I’d look at these pictures and pray to look like that again. The feeling of disappointment for “letting myself go” would grow inside of me and I’d feel sad looking at those pictures knowing I no longer look like that. But now, I am happy to say I can look at those pictures and feel okay about it. I loved how I looked then. liked my hair, the muscle definitions in my arms and legs, and how I could wear tight-fitting dresses and look awesome in them. The only difference is, when I look at those pictures now I’m not filled with shame and disappoint for not looking like that anymore. I loved myself then and I think finally I am starting to love myself now.
Because after years of obsessing over my weight, I am finally, maybe, starting to understand that the number on the scale is just that. A number. That number is not going to own my self-worth anymore. It’s not going to make a perfectly happy day, suddenly sad. It’s not going to be a reason to celebrate or a reason to punish myself. It’s just a number…
Instead, what I am trying to focus on now is not just a number on a hunk of metal, but how I truly feel about my weight and my body. The day when what I am eating and what exercise I am doing (or not doing) starts to affect how I am feeling in a negative way, will be the day I pick up my socks and get back on the weight-loss wagon.
But for now, I am happy. I’m beginning to listen to my true self instead of listening to that voice that tells me what I should do. It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders ever since I removed that pressure of having to see a certain number on the scale. Instead now I focus on how I feel, and right now I feel happy, loved, and free.
What an incredible feeling!