Just the other day, I read an article explaining the journey of extreme weight loss and it got me thinking just how intense/rewarding/scary/exciting it has been. It’s not black and white and my story I’m sure differs from many.
For the first 19 years of my life, I weighed close to 300lbs. I think my story starts out a little different because I took my role as the fat funny girl very seriously. I ran and won class president, I was extremely outgoing in my classes and lived in the role society gave me. I had friends, I went to parties, I found a way to love fashion and I got by in high school never having received a swirly or knuckle sandwich.
At this time, the body positive movement was becoming well known and models like Tess Holiday and Ashley Graham were really starting to take off. Through Instagram and Tumblr, I found a community that didn’t judge me for me weight and actually told me that being fat and using the word fat wasn’t a bad thing at all. I adapted a mindset of “this is what god gave me, so let’s go with it”. I finally started accepting my stretch marks, my thighs that touched when I’d walk and my cute double chin. I loved the feeling of belonging and knowing I, too could be part of this world.
Along with all of this new found self love, there were still destructive eating habits, a lack of motivation and a frequent reminder that I had “such a pretty face”.
Because I am a human and we live in a vain society, sometimes I’d wish I were one of the hot girls with a thigh gap and perky boobs that hot guys would want, but for the most part, being a fat girl with a pretty face and a good sense of humor was ok to get by. It was what I was used to.
It’s not to say I never had boyfriends or went on dates, but any girl (especially plus size girls) can attest to the few shitty types of guys that stereotyped a size 22 woman. Some expected me to lather my body up in Ben and Jerry’s (I would never waste a pint on that) while others didn’t want to introduce me to their friends because they wouldn’t get it. The stories are endless and some of them even pretty pathetic they thought they had a chance.
Eventually, after my first semester of college I was scared into losing weight for health reasons and decided the gastric sleeve would help put me on a path to healthy living, finally being society’s definition of beautiful and that if shed the weight, all the reasons I was depressed and anxious would also melt away.
So….here I am, 132lbs later and a size 10 and I’m not even sure who I am.
The first real time I felt different was somewhere after the first 80lbs, when a new friend had no idea I was ever heavy. My old identity was apparently somewhere else and I was now someone else. The people that did know me beforehand, were giving me compliments left and right. I was getting high off of the compliments, but I still felt a mourning for my old self.
I told myself if I just kept going and could get to my goal, I will finally see what they see. That didn’t happen. I still felt like an outsider to myself, I didn’t really know how to look in the mirror and feel joy or see beauty because I had no idea who I was looking at.
If someone asked me if I’d do it again, I’d say yes in a heartbeat. I love how easy it is to walk around all day, how I can sit on an airplane without fear, how the mall is no longer a place with nothing for me. Adapting to my new lifestyle has been a challenge but a challenge I accepted
It’s still a horrible thought to think because my pants were a size 22 society saw me as a nobody. It makes me sad because my insides will always have the same heart and sense of humor and personality. Without my 300 pound frame, I wouldn’t have the life I live today.
What it’s really like to lose a ton of weight is hard to explain all at once, it’s the most complex relationship I have with myself. On one hand, I’m not at peace with where I am, but I am a work in progress and on the other hand losing weight saved my life and is one of my greatest accomplishments.
Weight loss is a pretty damn big thing to go through. One minute you are who you’ve been your whole life and the next, you’re given a new shot and being told you can be better in every way. That’s what it’s really really like to lose 132 pounds.