Although I used to be obese, the biggest struggles with my body were when I was my smallest. Honestly, I still struggle with my self-image. Weight-loss is not a quick fix, especially for that little perfectionist inside of us.
Over the course of two years, I went from 220lbs and a size 18/20 to 170lbs and a size 10/12.
I went from hating my body because it was fat– because I was clinically obese— to hating my body because it just wasn’t good enough. Because I still took up space.
I looked in the mirror, and I still saw my obese body— even though the reality was different.
Body Dysmorphia. That’s what this is called. It’s a condition that affects most people who lose a significant amount of weight. Even if you’ve lost over one-hundred pounds and are fit and toned, you see the same— if not bigger— imperfections. You see yourself at the same size.
You still hate your body.
Two summers ago I was the thinnest I had ever been. One night, I wore a dress that was pretty tight in the waist and chest, and I felt great in it— but I still felt big. By that time, I had gone through my own journey of self-acceptance. Though, I was more indifferent about my body than anything else. Still, it was progress. Baby steps.
I remember wearing that gorgeous maroon dress and glancing at myself in a mirror while at a bar with friends, and I thought to myself: “Jesus christ. I look… tiny. I look normal. I feel amazing.”
This was the first time I saw my body just as it is and I loved it.
I loved it, not because I looked tiny, but because in that moment I was okay with taking up space. I liked the way I looked, and didn’t think of anything I wanted desperately to change.
‘I will like myself when I’m skinny again’, ‘When I’m thin enough’, ‘when I’m small enough’. Weight loss isn’t a cure for these thoughts. In my case, it made them so much worse for a long time.
Losing weight is not this magical solution that allows you to love yourself. It doesn’t make you wake up one morning and say ‘I Am Enough’.
When you lose a drastic amount of weight, if you let those thoughts get to you— the weight will come back. Weight-loss isn’t about getting skinny; about shrinking down enough to slip through the floorboards. It’s about learning to love your body; about accepting yourself as you are. It’s about giving your body what it needs to be its best, so that you can be your best.