1. People start treating you like a person.
It’s a depressing thing. When you lose weight you get more eye contact, more smiles and more ‘hellos.’ You do not realize how often people pretend that you do not exist until you are an ‘acceptable’ size. People will stand closer to you, when before there was always at least a foot of space. To some, you are something to laugh at until you lose weight. People like to make fun of your size, the way you walk and what you eat. After you lose some weight, you get compliments on your humour and your brain. Life becomes less physical and more personal.
2. You get the right of way when you drive a car.
In a car, people open doors for you. On the streets, they pick up something for you if you drop it. Sometimes you get free things or discounts at places you didn’t before. It feels dirty. Like you snuck into the VIP section of a bumpin’ club in tube socks and norts. Simple courtesy is seen as a luxury to some people before they lose weight. After it’s gone, you see it almost every day. It is easy to get sucked into it, but it is also easy to be scared of it. Why do you deserve these things? Because society says you are now small enough to.
3. People tell you that you feel better about yourself.
As if they are an extension of the person you once were. People like to adopt your accomplishment. They tell you, “You must feel good”, “You look good”, “Keep up the hard work” or, my personal favorite, “I knew you could”. As if they played a part in your success. There is nothing wrong with motivation, but there is something wrong with convincing somebody they were less than perfect at any point in their lives. It is not fair that people measure their own failures and successes by your number on the scale, and how you feel should be completely your own.
4. You are still ridiculed.
People judge you for the slice of pizza you eat. It will happen. You will eat cheeseburgers and cupcakes and love every minute of indulging. People will look at you like a mother does when she scolds her child because you wanted to binge-watch OITNB all day instead of going to the gym. When you do go to the gym, people laugh at you on the treadmill when you set it at 3. It feels like a lose-lose situation when you lose weight. People do not know where you started and nobody knows what will happen at the end of this journey. Keep doing you.
5. You recognize little victories.
Your arms are toning up. Your 12 year old back fat roll is smaller. You see an outline of somewhere that abs might be. To you, the small parts of your body that change never seem to fit together. Sometimes, your pictures are the only way you see that your hard work is paying off. You measure your success by the definition of your calves or the way you fit in a chair. Little victories add up, even if you don’t see the big ones.
6. You constantly compare yourself to other people.
“Was I as big as her?” “AM I as big as her?” “He is cute, is he bigger than me?” It is not wrong. Seeing where you fit in the world is not a bad thing. Your perception of yourself in this body is new. The confidence that some people experience because they know how they look in comparison to the world doesn’t happen overnight. You have not had as much time to experience life as something other than a stuffed sausage. Take advantage of it. Explore it. Learn to love those traveling their own paths and remember to love yourself, too.
7. You discover what kind of person you will be.
People who go through weight loss are rarely the same person they were before. Five pounds or fifty pounds, it does not matter. The way you carry yourself has a different kind of swagger. This is that crossroad where you decide if you are judgmental or accepting, helpful or inhibiting and bitter or optimistic. This is not easy and it is not constant. Sometimes you will find yourself being more negative than you would like to be. You are allowed to be human. You are not allowed to be a jerk. Don’t be a jerk.