Every Tuesday is known as #TransformationTuesday, and usually I put together a comparison picture of me now vs how I looked 5+ years ago. But the more I look at old photos lately (and don’t get me wrong – this actually is a good thing) it reminds me of how I was feeling on the inside at the time that picture was taken.
Here are some things I learned when I was 232lbs – and how those things have carried over into my life now.
- How to put up walls. When people are cruel to you, it’s easy to put up walls and establish a major distrust of people in general. I remember in high school, hanging out at the pool hall with a friend when a couple of guys approached. While one was talking to my friend, the other was talking to me…except instead of trying to get my number, he said, “You know what, if you lost a little bit of weight, guys would be all over you too.” I was stunned someone would even say something like that, so I didn’t even know how to respond. All I knew was that he wasn’t the most attractive person in the world, so who was he to talk? He didn’t know me. Now I realize that you can’t fix ugly, inside and out.
- How to justify anything. When I was 230+lbs, I had that experience that no woman ever wants to happen: someone thought I was pregnant. I was working as a reporter at the time and at some kind of barbecue doing a story. A woman mistook me for a friend’s daughter, who actually was pregnant. She came up to me and said “Congratulations! When are you due?” I stumbled over some words and managed to get out “Oh I’m not…” before she realized she had the wrong person and I was not pregnant, and an actual pregnant woman came over and introduced herself. But in my head, I had to protect myself. So I had to justify what happened as an innocent mistake. Yes, it was a horribly painful incident, but then again people can be such idiots, right? Was this more her fault or more my fault? It was her mistake, right?
- How to be skeptical. Any compliments you get go in one ear and out the other because you’re not blind. If someone shows interest in you, it can’t be because of your looks, so what are they interested in? Unfortunately this issue has stuck around for me, which I think is normal for anyone who has experienced a major weight loss. People can look at me and see one thing, but all I see are my imperfections. I know it isn’t rational or true but for me, it’s just my normal. I appreciate kind words but I can’t truly believe you when you tell me I look good. This is something I am still un-learning.
- Who loves you for you. If you were there for me when I was overweight, never pressured me, thought I was fine the way I was and always loved me unconditionally – you will always have a special place in my heart. It’s amazing how many people pop back into your life when you’re looking better. People who suddenly give you attention, people who suddenly value you more because you take up less space than you did before.
- That you can overcome anything. What is harder than being unhealthy? Nothing. There is nothing harder and more taxing than hating the way you look, spending emotional energy protecting yourself, being skeptical, and trying to figure out who has ulterior motives and who really loves you for you. So if you can spend all this time and effort and energy worrying about those things, why can’t you put that some of that same energy into a healthier lifestyle? You can overcome it because you’ve already overcome so much adversity just by having to function when you’re overweight. If you’re going to live a hard life, you might as well make it a productive one, right? You can do it!!