I WISH I WAS FAT AGAIN. The other night, I found myself admitting just that to my trainer in between grunts and groans. It’s not the first time I’ve thought it, just the first time I was brave enough to say it out loud. His astonishment at my admission was followed by the inevitable question “Why would you want to be fat again?” There are many reasons but the central one is that I thought, dreamed, and fantasized that everything would be better, would fall into some perfect order and that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The whole purpose in writing this blog has been to let people into my journey with as much honesty as I can muster so this is the most naked, raw, realistic view of what this transformation has done to me. That fat girl in the picture was happy…she knew who she was…she didn’t give a shit what people thought of her…the people who loved her, loved her because of who she was inside…she had morals and values and never questioned her priorities. Losing 60 pounds has changed all of that.
People are superficial…me too. When you’re fat, you are for the most part invisible. The people who want to talk to you, to be your friend, to date you, do so as part of a conscious choice they make, because despite what you look like, they value who you are as a person. That was always a beautiful natural filter that I used to my full advantage…it allowed the right people to sift through and kept the wrong ones out. I knew the people I shared my life with were there for the right reasons. Losing the weight, removed that filter and allowed the wrong people into my life for the wrong reasons. And you suddenly become hyper aware that you are being seen and while it is kind of hypnotizing in its effect, it really serves no valuable purpose if they are only there because of the way you look in a pair of tight jeans.
Thin is a lifetime sentence that comes with a desire to be more physically perfect than you were the day before. The feedback you get from people is intoxicating and it drives you to keep pushing your boundaries to continue to receive it. I’m exerting a whole lot of energy into something that personally isn’t that important to me. When I was fat, I just accepted my physical shape as a part of who I was, not as a defining feature. Losing the weight made me reassess myself as a composite of multiple factors that I hadn’t previously used in my assessment of self. Despite being more aesthetically pleasing, I’m never satisfied. I’m constantly trying to make one part or another of my body more pleasing…not to myself…but others. When I was fat, I saw myself holistically, now every part detracts from the whole. I could be channeling all of this time and energy into being a better wife, mother, or teacher (or maybe even ,GASP, making the world a better place) but instead I’m at the gym obsessing over something that really has a nominal value.
I know what started me on this path and that has been the only positive in this whole sweaty, hungry, emotional mess. I wanted to feel in control again. I had slowly relinquished all my power. I had denied that I could solve problems myself, instead relying on others. Controlling what I put into my body and the shape that that body subsequently took made me feel powerful and that is the only thing that continues to propel me forward and doesn’t send me running back to embrace that flabby former self.
There is no happy ending here…the fantasy that losing weight will make everything perfect is bullshit. Being fat is NOT the worst thing that you can be. If you look around at your life and it’s full of laughter, love, and small pleasures then don’t think those things will be multiplied by a significant weight loss because in all honestly, they will probably be diminished. I’m not saying this to discourage people from starting their own personal weight loss journey but I just want you to be prepared and to go into it with eyes wide open. Know what your driving force is and promise me that it just isn’t to look hot for that guy in high school who didn’t pay you enough attention because you won’t find happiness with that focus (although you will most definitely find out that he was a loser anyways). Begin your journey with a reason that is great enough to put your whole world into a tailspin because losing weight will mean losing a great deal more than pounds.