In a world of Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and other social media platforms there is a real danger lurking in our psyche. We all know it is there, but many of us refuse to do anything about it.
The real danger in losing weight these days is the damage it can sometimes to do your mind. I am speaking with no scientific evidence, only experience.
When I was overweight, at a size 12-14, I always wondered what it would feel like to be a size two. Would I be more confident? Would I look like those girls with a flat stomach? Would I finally be happy with myself?
Sick right? So true though.
So I ventured out to find ‘happiness’ in my appearance. What I found was something I was totally not prepared for.
Throughout the entire journey losing the weight, I was excited. I was reaching my short term goals and I knew I was going to achieve my long term goal of losing 30 pounds. Every shopping trip became a milestone. What size would I fit into next. I remember saying at size 12 that “I knew my body would never be a size two. It just wasn’t built for that.” But somehow I was on the path.
Then nine months later, I was a size two. Oh the pure joy of the first time fitting into size three dress and then the pure joy of comfortably fitting into size two jeans. I even fit into some size zeros.
I did it! I had reached peak. I had conquered my goal!
That joy lasted a whole three days.
Then something weird happened. I started asking myself
“I am a size two now, why do I still look like I am 160 pounds in the mirror?”
“Wait. I don’t have a thigh gap.”
“Wait, my arms are too lanky”
“Wait, I have too much acne.”
“ugh my hair is too short”
“I am no longer curvy.”
“I can’t fill this dress out.”
All that confidence I thought was going to gain after losing the weight, didn’t actually come. My insecurities just changed from feeling fat to wondering why I wasn’t a supermodel yet.
Then it got worse.
“My friend has abs, why don’t I have abs? I work out just as much as she does.”
“Okay, at the gym I have to start working on my butt. It’s no where near the other runners”
“Ugh my arms, they are so long and lanky. I don’t like them. I need to hit the weights more.”
“I have to start working on my abs. Why haven’t I started yet?”
“Oh my gosh! I gained two pounds. Got to get better at a consistent running plan”
“Crap, I just ate so bad this weekend. Ek, I am totally on the path to gaining everything back”
“Maybe I won’t have kids. I really don’t want to gain the weight.”
“No wait, if I get into tip-top shape before I get pregnant then I won’t have issues losing the weight?”
“Oh no! This shirt is tighter than last week, I gained everything back!”
Sound crazy? It is.
You see, what no one talks about it that self doubt, those insecurities are always there. No matter what size you are. I will even argue that they get worse once you’ve lost the weight.
I have talked to many people who have gone through a similar journey as me, and many of them say their biggest fear is gaining the weight back. Doesn’t matter how many years they’ve kept the weight off, they never want to gain the weight back and if you’re like me, someone who has never gone through pregnancy where you are EXPECTED to gain weight, it is a real fear of not being able to lose it again. See we know how hard it is to lose it, and we don’t want to go through it again. Not to mention the social presence that you have to uphold online and in person.
When I was going through my journey, NO ONE laid out this danger of insecurities. NO ONE. I was naive to think that once the weight was gone, all my issues would go along with it.
Reality is, no one actually is 100% happy about their appearance. NO ONE!
To this day, I still look at picture and think “Ek, I need to fix [insert body part here].”
I try very hard to remind myself of how I felt before I lost the weight. Where I wouldn’t let anyone post a full body picture of me. Or how much I hated how ‘fat’ my face was. I try to remind myself that not only am I in the best shape of my life but I am healthy. I can run for miles, I have energy throughout the day. I have more confidence in myself and my ability, not just my appearance. I now can wear clothes that I’ve only dreamed about. My mind is clear, I sleep better. So many beautiful changes took place when I lost weight, not just the change of my body and I have to constantly remind myself of that.
I am not going to sit here and tell you not to think bad about yourself, because in reality, EVERYONE does it and we all will continue. I just challenge you to look at all the good things that have changed in your journey. More importantly, how do you feel? Do you feel healthier? Are you reversing Diabetes? Are you lowering your chances of cancer? Are you lowering your chances of heart diseases? Are you able to to run around the park with you child/neice/nephew/brother/sister? Did you run your first 5K or complete a Tough Mudder?
Whatever your insecurities are, highlight your successes.
We all have insecurities. However, when you lose weight, there is a fine line between being motivated and obsessing. There is real danger when you start obsessing over your looks while you’re losing weight. Some can argue it can lead to serious eating disorders. Keep your mind in check, while you keep your eating in check. It is so incredibly hard sometimes to remind yourself of all the good things about you verse the things you wish to change. BUT you have to do it. Otherwise you’re just as unhealthy as you were when you began. AND stop comparing yourself to people on Instagram. Have you ever put up a BAD picture of yourself? No! People only put up pictures of them looking perfect. Remind yourself, no ones life is perfect. Everyone has their own struggles.
I hope this helps some of you who may feel the same way I did. Know you are not alone and yes it is okay to feel those insecurities, but don’t obsess over them. Find confidence in the attributes you do love about yourself!
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