I’ve dipped my toes into sharing my weight loss journey. But I’ve decided to challenge myself by really reflecting on how losing 60+ pounds has changed me. As a young girl and teenager, I dreamed that losing the weight would make me this super cool, confident person. Everyone would want to be friends with me, and all my problems would go away. I would be perfect.
Guess what? I’m not.
The way I imagined my new, lighter self couldn’t have been farther from reality. I still have days where I look in the mirror and see the same size I used to be, even though the difference is noticeable. I often focus more on the progress I would like to make, instead of congratulating myself on how far I’ve already come. Why?
Changing the outside doesn’t necessarily change the inside.
Looking back on some very dark years of my life, I see now that I never thought about the things I did well. I’ve always been a good student, caring friend, and an avid reader. I love knowledge. This thirst inside me to experience new things has only increased in time.
But what did I harp on? The things I wasn’t good at. I hated exercising. It felt impossible to eat healthy foods. I constantly craved junk. I felt like my weight loss was going nowhere, so there was no point. I’ve lost count of how many BeachBody programs I started, and never finished.
Once I got the motivation to exercise and began to follow a vegan diet, I saw results. Real results. But I still wasn’t happy. There was always another goal to surpass, another mountain to climb, another way I could be better. The way I saw myself didn’t necessarily change.
My weight loss journey had to become about giving my body the treatment it deserves.
It took very real, intentional, difficult work to shift my mindset. The best fitness trainers and weight loss coaches have said it time and time again. Weight loss is a mental battle. And that battle is the one I lost every single time I tried to lose weight in high school. I only began to win against those negative voices in my mind when I sought intention.
After I discovered yoga, the all-encompassing, holistic effects of my practice helped me see that fitness isn’t supposed to be about punishing yourself for the weekend’s treats. It’s about centering yourself, focusing on your breathing, moving with your breath, at your pace. The rest fell into place.
Maintaining a 60-pound weight loss is a daily challenge.
Wanna know a secret? I still don’t really like working out. I’m embarrassed to admit how little I’ve used my Y membership this summer. I’d rather run outside in the evening or do yoga at home. But for every day I do exercise, there’s a back-and-forth debate in my mind about why I should work out…and why I should just get in my car and drive to Five Daughters’ Donuts.
Thankfully, since my taste buds have changed quite a bit from living abroad and ingesting less sweets, the donut voice loses often. But most days, I don’t feel like exercising. It’s the hardest part of this whole weight loss maintenance thing for me. Which brings me to the point of this whole diatribe:
I’m still not that confident.
But I’m better than before. And that is a miracle, folks.
I know, I know. We’re in the age of the #AerieREAL campaign, body confident plus-size models, and a ton of other social media hashtags meant to debunk the myth of the perfect body.
While these social changes certainly help, I have to work on being confident every single day. It’s taxing. Sometimes, I want to ignore the good and focus on the bad. I have to find the God-given strength to be intentionally confident and move on from the negativity.
I’m still learning how to treat myself mentally, physically, and spiritually.
And I will be until the day I die. Aren’t we all constantly learning? I went from a size 16/17 to a size 8. I never, ever thought I’d be typing those words. But I still have to remember that my dress size is not me. The number on the scale is not who I am as a person. Sure, it’s a part of me. But it’s not me.
Now that I’ve had this realization, how do I live it out? How do I intentionally seek confidence?
Through doing the things I love. Through travel, learning a new skill, challenging myself to do new yoga poses, and work on those that are really hard. Through pushing past the next block while running, reminding myself of all the things I’m good at, some of which I used to not consider strengths.
Each day, I get better. Each day, I get stronger. Each day, I feel more confident. And each day, I become the person I was always meant to be.
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