So I’ve read hundreds of weight loss stories, all of which have different paths, different timelines, different “AHA” moments… a common thread though is to hear them tell of the NEW person they’ve become or discovered or butterflied into…
Weight loss changes your life, I cannot argue that at ALL. If you are lucky, that body change also comes with a change in your abilities, thoughts about yourself, self confidence. Not just a change in how you look but that the things you have done to achieve that have built strength, determination, character that were previously dormant. But does it make you a NEW PERSON?
More profoundly, does it make the BIGGER person you were, somehow, LESS? Does it make your former self not YOURSELF? “I don’t even recognize that girl” you may say looking back … and people who know you may say “You are a whole different person”. And I get why – because weight loss can change a lot more than the outer appearance, but a whole “new person” a concept I have a hard time reconciling. Because that girl in the photo, larger and less confident, maybe not as strong or aware, the one holding MY baby and cuddling MY husband… is… still… ME. It causes a LOT of stress and discontinuity for that person when they are expected to disconnect from that past.
Losing weight is similar to becoming a new person—but that doesn’t mean your transformation eliminates your past or who you were. I feel different but that is still ME. I have the same memories, feelings, AND WORTH as that person in the old photos had, even if we have different bodies and habits (and courage).
I do have a laugh when I see old pictures of myself – tho that laugh mostly covers up a gasp and the lump in my throat. And I do like to use those photos, not just for the memories they contain, but as motivation to keep to my healthier habits. I am both proud of the changes I’ve made and sad that the girl there took so long to find the path to feeling better about herself (and of course better health). And there is a feeling of accomplishment when someone else sees an old photo “OMG I can’t believe that’s you” or remarks about how different I look. I am proud they notice, but at the same time, sometimes the tone of that “OMG” can sting and makes me question the worth of that larger person… like now that she’s not “here” it’s ok to poke fun at her or finally tell her how displeasing she really was. It was never acceptable to make fat jokes while she was around, but now it’s all right. And that goes for me too – not just others – we tell the worst fat jokes about ourselves don’t we??
It’s a 2 headed coin for sure
(actually as you can see it’s hard to even articulate the problem!)
and I am not sure what the answer is – because I do it myself – belittle that larger person… I just know that the weight loss experience is not all butterflies and rainbows. There are a lot of mental obstacles, figuring out who you are, challenging your character, and it’s a part of the journey I was not expecting. Who could imagine you’d have a rough time accepting a different body – especially when it’s one you dreamed about?? (look for upcoming post about bathing suit shopping Oh My) It’s just weird…