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When it comes to losing weight and wanting to change our bodies, we all wait for that aha moment to hit us. It happens during those times when we think about making some big change but what we really want is something to convince us that it will actually be worth it. It happens in the movies all the time, why can’t it happen to me? Losing Weigh
In the movies, when someone is at a crossroads, there’s always some figure standing behind a bright light, telling the hero to change while there’s still time. The hero is suddenly presented with this foolproof plan for their happy ending — and before we know it, there’s a flash and everything has changed. They are better, stronger and happier people. Even strangers on the sidewalk take notice of their transformation, giving the hero glances as they pass by. In the movies all it took was several minutes, some upbeat pop music and a short but inspirational monologue by some older, wiser character to change their life.
I’m sorry to burst your bubble. Life isn’t like the movies and this isn’t how things work in real life. Losing Weight
At least that wasn’t how it worked for me.
How I lost 175 Pounds and found myself in the process
When I finally swallowed my pride and stepped back on a scale for the first time in well over four years I weighed in at a whopping 386 pounds. I was almost brought to tears when I stared down at those red numbers between my toes. I was ALMOST FOUR HUNDRED POUNDS! Losing Weight
And all I could think was, “How could I have let this happen?”
I remember trying to cram into a seat on a small passenger plane back in 2011. I had just graduated college and my friends and I decided to make a trip to California as a sort of ‘You Survived College’ present to ourselves but to get there I had to ride an airplane for the first time in my life. And honestly, It wasn’t so bad. Yes, space was limited and yes, I had to suck in my stomach just to fit the seatbelt around my waist and I could forget about bringing down that little gray tray table.
I had gotten used to trying just to fit into everything else in my life. I didn’t know anything different. Even though it was upsetting to know that the lady who shared a seat with me clearly hated me for being the way I was, I still didn’t really feel that lightbulb go off. Losing Weight
Not yet anyway.
I had been heavy my entire life. I had grown up wearing nothing but plus-sized clothing. My style was “anything that fits.” I was someone who had professionally trained in the art of staying hidden and out of the way. Losing Weight
I was quiet and shy and mostly kept to myself. I worried about bringing attention to myself, afraid that if people noticed me they would think of another fat joke to make at my expense. I had always been really sensitive and I would do anything to avoid the bullying.
I went on a hike with my friends in 2012. It was a moderate hike that should have been easy for any healthy twenty-something. But it wasn’t easy for me. Losing Weight
I huffed and puffed my way up and sat down to catch my breath. My friends climbed to the top of the rocks to take in the beautiful desert view. I couldn’t deny that I was jealous of them. I wanted to be able to scurry up the rocks and run up the trail. But my almost 400 pound frame was holding me back from doing the things I wanted and should have been able to do. Losing Weight
I had become a shell of myself, encased in a wall of fat.
I had grown up listening to comments about how, “I’d be so beautiful, if I would just lose the weight.” I had developed a sharp tongue and quick wit to defend myself against the bullies and assumed that if you weren’t laughing with me, you were laughing at me. I started to assume that every giggle behind my back was caused by another comment made at my expense. Losing Weight
I remember having bad days where I would just cry in the shower wishing I was skinny. I just wanted someone to fix it for me. I just wanted to wake up and to have a normal, average sized body. I didn’t want to wait for a diet to work. I didn’t want to have to make any changes. I wanted a fix and I wanted it right away. Losing Weight
At the time I didn’t understand, that if I wanted to see change, I was going to have to work for it. I wasn’t going to get anything I wanted for free and no one was going to fly down with their magic wand and just wave all my weight away.
If I wanted something done I was going to have to do it myself. But I knew I needed a new approach.
The idea of losing weight to be beautiful had never inspired me. I had given up the idea of being beautiful a long time ago and just settled on being the smart kid in the corner. But then I realized that being ‘beautiful’ was never really the point. I needed to start feeling beautiful. It didn’t matter if I weighed 350 pounds or 150 pounds, as long as I was putting effort into making myself better. Losing Weight
I needed to learn to love myself. Only then would all those harsh comments mean absolutely nothing to me. Losing Weight
So maybe that was my aha thought but it took years of learning and growing to finally get there. Losing Weight
Last time I weighted myself I was at 210 pounds. I had lost over 170 pounds since I first started my weight loss journey. I’ve had strangers at my local gym come up to me to tell me how proud they were of me. Last summer, my own uncle didn’t recognize me when we saw each other for the first time in a long time. I still love those moments when old friends see me and have this look of shock on their faces. I’ve had to clean out my entire wardrobe since nothing fit me anymore. I donated over ten garbage bags full of clothing to charity. I no longer have that “whatever fits” style. Now I can just walk into any store I want and buy anything off the rack. I no longer wear plus-sized clothing for the first time in my life. And today, I am nearly half my old pant size! Losing Weight
When I look back at old photographs of myself and compare them to new one’s, I do notice one huge change and it’s not in the weight around my face or the structure of my arms. The most drastic change is in my smile. I can see the way my smile lights up my entire face and the way that sincere happiness fills up my eyes. I feel proud. I feel confident. And it shows. Losing Weight
It took me a little while even after losing the weight but I started to discover the amazing person that was hiding underneath all that fat. At the core I’m still the same person I’ve always been. I still love to make people laugh by being silly, I still love to play the same sports I did when I was heavier. Except now, I play more of them. I can stay on the field longer than ever before. I’m more willing to be free and be me, and to make a fool of myself to get those laughs I love to hear. Losing Weight
There’s other more subtle differences too. I wear tank tops in the summer instead of hiding my arms under layers of cotton. This past Halloween, when some teenagers called me fat, I genuinely laughed out loud at the absurdity. Losing Weight
I went hiking with a group of coworkers recently and we came to a rather steep drop along the sides of two boulders. The trail path had been indicted with two painted blue arrows that pointed straight down. I always had an extreme fear of heights and I could feel my legs shaking just at the thought of climbing down what looked to be a steep drop. A small group decided they had bitten off more then they could chew and decided to head back as I watched the rest of them make their way down. I felt that familiar pang of jealously as I stood at the ledge and watched them disappear into the shadows of the boulders. Losing Weight
But I wasn’t going to sit on the sidelines and regret not climbing down that boulder. I called to my co-workers, slung my camera over my back and followed those arrows down into the crevices of those boulders. And honestly when I came out on the other side of the mountain I realized it wasn’t nearly as scary or impossible as it seemed from my spot up on the ledge.
It was absolutely worth the climb. Losing Weight
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