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2/6/13: To everybody: You are NOT losing weight, nor are you "proud" about it.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Every once in a while, I get emotional to the point where I am sobbing while watching the Biggest Loser, while taking Spark quizzes, while reading about other people's journeys. It makes me stop and think about myself.

Unlike the majority of people here, I am only 18, and I was never obese. I was hardly overweight, actually, at my heaviest of 155 lbs- a BMI of 26.8. I know many people here wish that was their weight or BMI right now! But it isn't my weight I am thinking about.

I am ~120 lbs now. However, physically, I am much the same as I was at 155 lbs. I am still not very strong. I still have a tummy pooch. I can't put up two pictures, one at 155 and one at 120, and have people tell me I look SO fit, because while 35 lbs is a big deal, I lost a significant amount of muscle mass in the process. The difference is there, yes, but I am not necessarily "proud" of my weight loss.

There. I said it. I'm NOT proud of my weight loss. The weight no longer matters to me. I could be 127 lbs, 135 lbs, 107 lbs. The number on the scale doesn't determine how healthy I truly am. But I sit here, and I do see a major difference in myself, and that I AM proud of. It isn't something that I can put pictures to- not yet anyway.

Lex at 155 lbs was hurting. She had gone through a rough few years- 5 years or more of depression, having the other kids glue cookie crumbs to her hair at school, being unable to say what she needed resulting in miscommunications with my parents, having a breakup after her first real boyfriend forced her into a position she objected to. She believed the number on the scale correlated to being "good enough."

Lex at 120 lbs knows that her past doesn't define her. She knows what pain is; she knows that plenty more pain will come around. But she knows how to deal with her pain. She's still not perfect- and definitely never will be. She knows that her weight is just a reading of the force the ground uses to keep her up. She knows that there is NO number- on the scale, on the measuring tape, on the calipers, on her jeans or dress or otherwise- that will tell her how valuable she is.

I know my story isn't different from many people's. Adolescence is a pain, as it tends to be, and then you grow up and realize everything is OK! But so often I feel this is overlooked. We call it "growing up" and shove it aside... when I think honestly it is miraculous. Look around you and you will surely see somebody who has not done this bit of "growing up." Almost every Biggest Loser episode I watch, somebody is struggling with the number, believing it defines them as a human being. YOU might do that, too. People carry around what they don't know how to release, and when we don't say, "This is okay to talk about, to move past, and to be PROUD of in the end," it often is overlooked.

I reached my "weight goal." Yes. I did. But I am not sitting here beaming with happiness because I am 120s or because I might be in the 110s soon. I am not proud of my weight loss. I am proud of my self changes that got me there. I am proud that I can cook a healthy, filling dinner with 2 servings of fruits and veggies in the main course and have my "unhealthy" peers say, "That tastes REALLY good! Not just healthy-good!" I am proud that I can go to the gym and feel good about my workouts. I am proud that I can open my eyes in the morning and look forward to the day.

You aren't losing weight. Losing weight is a side effect. You are gaining your self esteem and self-efficacy back. You are re-learning and believing in your value again. Do not get these backwards. The number on the scale drops because you are learning to love yourself. You are not learning to love yourself because the number on the scale is dropping. You are not proud because you hit a lower weight. You are proud because you have put forth enough love to yourself to get there.

This isn't a journey about weight. This is a journey about your emotional self.
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