There is something that I’ve been trying to put my finger on lately. It has to do with the stigma around being ‘fat’ – one that is hard to outgrow and outrun. It also has to do with the lack of credit people who are in the process of weight loss receive for the hard work (mental and physical) that goes into changing the body, habits, lifestyle, etc.
I have a friend who quit smoking 2 weeks ago – ONLY two weeks ago – who talks about herself now as an ‘ex-smoker’. I am extremely proud of her for her efforts, knowing that this will most definitely alter her life for the better and give her a reasonable chance of escaping lung disease as she ages. People on facebook, in our friend group, and from elsewhere were congratulating her and giving her a techno high-five for having ‘kicked the habit’, and for some reason I found myself feeling frustrated and envious. I took a moment to reflect on the source of my sour emotions, and discovered something that needed my attention…
Losing weight (getting ‘un-fat’) is a process that does not involve a lot of credit or encouragement from the outside world. Why? Because if you are going about it the slow and steady way that doesn’t involve crash diets, overexercise, surgery, or other forms of masochism, your weight loss and the mental hurdles you overcome are most likely not very obvious to those around you.
Four years ago I decided I was going to get truly healthy, kick the overeating habits, the self sabotage, overcome the fears, get active, etc, but I don’t remember anyone congratulating me for being ‘ex-weighted’ 2 weeks later. No – that never ever happened! Why? Because even though I was ‘doing the stuff’ that leads to being healthy, I was still – for all intents and purposes – a fat girl.
That’s one of the reasons I so desperately needed this blog! I needed a place I could go to explain my process; to journey with others; to have people witness what I was going through and how it was affecting me. I needed a place to go where at least *some* people (that’s you!) would see that I was, indeed, quietly defying the odds.
Now, 50-ish lb lighter and nearly 4 years into blogging (with many weight fluctuations along the way), the people in my community and family do notice the physical and psychological changes that I am now embodying. It wasn’t until it was truly physically noticeable, however, that I received much credit for the years and years of commitment I have been putting into the process. Sad but true.
If you find yourself in that position today, I want to tell you something – something very very very important!!
I. See. You.
I am with you in spirit.
I know that there are moments when you’ve wanted to give up, give in, sabotage, derail, and you stood your ground…and no one saw it.
I know that you got all dressed up for the party after losing 10 lb, feeling so beautiful (or handsome) and healthier than you’ve ever been…and very few people paid you a compliment.
I know that you listen to your breath getting short, and you feel your muscles start to ache, and you keep on going, tired but triumphant, after another arduous workout of some kind or another… even though there’s not a single person around to congratulate you when you get back home!
I know you are quietly defying the odds – just like me.
So, keep on doing what you’re doing. Seek the people who are on the same journey as you and acknowledge the crap out of each other! That’s why we come to these weight loss blogs – we need to support one another.
Thank you for being here to witness me. I want to witness you as well! If you read this and want to share anything in particular, please comment with your blog post, success story, or something inspirational that you’d like to share! I can’t wait to hear it!