The other day I was talking with a friend and he asked me a question that kind of caught me off guard for a number of reasons. When he left I started journaling about it/my thoughts since and decided I wanted to write about it on here. I’m not even sure what’s the best way to get this out but thought it could be a good thing. So let me just ramble and share and talk about whats rattling around in my head, okay? Okay. So what did my friend ask me?
Had I noticed any difference in the way men treated me since I had lost weight?
I started to type up all the thoughts that raced through my head after I heard the question but I don’t think I could adequately explain even with all the blog space on the internet.
Simple answer? Yes.
I didn’t lose weight to get more dates or to find a husband… necessarily. I lost weight for my health, but let’s be real, it was like 90% of the reason. The other 10% were plain old superficial reasons. Yes, I wanted (want) to feel good, but I also wanted to look good. And I do look better. And guys are noticing.
When I date someone new, eventually I feel like I need to “disclose” my fat past. Ha. It’s not that big a secret but it is a part of me and my weight is constantly on my mind. After 27ish years of being overweight, there are lingering insecurities. It’s been over 2 years since I hit my goal weight (although it’s crept up a few… or 20) But there are times when I really really really feel like that 180 lb girl again. And boys didn’t think that 180 lbs girl was that cute.
And the truth is, it’s NICE to feel attractive to the opposite sex. (Or preferred sex.) It’s nice to be asked out on a date and get dressed up and actually like your outfit and not just put on whatever hides your belly or doesn’t give you a muffin top.
Losing weight for a man shouldn’t be the sole reason. It shouldn’t be the top of the list. I am in no way advocating that it be. But can it be on the list at all? Can it be wayyy down at the bottom? Sometimes I am grasping at whatever motivates me to get to the gym or pick baby carrots over Cheetos. So yes, sometimes the only thing that gets through to me is the thought of my ass looking hot in jeans next time this guy sees me.
When I was around ohhh 13? my grandmother gave me a Chrsitmas T-shirt that I have worn every year since! If I’m right about my age, it’s been 16 years. There’s a hole in it. I don’t care. Especially since my grandma passed, it’s priceless to me. I hope to wear it for the next 50 years.
I of course, am wearing it today! I didn’t think much of it except that it’s my Christmas shirt. Then I stumbled (really I didn’t even remember this picture existing!) of me wearing this shirt 4 years ago!
All I can say is, Woahhhhhh. I can’t get over my face. It looks swollen!
I came to work today and partook in all the Christmas treats. Cookies, popcorn, fudge. I didn’t even try and say no. I happily ate what I wanted. And to be honest, my pants are getting tight! I know I’ve gained some weight since my smallest but this picture really put it in perspective for me. I never ever ever want to get back there.
This was me today. (Sorry for the lighting. The bathroom lights are ridiculous.) These 2 girls barely even look related! It kinda looks like I’m pulling at my shirt but really I’m trying to show you how much extra room is there. A LOT of work went down in these 4 year interim between these two pictures. Work I am damn proud of!!
I am not an expert on anything I’m intending on rambling about today. I have major food issues. I’m constantly struggling with my relationship with food. These past two years, I’ve come a long way but it’s very easy for me to revert to some old habits. Habits that got me wayyy too close to 200 lbs.
Today I was chatting with a friend who has weight loss goals and she said she “shouldn’t be eating” something. (I won’t even go into what she was referring to was NOT an unhealthy food.)
I 100%* believe there isn’t any food you “shouldn’t” eat.
(*you know, unless it’s harmful, you’re allergic, you know what I mean!)
Pizza. Cake. Bananas. Sushi. Fried chicken. Whatever! Whatever fits into your plan. When we start looking at food as good v bad, that’s when we foster that unhealthy view of food and eating. You can’t live a life indulgent-free. It’s not possible! And guess what, it’s not healthy.
It’s not about what you eat. It’s about WHY you’re eating. Sometimes I feed my emotions. I punish myself with food. I celebrate with food. Eating is something for me to do when I’m bored. Not great, guys. I don’t recommend!
When I look at food as fuel, as something that gives me energy to run and lift and move my body, then food loses some of it’s power over me. Yes it’s a struggle and I have weakness and trigger foods and all that diet jargon. But instead of beating myself up for eating the “bad food” going forward I’m more focused on what my reason/excuse was to eat it. Was it because I was sad? Bored? Angry? Depressed? Happy? Felt I “deserved” it?
And how do I feel after I ate whatever it was? Guilty? Satisfied? Is it going to move me closer to my goals?
Now I’m not strict enough that I’m saying I do this for every meal/snack/treat. I don’t sit down and think about every morsel of food I put into my mouth. This life and lifestyle is about BALANCE. It’s about making as many healthy choices (for me!) that I can and learning from and moving on from the unhealthy ones.
I recently talked about being uncomfortable and pushing yourself at the gym, which I’m glad I did because those negative thoughts came back in full force today. I used to go to yoga every week but life and laziness got in the way so today was the first time back since before my marathon. And I struggled!
Can I defend myself at all by saying it was hot yoga? I was only about 2 poses into the 90 minute class when I already started feeling light headed (dehydrated?? It’s hot in Phoenix!) I laid down in child’s pose (since I’m being honest… corpse pose) way more often than I liked, or usually need. I stuck to the easy versions, the modifications. I was not feeling great about myself.
Then about 3/4th the way through I thought back to my first class at this studio. I remembered how HARD it was for me then (more than a year and 30+ pounds ago.) I had to lie down for almost half of the class. I remember reporting back to my friend, Liz, who introduced me to the studio and telling her how rough it was! Compare that to today. Yes it was rough, but it was manageable. I still felt strong and able. It almost made me chuckle out loud how much of a difference it felt my first day vs today, an “off” day.
I still have weight to lose, muscle to gain, miles to go. But I have come SUCH a long way and I can only be proud of myself. It is way too easy to pick yourself apart, compare yourself to others and focus on the challenges that lie ahead. But try to stop and look behind you on this road and count every step forward you’ve made. (I literally do this on runs, sometimes. After running 8 miles, knowing I still have 4 to go and I’m tired and I want to stop… I will sometimes literally stop in my tracks and turn around. )
This process isn’t easy. It isn’t quick. It isn’t a straight line; there are ups and downs and bumps and bruises along the way. Some days are better than others. Some days you feel stronger, can push more, lift more. But try try try to look at the whole picture. Be proud of where you are now. Be proud of WHO you are now.