It’s that time of year when reflection is the norm. For me, it marks the two year point in my weight loss journey. I began on Nov. 30, 2015. Since then, I’ve lost 103 pounds. I’ve learned it’s about so much more than just the physical weight. It’s about the emotional weight lifted, the confidence gained and rediscovering myself.
I’ve been using a photo from Aug. 2015 for my “before” photo. Last week, I stumbled on a photo from March 2014 and it caused me to pause and reflect! Who was that person? I don’t know. I don’t even feel a connection when I look at that photo. That’s me! The girls reacted very strongly too. They could hardly believe that was me — but this wasn’t like looking at a picture of me as a child, this was just two years ago. They are old enough to remember! I think my weight was roughly the same in those two photos, but in my head I feel that the March photo looks “worse.” Should I start using that as my “before” photo? I don’t know why it even matters!
What actually matters is the “now” photo. As hard as it has been to recognize the person I’m becoming, today, as I reflect on the “before,” I barely recognize that person. I identify much more clearly with the person I see in the mirror now. Talk about a shift in mindset! I feel more like myself than I’ve felt in a very long time, yet different. This journey is about learning and understanding. It’s about believing in myself and the process. It’s about being patient — which has never been one of my strongest attributes. It’s about taking care of me so I can take care of my daughters. Just last week at my Weight Watchers meeting, we talked about how it’s imperative to take care of yourself first so you can take care of others (think of the safety instructions on an airplane — oxygen mask on you first, then on the children). I can’t think of a better analogy for this process.
When people talk about losing weight they talk about the health benefits (like eliminating diabetes) and the physical benefits (less aches and pains when moving around — going up and down stairs, for example). They don’t talk about the emotional and mental health benefits. So many things seem impossible when you’re overweight — at least they did for me. But as my weight decreases, my emotional well-being increases. I know that because I’ve been successful in losing such a significant amount of weight that I can be successful in other areas too. I will never run a marathon, or even a 5K (see, I haven’t changed THAT much), but I can be a more active participant in my daughters’ lives; I can be a better mom, sister, daughter, aunt and friend. I can keep up with the tour guide during college visits. I can stand in the kitchen all day cooking meals for the week. I can do a lot of things I couldn’t do before because I just didn’t have the energy.
The strength of my commitment to the new me has built from the inside — but it shows on the outside; and my own evolution is not yet complete. It’s only in hindsight that I can see how much I’ve changed — I didn’t even realize that I was lost. My outlook on life and the future is very different that it was at the beginning. In fact, two years ago I couldn’t begin to imagine what I’d look like if/when I lost 100 pounds. But, now I know. I feel the same about the next 60 pounds too. What will that look and feel like? I can’t begin to imagine — but I sure can’t wait to find out!!
What do you find to be the biggest change as you’ve lost weight?