Mar 212012
 
whoami

This week on 110 Pounds, we’ll be discussing the important topic of Body Loving. Here is the third post to continue the positive body image week. Enjoy. -Lisa

Self-Image

When I was 250 pounds, I was “The Fat Girl.” That was wrapped up a lot in my identity. Looking back at old diary entries from my late teens and early twenties, what I saw was a lot of hate. The voice I heard in my head was that negative voice that pointed out all my faults, my fat rolls, my low self-esteem. The negative self-talk was so ingrained in me, I barely noticed I was doing it. I didn’t speak up for myself as much as I wanted to. I dated a lot of guys who weren’t very good for me because I thought I couldn’t do better. That makes me sad. Settling should never be the answer.

When I was losing the weight, I was “The Fat Girl Losing Weight.” This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I definitely got a lot of attention and I got a lot of support from people. I even received support from people I barely knew. Coworkers I passed in the hallways gave me good wishes. It was a positive, life-enforcing thing that made me feel compelled to keep going. The attention was nice and boosted my self-esteem and my ego. I started to tell that Negative Self-Talk Voice in my head that I WAS worth it. I didn’t have to settle for anything. I was successfully losing the weight, finding myself, finding my voice. And I had a low tolerance for men who didn’t treat me right. I realized I would rather be single, than be paired with a jerk.

Despite becoming more confident and positive about myself and my body, I found that I would belittle what I was doing. If someone gave me a compliment on my weight loss, I’d say “Oh, thanks, I still have a long way to go.” So what? Why, why did I always have to diminish my accomplishments?

When I lost the weight, I was “The Girl Who Lost 110 Pounds.” It was an awesome feeling, let me tell you. Reaching goal weight, becoming a confident, positive person who was HAPPY with her body and HAPPY with her life, was an awesome thing.

While it was a happy moment in my life, it wasn’t necessarily a comfortable place to be. I was wary. I was worried about gaining it back, I was uncomfortable in my new body. I changed my style entirely and wore clothes that were tighter, more revealing than I was used to. Gone were the over-sized clothes I used to hide my body under. It took some time to figure out who I was going to be in this new body.

After I’ve kept the weight off for almost 4 years now, I am “The Girl Who Maintains.” Sometimes it’s difficult to figure out what that means exactly. Here are some things I’ve been working on as I maintain these past four years:

Self-Control

It took me a long time to finally calm down and enjoy maintenance. I learned that I didn’t have to ALWAYS worry about keeping the weight off, I wasn’t going to gain it ALL back if I missed one workout or ate a cheeseburger. Going Scale-Free last summer helped me get in touch with my new reality, and it really worked. Learning that balance has been a challenge but I’m doing better. Doing what works for me–counting my calories and working out–keeps me in control.

Self-Esteem

Learning tricks to silence that Negative-Self-Talk-Voice in my head has helped. I found that I valued myself, I valued my health and THAT was why I worked out. I wanted to be healthy and not develop diabetes. Isn’t taking care of our health the best gift we can give ourselves?

Self-Realization

Realizing that I can do anything I set my mind to is extremely empowering. For years I told myself I’d always be fat, I’d never lose the weight, this was who I was. Seeing the weight come off because I worked hard made me realize that I was not stuck in that life if I didn’t want to be.

It’s funny–I’m now at the stage where I’m meeting people who never knew me as “that girl”–they just know me as who I am now. And they are always shocked to find out I used to be this other person. I’m still working on myself and will be for a long time, I think. I don’t know yet “Who I Am”. It seems to be changing a lot, but maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe that’s enriching who I’ll eventually be. Thoughts?

QUESTION: If you lost a significant amount of weight, did you go through an “identity crisis”?

About Lisa Eirene
About Lisa Eirene Lisa lost 110 pounds through calorie counting and exercise. She swims, bikes, runs, hikes and is enjoying life in Portland, Oregon. Her weight loss story has been featured in First Magazine, Yahoo Health, Woman's Day and Glamour.com.

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  9 Responses to “Body Love Week: Identity Crisis”

  1. What a great series of posts. I know that I still “feel” like the fat girl even though that was several years and pounds ago. It’s a feeling and belief about yourself that’s really hard to shake. And I seem to live in fear that I’ll wake up and be that big girl again when truly I know that my healthy lifestyle and love for exercise won’t let that happen.
    Lauren @ Sassy Molassy recently posted..A Snow Day? SNOw Way!

    • Thanks for the comment, Lauren. I agree. When we’ve “talked” to ourselves a certain way for so long it’s hard to shake it. I sometimes still have that fear too–that I’ll wake up one day and be big again.

  2. I find myself in a weird place. I am not really a weight loss blogger. I don’t quite fit in with the healthy living bloggers as I am a fair amount older than they seem to be. I am not really a food blogger per se because I don’t post a lot of recipes.

    I guess I just consider myself a wobbly maintainer. I struggle with still feeling like the fat girl, though – even after all this time. When you spend near 25 years being overweight, it is a feeling that doesn’t really go away.
    Lori recently posted..Karma stealer

    • I agree, Lori. I’m older than most HL bloggers, too. I think my blog is different too because I’m not trying to lose weight. Maybe it would appeal to more people if I was losing. But, alas, this is me–also a wobbly maintainer.

      I think you are right about always feeling a little like the fat girl. I spent 10 years being overweight or obese between the ages of 16-26 before I started to lose the weight. Those are pretty formative years, too. It’s hard to silence that voice. One day I can feel SO great about myself, the next day (or even a moment later) I can feel like I’m still “That Girl.”

  3. I’m loving this series too! I’m in a bit of an identity crisis working my way down from being the “fat girl.” I don’t really know how to not identify as fat..because it’s all that I’ve ever been and all that people have ever seen me as. It’s such a weird place to be in. When I meet people now, they have no idea what I used to look like and that is even more bizarre. I’m really loving being the “getting healthy girl” however…trying not to think too far in the future and just take this process day by day.
    Jodi @ Jodi, Fat or Not recently posted..10 awesome things not about my weight, and a weigh-in!

    • I appreciate your comment, Jodi. I’m really glad you enjoyed this series. It was pretty popular so I hope to do it again.

      I am in that weird place too. Like you, I am now meeting people who never knew me at 250 pounds and are shocked to find out about it. It’s kind of a weird feeling. Almost like it’s not me.

  4. I’m new to your blog so I don’t have much to say today. I’m glad you were able to be successful in your weight loss and maintenance. I just want to say at this point that by accomplished small and large challenges as you have you build your confidence and self-esteem. It seems that you have found your path and I wish you well on keeping on!
    Dr. J recently posted..How Our “Fat” Jokes Reflect Reality

    • Thank you for checking out my site, Dr. J. Yes–losing the weight and keeping it off increased my self-esteem and confidence in amazing ways. I now feel like I can do *anything*!

  5. Initially I had some shifts in how I saw myself, it comes with the territory. It wasn’t an identity crisis probably because I’ve never found my weight as one of the most salient parts of my identity. My ethnicity, gender, and profession are much greater parts of how I identify myself. I didn’t deny that I was overweight, but I kinda ignored it. My weight and past weight loss don’t define me, they’re just one more experience.
    cibdylu recently posted..LA Marathon postscript

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