body image after weight loss

The “After” – 6 Year Anniversary

6 Years

When I think back to when I started my journey to lose 100 pounds, I don’t think I ever thought about the “After.” Not really. I think part of that was that I’d never really been skinny and part of it was that I doubted whether I’d ever reach the “After.” I had a goal in my mind and I naively thought that all my problems would thus be fixed when I was “skinny” and while they weren’t magically improved, there was a lot of improvement in my life. The biggest improvement, obviously, was my health. I was no longer pre-diabetic and I didn’t have high blood pressure. Mission accomplished. But when I was steadily truckin’ along, losing a pound here and a pound there, I couldn’t really see my future as a “skinny” person and now that I’ve kept the weight off for 6 years, I have a hard time picturing myself as I used to be. It’s strange how your reality and perception changes.

Over the years I’ve had ups and downs in my weight. I gained 15 pounds a few years ago and it took a really long time to lose that extra 15 pounds but I did it. Despite the occasional body image issues I still struggle with, my weight has been maintained in the same 4-6 pound range. Sometimes it’s more of a struggle to keep myself in that range. I am no longer naive about weight loss and I KNOW it takes hard work and honesty.

Honesty is the hard part. When you’re obese you’re not honest with yourself, or others, not really. When I was obese I would sneak food,  I’d eat in private, I’d make excuses as to why I wasn’t losing weight, I’d make excuses to other poeple– “No really, I don’t eat that much…I don’t know why I can’t lose weight…”  (Read these posts: Why Can’t I Lose Weight?An Excuse to Eat, and Overcoming Exercise Obstacles.) Once I faced that I was lying about everything and that I hadn’t REALLY tried to lose weight, I had renewed desire to really succeed this time.

I had to change the way I thought about food.

I had to change the way I thought about exercise.

I had to change the way I thought about MYSELF. No more excuses. 

Was it easy? Hell no! There were so so so many plateaus. There were set-backs. There were some very frustrating times where I felt like I was being punished because I couldn’t eat the same things everyone else was eating. Is it easier now that the weight is gone? Nope. It’s still hard. I still have to make an effort. I can’t just let things slide. I will probably always have to count my calories or do some sort of food tracking. I don’t think as a reformed binge-eater I can just stop doing what worked to lose the weight and keep it off and not expect to gain it back. So the hard work continues.

before

Don’t take that as a negative. Sure I’d love to not be AWARE of how many calories are in foods and wouldn’t it be nice to just sit down and binge eat a carton of ice cream? Or half a pizza (or, ahem, a whole pizza) like the old days? But I can’t unlearn that knowledge and I know how my body feels when I eat junk and when I eat good, healthy foods. I dislike that feeling of overeating now and when I go too long without eating fruits and vegetables I feel ill. Most of the time my healthy choices are second nature and I don’t give them any thought. On those times when it does feel like my willpower isn’t as strong as I’d like, I try to cut myself some slack. It’s ok to take a break sometimes.

It’s my 6th year anniversary of reaching goal weight. I’m now at the “After.” It feels like a lifetime ago, but at the same time I still feel that same giddy joy when I remember that moment when I stepped on the scale and saw GOAL WEIGHT. That feeling is still there and it helps keep me motivate to keep trying when things get rough.

Check out previous year’s anniversary posts here:

My 100 Pound Anniversary

100 Pound Anniversary – 3 Years

100 Pound Anniversary – 4 Years

Another Year Gone By — 5 Years

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Things are changing in my life. Priorities are shifting, goals are changing, but the fact remains: I love my fit life and I will always make myself and my health a priority. It has to be that way. If I’m healthy, my family is healthy. In a little over a month I will be marrying the love of my life. I expect we’ll start discussing family planning in the next year or two and that will most definitely effect my weight loss/maintenance journey. My sincere hope is that I can maintain a healthy weight for the rest of my life and hopefully pass on my love of healthy living to my future children.

For now, I keep truckin’ along. Another day, another week, another year goes by and I can happily say “I’m at goal weight.” That’s enough for me. Skinny isn’t necessary. I’d rather be healthy and fit.

Thanks for reading all these years!