Body Love Week: Identity Crisis

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”?