I was reading through a discussion on FB a few weeks ago, and the question asked in the main post was “What inspired you to start your weight loss journey?”
There was a huge variety of answers. Some of them included:
- to come off various meds
- to lower blood pressure
- to not have to buy two airplane seats for each trip
- to fit into the clothes still halfway filling their closet
- to improve their self confidence
- to be there longer for their kids or grandkids
All sorts of answers along all sorts of lines.
The one that stuck out to me the most, was the one that said “I finally got to the point of hating myself enough. Then, I knew it was time. I hated who I was to the core and I was disgusted every time I looked in the mirror.”
Quick background on me, I’ve been 80lbs heavier than I am now. I was very very overweight. I had gone from an active athlete all through school, to gaining a bunch of weight quickly over a period of back surgeries and horrible eating, and I looked and felt like a totally different person over the course of about 4 years time.
Looking back, I don’t think I ever once *hated* myself.
Did I hate how I was living my life, if I was being honest? Absolutely. Did I hate not being able to fit into my jeans, which were already 3-4 sizes bigger than they used to be? Absolutely. Did I hate being totally out of breath when I ran around my yard with my daughter? Absolutely. Did I hate having a gorgeous wife who took great care of herself, while I….didn’t? Absolutely.
But did I ever look in the mirror, and totally hate…myself? No. Not once. Not ever.
I was embarrassed, I had no self confidence, I struggled big time with anxiety and depression as a result, but I never hated myself to the core, because I’d gained weight.
I think the exact opposite of that FB thread response is a whole lot more important: I’d make the argument that one has to LOVE themself enough, to make the choice to “start”.
If you hate yourself when you’re overweight, in my experience, losing however many lbs won’t change that. You’ll be thinner, you’ll have worked very hard and made lots of sacrifices to lose the weight, but you’ll likely still feel many of the same things inside.
My advice: Be kind to yourself, always. If you know the choices you’re making and the goals you have are conflicting, then be honest with yourself for sure. But be very careful with how you speak to yourself, eventually you’ll start to believe those words.
“I’ll be happy if I can just lose 50lbs”.
“I’ll be happy if I can go to the beach without wearing a tee shirt over my swimsuit”.
“I’ll be happy if I could finally get abs.”
“I’ll be happy if I can get back to my high school weight.”
Some of that may be partly true, but happiness nor self love nor self hate will happen *because* of your weight. Self confidence may improve, but that’s not the same as loving yourself. And pro-tip: no matter how much you change your body, “enough” is tough to ever find. If you lose 50, you’ll then want to lose 55. If you get a 6 pack, you’ll then want an 8 pack. And on and on down the line.
Just as moving to a new state to “start over” usually means your same struggles and problems following you, just in a different location, changing your weight follows a similar path.
Make sure the working you’re doing on your body is accompanied with just as much, if not more, work done on your headspace along the way.
It’s worth it. And it’s vital.