Monday, March 28, 2011

It's Not Just Physical

When I was a kid, I used to organize expeditions into the attack to look for snakes and rats. I made up stories about my mom’s dead ancestors. I organized plays and convinced my younger, impressionable sisters to dress up AND convinced my parents to not only sit through the long, boring, debacles but also pay for the price of admission. I was powerful, the eldest of four, and I was confident.

Somehow, in the past 15 years, I have changed from the domineering, powerhouse of a kid into an agreeable, semi-charming adult who is more concerned about saying the right thing than doing what comes more naturally to me—being a leader. Somewhere along the way, I lost my confidence. Maybe it was in fifth grade, when I wore my blond hair so long it obscured my face. Maybe it was in eighth grade when I gained 20 pounds and got glasses. Maybe it was in high school when I wore high-waisted jeans and was too shy to speak up in history class. Or maybe it was in college, when some guys made fun of me for gaining the freshmen 15 (or 30, as it happened to be in my case).

Lately, as I’ve lost weight, I’ve started to let my inherent bossiness slip out. Now that I’m no longer obscured by 60 pounds, I don’t feel the need to apologize for my bigness or charm people into liking me. I’m sharper, edgier, and more assertive about what I want and need. The other night, I was talking to this guy that I used to like, and I was telling him about my childhood. All of a sudden, he remarked that I was much different now than I was last year. He asked if I was from New York (I’m not—but my parents are), and then he remarked that, for the first time, he could see my real personality--I was a strong, independent person. And surprise, surprise, he much preferred my real, more assertive self. He respected me more for speaking up.

In the past, I’ve always prided myself on being an open, social person, but the truth is, I wasn’t being that open: I was often trying to portray an image that I thought people would like—the agreeable, ditsy Katie. That’s not to say that I’m not naturally agreeable or ditsy, but I am also strong. And that’s something that I’m going to try to show, from now on.

In a way, shedding this weight and being closer to my “natural” body has helped me to be my “natural” self as well. I never thought this would happen. I thought the excess weight was mostly superficial, but in the end it had (perhaps more significant) effects on my personality. Can anyone relate to this? For those who have lost a significant amount of weight, have you noticed that losing the weight helped you to become your "true" self?


  1. YES!!! I am much more confident than I used to be, and I have found myself actually reaching for the stars and making my life happen since I found this confidence. I guess the biggest example of this in my life is FINALLY going back to school. I'm loving this new, more confident woman that is emerging. I never realized exactly how much of myself I was suppressing just because I was uncomfortable with my looks.

  2. That's great Katie! I'm glad the real you is coming out. I wish I could be like Bethenny Frankel and alwways say what is on my mind. Must be that NY in her!

  3. Great post Katie! It's so easy to hide behind excess weight. I feel like we are similar in that way - I've always been a people pleaser a little bit but lately have been more confident in letting the natural leader in me come out. I think I'm still the same as I was underneath it all, it's just now I don't feel as bad about being controversial/inserting my opinion about things.