This is a really hard post to write...mostly because it doesn't present me in my best light. But, heck, I've shared the Sex in the City cookie dough tales with you. So I figure I might as well spit out what's on my mind.
So, here it is: I struggle with being overly concerned with my appearance. I am constantly defining myself by the number on the scale and the size of the clothing that I'm wearing. Since starting this weight loss journey, I have lost roughly 80 pounds. Now, I know that many others have lost more and that in the grand scheme of things maybe 80 pounds isn't so epic. But it's been a major change for me.
I spent most of my early adult-hood, defining myself by my weight. On my better days, I thought of myself as pleasantly curvy--and with a 42DD chest, large hips, and solid thighs. On my worse days, I felt like the hulk. I remember screening men by their reaction to me. Would they like a bigger girl? Did they seem interested in me? And because I didn't value myself enough, I felt that all men who were interested in me (at my current weight) were obviously inferior to the "cool" guys who passed me by, hardly glancing in my direction.
I used my personality as a consolation prize. I laughed a lot, gave a lot, and generally tried to compensate for my too large frame. I let guys treat me badly because I didn't feel I was worthy of anything better. Of course, there were a few exceptions. A sweet, brief summer romance before college. A nice medical student I met before graduate school.
In my head, my weight was my defining feature--the only thing that really mattered.
You would think that if weight was so important to me, I would have done everything in my power to lose it--way before I hit 24 years old. But it's not so simple. At the time, I honestly believed I was doomed to be overweight forever. I felt powerless over my weight, incapable of changing my habits. So, I ate more and more. The more unhappy I got with my weight, the more I binged. It was a vicious circle.
For some reason, I decided to join Weight Watchers in March of 2010 and that decision has been life changing for me. It's been a fantastic ride of learning healthy habits and losing weight.
But I still have the same issues--just the reverse now. I am finally close to being a "normal weight," for the first time in my adult life, and it's amazing. These days, I walk into a bar, and I'm not the fat girl. I no longer feel compelled to compensate for my body. I can smile and flirt with the lead singer of a band, and most likely he'll smile and flirt back. I can wear short skirts and clingy dresses. Random men like to buy me tequila shots. I suddenly feel like an attractive woman in her mid-twenties. With a decent figure to boot.
But now I feel like I've lost sight of who I am (or maybe I never knew). I find myself doing the exact thing as when I weighed 240 lbs--defining myself in terms of my weight. I look to men to validate that I'm "not fat" and end up being more promiscuous that I'd like. I find myself flirting and behaving with men as if they are a ruler of my success: If every man desires me, than maybe I'm desirable. But of course, even the most beautiful women aren't universally beloved. And it's not just because people have different thresholds for beauty. It's because looks are just a small factor of who a person is.
I need to place more value on the inner Katie. I thought that losing the weight would rid me of this problem, but unfortunately I still carry some of the psychological baggage I had with me throughout my life. I need to focus on losing weight to be a strong and confident person--inside and out. I need to stop obsessing about the labels, fat and thin, and focus instead on being happy and healthy. I need to focus on the deeper issues and be less concerned with the superficial.
Can anyone relate to this? I'd love to hear your feedback.