When Jennifer wrote this post about a little over a week ago it bothered me a little bit, okay it bothered me a lot. I felt better and really appreciated it after she later issued a retraction in response to the comments she received but I wanted to respond in some way still. The thing that bothered me was that I don’t think you can lose weight without changing. Personality is something that is in constant flux; we change daily and are constantly influenced by new ideas and circumstances. When that new circumstance is in your skin it’s bound to have an affect on you.
The first and arguably the strongest reason that you will change in weight loss is because you have to change to lose weight. You will change your mindset. Maybe this will be just a matter of educating yourself about nutrition and calories or maybe it will be a much larger change of dealing with insecurities, disorders, and other problems that led to the weight problem in the first place. You must discover why you’re overweight to lose the weight.
To lose weight you also must change your habits. Actually, for lasting weight loss you have to change your habits, for weight loss you can do a lot of various (stupid) temporary fixes but it won’t last. The point is that in order to lose weight you have to make some pretty fundamental changes.
When losing weight, there are also tons of changes that happen as part of the process. When I was at my largest I couldn’t stand looking at myself or having other people look at me. My features felt distorted and swollen. They were in fact. Because of this, I, an extreme extrovert, avoided public situations. I even avoided seeing my friends. I didn’t want them seeing me.
At my first floor retreat in college I tried my hardest to escape every picture I could. I didn’t want to ruin the pictures. Sugar Muffin was the only one to call me out on it. She asked me why I wouldn’t let any take a picture of me and without thinking, I literally exclaimed, “Because I’m fat!” She didn’t care, she said, “So what, so am I.” So I responded with the only thing I could think of, “Yeah, but you’re pretty.” Now I know that this sounds like compliment fishing and I have been known to do some Ahab style fishing for compliments, but this time I wasn’t. She was and is pretty and so deserved to be in pictures. I was not.
Now that I’m losing the weight, even though I’ve only lost about a fifth of what I need to, I can already tell a huge difference in how I look and feel. It’s bigger than just confidence; it’s my ease in the world. I’ll go do things because I don’t mind, no, I like being seen. I’m not in constant pain so being active is fun. I can go dancing and run around with skinny people. For a long time, I even thought that being tired was a personality trait; it was just part of who I was. Nope.
The last major change I’ve noticed is in how people treat me. I’ve always had a certain charisma that people respond to so I’ve never been received poorly by people per say, but people treat me better when I’m thinner. I get hit on more; people in stores ask if they can help me, I get invited to things more, etc.
I may not be sleeping around like the guy on the radio, but I’m definitely changing. Weight loss can definitely bring out the best parts and the worse parts of you. It’s really hard to not stop and look in every mirror I pass. It definitely brings out the inner narcissist but that’s probably a good thing. I revel over every little change I notice and track them obsessively. I can buy pants a little snug and think, “Well, that’s okay, I’ll shrink into them,” and know that I really will.
It’s also changing me because I have to face so many things that caused my weight gain. I have to reign in many of my impulsive tendencies and find stimulation from other senses than taste. I have to learn to adapt to the way the world sees me. The more I analyze the changes resulting from weight loss the more I can think of. This list could go on for a thousand pages but instead it would probably just be more interesting for you to read my archives. The changes are measurable… and much more interesting!