My ‘before-after’ photos are well documented. Check this Instagram picture in case you haven’t seen it yet.
My weight loss didn’t happen overnight, nor did it start after some sort of epiphany. I have been overweight my whole life, and at the end of many a hurtful barb. Only those who’ve borne the brunt of carelessly said harsh comments know how deep those wounds run. The battle, of course, wasn’t only with weight, but also with self-acceptance, self-love, body image, and self esteem. Growing up I thought if I was thinner, then life would become better. If only clothes would look on me as they did on thinner girls, I would be happier, people would treat me better. Years later I’ve lost weight, lead a better lifestyle, embody the epitome of fitness for many people, wear anything I want to. I breathe well, life is good. But…
In her book ‘Confessions of a Serial Dieter: A Weightloss Memoir‘, Kalli Purie talks about her weight loss journey. When I read the reviews by various celebrities, I realized (for the first time) that there are things about the weight loss journey that will resonate only with those who’ve been through the harrowing ordeal. Sonam Kapoor says…
‘My weight has always been a battle. It’s something that is very close to my heart. Being thin is about so much more than just your weight. For no matter how thin I get, inside I’ll always be a fat girl. Only a fellow dieter can understand that.’
Inside we’ll always be fat girls. Which is why we automatically reach for larger clothes sizes, why we still look at svelte, shapely women and wistfully think how amazing their lives must be, why we obsess over food so much that we feel like we are on a perennial diet, always on a quest to look thinner and thereby better.
Having been through what I have, I can’t dismiss the desire to lose weight as superficial and shallow. I know it’s not about looks, but about winning an internal fight that has been gnawing painfully away at us from the beginning. Actually, we aren’t looking at losing more body weight, but losing a certain kind of weight borne of years of judgement and critique. And this is weight that we may perhaps never be able to lose.
A friend’s daughter called me the other day and lamented that though she has achieved every single weight-loss goal that she set for herself, she doesn’t feel the high she was sure was coming. She doesn’t feel a sense of achievement, she feels….just like she did before. “But why?” she moaned. “Life was supposed to be better once I’d lost all the weight.”
I understood, as only someone who has gone through this can, what the ‘better’ is supposed to be. I also understand that it would never feel ‘better’. Simply because there is no better. The bitter pill to swallow is that we erroneously equated weight loss to happiness, contentment and fulfillment.
Once you start to look different, get all the compliments you wished for, wear all the clothes you lusted for, you realize that no matter how different you look, you still feel the same on the inside.
This is the hard part, your relationship with yourself. Now you need to begin to silence that judgmental voice in your head that says you don’t look good in a particular outfit, experiment with a different hairstyle and enjoy it. Go for a guided walk through the city, read better books. Relax in your own skin, disregard people and thoughts that don’t think you’re awesome and inspiring.
You’ve lost the weight that was weighing you down, now it’s time to lose the weight that will set you free.