Monthly Archives: February 2015

The Secret is That There is No Secret

I posted an updated progress photo to my Facebook as my profile picture recently, and along with the tsunami of likes and comments came a message from an acquaintance who attended my high school. She’s a really super sweet young girl who just had a baby and is trying to lose some weight. I understand that it can be difficult to lose weight after a baby, and I can read through the lines of text the desperation of her predicament. She’s unhappy with her weight, but now she has a little human to take care of and less time to take care of herself than ever before. She’s looking for an easy or quick way to get thin or healthy.

I get this question ALL the time. “What is your secret to weight loss?” It comes to me via message or comment nearly every other time I post a progress photo.

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I know what they’re hoping to hear. These fitspiring hopefuls want me to tell them that I ate only dark chocolate for a year or that I took a magic pill or made a wish to my fairy godmother and woke up skinny. We’re an instant gratification age; I get it. Really, I do. I want what I want when I want it. Now.

My response to questions like these get shorter every time, and not because I’m trying to be mean or spiteful but because it’s so hard to explain the changes I made and things I learned in 5 long years of changing my lifestyle. I used to write a novel and get excited that I’d inspired someone to be healthy, but now I realize that no one can convince any other person to make lasting changes. Just like an alcoholic can only change if they really want it for themselves, a person who is overweight and living an unhealthy lifestyle can only learn and change by doing it themselves and creating their own motivation. There is simply no way that I can convey to them all of the things I’ve changed and when I changed them over a 5 year span.

I began by logging, then walking, then running, then lifting, then eating clean and using bodybuilding workout programs on Bodyspace. It was such a gradual transition from pop, chips, and candy to water, greens, and lean protein. It has to be done gradually because it’s not a healthy transition any other way. It’s so difficult to see this question because I know I can’t do it justice. All I can do is give them a starting point and tell them to take off from there.

I wish her, and every other person who asks me for advice, the best of luck. I really hope that they learn to fuel their bodies and get healthy. It’s a wonderful thing! I just hope that they know that no one can do it for them, it’s hard, and that I spent hours in the gym and in the kitchen learning how to be a healthier person. I just never want to give anyone false hope that losing weight should be easy, but I do want them to know that it’s worth it.

Compliments with Conditions are not Compliments

When I started losing weight, everyone had some input on my progress. Most of the comments I got were positive. People were proud of me for having the willpower and initiative to do something about my lifestyle and turn my life around. Once I gained some confidence, I began posting before and after photos pretty often to show off my progress. Again, most responses were positive, but soon it became apparent that some people wanted to make sure that I knew I was beautiful when I was obese as well.

I remember getting compliments as a “bigger girl” that were backhanded, the comments that went something like, “You’re pretty for a curvy girl.”

That is NOT a compliment. Why should I be pretty for a fat girl? Who decides where I lie on the scale of attractiveness, much less how I am placed on the scale relative to girls who are the same size as me? Do we measure attractiveness on a skinny, chubby, curvy, or obese scale separately? Compliments should not have conditions. You either think that I am beautiful, or you don’t.

Now that I’m smaller, I get a lot more attention from those who are attracted to females. Sometimes, that attention comes from people who mocked me for my weight or who never even glanced twice at me in school. They make comments that, “time has been good to me.”

The gym has been good to me. Willpower has been good to me. Healthy eating has been good to me. I worked hard to become the person who finally catches your eye as a worthy match.

I’ve got news for you; my worth is not dependent upon your opinion of me. My worth has always been here. I have always been intelligent, kind, generous, and driven. All I lacked was confidence, and now I have that as well. Now I’m worth your time, effort, and flirtation?

I have no time, effort, or flirtation for a person who couldn’t see past my appearance and into who I really am.

The shittiest thing is that they actually believe that they’re so unbelievably awesome that this compliment is going to be the highlight of my day. They think they’re doing me a favor by even talking to me because they’re so outrageously shallow and vapid. They’re also under the illusion that I somehow had a momentary lapse in memory that caused me to forget how awful or indifferent they were to my presence for our entire acquaintanceship.

The amazing thing is that I’m confident enough to recognize an asshole who doesn’t deserve my time when I meet one.

Who is too good for who now?