“I am not my fat”

A lot of people know about my recent weight loss; I don’t exactly shy away from the fact that I’ve lost 83 pounds between my freshman and sophomore year of college. I’m actually quite proud of it—rightfully so. But I think one of the things that people don’t recognize about me and about this weight loss journey, is that while yes, I did gain a ton of confidence and it boosted my self esteem ten fold, a lot of the time I still struggle trying to see this new, skinnier image of myself.

I actually oftentimes while shopping get incredibly frustrated when things don’t go my way. There are always those shopping trips everyone goes on where nothing fits, nothing looks good, there’s nothing on the racks that is appealing, and at times like now I can acknowledge that everyone has these days while shopping, but in the actual moment it is absolutely all my fault. On those bad shopping days I will literally put on one item after another wondering “Did I gain weight?” , “What did I eat last night?”, “Five more pounds wouldn’t kill me…” On these days it’s not the clothes that don’t fit, it’s me. I often leave not only frustrated but also upset and angry with myself for not trying hard enough; for not being small enough.

Shopping isn’t the only part of my life that’s still affected by my insecurity either. I think of eating much differently now than I used to as well. I lost all my weight by finding out I am allergic to gluten (aka everything good and wonderful on this earth), as well as replacing my very large breakfasts and lunches, with smaller portions of healthier foods and incorporating exercise, something I was completely not doing altogether at that point. I counted calories on an app on my phone, and I’ll never forget in the first week I lost nine pounds. With every pound after, tracking everything I ate became more and more important. I’ve definitely become a lot more relaxed in tracking what I eat, I’ve been able to monitor my eating without being obsessive, but I definitely have a new perspective of food. For example, during Girl Scout cookie season I calculated how many calories were in a sleeve of thin mints (seriously, what kind of person eats just one?) and then, finding out it was significantly less calories than I thought (1,440, in case you were wondering), how much did I need to exercise to burn it off? That’s about a seven mile run. I can do that.

It’s been an incredible journey I’ve had, and it’s by no means over by any stretch of the means. I’m going to continue with my diet and exercise, and I’m going to continue looking in the mirror and telling myself how pretty I am—because I am, and I deserve it, and I am not my fat. And maybe one day, when I’m trying on clothes and they don’t fit, I’ll be able to look into that mirror too and tell myself that it’s not me, it’s the clothes. Hopefully soon.