Tuesday, June 18, 2013

December of the Journey - Why Reaching Goal Weight May Not Be Enough

As I approach my 5th anniversary of maintaining goal weight, I've begun to look back on my journey with different eyes. Partly due to perspective from my own growth, and partly - mostly - because of the amazing clients I work with. Folks who are on their own journey of weight loss, who look at my path differently than I have.

Some of them are close to their goals, others are further but well on track, all of them have a perception of what goal weight will mean. I'll be honest. I never dreamed I'd actually hit goal weight. In fact, for a large part of my journey, I wouldn't even set a goal. I drove my trainer nuts with statements like, "I just want to be healthy" or "I just want to shop in the regular side of the stores" or the biggie "I just want to lose the weight". Real definitive, right? But I just couldn't envision success. I didn't believe I could do it.

Reaching that nebulous "goal weight", even though I didn't think I would, meant something to me - it meant arriving at a point where I would be happy with my body - even love it, where I would look in the mirror and see fit and sexy, where I had conquered all my body image issues. I worked hard, I sweat and wept, I sacrificed social events (and a few unsupportive relationships), I learned how to eat, how to exercise, and I did reach goal weight, only to discover as I reached the December of my Journey...

Nothing had changed. Sure, my body weight and shape were different, but I was still the same person inside. I had the same insecurities, the same body issues, fears... they were all still there. Losing weight didn't magically change me.

Then I walked up on high, And I stepped to the edge, To see the world below. 
And I laugh at myself, While the tears roll down, 
'Cuz it's the world I have known... It's the world I have known  
~Collective Soul, The World I Know, 2005

After all that work, all that effort - I was still broken inside. It was the same world I'd always known. Yes, I had dealt with issues along the way, so I wasn't exactly where I started, but there was still a journey ahead. I needed to find my way, learn confidence, earn respect, discover self-love. Those of you who've known me awhile know I took some crazy steps to do that. And while those insane/courageous acts did help me grow and heal, it was the day to day living that allowed me to shed the negativity, doubt and fear. It was through each day - whether I triumphed or just survived - that I learned what I was really made of and found my own worth.

As I watch others travel toward their own goals, I often hear statements like, "When I'm skinny, I'll be happy" or "When I'm thin, I'll love my body". And it breaks my heart. Skinny and Thin won't fix what's broken. It just doesn't work that way. (And fyi, surgery won't "fix" it either - which was a big part of why I waited as long as I did before I had mine. I needed to be mentally and emotionally healthy first.)  Added to that, many of us experience body dysmorphia during and after our weight loss. It's devastating to work so hard and not be able to see it in the mirror.

My hope for you who are on a weight loss quest is that you not reach the December of your Journey only to look out and discover that nothing has changed. As you strive to become physically healthy, don't neglect your mental and emotional health. Develop your strengths, and strengthen your weaknesses. Become more of who you are inside. You are beautiful - regardless of your weight or size.  Please don't mistake weight loss for happiness. Don't mistake a number on the scale, or a size of clothing for who you are. You're not a number. You're not a size. You are more. You are worthy. You are strong, courageous, brave, dedicated... You are Transforming. 

 If you're interested in your own I AM TRANSFORMING t-shirt, please visit my store. They are available in black or in white, in sizes from S to XXL.
I AM TRANSFORMING t-shirt is an original Recipe For Fitness design.


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