When I started losing weight, I never realized that my entire identity would change. Of course, I never set out thinking I would lose over 100 lbs. How we see the world and others is often a reflection of how we see ourselves. My self-perception affected my ability to do many things (of course, there were physical limitations as well); my ability to walk up the stairs without dying, my ability to fit in an airplane seat, my ability to look another person in the eyes, and even my ability to start dating. So often, especially when we are young, we have a very specific idea of who we are (or at least who we want to be). Growing and changing during these years comes with a litany of stressors that affect our mental health, our physical health, and our social health. After losing weight, although I was more mature, I experienced some of these same changes. For example, when I was big, I wanted to experience dating, but never felt fully confident doing so, and thus at 28, despite being an adult, I was learning and doing something new for the first time in my life. This was both an exciting opportunity that weight loss gave me, and a terrifying part of being an adult. How do you explain to other people that this was all new to you? (Hint, you don’t – you fake it, ’til you make it). Feeling ‘short’ on your identity as an adult can come in many forms, and although dating was a new experience, I think about what I missed out on all throughout my college years when I was big and lived inside of a shell. Part of the process of losing weight made me scream at myself “why can’t I be who I wanted to be?” The great thing is that I was becoming who I wanted to be, and I didn’t realize it. The best transformations happen without you even knowing, so embrace your full self and the great person you will become!
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