I think it’s finally time to break the silence about a big change in my life. About eight months ago I began working out regularly and eating really well. The result of this was weight loss and muscle gain.
This is the first time I’ve publicly talked about my health change. I’ve confided in a few close friends but for the most part I’ve stayed silent. Why? I’m not totally sure. I just don’t like to talk about it.
Maybe it’s because I have a past with body image issues. Maybe it’s because I’ve been surrounded the majority of my life by people I saw as workout obsessed and incredibly annoying and I didn’t want to be like them. Maybe it made me uncomfortable because I didn’t mind how I looked before, I just wanted to make a change for me and no one else.
Maybe it’s a private thing that I was doing for me. Maybe I wanted to keep it special and intimate and private. Maybe it’s simply no one else’s business.
Maybe I’m afraid I’m going to fail and I don’t want the world to know I’ve failed.
I don’t know honestly, and I don’t need to know why, which is incredibly liberating. I’m not contracted to post about going to the gym and brag about my healthy meals. For the first two months of this lifestyle change. I only told one person, and she lives in Norway. I told her because I wanted someone to keep me accountable. Then the changes were obvious and I could no longer keep it a secret.
I attend a party and every single human comments on my weight loss. All good intentions but geez it was annoying.
I don’t speak for anyone but myself when I say “you’ve lost weight; you look so good” is not as much of a compliment as you think it is. Even if you don’t mean it, and I’m sure you don’t, what I hear is “you’ve lost weight, therefore you are better than you were 8 months ago.” The obsession with commenting on people’s weight has more negative consequences in this world than positive, I think. I like to believe the majority of people simply say something because they are proud of you, they want to celebrate with you, and they praise healthy lifestyles. Unfortunately, being a broken people, I wouldn’t be surprised if this positive intentions come across as judgement. “I was ugly thirty pounds ago,” “more people will like me the skinnier I am,” “The more I workout and the less I eat the more compliments I will get,” etc. Comparison becomes a poison and fear of the body you had before weight loss threatens unhealthy lifestyles.
I want to be clear that I’m not accusing anyone, nor do I believe anyone who has said anything to me (including “you look great soon guys will be interested”) has ever meant any harm. But I think it’s important to share how some things are taken. Especially by someone who has a past with bullying based on weight, with eating disorders, with experience of rejection because of how I looked, and who has overcome it with the help of the Lord and people who love me.
I’m not a fan of the ‘compliment’ “You’ve lost weight.” What I want to hear is “you look strong” or “congrats on your 24 minute 5k time.” But I know that’s difficult to ask when I’ve kept quiet about this part of my life.
So here’s some facts: Yeah, I’ve lost a good amount of weight, though I’m not going to say exactly how much. I spend at least four days of the week doing weight training and five days running (my normal days I do about a 5k, usually more). I also really enjoy rock climbing and kickboxing/MMA (though this is fairly new). I really do love these things. I love running and feeling strong. I love getting a new time on my mile. I love feeling my muscles. I feel better, happier, healthier, faster, and stronger. I’m glad I made this change for me, not because I didn’t love myself eight months ago, but because I wanted to. I had a goal, and I’ve worked hard to reach it.
If you want to make a change, don’t let fear of failing stop you. Don’t feel the need to talk about it, though if that helps you be as vocal as you want. Do it for you, no one else. Because it’s your body and you can love it however it looks.