Cut to May of 2008 and my weight loss...those of us who've been habitual dieters are quite familiar with anticipation, be it stepping on the scale or trying on a smaller size in the dressing room - things that can all turn out good (yay! the scale moved down/I fit into this new size!) or bad, when sometimes I didn't see what I'd hoped for. And then, all of the work I'd put into this seemed pointless. All of my prior victories on the scale and in the dressing room were forgotten. I was still overweight, I was never going to get there, this was just dumb. Rarely did I appreciate how far I'd come, and enjoy where I was at that moment, because I was always anticipating the next amount of weight that I should be losing, or the next smaller size that I could be fitting into. That momentary thrill of a new low weight or a new smaller size was just that - momentary.
I spent most of my adult life letting myself be defined by a number either on the scale or on a clothing size tag. Which, logically, is completely ridiculous. But a number was something that anyone could quickly understand - and even now, when I'm asked how much weight I've lost, I still say a number, because that computes to most people. Back when my "weight problems" started, as a teenager, I spent many years convinced that I was overweight and would be happy if I could just see a certain number on the scale. Of course, I look back on pictures of those years and see how low my self-esteem had to have been, to think that way.
I haven't weighed myself in nearly a year. I honestly do not care what I weigh right now. This body is so much more than a random number on the scale, and I have never been happier than when I finally, finally realized and accepted that. The same goes for clothing sizes...back when I was busting out of my size 24 clothes, I was thrilled to fit into progressively smaller sizes. But now, thanks to a few years of being able to wear normal sizes, as well as seeing the absurdity of the variety of sizes that fit me (the tops that I bought when I was shopping with my mom last month were size small, medium, large and petite extra-large), I really don't care what number is on the label - I'm just thrilled that I can shop for clothes, find things that fit, and have options about what I buy.
So this is where I am, four years into my journey to fit - and it really has become about being fit. I have a body that is now capable of doing physical activity. I have a body that looks cute in clothes. I have a healthy-enough lifestyle that is allowing me to maintain my weight loss without having to be stringent about every morsel I eat. I am in the best shape of my adult life. And I'm determined to enjoy it now - I'm not going to make the anticipation mistake any more, because I sure don't want to look back in five years and think "why didn't you appreciate where you were?" Today - right now - it's enough.
In case you think I'm exaggerating, here's a few pictures of me when I needed to "lose weight":
In costume for my tap dance recital at age 19. See how I was trying to cover my huge thighs? I remember being grateful that the t-shirt covered up the rolls in my stomach, too. Yep. The ship has sailed on those legs - too bad I didn't appreciate them back then.
Shortly after I graduated high school - 18 years old and feeling quite large.
I put this one in because I remember the guy I was dating at the time wanted to buy me a polo dress from Land's End, and I was horrified at the thought of how that jersey knit would show every fat roll on my body. I know, I want to slap me, too.
My hope for you, whether you're just partially into your weight-loss journey, or nearing the end, is that you will stop and enjoy where you are, right at this moment, and not worry as much as I did about the final number. Because I doubt very much that our (far in the future, hopefully) obituaries are going to include our final weigh-in.