I’ve lost a lot of weight recently. It’s not all that new or different as I’ve yoyo-ed a lot over the past 20 years or so, but I’m approaching my lowest adult weight and it’s drawn a lot of attention from those around me. It feels good to have people notice my hard work and determination, but there is also this other feeling. The feeling of “What did you think of me before?” and “Of all the things I’ve done in my life, why is this drawing the most praise?”
It’s hard ya’ll. I’m just as guilty as anyone for complimenting someone’s weight loss (because I know how all-consuming it can be and how much it means when others start to notice) but at the same time, I have always taught my children that we do not comment on other people’s bodies – ever – because our weight is the least interesting thing about us. Then again, my insta feed is full of running selfies and weightloss totals so clearly I’m valuing it and putting it out there for the world to see (accountability is key for me). But. Why?
Why do I feel as though it’s acceptable for me to ‘brag’ about my fitness and weightloss more than the other accomplishments in my life? What does it say about our society that what has earned me the most praise, likes, and “I’m proud of you’s” is my ability to lose weight?
I put myself through college and graduate school. I’ve traveled solo around the county. I got my first job in corporate America when I was barely old enough to drink (legally ::ahem::). I found a partner with whom I share a respectful and healthy marriage.
I’ve built houses for Habitat for Humanity, taught a child with autism to sing “I love you” to his mom after years of being non-verbal, mentored LGBT+ youth, and taken on countless other community service projects.
More recently, its been a big year for tackling my anxiety…I’ve gotten back on a bike and a horse AND got my first-ever flu shot. I nearly had a panic attack at work when I got it, but I did it. (Side note: currently taking applications for a flu shot buddy next year. I’m a really good time around needles. You’ll have a blast. #sarcasm)
Far surpassing any of that, the greatest pride of my life comes from this right here. Three sick, scared, hurting babies were dropped on my doorstep and not only did we survive, we thrived.
I didn’t share this photo at the time it was taken. I remember hating it because of how big I looked and feeling upset with my wife for snapping it, but I came across it again recently and this time I saw it in a different light. I noticed how my smile is reflected in the face of my middle kiddo who is sweetly helping me feed their little sister and how my son is kissing my arm. An arm that, to him, was just right for the safety and nurture he sought. I saw, for the first time, how my wife must have seen me in that candid moment. This photo speaks to who I am as a person far more than my recent gym selfie.
So, yeah, I’m doing well hittin’ up the gym and it feels good to not dread seeing pictures of myself. It is so easy to get caught up in the excitement of my smaller pant size when the cover of every magazine at the grocery store tells me that this is the pinnacle of my existence, but my weightloss is not my greatest accomplishment, not even close.