Carmen is a student at Northwestern University studying communications, marketing…
This is not your typical weight loss story. In fact, it isn’t my story at all. Recently one of my friends decided to share a very personal part of herself with her friends and the general Facebook Community, and I think it’s a story that everyone should read. Not because weight loss is a major media topic these days, but because it goes so far beyond that.
Kate realized through her journey that it was never just about just losing weight; it was about losing the part of herself that doubted and poisoned her psyche with negative thoughts. For her, it was never about being “thin and pretty,” like the media insists every girl should be. It was about discovering the parts of herself that built her personality and learning to see the parts of her that were beautiful (aka everything). Kate changed her lifestyle only because she wanted to, and used her own happiness as motivation while letting the negativity of others fade into the background. Now, her only wish is for others to do the same.
Kate allowed me to share her story for women (and men) everywhere because so many people forget that the media shouldn’t dictate how we see each other and ourselves. Nobody should be made to feel less about themselves, or question their own beauty because of the opinions of others. A number on a scale is not a calculation of personal worth, and anyone who tells you otherwise either hates themselves or is trying to make money off of you.
Like I said before, this is not your typical weight loss story.
I don’t usually like posting personal things about my life but I just wanted to say that today marks the day I lost a total of about 90 pounds since last August. To me, it was much more than losing weight and I just really wanted to share what I’ve gone through.
Although I’ve only started working at this goal last summer, I’ve been dealing with weight issues for the majority of my life. I’ve actually been insecure about my weight since elementary school. Many people can’t imagine what it’s like to be a child and be conscious of your body; to have low self-esteem before even knowing what self-esteem was and how to build it up. Since then, I was always pressured to lose weight, and although I understood that it wasn’t healthy to be overweight I only wanted to lose it because I thought I didn’t fit into societal expectations and was told incessantly that “fat” meant “ugly.”
For years I tried to lose that weight but was only successful for short periods of time. I became frustrated and just hated what I was doing. I didn’t like hating on my body and hearing people call me fat in derogatory ways, and I hated believing them every single time. I never actually wanted to lose weight but was constantly told that I should. Eventually this pressure caused me to begin to not care about how others perceived me and learn that the only way to feel good was to actually start loving myself. Everyday, I would tell myself that I thought I was beautiful even though I didn’t always believe it, and it eventually became true. I no longer needed to rely on the opinions of others to embrace my beauty. I didn’t start having this attitude until the beginning of my sophomore year of high school and it pains me to think back at all the years I didn’t have this sort of confidence in myself.
During the remaining years of high school and into college, I continued to build up my self-esteem and no longer worried about losing weight. I knew I was still overweight but I just didn’t care and didn’t think it was necessary to do anything about it. I believed that how I looked physically was insignificant compared to my other qualities. And even if that’s true, not having a balance between tending to both your mental AND physical health is damaging. I put my body at risk by being too careless about my physicality. So when I started to lose weight a year ago, I did it because it was the first time I wanted to do this for myself. I didn’t do it because I was pressured to, or because people judged me – I did it because I felt disgusting in my body and I wanted to make a change to improve my health on my own terms.
And so I did. I ate healthier and learned to portion my food. I did the two things I despised the most: exercising and eating salad. There were days when I couldn’t even tell the difference between my sweat and my tears. I TRIED KALE?!?! I worked my ass off every single day and took no shortcuts and easy way-outs. My success didn’t come from all the pounds I shed but the fact that I loved myself 100% of the way. I never disliked myself once throughout this and that’s an even bigger accomplishment to me than a smaller pant size. I finally became the person I needed to look up to when I was younger. I know that my journey isn’t over yet but I’m here now and I’m stronger than I ever was.
I wanted to use this post as a reminder to people to love yourself and be kind to others. You should feel comfortable and beautiful in your own skin but shouldn’t feel guilty at all for wanting to make changes.If you want to change yourself in ANY way, do it because YOU want to. As long as you’re not harming yourself or anybody else, set goals and work your hardest to accomplish them. Don’t base your actions on the judgments of other people and don’t let anyone’s negativity get in your way. Instead of making happiness a goal, try to incorporate it as often as you can in every part of the way. And give yourself a break if things aren’t going as expected!! Be patient. It takes time and your hard work WILL pay off. You have to grow to love every part of yourself and do so without bashing others. The world is hard enough already and we can’t keep competing with one another.You should be your ONLY competition and be the best person you could be, rather than “the best” to others.
And by the way, I just want y’all to know that I thought I was just as gorgeous back then as I am now. And if you disagree, please know that I really don’t give a damn!! Your saltiness isn’t going to stop me from feeling beautiful. It took me years and years to reclaim my body. I wasted my tears on so many people. I had to give up my childhood earlier than most so I could grow thicker skin. And if you honestly think your negativity had any impact on me this whole time, you’re WRONG. Stay irrelevant, boo.
Although, there are so many people who have been there for me this entire time and made this whole process a billion times easier. I am incredibly blessed to have made the friends who are in my life right now. Not everyone is as lucky as I was to have the kind of support I received; to have friends and peers who not only saw past how I looked but loved every single part of me. These people saw the beauty in me that I didn’t always see in myself. I couldn’t have started building up my self-esteem in high school without being surrounded by the nicest and chillest people, of whom I have nothing but complete gratitude and appreciation for. I also have incredibly supportive parents who have provided for me this whole time and a family that has always cared for me. Thank you all so much for your love. I only hope that I reciprocated at least some of that love back.
I really want to thank anyone who read this post fully. It wasn’t easy to write this and it took much convincing for me to share, so it means a lot that you took the time to hear me out. Also, to those of you who have any questions or just need advice or motivation, don’t be afraid to ask me anything. I’m not particularly close to many of you but I’ll still be there for you… Support is support no matter who it comes from. Know that there are so many people in the world who care and will offer help if needed. (Just please don’t ask me to go running with you. My weight changed, not my attitude towards jogging)
Feature image source: picturequotes.com
Carmen is a student at Northwestern University studying communications, marketing and social psychology. She has been fond of writing ever since she learned how, and still refuses to stop using dashes to dot her i's. She is low-key obsessed with sunglasses, high-key obsessed with nail polish and always needs someone to pull her away from the jewelry section in stores. A dreamer, a writer and a hopeless romantic (or former athlete) she is constantly on a mission to make the most out of every day and still find time to binge watch a show or read a good book.