I did it. I am that woman you should all be jealous of because I lost just under 25 lbs. I joined Weight Watchers, became a gym rat, and lost the weight my doctor told me to. I was at risk for diabetes due to gaining weight from medications, lacking an exercise routine, and eating poorly. Now I am ready for my swimsuit shoot with Sports Illustrated and have double the DMs from guys on social media. Unfortunately, that is not how my story goes (even though I wouldn’t want that anyway! Ha!).
The real reason I became happier, the secret recipe, the million-dollar question, is because I leveled up in my self-love. The self-love did not come from losing the weight, but from taking care of my body, working on my inner self, and fighting negative thought patterns that entered my brain. I recognized the amount of respect I deserve and want to give myself and will not settle for less. But the road to stronger and more powerful self-love took at least quadruple the amount of time it took me to lose 25 lbs.
What the 25 lbs did for me was the opposite of what you might think. Losing weight and obsessively going to the gym caused me to become hyper-aware of my body. Every single inch of it. Every ounce of fat on my stomach, lower back, my armpit (yes, only one side has the extra fat that people edit out in photos), my arms, my thighs, and lack of fat in my butt.
I started desiring what TikTok calls a “dump truck” or a “big bank” even though in reality, having a big butt isn’t something I actually want. It is the trend of the season until skinny and low-rise jeans are back in. It also wouldn’t look good on my body type because that is just it -- it’s not my body. It upsets me to see videos on the app with comments complimenting others while also being self-deprecating. The women in those videos indeed look beautiful! I do not hate those women for having different bodies or hate them period. I hate how the comments are fatphobic and the concept of “pretty privilege” oozes on TikTok. Losing weight is always tied to the “full potential” sound indicating that weight loss is the best thing to do and being skinny is top value. Losing weight is how we become pretty. That is how we become worthy.
Even if you do lose 25 lbs and feel happier, you are most likely happier because you took ownership of your own body or you no longer fatigue performing daily tasks. Maybe it’s because you have seen the growth and strength in your own body and want to continue that journey. But when we tell people we lost 25 lbs, maybe consider framing it as “I started taking care of my body and just so happened to lose 25 lbs in the process.” This way, you can share it in a way that isn’t fatphobic but still recognizes your accomplishment.
Ultimately, I realized that it wasn’t the 25 lbs lost that made me happier. When I would present my weight loss as the focus, I took away from my dedication and perseverance that caused the weight loss in the first place. Weight loss isn’t easy. At times, I think it is easy to lose weight. Then I realize how it resulted in new hyper-awareness about my body image, what I eat, and my internal fatphobia. I still judge myself for how I critique others’ bodies on Instagram, prefer smaller-sized people as friends in my social circles, and shame those who don’t go to the gym five times a week due to my dissatisfaction with their bodies. I know the increase in self-love made me happier because when I was heavier, it never bothered me. I never felt pressured to change. Now, I do.