Share the load

I lost about 50 lbs over the past eight months or so, but it’s only started to really sink in recently. I’ve been pretty much everywhere on the body-size spectrum: a gangly tween with long skinny legs; a healthy teenager with a not-so-healthy body image; a bit chubby in university; and finally decidedly overweight for most of my time as an adult. People will use ‘kind’ words like Rubenesque or tell you that you carry your weight well, but at the end of the day, you have to live with your body and you know if it’s healthy or not. I tried the ‘fat acceptance’ route, but for me I think that could only work if I were fat and healthy. I was not. I ate shitty food and didn’t do much in terms of movement, which science will show is a surefire route to weight gain. Sometimes science is such an asshole.

For me, anytime a guy wasn’t interested (especially if he ‘liked my personality’) I always thought, ‘This would be different if I were thinner.’ Is that a particularly healthy thought? No. Did it happen anyway? Yes. There were also the super nice guys who would call me fat as soon as I said I wasn’t interested. I recognized they were idiots, but they weren’t wrong. Dating in Toronto is hard enough as it is. Being overweight did not make it easier.

In the end, my decision to lose weight was not motivated by my dating life (sorry fellas, but my health is far more motivating than your thoughts about my ass), but the crossover is important. It’s like an unintended sociological experiment. I have noticed a huge difference in the way men look at and interact with me, especially lately. Could this be because I’m more confident now? Maybe, although I doubt it. I still haven’t internalized the weight loss, I still get a bit of a shock when I see pictures, and I’m still adjusting to what this ‘new’ body means to me.

I knew that it was probable that my boobs would get smaller, but I just really, really hoped it wouldn’t happen. When I was heavier, that was the one thing I could cling to as ‘sexy;’ men would comment on them, they were my best assets (yes, I took the high road and didn’t make the pun, thank you very much). Now, they are still there (and by no means small), but they’re not the same. Unless you’ve been a curvy gal with giant boobs, I don’t think you can really grasp what it means to not be those things all of a sudden. And that’s the weird thing: this was a gradual process, with a lot of work, but it feels like it happened overnight. When I first started losing weight and people would comment on it, I was almost embarrassed. My journey wasn’t even close to complete, I hadn’t lost enough, and I felt like yelling, ‘Don’t look at me now, look at me in five months.’ Now, when people say something, I can graciously accept it (and I believe them).

The one thing I absolutely did not expect was to meet a guy who might prefer the old me. I spent so many years trying to dress thinner, find my angles, hold in my stomach, anything to distract from my perceived flaws until I could win them over with my charm (ha!), I didn’t really know how to handle someone saying they prefer more curves over less. Do I think he wants to change me back? No. Would I care if he did? No. But I did have to have a very frank conversation about how things were before, which pretty much boiled down to, ‘I wasn’t happy then. I am happy now.’ It’s strange because I was that person for such a long time, and that’s a person he doesn’t even know. The way I look at myself hasn’t caught up with how I actually look. To him, this is the only me that exists.

At this point, I’m not quite sure what’s in store. I’ve registered to run a 5K, as I’m really loving the whole running thing. I’m a bit more normal around food than I was a few months ago (read: less restrictive), and I don’t really have a number in mind the way I did at the beginning of this undertaking. I’m happy, I’m healthy, and I guess I’ll just continue to do things that make me feel this way.


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