It's been about 5 years now since I lost 35 lbs. I'm commemorating this occasion not out of vanity, but out of self exploration and appreciation. I was a much different person before I'd lost the weight, a dampened version of my current self. There was undoubtedly a sadness lurking behind the puffy cheeked smile I still have, but it wasn't enough to make me lose sight of myself, my worth, and my potential. I won't say that the journey is easy, because it's not, as anyone who's gone through it will know. But it's not complicated. What I needed to do for myself and my happiness was simple, almost too simple for me to actually commit to it up until I finally did.
I'm not a fitness guru or nutritionist or anyone who has any real knowledge about the science of weight loss or BMI. What I did have was the internet at my fingertips and a genuine interest in discovering what made my body tick. What caused my type of weight gain - genetics, environment? As I've learned, it's always a mix of both. My interest in figuring myself out, something I hadn't attempted to do before in my adolescence, was consuming at points and even had me become a bit too meticulous with what I ate and how much. I've always been more of a do-things-right-the-first-time kind of person, so I wasn't really leaving any room for myself to make errors on my first and final go of the transformation.
As I look back now, that's something I slightly regret. I had accumulated a lot of knowledge (almost too much) about what the steps were that I didn't allow myself to carve out my own path in my own time. I was determined to be done and over with the torture of calorie restriction as soon as possible so I went hard for 4 months, only giving myself wiggle room for period weeks. This method undoubtedly worked, however it left me with a few severed relationships and a bit of a nutrient deficiency that was on the brink of leading me into a depression. I was losing weight, what I had been desperate to do for so many years, but the satisfaction wasn't as sweet as the beginning of the journey. I started at 160 and was pushing 125 and this was drastic enough to leave my body in shock. I'll be the first to say I wasn't smart in this approach, but I was knowledgeable.
However, once I had lost all the weight I wanted to (stopping at 125 lbs because I literally could not get any smaller than that no matter how hard I tried), there was a shift in my mentality and my eating habits. I felt free and confident not only with how I looked but how I had managed to start a project this intensive and complete it successfully. I had also been running at least 3 times a week at this point, so dopamine levels were running high as I was now able to slowly incorporate more "normal" foods back into my diet. I was no longer losing weight, but rather living the life I had put aside for the few months I was in my bubble of self-improvement. This was and always will be the best time of my life - coming off of the high of feeling empowered, confident, and like I could accomplish anything I wanted to.
While I have fluctuated about 5-10 pounds over the years (as is always expected), I can honestly say that losing the weight was the best decision I made for myself. The last thing I would want to do is advocate against body positivity (because everyone's body is different and deserves love regardless), but I will openly say that changing yourself to look like how you want to rather than making yourself love the way you look is much more satisfying. I have learned that I am malleable, that I can transform like a sculpture at the hands of an artist, and that I have control over myself in a world that is so unpredictable.