A Blessing in Disguise; Weight Loss.
Last week on my way to work I received an email with a little question that has graced my mind ever since;
“Won’t you find it sad to wake up in 50 years and feel like your whole life was centered on your weight?”
My initial reply (in my head) was “hell yes, and it sucks, and I hate myself for it, and hushhhh you, we shall not speak of such things.” But then yesterday, when I was standing in my steamy hot shower in Melbourne, Australia, and yet again found myself thinking of that reader’s question, it occurred to me that:
Being overweight was probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
Being fat has pushed me out of my comfort zone, forced me to form a personality, instead of rely on what I looked like (I truly thought I was hideous until I was 24 [see beginning of blog for proof]) and so I better be funny, witty or something to ensure people liked me.
In high school I remember staring at the popular girls and wishing I could be one, but I never tried to be, and I’m 99.9% certain that had I been skinny, I would have changed who I was to fit in with their too-much-makeup, too-promiscuous, so-not-me group. I would have lost myself.
My mom used to (still sometimes does) say, “I think Lizzie would have come home pregnant had she not been overweight in high school.” And yea, as awful as that is, I actually agree with her. In my younger days I definitely put too much of my self worth on what guys thought about me, and my self-esteem was so low I think had I been skinny I would have been a hot mess trying to get guys to validate they liked me. Awful, but true. (saved by the fat! wa-hoo)
And it was because I was overweight I started this blog. Way back when on February 1, 2009. I don’t think I would have ever slightly thought about blogging just to, well, blog. I blogged to lose weight. I had a reason & a mission. And the whole MSN.ca thing still makes my heart skip a beat, as does this, or this, or this, or this, and they all happened because of my weight.
And running. Nope. Never. Not me. I ran to “lose weight,” not for the love of running, not to meditate, or meet people, or to “run a marathon” one day. I ran because I was overweight. And what do you know? I went from never in my life running, to 17 months later running the Chicago full marathon. And then two more: Las Vegas & Berlin.
And I ran that very first 5k giddy with terror. And when I felt the excitement and adrenaline hit me leading up to the finish line I knew I wanted to do another, and another, and another. And I met people through running. Lots and lots of people. And I would go for brunches, and lunches, and dinners with them. And some of them (cough cough Wasila cough cough) became my role models and good friends, and all because I started to run to “lose weight.”
And then I lost some weight (remember remember?) and my confidence became all, va-va-voom, and I was HAPPY, and suddenly I loved my legs and the person I was. And I realized I can do this, or that, or this. And so I did. I quit my cushy finance job where I got to dress up and wear pretty dress, and headed abroad, just me, my camera, running shoes, hiking boots and flip flops.
I hiked to Mt. Everest’s base camp, and made my way slowly from Vietnam down to Indonesia while dipping my toes into the sand of some of the world’s most beautiful beaches. I figured out the importance of family as I booked my flight home for Christmas to surprise my mom (<— warning: link may make you cry), and figured out how little my weight actually mattered, but rather the person I am, and the community I build for myself.
From losing weight, I found the courage to move to a new country (oh hai there Melbourne), and let’s not forget about CrossFit. There is absolutely zip, zero, zilch way I would have ever considered sending that SUPER AWKWARD message to CrossFit had I not wanted to lose weight. Wanting to lose weight oh-so-very desperately was what allowed me to bite the bullet, and walk through those doors. And it was because I was overweight I met Anna, and some of my other good friends in Melbourne. (Not to mention Matt & I met because of this bloggy).
So yea, there’s that.
Now. Now it has to be said that “trying to lose weight” is definitely not a simple chapter in the book that is my life, nope, not at all; it’s actually this underlying theme that runs from about 11 years old, until forever. But the thing is, I don’t mind. Yes, I feel better when I’m in the 150s or lower (currently 170), yes I feel stronger and sexier when my legs don’t jiggle so much, yes I will continue to strive & continue to try and lose weight because I personally feel better that way, but being overweight is nothing I’ll ever regret. It’s helped me gain strength, courage and confidence by tackling experiences and places I looked to as goals. It’s made me a better person, and led me to some of my greatest friendships. So no, I won’t find it “sad,” when I look back on my life 50 years from now (even if I never get there - wherever there is). I’ll be pleased I used a negative to form so many positives, and look at “being overweight” as a true blessing in disguise.