Confidence and Weight.

Many people I know are losing weight recently, and that’s great, I’m absolutely happy for them. The majority of them are doing it the right way–watching what they eat, exercising, having a more healthy lifestyle in general. No fad diets, no starving themselves. I’m proud of them.

But a tweet from a friend today made me wonder. She posted before and after pictures of herself and said ‘I genuinely didn’t see it until today when those pictures got posted’.

I look at the images. The before image–she was a little more hunched over, sheepish fake smile that says ‘oh god, please don’t take my picture’, kind of squishing herself against her friend so less of her would be seen. The after image? She’s in a sleeveless dress, looking fabulous, standing up straight, posing for the camera.

She’s lost a significant amount of weight, it’s true. But it’s not the first thing I noticed. The first thing I noticed was the total 180 in her confidence level. It really made me think.

I notice the same thing with Sara Rue’s Jenny Craig campaign. Obviously you’d have to be blind not to see that she’s lost a lot of weight, but the pictures themselves speak worlds. The first picture–demure smile, casual pose, a lot more clothing–compared to the second, ‘sexy’ pose. It says to me ‘look, I can be attractive now and not offensive to the eye! I don’t have to cover up anymore!’

And then there’s women like Jennifer Hudson, who speak for years about how much they adore their curves–and the next thing you know, they’re the spokesperson for Weight Watchers.

I have to wonder. . .what happens when the cameras shut off? When they stop buying the sodium-filled Jenny Craig meals, when they don’t have a personal trainer anymore. If and when some or all of the weight comes back, are they still going to love themselves?

The trick is not so much to change your body in order to increase your confidence. The trick is to concentrate on how your body FEELS, not how it looks. As long as you feel healthy, as long as you’re giving your body the nourishment and exercise and care that it needs, your dress size should not be of importance. The number on the scale should not mock you every day. This is not to discount the new and exciting things you discover that you can do when you lose weight. It’s to make you look at the things you already CAN do now!

And frankly–confidence has nothing to do with your weight. I’ve had quite a few people tell me recently that I’ve lost weight. Honestly, I don’t think I have, and if I have, it’s been absolutely minimal. I think what changed is my perception of my own body and therefore the way I come off to other people. I used to wear things to cover up everything, always thinking ‘will this top cover this fat roll?’ ‘will these pants make my legs looks even more like tree trunks?’ ‘do i have something i can wear to cover my upper arms?’ I would do photoshoots with my best friend and it would hardly even be fun because I was so busy concentrating on flattering angles and close ups and making sure that under NO circumstances would there be a full body shot.

Clearly, I don’t care very much anymore. And while I’ve changed my eating habits and I’ve become more active and less of a zombie, it’s more that I feel much more comfortable in my own skin than I ever have before. I don’t think that any diet can do that. It’s something you have to do for yourself.

I worry for people who lose weight sometimes, because they let it take over their entire existence and let their new body define who they are. And I’m fearful that if they so much as gain five pounds, they’ll consider all their hard work a failure and go right back to self loathing. Then it turns into yo-yo dieting, and then it becomes an obsession, and it’s just a bad road to go down.

You have to, have to, HAVE to learn to love yourself because things happen, weight is lost, weights is gained, bodies change, but in the end, it does not define you.

The way you present yourself to the world is what defines you. So the next time you think you have to cover up your flabby upper arms so as not to offend society, instead wear a tank top and just say ‘So what? I am FABULOUS’.

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4 Responses to Confidence and Weight.

  1. paulbentley says:

    Hi Amber. A great post. I agree with a lot of what you say but my approach to dealing with my ‘weight issues’ is different. My obesity is literally killing me. I’m not on a mission to lose weight, but I am on a mission to get ‘healthier’. I’m 42 and 3 months a go a felt like I was dying. It’s all change in Bentley Town, mentally and physically. Fat acceptance by others is important and I abhor any and all cruelty and abuse because of size, but for health reasons, quality and longevity of life, we do a good thing if we (the fatty) do something about our health.

    Good luck with the blog, I’m new to this myself. I use mine as an accountability tool to keep me on my new journey. Look in and say hi.

    Paul

    • randomlancila says:

      Hi Paul, thanks for the comment! Congratulations, you have the distinction of being the first person to comment on my new blog!

      I’m not arguing the health aspect of it. Of course, obese doesn’t automatically mean unhealthy, in the same way that thin doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. Obesity isn’t a cause of bad health, but it can tend to be a symptom. Otherwise, diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, etc. would ONLY occur in patients who were obese. But no, thinner people have these diseases too. So it’s not so much about the weight aspect of things, it truly is about the health aspect.

      But more importantly, it’s critical to NEVER judge someone’s health or well being strictly on their size. As I said before, fat people can be healthy and thin people can be unhealthy. (You might be interested in Health at Every Size, I recommend checking it out if you never have!) No one deserves to have judgment placed upon them about their body, REGARDLESS of whether they’re healthy. It’s not mentally healthy to be criticized for the way you look.

      Happy blogging, and thanks again for the comment!

  2. So true! It bothers me when men and women who have recently lost weight start to act as if they’ve been fit all their lives. Talk of calorie counting and healthy recipes seems to take over their WHOLE conversation. That’s all they know how to talk about because that’s all they think about! OBSESSED! I apperciate people wanting to get in shape and gain a healthier lifestyle. In fact, I’m on such a journey myself. However, it’s MY journey, not everyone elses; not everyone wahts to hear about it! People who want to know how I’ve been losing weight ask and THEN I’ll share. But otherwise, I don’t unload all of my information on people simply to fill awkward silences. LOVE YOURSELF! It’s dangerous to thrive on the feedback of others. When they stop gassing you up, what’re you gonna do? You have to be your own cheerleader! And you’re right, don’t focus so much on every detail of your body. For those of us who have children, you’ll see things on your body shift further than you thought possible LOL! Before you try to change your outsides make sure you fix your insides :~D

  3. Angela says:

    This is such a great post!!!

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