I got a text from a friend a couple weekends ago asking if I knew I was in a magazine. I thought she meant my December/January Ladies' Home Journal piece. Have you read it yet?
Instead, she was referencing a January issue of All You magazine:
There is such a contrast between the two mentions (both of which I'm thankful for) that go beyond the length of story or feature vs. authorship. A few months ago, I had an email from a researcher at All You who wanted to put my progress photos and a tip in an upcoming issue. I was thrilled. But a couple weeks later, I got another email with questions. Things along the lines of:
- How much more do you want to lose?
- How long did it take you to lose the weight?
- How much time elapsed between the before and after photos?
I got really defensive in my replies, simply because that's not what I'm about.
I'm 32 years old and have been dieting for as long as I can remember. I never had a normal relationship with my body or with food. I always thought I was broken and needed repair. Each week that went by without weight loss gave a pang in my stomach (probably a mix of hunger and despair). I would feel such shame. Weeks grew to months which grew to years and now decades. How can someone who has tried so hard for so many weeks, months, and years not reach a goal? People in magazines and on TV reach goals and have gorgeous transformations and seem so happy. I just wanted to be happy.
So 32 years in to this life, I realized I never understood or loved my body. I got stuck in a perpetual cycle of trying to “fix” it to look a certain way. I am working to stop beating myself up over wasted time and instead focus on living life. I'm trying to figure out how to accept my flaws, hangups, and distortions to lift the emotional weight of feeling inferior.
The Ladies' Home Journal piece was a celebration of progress beyond the scale, and learning to find acceptance. The All You mention has a good tip or two in it, and maybe it will lead people to find me here. That's fantastic. But what I hope it doesn't do is make people think there is a perfect timeline of how long it takes to lose weight. So where it says “22 months” to lose the weight, it really should say “32 years and counting.”
If you're looking for inspiration revolving around successfully losing weight, I'm not it, nor do I pretend to be. The weight loss is a reflection of learning to resolve my issues with food and learning to love my body in movement. I am learning to fix a distorted mind and to define success in other ways. My body may never get to where I want it to be, and what a shame it would be if I spent all my years hating what it is.
So two magazines, same me, different ways to frame a story. How are you framing yours?
Note: I'm in no way trying to say anything negative about All You. I appreciate being included, and do see it as huge progress that someone in the magazine is defined as a success when still weighing over 340 pounds. It is to be commended. We just have much more work to do.