Hold on to your love handles... because I'm about to present a transformation story with some refreshing truth. The photo below might frighten you a little bit, but the truth is, you should never be afraid of the truth! This is how I look at the middle age of 51, post-180-pound-weight loss, and without the benefit of skin tightening surgery. I brought this change about through clean eating, regular movement, and paying attention to who I am. The latter is an ongoing process that involves riding out bad moods and dark days without downing enough chip-aisle-offerings for six people.
People who knew me at my former size often don't recognize me if we haven't seen each other in a while. Relative newcomers to my life are astonished at the before pictures. And then there's the segment of America whom I have let down, for I have not arrived at my destination in a bikini. It's true... when I was in the highly-focused weight loss phase of my life, which lasted about two years, I deliberately abstained from the steady rounds of Kool-Aid being served to women like me. The refrain is as common as it is antiquated, but it's still sadly a part of our culture, this bikini fetish. Most weight transformation stories spotlighted in national forums such as "The Today Show" and "Shape" magazine aren't complete without this syrupy, yawningly-predictable finale.
Here's the deal American media: An itsy bitsy bikini was never on my radar. How could it have been? I've dealt with weight issues since childhood. The stretch marks were embedded at age 11. I weighed in excess of 300 pounds for 20 years and didn't begin dropping weight in earnest until the age of 44. Now you see why the two-piece ship has sailed. And I'm OK with it. I realize it's something I could obsessively achieve if I were to get significant amounts of cosmetic surgery while simultaneously emulating the eating habits of a fitness model (that means an unappetizing frequency of egg white omelets, in case you were curious).
I've made all the sacrifices I'm willing to make. There's food I'd love to still be eating, but it's now off the list. Exercise is a regular part of my life, but not in a militaristic sense. I face uncomfortable feelings and confront unpleasant people and situations rather than run from them. Why does it work? Because it's a formula I can live with. Channeling more of my time and energy to reach a more stringent (and kind of meaningless) goal is where I'm drawing the line.
I have no apologies to offer. Why should I? I was a worthy human being before the weight loss. Now I'm simply that same worthy person who's lighter and freer. And I don't waste precious energy wringing my hands that I don't look like Gigi Hadid. Of course, I wouldn't MIND looking like her, but that's not the hand life dealt me. Instead, I feel it's far wiser to focus on all the good in my life, including just how miraculous and wonderful my body is and how good it has been to me and continues to shower me with strength, good health, and other blessings. It's almost as if there might be a silent conspiracy to make women perpetually dissatisfied with themselves.
So take a good look at this before-and-after story my dears. I'm very happy with it. This IS the equivalent of my bikini shot. It's where I've landed after years of self-hatred and turmoil. Not good news to the diet and beauty industries, but more and more of us are becoming de-programmed... and that's where the root of all transformation begins.