Five Things I Learned When I Lost 50 lbs

Five Things I Learned When I Lost 50 lbs

I have gained so much more than have I lost.
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In the summer of 2012, I was told that if I didn’t lose weight, I would be considered high risk for health conditions that I definitely did not want. Health conditions that would prevent me from living a long, happy life- conditions that would prevent or make having a family in the future difficult. Conditions that would prevent me from fulfilling so many of my hopes and dreams for the future.

I was 18 and had just finished my first year of college, so my future was right at my fingertips. Thankfully, I came to the conclusion that I had to make a lifestyle change that day. So, I began my weight-loss journey. From July 2013 to January 2014, I lost 50 lbs. This is what I learned:

1. It isn’t about the number on the scale.

I have learned that the number on the scale doesn’t define how healthy or strong I am. I have fluctuated over the past two years between a 10-15 lbs. range, and initially, this upset me. But I realized that while I am not at my “goal” or at my lowest weight I have been in a while, I am stronger, faster and healthier than I have ever been before. Once I began focusing on my body and what it could do instead of a silly number, I was much happier. I now measure my success in physical accomplishments and avoid the scale like the plague.

2. I don’t have to hate exercise.

I used to dread exercise. I hated cardio with a burning passion until I realized that cardio wasn’t just running — it is hiking, walking my dog, dancing and kayaking — all things that I thoroughly enjoy. This was a huge breakthrough for me because once I realized that I could workout while doing things I love, I was ecstatic. I didn’t have to fit the norm of going to the gym and running on a treadmill, I could hike with my dog and dance instead. This changed my outlook greatly, improved my progress immediately and has helped me to continue to live this lifestyle.

3. Not everyone is a “real” friend.

I quickly learned that my weight somehow defined my relationship with some people. I had friends who were not supportive and even jealous of my success. I had people who were suddenly interested in being my “friend” or more. I came to this conclusion: True friends are friends with you through the good times and the bad times. They are supportive and never jealous. And any guy that has a sudden interest in you after weight loss isn’t a guy I would want to be with. I respect that people have different “types” and physical attraction is important, but I also respect myself enough to know that I am worth more than being with someone who just finds me “hot”. If they couldn’t see all I have to offer before, then they aren’t interested for the right reasons. So, I shed a few people faster than I shed the pounds. I can confidently say that the people I have in my life now are genuine and see me for much more than my weight.

4. What others think doesn't matter.

Something that held me back my entire life was being scared of how I looked when exercising. I was super insecure and not naturally athletic, so I would just not exercise. I even stopped playing sports due to my anxiety around this. Once I realized that it literally did not matter what others thought, I began to kill it at the gym. This is still something I struggle with at times, especially going to a school with so many fit people, but I know that all that matters is that I am doing it. I am taking care of my body, I am pushing myself and that counts way more than other people's judgement.

5. Comparison is the number one killer of self-esteem.

I can’t say this enough. Comparing yourself to others in any aspect, not just with weight loss or fitness, is the absolute worst thing you can do. I have realized that comparing how strong I am or how fast I can run, what my body looks like, how much I weigh, etc. with others makes no sense for one simple fact: They aren’t me. They have different bodies, different priorities and different goals. To compare myself to others is irrelevant and only ends up hurting my self-esteem. I have learned to stay in my own lane and measure my successes by how far I have personally come. I may not run as fast as you, but I used to run a 15 minute mile and now I run a nine minute mile (on a good day). That is success to me and for my situation and that’s all that matters.

I am still, two plus years later, down that 50 lbs: some days less, some days more — never without struggle. I realize now that while I lost a lot of weight, I gained so much more as a person.

Cover Image Credit: Alexandra Collier

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Life Is So Much More Than Ourselves

The lives we live are really so much bigger than just ourselves.

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I hope people hear this loud and clear when I say that this generation of people and quite frankly our society as a whole has become one of the most selfish to date. I really hope people reading this don't take it as me calling people out, "throwing shade" or bashing humanity, I'm just trying to put out a call to action but in a more blunt way.

This generation subconsciously lives by the "me, my, mine" lifestyle. Everything is all about us, and what we want and immediate satisfaction or gratification from the things that we do in life. We always want someone to notice what we are doing, that we did it and we want to be acknowledged for it. Our wants and desires power so much of what we do and how we react to what others do and so on and so forth. Also, kind of piggybacking on that, we tend to believe or live by the idea that, "yeah it happens, but it's never gonna happen to me" which can be a major issue when it comes to decision making. This is because we don't think about how it affects anyone but ourselves, usually in the immediate sense rather than the long term.

With that being said it can become an issue when we choose to ignore the other things going on around us like, "oh, someone else will get it." and then things like the trash epidemic and the state at which our planet and country is in now. We have become so self-absorbed that it's to hell with everything else. The places that we call home and the world that we know is falling apart and we are all just gonna sit by and watch like nothing is happening.

I am tired of the mentality that we as a society live in, and how we try to desperately to look great on social media but do nothing about it in real life. It is time that things change and we are the ones changing it.

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