The “After” Myth

| April 22, 2015 | 6 Comments

She wanted to shed a lot of weight, so she posted “before” and “after” pics and wrote about her journey.

during

But her latest post, the “after,” is breaking hearts all across the world wide web. Read her powerful story and break out the tissues. Her journey is a personal one, but the message is something everyone can relate to.

The “After” Myth

(Posted on April 13, 2015 at Can Anybody Hear Me?)

After.

It’s here.

In my first post, Before, 3 years ago, I said “I’m not to After yet, but I’m closer to After than to Before.”

I now weigh 117 – 120 pounds (depending on the day), and standing at 5-foot 6-inches, that measurement means that After is very, very here. But, before you congratulate me, dear readers…if I have any…and dear friends and family who I know follow this blog… I have to come clean with you: I don’t feel like I’m at After. I’m terrified of being at After. And, I don’t like that After is here.

after5-2

The tagline of my blog is “uncovering myself one pound at a time.” For most of this blog, I’ve spoken strongly about how my relationship with food and myself was what caused my weight struggles. I stand by that. The thing is, the symptoms have resolved faster than I’ve been able to treat the deeper disease. I’ve lost the weight, but I’ve failed to uncover and learn to truly love myself in the process. Truthfully, I have no idea who I am without “needs to lose weight” being one of the primary parts of my identity.

This is why I have not been posting…because this blog is not about weight loss…it’s about life gain. I could not bear to post here about the beautiful things one can gain in life by learning to love yourself while, in the background, hating myself so hard while the weight melted off. Progressing on the outside while regressing internally. Because, that’s the truth, readers. The last stretch of this weight loss hasn’t been healthy OR happy: it’s been agony. It’s been sad. It’s been an exercise in mourning.

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I’ve gotten so good at putting on the happy face. At “smile, nod, yes, thank you, I have lost a lot. No, I’m not trying to lose any more; you don’t need to worry.” I’m very good at this script, but it’s been such a lie, readers. The truth is my body melted away, and I stared at myself in the mirror not understanding why I couldn’t love the skin I’m in. Why? I thought After was the goal!

But I made a mistake.

A crucial mistake.

I forgot that the number on the scale is only a number. Only just a number. It’s not a before. It’s not an after. Getting that number to a certain set of digits is not my After.

I’m not at After. There is no After – happily ever or otherwise. There is only today. Just today – During.

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I tell you this now not to discourage you but to hopefully prevent someone from making the mistake that I did and associating After with a number. I weigh 120 pounds and still struggle with my weight. Losing weight does not mean you no longer struggle with your weight; I wish I had truly understood that. I still struggle with food. I still struggle with me.

Looking at the picture I put first in this post, I have to pause. I look at me … past vs. present. That is me. All of those pictures are of me. People say they do not recognize the girl in the other pictures. I’m here to say: that girl is me.

Don’t look at her as an abomination, because enough people, myself included, did that already.

Don’t congratulate me on no longer being her; I still am her. And doesn’t she deserve to be?

Don’t tell me I look better; I don’t. I look different.

Don’t speak of her as if she is a poor, piteous person. She’s not.

She’s me.

She’s standing right here, and she is fucking strong.

after3-2

There. Is. No. After.

There’s no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow of weight loss because the rainbow has no end.

There is today. There is now. There is during. There is life.

I uncovered myself one pound at a time; now, I must REcover myself…I must DIScover myself. And that…that is the new goal. Not numbers. Not sizes. Not inches.

Me. I am the goal. Finding. Loving. Being.

Can anybody hear me?

Ed. note: The blog’s author remains anonymous, but gave Women’s Adventure permission to repost and link to her blog. You can read more “Can Anybody Hear Me?” posts here.

Category: Blog

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Comments (6)

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  1. Marguerite Storm says:

    Yes, I heard you. Your post is beautiful. Before I read it, looking at the picture, I ‘almost’ wrote Boy, you look great NOW! But you are so right. That is not the truth. The truth is, you are a fantastic person, inside and out, fat or skinny. Just by doing what you did and what you are doing now, you show pride, courage, love, and humility. You are not perfect because you are thin…
    thank you for posting this. I know you will continue your journey and find happiness and peace TODAY.
    For me, your post helps me: I admit I have bee ‘racist’ against fat people. Every time I see a fat person, I feel hate. I am working on changing that because I am not a hateful person. Or maybe I am.. But reading your story, I finally feel I am able to let go of that hate. Thank you.

  2. Alicia says:

    Wow. Profound. I hear you! And what an inspiration you are to so many of us out there who share similar feelings. And totally relate to your feelings of Before, During and After. My highest weight was about 230 at 5’7″, after much shame of gaining so much weight after being a fit person, moving from New Orleans back to Seattle, I had to face my weight and limitations. Invitations to go hiking with friends were more rare. I felt left out and hurt. And realizing I was hurting myself. I am down to a healthy weight now after committing to yoga, bicycling (even bike to work!), and hiking. I can finally participate and keep up with my outdoorsy Seattle friends (but often the slowest!) It is still a struggle. The days I want to “not move” are the days that I know I need to move and that I can’t or won’t go “back.” When I reach those feelings of despair, I know I need to exercise, especially go to a yoga class to “re-center” my self. Yoga was key in my getting in touch with my spirit and back into my body and out of my head. I had to address those deep, deep feelings (both physically and mentally) that I can so relate to in your blog.

  3. Renee says:

    Wow,,,, You took the words out of my mouth!! Its nice knowing that someone else understands all these feelings. I AM still the same person!!! Don’t ask if I feel better “now” . I never felt bad! I really didn’t!Compliments are great but hurtful at the same time. I AM still ME.. 90 lbs lighter or not.
    It is a constant daily, hourly battle with food, its an addiction. tI does not just go away because my body is smaller. There is no cure. It is NOT a diet,,,there is no end,, it is a lifestyle change,, it is forever!! Thank you so much for your post. Know that you are not alone even though it is our own personal battle.

  4. I hear you loud and clear.
    We have walked the same path.
    YOU are incredible!
    xoxo
    Susanne

  5. Jean says:

    Best of luck.
    Yes, you were always you before and now you are in your soul.

    Do you have any passions which have absolutely nothing to do with exercise or food?

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