Dear Future Healthy Self,
I need to talk to you. I need to tell you something right now.
When you lost all that weight, it solved nothing. It didn’t put money in your wallet, or make you a better communicator. It didn’t cure your boredom, or your bouts of loneliness and depression. You didn’t become more interesting than you already were. It didn’t make you a “better” person, and it certainly didn’t make you any younger.
Losing all that weight didn’t make you more popular. It didn’t make you an expert of any kind, and while it seems as though all eyes are now on you, you are no more worthy of attention than you were before your weight loss.
It made some things easier, like climbing the stairs and shopping for jeans, but it didn’t make everything easier. For example, it still didn’t make grocery shopping, or yard work, or talking about difficult things, or going to the dentist any easier or more fun.
What happened, though, is this: You fall into bed tired because, at some point during your day, you decided to exercise. These days, you exercise strongly and you are honest with yourself about it. You don’t skimp or do it half-way. Being tired at bedtime is a blessing because you used to struggle to fall asleep. Doing the work to keep it off makes you tired, but you also feel totally legitimate because you are not lying to yourself or anyone else anymore.
And you now know that being honest with yourself is a catalyst for honesty in other areas of your life.
You are hydrated and nourished. You have consumed plenty of water and healthy food during the day, and your body is thanking you for properly taking care of it with sustained energy levels and better looking skin. Losing your excess weight makes you feel and look better. You look better, it’s true, but remember: it didn’t make you any prettier on the inside. Ugly is as ugly does. That’s always been the rule.
And, generally speaking, you laugh more now because you are a happier person. Endorphins race through your system. Laughter, when naturally high, turns into more meaningful exchanges with people and a truer sense of well-being. Being genuinely interested in life and other people helps you find peace each day, and finding your way to peace is what your life is currently all about. Losing weight made you a happier person, naturally.
You’re friendlier too. And you’re not so quick to judge. You remember how before the weight loss you kept certain feelings to yourself—resentment, anger, jealousy, helplessness. And by “keeping feelings to yourself,” what you really mean to say is that you ate them. You stuffed those feelings right down your throat. But that’s not something you do anymore. For example, you’ve stopped snapping at the people who love you. You’ve stopped blaming your mom and frequenting the drive-through. You’ve stopped playing the victim card.
Losing weight made you friendlier toward yourself and others. You treat everyone better because you feel healthy.
You’re not so quick to spend your money on meaningless treats. When you stopped filling your stomach, you also stopped buying too many dumb things. You no longer rely on useless fillers to make you feel good. Losing weight helps you stay away from the fleeting, “quick fix” enjoyment that buying something new usually brings. These days, you rarely seek external, material things for gratification. Losing weight did not put money in your bank account, but it has certainly helped you keep the money you have.
Future, healthy self…losing weight didn’t make things perfect. It didn’t give you more time, it didn’t make you more talented, and it didn’t make you smarter. It didn’t make you a better parent, or a better friend, and it didn’t stimulate your intellect. Your weight loss is indeed a part of who you are, your history, but it’s not the only part.
In your life, it’s important to work on every part of yourself. Your job is to hone the gifts you’ve been given. That’s what living a good life is all about. You will always have issues to deal with, so don’t expect everything to be wonderful after you’ve lost the weight. Life isn’t perfect, and it never will be.
However, when your health became your number one priority, and you did the work to get the weight off permanently, many of your private issues (all those negative thoughts and the relentless self sabotage), diminished substantially or disappeared completely. It was really as simple as that.
What you did learn was this: Weight loss is achievable, it feels wonderful, and it is an admirable accomplishment.
When you turned that corner, and finally got healthy, your new lifestyle simply did not tolerate any more bullsh*t.
Former Unhealthy Self