“I did not become confident because I lost weight. I lost weight because I became confident.”
I felt that this was an important topic to talk about because some might think that I feel confident because I have lost a lot of weight and better fit in with society’s standards of beauty. But that’s not the case…
In my opinion, any major self-confidence you gain from purely changing your outer appearance, whether through weight loss or plastic surgery, is superficial and will not be long lasting (a controversial statement, I know). True sustainable inner confidence comes when you discover who you are, why you behave the way you do, and what makes you special. Unfortunately, I’ve seen too many women lose weight and then put it back on or get plastic surgery and then find other fixable “flaws” because they never dealt with why they overeat and why they felt the need to take extreme action and “go under the knife”.
Let me explain further with a very personal story:
My weight loss started about a year ago when I developed stomach issues due to extreme stress and poor eating habits. I’ll admit it – after losing 10-15lbs, it felt wonderful getting many compliments about how I looked. I felt great about myself! However, once I lost my job and my stomach got better, I stopped losing weight and went back to some of my old bad eating habits because, even though the complements boosted my ego, I never dealt with the root to my emotional eating.
I was in a bad mental space – I was 30, single, overweight, unemployed and aggravated by it all. So, I decided to clear my head and take a 5 day trip on my own to Las Vegas. Yep, I went to Vegas all by myself – I sat by the pool, went shopping, ate delicious food, saw some amazing entertainment and met some awesome people. More specifically, 3 amazing women who invited me out dancing one night and ended up changing my life!
After a night of dancing, one of the girls pulled me aside for a big sister type pep talk/heart to heart. She shared her views regarding how she saw me and insight about my everlastingly single status. She explained that, in her opinion, the average guy wanted the average girl (sweet, dainty, petite…) and I’m not the average girl (I’m independent, outgoing, voluptuous…) BUT that shouldn’t matter because…I shouldn’t want the average guy. I should want someone equally as awesome and unique as myself. It might take a lot longer to find him but when I do, the love and life we will share will be absolutely incredible.
I spent the next 24hrs intensely thinking about what she said. I realized that for most of my life, although I tried to be a positive person, internally I focused on the negative (ie. what I viewed as my “flaws”) and used it to justify why I was single and never felt that I “fit in” as a kid. The truth was, I never felt good enough and I turned to food for comfort. (I had an “Aha! moment” as Oprah would say)
When I got back home, I noticed that my regular constant craving for excessive unhealthy food went away. The weight slowly started coming off with little effort. I no longer needed food to comfort me because I started feeling good about myself. Instead of thinking of myself as an overweight, annoyingly talkative, overly-outgoing, boyfriend-repellent, I started seeing myself as a vivacious, self-sufficient, friendly person with a big heart and great communication skills.
Having a stranger/new friend be so thoughtful, encouraging and honest forced me to deal with my issues and see myself in a different and positive way as she had nothing invested in the conversation. I will forever be thankful to her!
So, that’s how my journey to finding self-confidence began. What’s your story? What makes you unique and special?