Sometimes I really regret losing 100lbs. Don’t get me wrong – I love being healthy, happy and slim – but I can’t help but wonder how different things would be if I hadn’t lost the weight. Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on the importance society places on the outward appearance of others, and it disturbs me. Those who are considered to be visually appealing receive more respect, attention, and praise than their less-attractive peers, and really, why is that? Should qualities such as personality, humor, and intelligence not also play a part in determining a person’s self-worth? Of course they should. But do they? Sadly, not so much.
Through personal experience I have seen both sides of this superficial coin. When I was 270lbs I was excluded, ridiculed, and made to feel like I was worth less than others. People on the street would stare at me disapprovingly, guys wouldn’t give me a second look, and strangers would whisper and laugh. If I woke up one morning feeling confident in myself and my appearance, society would make sure I came home that night feeling embarrassed and ashamed. I don’t think people realize how emotionally draining it can be when you are constantly being put down for the way you look. It’s exhausting.
Anyways, throughout the last year and a half I decided to track my weight-loss journey through pictures, and putting together before-and-after collages proved to be the perfect motivator and self-confidence booster for me. I was proud of what I was accomplishing and wanted to show it off! However, I was so focused on improving my appearance that all of my attention was focused on the “after” pictures – like society, I never gave my “before” pictures a second look. As I’m typing this I realize that I’ve turned into the people whom I’d sworn I’d never be, and that’s not ok.
So now I’m thinking about that girl in the “before” pictures, and my heart breaks for her. I know the pain she felt and the loneliness she endured, and I can still feel her confusion as she wondered why she wasn’t as worthwhile as the rest of society. I look at her face and see the brokenness in her eyes, and it just makes me so angry. I’m still the same person as I was back then, so why am I now being treated so differently? Why was this girl (and millions of others) treated as less than human, simply for weighing a few extra pounds? That is something I’ll never understand.
Going back to my original thought, what would things be like now if I had never lost the weight? I truthfully can’t answer that question. Would I still be happy and confident in myself? Would I live each day knowing I’m a worthwhile person who deserves to be treated with the same respect as everyone else? Would I have a boyfriend? Honestly, I don’t think so. Underneath the exterior I have always been the same person, yet it’s that very exterior that has made all the difference.
Sometimes society makes me sick.