I used to be a fan. I used to get really excited seeing other people's progress because it made me believe that I could be successful too. And sure, I have had success. I'm down about 130 pounds from my highest weight and I finished a marathon in October. I guess I look a bit better too.
But if I'm honest with myself, when I look at these pictures and when I look in the mirror, I still don't see much of a difference. That is what 30 some years of a really messed up self image will do to you.
I've always taken more comfort and found more strength in the "me too" than in the "wow, good for you", so I wanted to share the honest truth about my transformation, just in case there is someone else out there who isn't feeling all that great about their progress.
I don't think it ever hit me as hard as it is today. As I was scrolling through pictures, I saw multiple people associating words like "depressed, sad, defeated, lazy" with their before pictures and words like "happy, confident, active" with their after. I found myself getting angry with them for perpetuating the lie that I used to believe and that I'm sure others looking for a glimmer of hope will believe.
If I can just lose this weight, then I'll be happy.
That, is a lie.
Weightloss does not magically bring happiness. Weightloss does not guarantee confidence. Weightloss does not cure depression.
Sure, losing weight can definitely get you headed down the right path to all of those things, but seeing a smaller number on the scale will not change those things.
None of those things are going to come until you deal with whatever is going on inside your head. This is a battle that I find myself fighting constantly. Every time I feel like I've made progress, I somehow find myself right back where I started.
It is really painful to admit that my problems with depression are bigger than my problems with weight. They are, of course, directly related, but the weight has not caused the depression, the depression has caused the weight.
Here is what I know; dealing with depression is far more difficult than losing weight. Going to the gym is easy. Being active is easy. Facing the things that I have stuffed really deep down is hard and painful.
It means I have to figure out why I started crying after seeing a bunch of dance teams at the Mall of America over the weekend. It means I have to dig deeper into why I completely fell apart when a girl at my daughter's bus stop explained her feelings about going to her mom's house for the weekend. It means I need to deal with my inability to feel any sense of self-worth. It means digging into a lifetime of hurt.
Those are not easy things.
Realizing that I'm probably not going to make any more progress with weight loss until I deal with these things has me feeling all kinds of emotions and none of them are all that pleasant.
So there you have it. Life is hard, everyone has a struggle, this is mine. I keep praying for a breakthrough, praying that I'll stop feeling so broken some day. Today may not be that day, but it doesn't mean that I've given up hope. I still have hope, and that is really all you need.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1 (ESV)
So if you are out there, hoping that one day you can be one of those transformations, just know this, true transformation isn't visible from the outside. True transformation happens when you deal with the things going on inside your head. I honestly believe that when you start to deal with those things, the rest will come.
So don't lose hope, we have a God who is bigger than all of this and He is faithful.
For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly. Psalm 84:11 (ESV)