When I was a teenager a friend of my mom’s got divorced. She promptly lost a bunch of weight and slimmed down to what she called, “hunting weight,” meaning she was ready to go pick up guys. I’ve recently come to understand how losing a great deal of weight can make one feel predatory.
I first started blogging weighing more than I ever have in my life. And then I continued to gain weight. I still felt sexy and attractive, but it was getting harder to get photos out of a photo shoot that I felt comfortable publishing. I reached a point where finding clothes that fit was becoming challenging. I didn’t mind being curvy, but I wanted sexy lingerie. I complained to a friend and she suggested that I just lose weight.
Now, I’m a bit competitive so I thought, why not. If she can lose 50 pounds, so can I. And I have. It’s been a very slow process. It’s taken me over a year, but I have met my weight loss goal of 50 pounds. I didn’t follow any crazy diets, just ate healthily and with moderation. I haven’t deprived myself. I still have wine and chocolate when I feel like it. I haven’t added any exercise, just walking whenever I can.
It’s been a strange journey. I believe that much of my weight had to do with emotional issues. Every time I have burned through an emotional roadblock, I have dropped a few more pounds. Being able to lose the weight like I want has made me feel more in control of my body. Before my friend suggested losing weight, it did not occur to me that I could have any control over what I weighed.
If I’m honest about my body image, I would say that there were some things I liked better about myself when I was heavier. I loved the fullness of my breasts. Now they are flatter. The fullness of my flesh meant that stretch marks and scars showed less. Now there are places where my skin hangs funny because my body hasn’t caught up yet. I dislike how much my belly still sticks out. When I was heavier it kind of blended in. No, actually, I didn’t like my belly before either. After carrying five children, my stomach is never going to be perfectly flat.
Overall, though, I feel fantastic. I like how sleek I feel in dresses and jeans 8 sizes smaller. I like that my breasts are small enough that I can buy bras at the mall. I am so happy that my face is no longer round. I am more at home in this lighter body, more energetic, healthier. I liked myself before, but I am reveling in myself now.
Even while I am celebrating my success, I am noting that things have not really changed on the inside. My experience of myself is the same, with one tiny exception – the boy part of me is happier being lighter. He doesn’t like excessive fleshiness. It doesn’t come up often, but when it does, he feels more at home in my skin. Other than that, my skin likes to be touched at any weight.
I look back and think that I was brave to put up nude photos of myself at my peak weight – except that I have always been proud of myself and my sexuality. Fat is sexy. People are sexy, in all of their myriad ways. So ultimately, my body image didn’t change because I lost weight. My self respect improved because I was able to affect change in my body. I’m proud because I set a goal for myself and achieved it. I’ve hit hunting weight.