Happily ever after.
Fairy tales always end that way, normally after a wedding has taken place. As a child it seems perfect, but when you’re an adult you know the wedding isn’t the end, it is simply the beginning. It is the beginning of something full of ups, downs, and in-betweens. I feel like weight loss stories are like that. I reached goal weight, the end. It is the finale of “The Biggest Loser” where your arms are raised up above your head with victory on the scale, cut scene, and cue the credits. Real life isn’t like that at all. What happens after you reach your goals? What is after, the happily ever after?
I recently finished Andie Mitchell’s, “It Was Me All Along”. Andie also has a blog called, Can You Stay for Dinner where she discusses recipes and information about weight loss. Eight years ago she lost over 100 lbs. I had never heard of her blog until I read the book. I came across the book as a recommendation from Amazon and the “buy now with one click” got me once again. Just a tip from me to you, put away the Amazon late at night after a glass of wine. I have bought weird stuff I found funny at the time (Obama chia pet, it happened y’all).
One of my favorite things about this book is how Andie chronicled her fears and struggles after she lost her weight. She does detail her weight loss journey, but the book doesn’t end there. It seems like many weight loss memoirs I read follow this exact formula: sad and fat, worked hard at losing weight, happy now, the end. For those of us that have reached goal and slid backwards, then forwards, then backwards again (and so on and so forth) we know that reaching goal weight isn’t the end. Reaching goal weight is just one small part of your whole fitness story. Some of us stay there, some of us are fighting to stay there, and some of us move around for a bit.
I think many of us have told ourselves a lie about what life will look like once we reach goal. We are imagining our happy ever after, but may be disappointed. Obviously our pants fit amazing, but we may be starting to realize that we thought weight loss would accomplish more than it did. We may have told ourselves that everything would be fixed once the scale showed the right number. Things like, I will be loved more once I lose weight, and I will be more successful when I’m thin, or I won’t be afraid anymore. There are certainly times that your journey to a smaller size changes you as a person. There are also a lot of people shocked to discover that when they reach what they thought was an unreachable number, their life is still the same. The same hurts, pains, and insecurities remain lurking still.
For Andie losing over 100 lbs. was definitely a challenge, but after she reached goal she had to deal with her issues. She ended up seeing a nutritionist, therapist, and psychiatrist. It took her years to develop a healthy relationship and balance with food. Andie had to learn to process the pain from her childhood without drowning it in high calorie fare. Her weight loss was no small feat, but her maintenance was a different journey in itself.
What happens after, the happily ever after? Life happens. The after is filled with challenges, hurts, triumphs, and accomplishment. Weight loss and health is a journey, not a destination. I thank you, Andie Mitchell, for reminding me of that. Life doesn’t become perfect once you reach a number on the scale.