Feminism | Posted by Kate M on 02/28/2014

What Happens After You Lose Weight

seriously, just stop

seriously, just stop

I wouldn’t say that I was ever fat. I was always just overweight enough that girls would tell me I looked “fine” and guys wouldn’t tell me much of anything (because I guess my dazzling intellect and sense of humor wasn’t high on their priority list). As a feminist, I always tried to feel proud of my body. I really did want to accept it and love it for what it was. But that was easier said than done.

Last summer I lost about 15 pounds. When I came back to school in the Fall, I was showered with compliments. “How did you do it?” everybody asked. I told some that I hardly even noticed my weight loss and that I had no idea how it happened. I told others I swam a lot and biked everywhere. I didn’t tell anybody the truth: that I obsessed over what I ate, counted every calorie in a journal, and exercised five times a week for three months. I’m not entirely sure why I lied. I think it’s because as girls we’re always supposed to be effortlessly beautiful. We can’t admit to trying to become more beautiful because that shatters the mystery around something that’s supposed to be unobtainable. My weight loss was supposed to be effortless and even though it was far from that, I played my little role and pretended like it was.

I thought losing weight would make me happier. Even though I should’ve know better (and maybe even do know better), I guess a part of me really did buy into all that media crap. I thought Skinny Me would feel carefree and happier somehow. I essentially thought the ability to wear a bikini without shame would transform my life.

I was wrong.

What ended up happening was that my attitude towards food and my body hardly changed at all. Sure, I was happy that I looked that much more like the women you see on TV and in movies (although, let’s be honest, I still didn’t look anything like them). But I still felt constantly worried about what I was eating. I constantly freaked out about gaining the weight back. The way our society is today, it’s not even enough to live up to certain beauty expectations. Even when you come close, you still feel like you’ll never measure up.

And that was only what was going on internally. Externally, I went from guys either not noticing me at all or, in an instance I’ll never forget, being told things like “You’d be really pretty…if you lost weight” to guys straight up harassing me. I thought that if I lost weight, guys would fall in love with me. But what I became the receiving end of definitely couldn’t be described as love. Rather I got catcalls, propositions and sometimes even demands – as if guys had some kind of right over my new body, like now that I’m skinny I must be at their sexual will. Honestly, with this as the alternative, I kind of wish I could go back to not being noticed by them at all.

I guess my point is this: I guess I never realized that our society’s attitude towards feminine beauty sucks on both ends of the spectrum. I only ever saw it from the perspective of not measuring up, and always thought it was unfair that I was held to such standards, that I couldn’t be noticed for my mind but was constantly told I had to be beautiful. But now that I do (by some standard) measure up, I know that that’s not much better. That end is full of the same insecurity, with the unwelcome addition of harassment and unfair expectations about who I must be because of how I look.

So to all the girls out there who want to lose weight, who think losing weight is the answer to everything: it’s not. Maybe the way society is right now it’s unrealistic for me to tell you “be happy with who you are! Being beautiful on the inside is all that matters” and for you to really, truly believe me. But I’m going to say it anyway. Be happy with who you are. Being beautiful on the inside really is all that matters because it seems like no matter what’s happening on the outside, women can’t win.

This article was originally posted here on the FBomb on February 8, 2012 and is re-posted today in honor of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.

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  • Sophie @ at 7:21 pm, February 8th, 2012

    I’m the same, sort of. I’m not fat and have styles that look nice on me, but it’s not fun being a Size 8. I’m currently losing weight, and it honestly hasn’t been too bad or difficult so fat. I’m mostly excited about being able to go into stores and not worry so much if something has the most flattering fit. I am worried about self esteem and such later, but I think the benefits far outweigh (ha, pun) the risks.

  • Alexa @ at 10:16 pm, February 8th, 2012

    “I think it’s because as girls we’re always supposed to be effortlessly beautiful. We can’t admit to trying to become more beautiful because that shatters the mystery around something that’s supposed to be unobtainable.”

    This quote is absolutely brilliant. This is a very introspective and society-critical piece. Great job :)

  • Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC @ at 12:30 pm, February 11th, 2012

    Kate M
    Thank you so much for this blog – so true! At The Awakening Center

  • Amy Grabowski, MA, LCPC @ at 12:32 pm, February 11th, 2012

    Kate M
    Thank you so much for this blog – so true! At The Awakening Center we try to help women (and men) find that they are already beautiful inside and out and that they have been brain washed by today’s society to not believe it. Losing weight never makes anyone feel whole and at peace with who they are inside. It just makes them feel empty, hollow, and directionless in life – all the time wondering why losing weight didn’t make them feel whole and at peace!
    Keep up the blogging! You go girl!!!

  • Damn Double Standards « thefeministblogproject @ at 3:18 pm, February 13th, 2012

    [...] http://thefbomb.org/2012/02/what-happens-after-you-lose-weight/ [...]

  • Tuesday Teasers: Stuff I’ve Been Reading [#5] - The Pursuit of Harpyness @ at 8:00 am, February 14th, 2012

    [...] M. @ The FBomb | What Happens After You Lose Weight. “I thought losing weight would make me happier. Even though I should’ve know better (and [...]

  • suzette @ at 8:34 pm, February 18th, 2012

    such a great note, i feel so much empathy; so, like 4 years ago i get into anorexia, and in a summer i loose like 7-8 kilos, like between 15-17 pounds, and when i came back to school everybody told me i look awesome and even start to catch some guys attention, but time keeps going on, and the truth is that i sort gain some self-esteem but at the same time i never felt like the way i look was enough, like i need to get thinner. Your note, just make me remember how things used to be, and make me feel lots of empathy; last couple days the idea of loosing weight have been around my mind, like i know i will never leave anorexia behind, but i gotta be strong, and join and be a truly and active member of the body revolution, i need to believe in myself and never loose the faith that i am love and, because, just like you said, no matter how much we try to change ourselves in the “outside” , we, the women, never win. We need a better , lovable and healthier way to fight. Lets keep strong
    :) greeting from mexico-magic!

  • Deborah @ at 8:49 pm, March 11th, 2012

    I have always considered my weight as a protective barrier from people that would judge me purely on my appearance and not my personality. I am at a point in my life where yes I would like to lose weight, but I am not obsessed with it anymore.

  • test2 @ at 4:44 pm, March 17th, 2013

    Hola! I’ve been following your weblog for a while now and finally acquired the courage to go forward and give you a shout out from Kingwood Texas! Simply wanted to say sustain the unbelievable job!

  • Jack @ at 12:52 pm, March 2nd, 2014

    Hey, I had a weight problem and tried so many things. Different things work for different people and I was lucky enough to find one that worked for me. I lost 18 pounds in one month without much exercise and it’s been a life changer. I’m a little embarrased to post my before and after photos here but if anyone actually cares to hear what I’ve been doing then I’d be happy to help in any way. Just shoot me an email at jackallbright[at]gmail.com and I’ll show you my before and after photos, and tell you about how things are going for me with the stuff I’ve tried. I wish someone would have helped me out when I was struggling to find a solution so if I can help you then it would make my day.

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