Jeans

What 60lbs Looks Like in Mismatched Undies

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It’s been an exciting week for me, because I finally hit the 160lbs I’d been aiming for for the last two years. Now I’m here, I realise I’ve still got some work to do, and my target weight has shifted a bit now I’m here – but when I started out, at 290lbs, it seemed like an impossible dream, so to finally reach it was very, very exciting. If anyone wants to send me streamers and a party hat, I could really use them. Also cake. Always send cake.

It did make me think, though, how little the scales relate to what goes on in the mirror – especially if you’re aiming to improve your body composition, rather than just losing weight. On the 28th February this year, when I went “Round Two” on the whole programme thing, I remembered how hard it was to stay focused when I was fixated purely on lowering that number at any cost. I knew that there had been times where I’d felt like my body was different – better, even – but I was so disappointed that the pounds didn’t seem to be dropping that I’d end up getting back into bad habits and chowing down on my body weight in pizza.

In case we’re not clear on that, that’s the wrong thing to do.

So, in a moment of despair, or something like it – this time, I took a photo of myself in my pants. At 220lbs.

I have to say, that’s served me well. I then took a photo around every month between then and now… And here’s what that looks like. I have no idea why it’s coming out slightly yellow on here – but you get the idea:

That’s eight months of change in eight photos.

Now, my reasons for posting this are pretty varied. They’re not just to show off – although needless to say, I’m pleased with the results so far, and I feel a whole lot better in my skivvies now than I did when I took that first photo. That said, I’m also fully aware that I’m probably somewhat narrowing my market on the man front by exposing myself on the internet. So be it. I have a few points to make.

Firstly – let’s talk about the photos second and third from the right. Between those two photos, I hadn’t lost any weight. At all. I’d gained muscle, and I’d lost fat – but as far as my bathroom scales were concerned, I had made absolutely no progress whatsoever. That’s why the scales really, really, really don’t matter. The change in my body shape tells the story for itself – I lost a significant amount of belly fat, which, as far as I’m concerned, is like discovering the Holy Grail.

That’s right guys: I am the Indiana Jones of weight loss. ‘Scuse me while I go rescue my hat.

Secondly – patience really is a virtue with this. It might look like a significant change now, but every day I’d go work out, and then the next morning check myself out in the mirror expecting a huge, immediate difference. That just doesn’t happen. Each of these pictures was taken around a month apart – but on a day-to-day basis, I wasn’t really noticing a difference. You have to give your body time to change, and trust in the process – because change does happen, as long as you give it time.

And finally – you can see, I’m not perfect now. Far, from it. My stomach still needs work, and I’m pretty sure there’s a map of the London Underground etched out in my stretch marks. As much as I’ve had a slight fear of putting these photos out there, I outright refuse to photoshop or adjust them in any way, because I think it’s important that we stay realistic here. When you look in magazines and spot celebrity weight loss stories, where they go from a ‘flabby mess’ to a perfect photoshopped bikini model, that’s another example of being sold an unrealistic expectation. I know I say I’d like to look like Beyonce, but you and I both know that’s not really going to happen.

And that’s the point I’m making here. You might be under the impression that losing weight will make you perfect. It won’t.

Above everything else, this whole journey is about self-acceptance, not weight loss. And yes, it’s easier to accept my flaws now I’ve lost the weight – but that’s because I’m able to see them as a pretty reasonable trade-off for my much-improved health and fitness levels that have reduced my risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, and heart disease, and will probably mean I live longer. All of which are things I count as a win, personally.

But tere are so many things that can disillusion you if you set out to lose weight and you don’t come out the other end totally perfect. Stretch marks, shrinking boobs, those bits of cellulite that just won’t go… Our whole culture – the diet industry being just one part of it – is targeted at achieving total perfection, and tells us that we’re failures if we don’t quite reach it. That’s wrong.

Don’t get me wrong – I am very, very happy with what I’ve achieved. I’ve got swagger now, apparently, although I’m not quite sure what exactly that is. And clothed, I look awesome. I’m happy. But far more important than that, for me, has been the fact that I can now accept my faults and see myself as pretty awesome regardless. I can improve some bits, certainly – but now, I’m doing it for my health more than ever.

And so, again, I say – emphatically – it’s not just about weight loss. Learning to be happy with yourself, even though you’re not perfect, is far more important – and I’d wager more satisfying – than actually attaining perfection. And that’s why I’m now on the internet… In my pants.

Y’all best appreciate this point. Seriously.

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Comments
  • comment avatar Laura Bligh 12 October, 2012

    This is such a brave thing to do and even though you say you still aren’t Beyonce yet…. you’re Katie and that, my love, is pretty darn fabulous!! Well done xx

  • comment avatar emotionalcynic 12 October, 2012

    As someone who has also posted near-naked photos showing my weight loss efforts (although I chickened out doing it in pants and have lost much less than you) I applaud you. I think you’re incredible. In fact, I think I love you a bit.

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 15 October, 2012

      Awww! I love you too ^_^

  • comment avatar Danielle 12 October, 2012

    You look absolutely fantastic! I wouldn’t worry about being in your pants, because a lot of women have been there, (not technically, lol) and it’s nice to see all of the flaws. I know I have them. I would hate it if you’d have photoshopped yourself. Nothing like me getting an unrealistic notion that after having 2 kids the stretch marks will just magically disapeer if I lose 50 pounds. Sure, they will look smaller, but I doubt they will go into hiding! lol Great job to you! You are an inspiration, and I think I will do the same. Take the pictures, make myself feel bad enough to get going with it. Whatever it takes! Thank you:)

  • comment avatar Cyn 12 October, 2012

    Hey, wait! I recognise that first picture–that’s me! I have been enjoying the blog for several weeks now and am on my own journey to fitness, having lost just over 60 pounds so far. I have nearly exactly 60 pounds to go (I think) and am quite inspired to keep motivated by reading your story/thoughts and photos and seeing my own body change. I truly cannot picture what my body will look like when I get there…If it looks half as good as you do today, I will be quite happy! Thanks again!

  • comment avatar Cathrine 12 October, 2012

    Katie you look fantastic! Well done, you’re an inspiration to us all :0)

  • comment avatar Melissa 15 October, 2012

    THANK YOU for posting this today. I stepped on the scale this morning and it has barely budged even though I have been working out more and eating better the last couple weeks, and my muscles are sore from working out. I have to admit that the thought, “why do I even bother?” Went through my head. The next thought I had though was..”guess I need to step it up a notch!”
    And you look great, by the way!! :)

  • comment avatar Nichole 15 October, 2012

    Katie!

    Thank you for the post! I know it must have been terrifying to post your pictures, but I really have to tell you I am so inspired by you! Thank you for putting yourself out there and letting the rest of us know there is hope! I love your blog! Keep up the good work! You are BEA-U-TIFUL! :)

  • comment avatar Jana 15 October, 2012

    Katie, you actually look adorable in the last two photos! So what is perfection? If perfection is photoshopping and collagen injections (so much so in our society that collagen injection addicts actually start to resemble burn victims), who needs it? I think that a lot of men and women prefer real bodies, because the flaws are just a part of the person they are attracted to. So great job! You look amazing and HEALTHY! And you feel great about your achievements. That’s really the ultimate goal which I’m looking forward to achieving someday soon myself.

  • comment avatar Toodles 15 October, 2012

    You are so brave and so right that this post brought me to tears! Thank you for being so open and so willing to share with the world your struggles and successes. It makes me feel so much more hopeful that I can do this – so much less alone in the things that knock me off course – and I’m kinder to myself realizing that it’s not about succeeding in some “perfect” way – it’s simple about continuing on with making the changes.

  • comment avatar Suebob 15 October, 2012

    Good work and smart words. I weigh myself every day to keep myself on track (45 lbs so far) but I also check my body fat a couple times a week, and that’s the number that really means the most to me. My other measurement is how easy a Zumba class feels. It’s always hard, but it is getting easier.

  • comment avatar Dea 15 October, 2012

    You rock – you have done amazing work, and your rewards are showing. I love this idea. I think I’m going to do this. I’ve noticed obsessing over the scale was leading to eating – either as a yay, or a boo! So I like this so much better than weighing myself. Thank you. You’ve inspired me. :)

  • comment avatar Just Shireen 15 October, 2012

    “You might be under the impression that losing weight will make you perfect. It won’t.” I could not agree more. I’ve lost 65lbs since March and one of the biggest things I’ve realized is that my flaws aren’t going to just disappear because I can fit into a size 6. And I’m okay with that.

    But yes, thank you for writing this.

  • comment avatar Heather O. 15 October, 2012

    Great job! This is inspiring to me! I’m gearing myself up to make a lot of permanent changes in my family’s diet and in my lifestyle, with the goal of getting healthier and losing weight. I don’t know if I’ll ever be brave enough to share pictures like you have — but I hope I can, because your pictures are truly very inspiring!

  • comment avatar fatgirlphd 15 October, 2012

    Thanks so much for the kind words guys – you are all AWESOME people who have made my day (repeatedly!)

  • comment avatar MemeGRL 16 October, 2012

    You are my hero! Bravo to you.

  • comment avatar Birgit 16 October, 2012

    Great post – and you look amazing of course. You are absolutely right: weight loss will not magically solve all of our problems, but it makes it easier to tackle them and search for solutions. All the best to you!

  • comment avatar Amy 16 October, 2012

    Wow what a transformation/. Can you please tell us how you lost that belly fat?!

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 19 October, 2012

      There’s a post coming up on it – promise!

  • comment avatar Joanna 17 October, 2012

    Wow. What an amazing journey. And not just the obvious physical change showing in the photos, but the mental one you talk about. It’s about loving yourself. 60lbs more or less, you’re beautiful regardless! :)

  • comment avatar Vanessa 19 October, 2012

    I want to say that tonight you have inspired me. I have lost 53lbs. Since December to now. I am at my lowest weight since even before I had my first child. Yet everyday I stare in the mirror and I feel disgusting. I still find the stretch marks, I still am struggling to lose my lower belly and although everyone around me tells me I look amazing. All I can see in the mirror is a giant ball of fat. Your blog has inspired me. You have inspired me. You look amazing.

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 19 October, 2012

      Thank you! That’s such an amazing compliment – but I’m willing to bet that you look amazing too! Accept what you can’t change, and learn to love it – it’s the only way route to happiness, but I guarantee it works :) x

  • comment avatar Bellgel 20 October, 2012

    So true, body image is about how you feel about yourself. I play rugby and have legs muscles that some don’t think very feminine but I no long care what they think. I know from group showers that no one is perfect, even the skinny wingers. We all have flaws and my body shape allows me to play the sport I love. I was two stone lighter ten years ago and probably looked better than I do now but I didn’t love me so I thought I looked terrible.

  • comment avatar littlemamalady 22 October, 2012

    Thanks for these pictures! I have had 3 kids in the last 3-3 1/2 years and I had the belly before that. I know that I’m not going to get rid of the stretch marks, but you’ve given me hope that I’ll be able to have a flat(ish) stomach for the first time since I was 10. I honestly think that knowing it’s possible and that I won’t be stuck with this horrid thing forever gives me the most (or at least ranks in top 3) motivation. So, thanks for being brave enough to post these and you look fabulous!

  • comment avatar Lisa 31 October, 2012

    Amen! I can’t tell you how man different diet plans and quick weightless schemes I have tried to obtain “perfection”. I have always disliked my body, even when I was a size 4. I have long legs, a short torso, big boobs and wide hips – not something that dresses nicely. But perfect I will never be . . . and who really wants to be anyway? That’s a lot of upkeep! Lol. In any case, I am taking my “imperfectness” and making it my “perfection”. It’s about time we stop comparing ourselves to others and love the body we were given.

  • comment avatar JJ 8 January, 2013

    It says I need to be logged in to see this?

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 8 January, 2013

      Try refreshing and trying again – I’ve just been tweaking the site as we speak so it might be a glitch!

  • comment avatar JJ 8 January, 2013

    Cheers, all sorted!

  • comment avatar JJ 8 January, 2013

    Just to let you know by the way that this statement is entirely false: “I’m also fully aware that I’m probably somewhat narrowing my market on the man front by exposing myself on the internet.” I think you look beautiful. Also, when I click reply it takes me to the contact box at the bottom, rather than a reply box. :)

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 9 January, 2013

      Thank you – you’re very kind! And thanks also for the tip – I’ll look into it :)

  • comment avatar Kate H 16 February, 2013

    Um. I just discovered your blog and I must say that you. are. awesome. Courageous, first of all, to post your photos. I just started my journey a few weeks ago, and I have quite a few photos of the undies-only variety saved on my phone at the moment. [Can't wait for the day when I see a difference.] And secondly, you’re witty as hell. Indiana Jones… London Underground. I love it. Girl after my own heart. Anyway, I just bookmarked your blog and will be coming back for inspiration and laughs often. So thanks for doing what you’re doing!

    • comment avatar fatgirlphd 17 February, 2013

      Aww, thanks Kate – that’s so lovely of you to say! :) x

  • comment avatar Carol 23 September, 2013

    Bravo! I have had a frustrating year with the scale and I want a divorce from it, but still I rely on those numbers. Although I’ve seen and felt my body changing, though the scale didn’t move. Then after two abdominal surgeries in six month’s time, I saw how the scale stayed the same and even dropped at one point although I was considerably thicker. I want to be free of it. Again, bravo to you!

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