Other people’s success stories are among the most powerful forms of inspiration for me. Men and women who have overcome amazing odds to drop immense amounts of weight, build strength, and develop confidence.
Tonight, while reading a women’s fitness magazine, it occurred to me that what really tips people over is seeing photos of themselves, usually in fancy, formal events. They see a picture of themselves in this oversized body, lacking confidence, not recognizing the person in the picture.
Somehow, it’s this very public form of proof of their size that causes them to make a change and take transformative steps to do better by their health. So of course, while reading another success story – with the prominent before and after photos – and seeing the same turning point again, I thought about my turning point.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t seeing myself in a photo. Yes, I hated photos of myself (usually still do), with my round face and flabby body. But there wasn’t really that special “one photo” that made me decide that it was time to do something different.
For me, the turning point was probably something that no one else really noticed but me. My boyfriend didn’t even really notice my weight gain – at least, not that he’ll admit. For me, my turning point was my clothes. I could no longer fit into my work pants without looking like I was trying too hard, the fabric stretching in places I didn’t want it to stretch.
But I’ve had a rule. Since I hit my size 6 about three years ago, down from my heaviest (which had put me in a size 14), I told myself that I wouldn’t buy bigger clothes because I gained weight. I wouldn’t.
So when my size 6 work pants didn’t fit anymore, I wouldn’t let myself buy bigger pants. Instead, I switched to dresses and skirts to get me through my day-to-day routine, and decided it was time to make a change.
And today, for the first time in two to three months, I wore my size 6 pants to work. Not my jeans, which are always tight at first until they stretch out a bit, but my work pants, which have almost no give. They were still a little bit snug, but not “trying too hard” snug.
It was my moment of accomplishment, my moment where I felt good about the decisions I had been making over the last few weeks. Where I could finally see some results. The difference between me and those magazine success stories? I don’t have distinct before and after photos to show my progress. My progress is my own, visible only in the way my clothes fit. And I’m good with that.