Last month, I reached my goal weight after struggling with weight issues for over 20 years. I had gained about 50 lbs in high school in three months and struggled to lose the weight for years. It was a shock for my family and me. In addition to affecting my self-esteem, it also affected my health.
People made fun of me when I was at my heaviest, and they continue to criticize me as I work towards being healthier.
I’d tried everything possible to lose weight quickly, but the truth is that as easy as it is to gain weight, it is not easy to lose it. But in the end, weight loss is more about change in lifestyle and discipline. When I shared my proud accomplishment on social media, I was met with mostly negative and mean comments.
“You looked better before.”
“I would never deprive myself of food.”
“Are you okay? We are worried about you.”
“You have an eating disorder.”
In college, I did not live a healthy lifestyle. Partying, overindulging in food and alcohol, and barely sleeping were not particularly helpful, but I did not care. I wanted to be healthy, but I wasn’t doing anything to change that.
I am 5’1, and I am at a healthy weight now, and it is a result of daily exercise and a more nutritious diet of protein and vegetables. It is not rocket science; I stopped eating processed food and cut down my consumption of alcohol. I never deprived myself of food; I only stopped overeating.
It is considered rude to comment on people when they gain a few extra lbs. When someone loses a little weight, the internet feels like it has the right to comment on your body, saying that it is coming from a place of ‘concern.’
But how did I gain all the weight in the first place? I was 17, living in Italy. I was rewarding myself with pizza and gelato every day. Plus I didn’t exercise at all. I couldn’t walk half a mile without having to rest or catch my breath. I sprained both my ankles because I fell while walking.
When covid forced us all into lockdown, I decided to make it happen.
It wasn’t easy; the most challenging part was being disciplined. After three months of consistency, not giving up, and daily exercise, I noticed that I had lost weight and didn’t have stomach issues as I had before. It took time, but I noticed that I started to enjoy healthier foods, I began to feel better and happier, and I wasn’t always hungry like I used to be. I also didn’t miss the daily stomach pain.
I was criticized and shunned by many people when I tried to stick to my diet. People sent me mean comments and attacked me when I shared little victories towards my goal. They called me a vain person with low self-esteem because I felt the need to lose weight, and some even told me I had an eating disorder. I felt attacked. Instead of support, I received criticism about how shallow I was to care about how I looked.
Most people who said those things don’t even know me; they didn’t know the amount of work I was putting into this. I was working hard towards it because I started to prioritize my health I got older.
We should encourage and support people who want to make a positive change in their lives. Most of the criticism also comes from people who are not happy with themselves, so they take it out on others, and there is no polite way to say that.
It was hurtful, so I kept it to myself.
Honestly, for the first time in years, I feel good. I can walk for miles. I no longer have stomach issues that I struggled with for years. It is such a relief not to worry about what will happen to your stomach when you are eating out.
I am happy with how I look and feel, and I have been waiting years to feel this way. However, I am shocked that instead of supporting fellow humans, I was labeled as a vain, unhappy person who did not have a healthy relationship with food. I didn’t expect everyone to help me in my process, but I also didn’t expect the backlash.
To be honest, this is the healthiest relationship I have ever had with food. I enjoy eating; I cook a lot, and food has become a positive part of my life.
It makes me sad to see that my lifestyle has resulted in some people thinking they have the right to tell me how I should look. We hate it when someone comments on our body, so what makes it acceptable to comment on others? I understand that people will always have opinions, but why so cruel?
We have the right to love the body we are in, and I think we should support each other instead of tear each other down. We need to be kind to each other and support each other. So, I am requesting that if you do not have any words of encouragement or something positive to say, it is better to say nothing at all.
After two decades of struggling with my weight, I am finally healthy at 38. I am happy with how far I have come. I am proud of myself, and I will not let anyone shame me for my body. I am sure they have better things to do with their time.