Protection

I've written before about the impact weight loss has had on my life, here. It's been and will continue to be an amazing and terrifying journey.

Fat is protective. Fat stores can be the difference between life and death in some situations (not terribly often in the US...). Women are encouraged to gain weight during pregnancy for the sake of their baby's development. A little extra padding can be a very good thing when winter rolls around.

Being fat is also a great excuse for lots of things.

No energy? Exercise is too difficult with the extra weight.

No dream job? Fat people are discriminated against and their competence doubted because people (even other fat people) are judgmental.

No boyfriend/husband? Men are too shallow to look past the extra pounds.

The list of things I silently blamed my fat for could go on and on. But, despite the things the weight "kept me from having," deep down, I think I loved it. The fat was a buffer between me and the world, a protective layer of convenient excuses.

It was almost exactly a year ago that I started a diet. Three months later, I did my first workout. I don't actually know how much weight I've lost over that time (Pffftt on scales!) but I know it's been significant (tight XXL shirts to loose M level of significant) and I've noticed another strange phenomenon.

Suddenly, I'm feeling things. A good run, an apt quote, a beautiful photo, great song lyrics, good or bad news from a friend impact me so much more deeply than they once did, bringing a smile to my face or tears to my eyes (sometimes both). Maybe it would be more accurate to say I feel much more comfortable expressing how these things make me feel. Just today, as I was driving home from my longest run yet and thinking about how I'll be running a half marathon WITH my lovely Rebecca in two weeks AND realizing that, barring crazy circumstances, I would complete it in a respectable time, I teared up... more than once! I have no doubt that my face will be wet with tears as I cross that finish line and I won't care who sees me.

At times, it is terrifying to realize that my crutch, the one I've carried with me for most of my life, is going away. (What will it mean if I don't get my dream job and a husband when I'm thinner?)  You know what, though? If you're not injured, it's a heck of a lot easier to walk without a crutch since you don't really need it in the first place.
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