"Wow, you look really great! You've lost a lot of weight haven't you?"
"I wish I could lose that much weight! You look amazing!"
"You look amazing! You've lost so much weight!"
I don't really know how to respond so I just say the truth: Yes, actually I was starving after I got my braces put on because I couldn't eat all my favorite foods so I lost 15 pounds and went down two pants sizes. I was pretty miserable because I couldn't eat anything, but yeah, I've lost some weight!
I should be happy! I should be jumping for joy, right? Thank you! I should scream! Starving myself and losing weight is my absolute dream!!
The problem now is that I am slowly putting the weight back on now that my teeth are less sore. It's not a problem for me per say, but has the potential to psychologically mess with a persons self esteem.
"So wait, what you're saying is I look amazing now that I've lost weight? What was I before-- A big fat un-amazing hog of cheese?" Exactly.
In real life, not braces life, when I eat healthy, exercise, and go about my normal routine I plateau at a size 12, 160 pounds. This is normal for me. This has been my normal size and weight since right after high school. This size and weight is where I feel most comfortable in my skin, where I know I'm not over-eating or under-eating or over-exercising or under-exercising: it's right where God intends me to be. However, when I starve myself because of braces, or get huge and pregnant, or eat too much over the holidays my weight goes up and down and changes to fit my growing needs. (Yes, pumpkin pie is a need! )
I am happy with my plateau and don't feel that I should put excess energy into trying to be unnaturally smaller than I am.
So that's why the comments bother me. Just because suddenly I've lost some pounds, I get comments that are potentially supposed to make me feel good, but instead they have the reverse effect. I've written about this before, about how in most cases weight loss compliments are neither appropriate nor helpful. In fact they usually reflect the person's own values about thinness and what their priorities are: being thin equals being more beautiful. more lovable. more healthy. more happy. etc etc.
There's also a lot of people in this world who value being thin over other traits that are far more meaningful like humility, kindness, Godliness, love, tolerance, and acceptance. I won't lie, I've been there before.
But I tell ya what, the shape and size of a body isn't going to have the long term affects we all wish for. After we're dead and gone people aren't going to say,"Gosh, we're sure going to miss her lean legs and rock hard abs." Nope:, they're going to miss the virtues that made us lovable, likable, and a decent contribution to society. This is something I've been thinking a lot about as I see a world where people really struggle with their self worth. Self worth is something I have struggled with and I think most people question at some point in their lives. Am I pretty enough? Smart enough? Important enough? Is what I'm doing with my life going to make a difference in the world?
Well I think the answer is pretty simple. You are valuable, worthwhile, beautiful, and significant because you are simply a human being. By some miracle of the universe, or nature, or science, or God, or whatever your beliefs may be, you arrived here on planet earth and that is enough to make you amazing. People are amazing.
If we could just step outside of this human experience for a second and see things operating from a much grander scale (like maybe outer-space) we would see this race of people living, breathing, walking, eating, playing, loving, and simply existing to rise with the sun day by day. This is miraculous in itself and I don't think it's fair to put other values on a persons life....i.e. You are only important if you are healthy. You are only beautiful if you are thin. You are only smart if you make a lot of money. You are only worthwhile if you are talented. You are only valuable if you believe in God.... and on and on.
All people have value simply because they are people.
I'm becoming more aware of this fact as I grow into a less selfish person.
This way of thinking is probably not enough to end the epidemic of low self worth in the this world, but it's enough for me to wake up and love my neighbor. And It's enough for me to find joy and happiness in staying home to raise my children. It's enough for me to put down my Smart phone and play with my little boys because they need me. And it's enough for me to accept those who hate me and tolerate those who piss me off. It's enough for me to see the eternal perspective of life and how the most important thing to do is to accept those different from me. Just as God wants me to do.
So I'm not going to worry about lean legs, rock hard abs, or even if people find me all that like able. What is important is that I find value in myself simply for who I am, love myself, and know that I am amazing no matter what size my pants are. In other words, I am trying to be happy here on my plateau so stop messing with me. :)
Last thought: I really like this response from Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) to the folks criticizing her for not looking like the same person in the current Star Wars movie as she did 32 years ago. Fisher has been the subject of online body-shaming and hateful social media posts following the opening film. She responded with her own tweets: