So I’ve been on this journey now for around 2 years, though I guess in reality it has been most of my life, years of back and forth between being somewhat healthy and absolutely not at all. Losing weight, getting fit and healthy is an exciting change but also a lonely time, infact I’ve never really truly felt loneliness quite like it. To really want to change yourself requires dedication, it requires compromise and time; not just to exercise but to plan and prep your food, to educate yourself and to rally motivation by yourself, for yourself. I’m not going to lie to you, it’s not easy, there is no magic fix, you have to want it and then do it.
Now what I wasn’t prepared for is the consequences of weight loss; ok that sounds silly, like yes I knew my bank account would take a hit with gym fees, workout wear and new clothes to fit my shrinking self, I expected people to notice and give me compliments (I’m getting better at receiving them, though I still cringe a little inside), what I mean is… skin. Lordy there is so much spare skin. Gross. Stretching your body over time, has an effect, the elasticity your skin has wears over time, it doesn’t just snap back as you’d like or maybe think it would. I dreamed of wearing a bikini on holiday or a dress with no sleeves to a friend’s wedding, embracing summer finally and showing off my ‘new’ figure. But when I look at myself, I know that won’t happen just yet. It’s a cruel world when you work so hard for something and it finds another way to spite you. I want to be happy with how I look, I want to feel proud that I’ve turned it all around, I want to feel normal and not like the ‘fat friend’ but it’s a struggle… one I know I’ll overcome eventually (once I’ve saved for the surgery haha).
So ok, this blog is meant to be about weight loss only but I feel maybe this will resonate with a few people so here goes. It’s a weird time in my life in general, most of my friends, I guess what you’d traditionally call your ‘support system’ have their own lives, they have partners (or husbands), their own homes, careers and perhaps even children, they don’t live in the city but the suburbs, a night out requires weeks of advance planning not just a shall we go for one drink job. We speak most days (ok ok we send a lot of memes via whatsapp), we catch-up when we can, but naturally this is all very high level conversation, in that we discuss what’s current, who’s doing what and life in sweeping motions.
Moving from London back to Birmingham was a culture shock, gone were the after work drinks, the weekly pub quizzes and the 4am nightbus home, in fact most weeknight’s without the luxury of the last tube were pretty boring. It’s a different way of life here, one where people want to get back to their homes, their families and children, and mid-week drinking isn’t the done thing. This has without a doubt aided my fat to fit progression, but it’s been tough to really come to terms with. Not one to sit around I have made sure I am intensely busy; I run a social action project helping the homeless, I volunteer my marketing expertise outside of the office, I play netball, I run, I work out, I have a full diary of activities, when it’s the football season I go to every game but being busy I’ve figured out doesn’t actually make you feel any less lonely.
Like how do you even make new friends at 26. I had these visions in my head, like I’ll join a gym in town, and go to zumba, one day they’ll be a girl similar age and I’ll go ‘hey, nice leggings’ or something equally harmless and suddenly we’d be grabbing a coffee after our class and ‘alright, yeah you’re normal, let’s be friends’. In reality a stranger talking to strangers is viewed as a bit creepy, we’re all guilty of it, we want to be left alone, someone speaks to us on the train or the bus and we’re wondering when to put our headphones in.
What I’m learning from my 20s is that I can have all the confidence in the world with my passion, career, myself, and it can still be immensely lonely. I think it is an internal conflict of sorts as I’m pretty sure most people who know me would think I’m very happy, I always smile, I tell a lot of jokes, I’ve always been confident – first one on the dancefloor, last one off it kinda gal. By my late 20s I imagined I’d be happy with myself, have a career I’m proud of (this bit is fine fyi it’s not all doom and gloom), be settled not just in geographical terms but in love and in life. Being as I’m now in my mid 20s I’ve a lot of groundwork to do to catch up and sometimes it can feel like you’re making all the progress in the world but getting nowhere at the same time.
Now that was all very melancholy stuff, but I think it’s quite important to have a grasp of reality, that you know maybe these haven’t been the best years of my life, but instead a transition period. It’s ok to admit you’re lonely and to talk about it, openly; in a world where we are all constantly interconnected it can be quite overwhelming to have an honest face to face conversation with someone about something you’re struggling with, I’ve not managed that yet. But like I said right at the start, it’s a journey, I might not know where I’m going but I’m sure I’ll get there, because one thing I have learnt these past couple of years is believing in yourself is the foundation for happiness.