That before picture is one that's really hard for me to look at. I didn't know I was THAT big until I saw that picture, as well as another one of me sitting from the same trip (I will show you that one another day). It was shocking enough to see pics of myself standing, but this one showed just how much fat I had on my body. Sitting next to me is my aforementioned best friend and I was taking up 3-4 times more space on the couch than she was. I remember seeing this photo pop up on Facebook and promptly untagging myself and hoping as few people saw it as possible. But looking back I realize THEY already knew I looked like this. Everyone else could see me. I was the only one who couldn't see what I really looked like.
So, 100 pounds later, what has changed? Everything and nothing. I'm still Ashley - but I'm not. It's sort of a weird feeling. I can't tell you how many times in the past few months I've said "who am I??" because my thinking and habits have changed SO much. My thought process has changed. I don't have to have a piece of cake in order to have a good time at a party. I mean, let's be real. Of course I still love cake. But I passed up cake this past weekend at my grandmother's birthday party. I could have had a piece and it wouldn't have been the end of the world but I felt so proud of myself afterwards and that feeling is so much better than any piece of cake. I never really felt proud of myself 100 pounds ago.
I get up an hour to an hour and a half earlier than I used to just to have time to walk before work. I am actually thinking once I lose more weight I might like to try running. I really have myself wondering if an alien has invaded my body at times because I used to only think about running if the house were to catch on fire. Or if The Doctor showed up. I would have tried to run for that (because you know running is always involved when The Doctor shows up). If you don't understand what I'm talking about then you're obviously not a fan of Doctor Who and I am so, so sorry. But to think of running every day voluntarily? Not even in my realm of thinking.
I don't feel like I'm 90 anymore. 100 pounds ago everything hurt. All the time. Not just when I was walking, but even when I was just sitting I would often ache. My body was not meant to carry all that around and I was slowly crushing it. I still hurt a lot, but it's a different kind of hurt. Yes, some of it is still from my body carrying too much weight. It's usually muscle aches or my plantar fasciitis flaring up. But I will take that over how I used to feel any day. I used to have to fight to stay awake when cropping pictures for blog posts. I know now that that was the sugar crash from my beloved Coke (which was both my comfort and my worst enemy). I've not had any instances like that for months and it's been amazing.
But the best part? I am starting to actually love myself. I have another post planned expanding on this topic, but it's an amazing feeling. I don't have a big head, but I do feel confident now. I am still 300 pounds but I feel so much better than I did when I was 300 pounds before - because my thinking has changed. I am actually comfortable in my own skin. Am I 100% happy with my body now? Of course not. I still have about 160 pounds to lose. And I don't think there's any person walking the planet that is 100% happy with their body. That doesn't mean we can't love ourselves.
I used to avoid pictures at all cost because I hated the way I looked. Now I don't mind being in pictures and I'm even taking selfies! (Another "who am I?" moment!) I took the selfie above over the weekend and it was the first selfie I've ever taken that I actually thought "wow, I look pretty good!" My favorite part of the pic is I'm actually starting to see a neck! An actual neck that's not 52 chins!
Weight loss isn't easy. In fact, it's one of the hardest things I've ever done. But it is so worth it. No cupcake, no can of Coke, no bag of potato chips can compare to this feeling. Every walk taken, every sore muscle, every drop of sweat is so worth it.