Fat Girl Wearing Thin

Life beyond the loss.

   Sep 02

Memory Lane: The Dream Body Lottery

Expectation [ek–spek-tey–shuhn]: the degree of probability that something will occur; a prospect of future good or profit.

From 1990 to 2004 I knew exactly what that word meant. To me, it meant that when I met my goal weight of 130 pounds, I was going to be living a different life. When I won the dream-body lottery I was going to have a better job. I was going to have more friends. I would be happier, prettier, oozing with confidence; I would be more appealing to other people; I would feel better, stronger; I’d be more respected and admired; I could go on, but you get the point.

Did it change my life like I expected it to? Well, in truth the unexpected happened: Along with the weight, I thought all of my other problems were going to disappear as well.  That didn’t happen.

I didn’t land a better job (I waited, but no one offered me one.  Go figure). And I didn’t gain more friends.  No one noticed me any more or less than when I was heavy. I didn’t particularly see that strangers found me more appealing, either; nor was I admired more.

People in the world had their own problems; they were too busy living their own lives – too busy to fix mine.

Losing the weight did give me moments of happiness, however, once the weight came off there was (and still is) a constant fear of gaining it back so it’s quite bittersweet. The one thing I can honestly say that changed was my health. I do feel better; I do have more energy; I am stronger. Physically, I’m more comfortable. Emotionally and mentally however, I still have some of the same personality issues that I did when I was heavy. I am still shy; I still consider myself a control-freak; I still get lonely, and I still at times wonder why I can’t just accept who I am right now, this second.

When my expectations weren’t met, I had to sit back and figure out what happened and why. Then it became clear: I made the mistake of thinking that if I changed my body on the outside, suddenly everyone around me would see that I was now worthy by completing my transformation on the inside. With the weight gone I assumed people would find me more appealing and want to be my friend. It took 100+ pounds to figure out that what I should have been working on was not my physical health but my mental health. If all of my worth was completely dependent on being a size 6, then I was missing out on the part that was already lovely and perfect: my kindness towards others, my empathetic nature, being an attentive listener, being a loyal friend and a good person.

Years have passed and I feel a little wiser, now. Maybe it’s because I turned the ripe old age of 40 this year, or maybe it’s because I finally cut through the crap. I still have insecurities and fears, but you know what? Working on those things will give me the life I’ve always wanted. Being a desired size is simply a perk of an already fulfilling life. I only wish I’d had this knowledge back then.

Changing my body did not change who I am. In the end, I’m still me. A work in progress; whether I’m 235 pounds or 130 pounds. 

Live your life.  Be your best self.  Now. 



What does Memory Lane mean? 

It’s a code word used for one of my specially chosen favorite posts over the past year which has been republished to celebrate my one year blog anniversary this month. 

Why is this one a favorite of yours?

I love this post because I wanted to write a brutally honest account of what my expectations were before and after I lost all of my excess weight; I wanted people to see that I had unrealistic expectations of weight loss, and wanted to show how important the mental and physical health connection truly is.

Isn’t there some kind of giveaway going on here? 

Why, I’m glad you asked that question.  Yes!  Because I posted a Memory Lane post, you now have the opportunity to win this truly awesome prize:

If you have never worn Smartwool socks, please understand that these are NOT just a pair of socks.  They are so much more than that, and you can read all about them from a post I wrote which is located here

Description:  These are a soft lime green color, sized medium (which fits up to a 9.5 shoe size) and are a Ladies sock. They are labeled as a running sock but I use them for any kind of workout or just lounging around.  They are particularly great for long walks because they have a wonderful cushion in the heel and the ball of the foot.  They sit right by the ankle, which is great if you don’t like your socks to show when you’re wearing your shoes.  Retail value of these socks from Smartwool is $13.95


Is Smartwool paying you to endorse these socks? 

No.  Every prize I give away during my blog anniversary month are things that I’ve carefully considered and purchased with my own cold, hard cash.  I’m giving them away to you because they are some of my favorite things and I hope you’ll love them as much as I do (I feel just like Oprah!) Plus, I want to let you all know how much you are appreciated as my readers. 

So, what do I have to do again to enter?

That’s the simple part.  You don’t have to become a follower; you don’t have to follow me on Twitter or any other social network.  All you have to do is live in the US, let me know that you are a reader of my blog by leaving a comment below, and you’re entered.  This isn’t mandatory for entry, but if you’ve never left a comment before, I’d love to know how long you’ve been reading!

You will have until 9 PM EST. on Sunday night to leave a comment.  I will announce the winner during Monday’s post.  The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with his/her mailing address so I can send out these great socks.  If I don’t hear back from the winner during that time, a subsequent name will be drawn from Random.org until a winner comes forward to claim this nifty gifty. 

Good luck!  Have a great weekend, and I’ll see you back here on Monday :)

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  1. Hope says:

    I’d LOVE to win the Smartwool socks! I run everyday, and I’ve been told I need to start investing in some better socks to cushion my feet. I’d love to start here! Thanks!

  2. What a great (re)post! I, too, think I had expectations that were too high for when I lost the weight. I finally lost it and my life is exactly the same as before. The one exception is that physically, it’s much easier to be active now.

    Ever since I read your post about the socks, I’ve been contemplating buying some! They’re very expensive and I have such a hard time justifying it when I’m not sure I’ll like them. I’d love to win a pair! 😉

  3. Tim says:

    As someone who is still pretty young, it’s really valuable to me to read peoples experiences and how they wished they’d done things differently. It really gives me something to think about especially as I find I am going through a similar phase in my life as you described when you were losing weight. So thanks for reposting this!

    I know I can’t win the women’s socks but I thought i’d share that I have similar socks, obviously man socks, but im the same as you. I wear them ALL the time and never when I run because I dont want to ruin them LOL. I love the cushion on the heel but they are so expensive over here! They’re already on my Christmas list.

  4. This was a great post and I’m glad you resurrected it for us.

  5. Marsial2010 says:

    When I post on someone’s blog who is offering a prize, I always tell them that, no matter how great the prize, not to include me in the drawing. This time I am making an exception….SEND ME THE SOCKS!! I love socks and these look great! If I don’t get them, I’ll be compelled to buy a pair. And they’re lime green…sigh.

    Your post today reminded me of a line from The Wizard of Oz……”A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others.” You are so easy to love, Ellen, not because of how you look, but because of the person you are and have shared with us. If you had never posted a photo, we would love you exactly the same. But I agree, it is easier to know and believe this as one ages. We’re so hard on ourselves when we’re young, aren’t we?

  6. Yeah, I think we all have that expectation that more is going to change than just the physical. I’m still not as outgoing as I’d like to be, still somewhat awkward around people I don’t know, even though I’ve lost weight. I guess being thinner doesn’t just make you instantly popular. But more importantly, for me, anyway, I feel better physically, which is a big part of what I wanted to get out of this.
    Great post, Ellen!

  7. Good post. I think it’s interesting how people can tend to go one of two ways — perhaps I’m taking the road less taken. People can work on their physical body first and later learn that working on the mental/emotional part is required. OR they can do the mental/emotional part first and the physical part will follow.

    In the end, hopefully, people get to a state of balance in both areas.

  8. LauraJayne says:

    Okay, so I love this post (and loved it before), but my favorite part today was the pronounciation guide! Strange, I know, but I wish we all spelled like that all the time!

    Oh, and I totally feel every single word in this post. If someone had told me that I wouldn’t be happier when I was skinny when I weighed 235 pounds, I probably would have punched them. I’m happy now, but I wasn’t happy for a long time – being skinny caused a whole new set of problems and expectations that I never thought I’d have to deal with. At the end of the day, I just realized that I like both versions of me. Who I am cannot be tied into my weight, or I’ll obsess over my recent 5-pound weight gain instead of living.

  9. Jill says:

    What a great re-post. I relate on so many levels! I thought losing weight was the answer. Little did I know that it would be much more challenging to work on the inside. You said it best- we are all a work in progress.., it is never to late!!! You are great!!!!

  10. Sometimes I feel as if I was more emotionally stable at my higher weight. Not to say that I’d like to regain the weight back, but my skinnier self is so fragile. Constantly worrying about gaining weight. Trying so hard to maintain so that I’m not “that girl who lost all the weight only to gain it back.” Feeling thin, but not being thin enough for the BMI charts or Hollywood/Magazine standards. It’s a constant emotional battle! I’d love to be able to accept myself exactly as I am no matter what weight I am.

    Oh, and I have 4 pairs of running socks so don’t enter me in the drawing. Someone else should get to experience what a good pair of running socks can do! :)

    Have a fantabulous weekend, Ellen!

  11. teresa says:

    I never would have seen this if not for Memory Lane! You’re so right and I finally got old enough to figure that out while I’m still fat… As long as we eventually get both pieces… health and feeling good on the inside…
    I do wish I’d known this years ago.
    Life is a process… thank goodness there’s still time to discover.

  12. munchberry says:

    What a wonderful choice for your first block of Memory Lane. Worth reading over and over again really.

  13. Jan says:

    LOVE this post of yours. I think we all think that life will be perfect if and when we’re at that perfect weight (like being at that perfect weight will change everything for us). It’s so good to know the realistic side of things before I get there (that way I don’t set myself up for unrealistic things). I so appreciate your honesty. It has really hoped me mentally.

    Love your giveaway too! I love walking, but always get shin splints if I walk more than 4 miles at a time. I wonder if these would help cushion things for me so I avoid the pain later on. Hmmm. Will have to get me a pair and find out, won’t I? :)

  14. Hi Ellen! Very interesting post. I wondered how other people felt about this very issue. I think that part of me will feel less “big and powerful” if I lose weight. I think my personality uses my body’s weight as a form of emotional protection. That might be why I get down to a certain weight fairly easily and then abruptly stop the successful actions–like I’m not comfortable with being slimmer.

    :-) Marion

  15. Sable@SquatLikeALady says:

    What a wonderful post!! I didn’t catch it the first time around but I’m glad I’ve seen it now. I always think there’s something that will change my whole life. And now I am thinner and stronger than I’ve ever been, I’m in school, and I have a wonderful job that I love…and there are still problems. So I guess it has to come from…ME :) not my circumstances. Ah well.

  16. Sable@SquatLikeALady says:

    Oh oh and don’t enter me. I love your blog and I’d love the socks but with school and work and my freelancing I have been notoriously bad at staying caught up on blogs lately!!!

  17. Suzanne says:

    Great post. My sister loves Smartwool socks but I haven’t gotten around to getting a pair yet.

  18. debby says:

    Loved your thought process here, and I’d love to try those socks. There are some universal similarities in those who have lost a large amount of weight, and I think you have a good way of expressing those–that’s why you are so relatable to a lot of us. Thanks, Ellen!

  19. Joy says:

    Great post!

    Keep focused!

  20. Sharon Spurlin says:

    Thanks for the heartfelt post. You are truly inspiring. Would love to try out the socks!

  21. Roz says:

    LOVE, LOVE this post!!! You said you didn’t gain more friends when you lost weight….but you gained a WHACK of blog friends with your postings. And I for one am VERY VERY proud to call myself one of those!!!! I wish we lived in the same city, because I KNOW you and I would be be “real life” friends too and am VERY grateful our electronic paths crossed (and will continue to do so for a LONG time to come)!! Sending hugs your way!!!!

  22. renee says:

    I’d LOVE the socks, but I’m commenting because your words about weight loss and being scared to regain really resonate with me…I’m down over 110 with 80 ish more to go…I don’t know why this time it’s working…

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