Overexposed: A Self-Love Project.

Overexposed: Seven Months.

Sometimes I think to myself: how was July just seven months ago? I guess when you’re focused and concentrated on something important happening in your life, you notice the day-by-day activity and time just feels like it’s going slow. I feel like that’s what happened to me; I’ve been so focused on this journey of mine! I’ve been learning how to eat differently and according to my new stomach and improving my relationship with food as a whole. It’s been a journey of ups and downs (still is) but it’s still so crazy to think that seven months have passed by since having gastric bypass surgery.

Hi, my name is Liz and I lost 80 pounds so far within my weight-loss journey.

First and foremost, I want to say this to get this out in the air: me talking about the amount of weight I’ve lost does not mean I hate the person I was when I was heavier. Talking about my size these days does not mean that I am “much happier” being smaller than when I was bigger. Me expressing my weight loss journey by trying on old pieces of clothing and having them fit does not mean I do not acknowledge the body I had before. My body isn’t a before and after. I am not a different person just because my body is changing.

One of the major things people have asked e in the course of seven months is if I feel any different, or if I feel better. I won’t lie; I tell every person that asks me that I feel so much better and so much of my age. It’s simply the truth. I was fine when I was heavier and I didn’t have major self-esteem issues behind my weight, but the more I gained weight, the more I felt limited in my movement in my everyday activities. During the quarantine period back in 2020, I gained 20 more pounds, resulting in me being 323 pounds. That was my heaviest weight ever. I returned back to my very physical and active bookstore job 5 months later and felt like I couldn’t keep up with the rest of my coworkers anymore because of my weight. It was stressful being a 26-year old woman feeling like they were actually 46-years-old. So yes, losing 80 pounds in seven months after having surgery has me feeling so much better and more of my age.

But, I tend to feel extremely anxious talking about my weight loss and sharing images of my body nowadays more than ever. The more I lose weight, the more I see my body changing. I am excited to see the changes, to feel the changes, and sometimes I will feel like sharing my journey can be toxic for others who struggle with their weight or don’t have the option to go for weight-loss surgery.

Your body is beautiful no matter what size it is, and I’m not saying that because I keep losing weight. My body was just as beautiful as it is now; like I don’t have a completely new body, it’s still me in my own body at the end of the day. Again, I know singlehandedly how hard it is to lose weight on your own; I’ve struggled my whole life trying to lose weight. I started dieting when I was just 12-years-old, thinking that if I only ever drank water and did not eat food I would lose weight. I would count my calorie intake on my phone during my freshman year of college because I gained the “freshman 30” instead of 15. I started Weight Watchers one too many times and failed because I was now anxious about my “points” for the day and week. I gave up trying to lose weight, which then resulted in me gaining 100 pounds in 6 years. I was so ashamed of myself when I hit 300 pounds because I thought I would never get to that point. That was just my standard; being only 5 feet tall and weighing as much as I did was extremely unhealthy and led to me being pre-diabetic. I knew that I needed more help in order to get healthy and lose weight.

I simply talk about my journey because I am serious about it. I am serious about keeping the weight off once that 2-year mark comes and then losing weight doesn’t just happen as it does now. I talk about my journey in every aspect because no one else has. Everyone will show you the pictures and videos of their bodies (and I’m not innocent of doing that either), but no one talks about the mental side of it all. No one talks about how it feels to have your birthday cake in front of you and can’t even have a piece with the rest of the family because you can’t have sugary sweets. No one talks about the constant vomit that happens within the first 3 months of surgery because you still don’t know what foods your body can handle and how much it can contain. No one talks about how people will call you pretty and beautiful now, but have never said that to your face when you were bigger. No one talks about these things, and I deemed myself as the person who would share this information with everyone. I told myself if no one else will tell me these things, then I will tell myself.

So here’s to seven months on this journey. Here’s to the 80 pounds I already lost whilst on this journey. Here’s to the next 5 months that will lead me to my first year since having surgery. Here’s to me shouting at the top of my lungs about my journey and my life and everything that comes with this chapter of my life. Here’s to being okay with my success and being proud of how far I’ve come without holding any guilt.

Here’s to me.

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