My name is Gretchen, and I Used to be Fat.

Since starting my new job roughly 6 weeks ago (JEEBUS, has it really been that long already?), I’ve found myself in an interesting “predicament” (I use that term very loosely here.)

See, to my new coworkers, I look like this:

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Or sometimes this:

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There may or may not have been a robot dancing through the cubes the other day…

But either way, I am (usually) dressed appropriately for work, haha. Actually, I suppose that technically I now look like this:

And while I may not be “skinny” by anyone’s definition, I’m, you know, normal. Most decidedly NOT obese. Soft, cuddly, with a little bit of extra fluff, but nothing to gawk at and certainly nothing to pity (at least not for my weight, hahaha.) So when I started working here, my coworkers had absolutely no idea that I used to look like this:

Or this:


Please excuse the nerd factor of forcing my brother to take a portrait of me with my dogs.

And while some of them have since been turned onto this little ol’ blog (hi guys!) and have probably figured it out by now, most of the people I meet have no idea that I’m a former fatty. And yes, just typing out those words brings a whole mess of self-esteem-bashing thoughts to mind (“Well, I really shouldn’t be saying I’m NOT fat, since I still need to lose more weight…”) but I’m going to try to drown those out with more incessant babbling… starting now.

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See, for over, hmm, at least 13 of my 23 years (I’m ancient, I know), I have struggled with my weight. I wasn’t a chubby child, but I was a pudgy pre-teen, a thickset teenager, and an ample adult, topping off at (to my knowledge) 246 pounds. And while I am aware that my figure will always stray to the zaftig side, there is absolutely no question that I was unhealthy AND unhappy at that weight. No bueno.

But I’ve come a long way in the past year! I’ve lost almost 60 pounds so far, revamped my look (many times over, haha) and my life, and couldn’t be happier for it. I’m obviously still Gretchen, still the same person that I’ve always been, but in some ways I’m not. I’ve changed, I’ve grown, and I’ve evolved. So why is it that I constantly feel the need to tell people about the fact that I, you know, used to be fat?

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It feels like, whether intentional or not, one of the first conversations I have with a new person somehow involves my weight loss. Why do I feel the need to let them make them know this? Let’s be honest, it’s a pretty awkward thing to bring up to someone you don’t really know. Do I really need the validation that much? For them to know this one big accomplishment of my life so far? People don’t go walking around and starting off conversations with “Hi, my name is Dr. Blah Blah and I won the Nobel Prize.” or “Hey there, I’m Yada Yada and I make $350,000 a year.” (I mean, okay, perhaps speed-dating participants might do that, but let’s just say they’re the exception, haha.)

Maybe it’s that I’m just not ready to let go of the person I used to be. I keep reminding you with pictures and stories and reiterations of the same facts, because I want to remind myself. I used to think that once I lost weight, I would never want to look back on myself as an obese person. I would want to forget the past and start anew — as a new person entirely. I guess that just isn’t the case. I don’t want to forget because hindsight is 20/20 and I don’t want to lose the part of me that literally transformed. I don’t want to forget because I don’t want to get back to that place, ever.

I know that this is kind of heavy for a Friday, but it’s just another one of those self-reflection things that seems to hit from time to time. It’s just confusing. Am I supposed to let go of the past so I don’t get down on myself for letting me get that way? So I can move forward? Or am I supposed to keep it constant and present in my life so I don’t ever forget? I know these are not mutually-exclusive things, but it’s just something to think about before announcing my weight to the next stranger I meet, haha.

Do you ever find yourself in a similar predicament? Torn between wanting to forget yourself as the fat/unhealthy/depressed/whatever person, but also wanting to hold onto it?