‘Lose the weight. I got pictures back, and my smile quickly faded. The first thought that rushed to my mind was: Lose the weight. You’re too puffy.’

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“Lose the weight.

I got some pictures from a little photo shoot back today and as I scanned them with my eyes going back and forth taking in different pieces of the image, my smile quickly faded, my heart suddenly sank, and the first thought that rushed to my mind was this:

Lose the weight. You’re too puffy. You’re not pretty. You shouldn’t have had pictures taken right now. You shouldn’t have worn those jeans. You aren’t allowed to buy any new clothes until you…

Lose.the.weight.

Five pounds would be acceptable. Ten pounds would be okay. Twenty pounds would be ideal. Fifteen pounds would get you down to your pre-baby size.

Lose the weight.

Never mind the fact that you’re happy. Never mind the fact that you’re content. Never mind the fact that you’re confident in your role as a mother, as a wife, as a worker, as a dreamer, as a friend, as a go-getter. Never mind the fact that you like who you are. Never mind the fact that you like where you are.

In that moment, none of the good stuff mattered. None.

I was consumed with this overwhelming self-hate and this heavy desire to change everything about the way I look, and as I began to want to change everything about the way I looked, it silently slithered its way into wanting to change everything about the way I am.

I just wanted to feel beautiful again, as a series of derogatory phrases filled the space between my two ears and slowly dripped their way down word by word into my vulnerable heart.

You can’t.
You won’t.
It will take too long.
Why bother?
Ugly.
Unworthy.
Unlovable.

As I sat and wrote out my diet plans, and my dinner recipes, and my workout agendas for the weeks to come, I couldn’t stop beating myself up. Lose the weight. Lose the weight. Lose the weight. It echoed over and over and over.

And while I do want to work on my physical health, because it matters so, so much, I realized that my mental health matters too, and in that moment, it was seriously lacking, much more so than anything else.

And so, I worked on shifting my way of thinking, because in the long run (and no, I am absolutely not planning on introducing running into my routine ever. Makes me hurt just thinking about it. I’m not being chased. Why would I run?) tormenting myself won’t get me nearly as far as believing in myself. Hating myself won’t help me reach my goals, but maybe loving myself a little will give me the boost I need.

And so, I decided once and for all to lose the weight.

I hope you’ll join me on this weight-loss journey. No before and after pictures, no shakes, no supplements necessary.

Just a promise to lose the weight.

The weight of the stress. The weight of the worry. The weight of wondering what’s to come. The weight of the world.

Lose the weight.

The weight of expectations. The weight of exhaustion. The weight of other people’s unwanted opinions.

Lose the weight.

The weight of toxic relationships. The weight of the haters. The weight of the joy-killers. The weight of the truth-twisters. The weight of the ones who only want to bring you down to their miserable level.

Lose the weight.

The weight of comparison. The weight of competition. The weight of the criticism that comes from your own mouth. The weight of the desire to conform to the patterns of the rest of the world.

Lose the weight.

The weight of the demons in your own head. The weight of the whispers from your own heart saying, ‘you’ll never make it.’ The weight of the lies saying, ‘you aren’t capable.’ The weight of the myths making you believe you shouldn’t even make an effort.

Lose the weight.

It’s never easy. It’s never quite as simple as sounds. But it is possible. All things are.

Surround yourself with positive influences, whether that be good books, better experiences, or best friends. Reach out to people and places and things that encourage you to become the truest possible version of yourself.

Reach for happiness. Strive for health. Search for beauty, and for kindness and for meaning.

Remember none of these things can be found from the number on the scale, the size of your jeans, or looking skinny in a photograph.

Keep first things first. And yeah, sure, lose the weight, just make sure you begin by losing the kind that matters most.”

Amy Weatherly

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Amy Weatherly. The article originally appeared here. Follow Amy on Instagram here and Twitter here. Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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