Embracing Transformation

Losing weight is a journey that many of us as Americans go through at various stages in life.  Looking at the person in the mirror and saying “Nope, not good enough (yet)” is a regular occurrence.  Even now, at least 10lbs lighter than I have ever been in my life, that morning pep talk still happens most days.  “Nope.  Not there yet.”  Occasionally someone will say “DANG girl!  You look good!”  And I honestly don’t believe them.  But I typically say “Thank you.  I don’t always feel like it, but thank you for saying so.”  Because the truth is I never feel like it. When you and those closest to you see you every day or even once a week, it’s much harder to notice the gradual change. You just smile, accept the compliment, and hope they’re not lying just to make you feel good.

What it took for me to notice actual change in my appearance was looking back at the photos that were taken during our trip to Seattle this weekend.  While I still don’t see the body I want to have, I did notice that my face really does look slimmer. It makes it easier to accept the compliments, because there is real change happening here, even if I don’t always see it.

I’m not going to pretend that these are before and after pictures, because they aren’t.  Consider them before and during photos, with after coming about 30lbs from now.  Here’s what I looked like in 2009, about 50lbs heavier than I am now.

Ignore the hair in the wind if you can.

The best part?  He genuinely loved me, even at a size 16-18.  That’s a real man.

Probably my favorite – making indoor s’mores in our college apartment.  A one time occurrence, but definitely contributing to this lifestyle.  Also, where did that necklace go?  I miss it.

That was me at 226lbs, Class I obesity.  I didn’t know how to exercise, I didn’t weigh myself, and I certainly wasn’t putting good fuel into my body (see above).  Here’s me today:

Me and a dear friend Felicity this past weekend in Seattle

Celebrating a friend’s birthday in Seattle this weekend with some of my closest Whitworth friends.  A joyous reunion indeed!

This is Sarah Butler today. I workout regularly, I weigh myself every week, and I try to be very intentional about what goes into my body. I often slip up. It’s hard to break 20 years of bad habits, behaviors, and attitudes about food. But certainly much better off than I was at 226lbs.

I’ll say it again – this is not the “Before and After” shoot.  I still look in the mirror everyday and say “Not quite.  Still room to grow (or shrink, as the case may be).  Not there yet.”  For those of you irritated with me for not celebrating the success, you’re allowed to be annoyed.  The only consolation you may take in my daily speech is that last word – yet.  It’s the same word I use with my students all the time.

Student:  “This music is too hard – I can’t play this!”
Mrs. Butler:  “Yet.”

Student:  “Mrs. Butler!  Why the heck would you give us this piece?  We speak ENGLISH!  We don’t know how to sing in Latin!”
Mrs. Butler:  “Yet.”

It implies that we are all a work in progress.  It’s not saying that I hate the body I am in, or that I want to give up.  It’s me saying that I am still on my way to finding what that body will look and feel like to live in.  It’s been rough the past few months –  I’ve been maintaining rather than losing weight lately.  It makes it much harder to accept the compliments when people claim that I look good.  But I try my best to forgive myself and remember that it’s all forward motion. As long as I’m not taking steps back (gaining weight) it’s all moving in the right direction.  I will not always be in “weight loss mode.” Once I reach what looks and feels like a healthy body, I will need to be able to maintain the way I am now.  So for today, I will attempt to celebrate what I consider to be minor successes in the big picture of things, but always keeping my eye on the prize – a healthier and (hopefully) happier me.

4 Responses to “Embracing Transformation”
  1. Sarah says:

    Despite not being finished with it, I hope you know that your journey truly is inspirational to the rest of us.

  2. Felicity says:

    I’m so proud of you! I love you tons and am so glad my friendsy kicks so much butt!

  3. Laura says:

    Woo hoo! You go Sarah! Love all of this! You are an inspiration!!!!

  4. Arisha A. McCool says:

    Sarah! I love reading your blog. I just read your most recent entries and it has helped me and my journey with becoming healthier (and happier). I will have to check out the documentaires on Netflix. You are an inspiration and I hope you continue making posts like this!

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