“Hey, Crystal. Your face looks way thinner”

I’m pretty sure people keep complimenting my hair because I’ve lost weight.

They either don’t realize I look different, or they don’t know how to say “Hey, Crystal. Your face looks way thinner.” without sounding awkward.

It’s cool. I’ll take it.

The holidays have been a pretty startling check-in point for me. Lots of people around whom I haven’t seen in about 20 or 30 or 43 pounds. Lots of “WOAH! You look GREAT!” and “How’d you do it?”

I keep teetering between blurting out every ounce of detail and simply smiling away their questions. Does anyone really want to know what I’ve gone through to lose each and every pound?

I want to tell them. But I don’t really think they want to know. I think they want to pretend people lose 43 pounds eating five small meals a day with appropriate servings of fruits and vegetables and 30 minutes of wonderful glow-inducing cardio.

I don’t know those people.

I didn’t lose weight that way.

I lost weight by making my body so hungry that it started eating away at my fat.

It’s called the “that’s how you actually lose weight” diet.

It’s not pretty. I’m never full. I weigh myself two to seven times each day. And I’ve been at this for four long months – all so I could fit into the correct box on the chart at my doctor’s office.

I’m just 14 little pounds away from my overall goal now – I’m still not AT my goal, but I’m so close I could smile.

I wanted to wait until I hit that goal to throw the ITs out there though.

You know.

My weights and measures.

What I started with. What I’m at.

The ITs.

My best friend April has been the only one I’ve discussed those numbers with on a regular basis and that’s only because I trust her to be my friend no matter what those numbers are. It’s a trust she’s earned by sticking out 11 years worth of confessions, clothing sizes, and crying sessions as my friend.

But now, the losing-weight-thing has hit an ankle-based roadblock and the figures are moving so, so, so slowly. And really, I’m actually very, very happy to be where I’m at.

I kind of want to shout it from the Internet rooftops.

I’m very, very happy to walk into a room and think ‘I look normal.’ I probably don’t, but I feel like I do. I know that, at the very least, I don’t feel like someone is thinking “Wow. She’s umm, fat. That’s why she’s (fill in the blank with any number of human failures or ailments).”

Instead, at this weight, I feel like people think “Look. A normal girl. Let me listen to what she is saying.”

And since I’m so happy/content/tickled to be where I’m at, I thinking I’m going to just go ahead and throw it out there.



See what just happened there? I just typed my current weight and then I hit delete, delete, delete.

I don’t know if I can do it.

I don’t know what you’ll say when you see those easy-to-judge little numbers.

The weirdest part of this is that I never actually felt “huge” or “fat” or whatever you want to call it. I felt like “Crystal.” It was the scale that was all judgmental. The chart at the doctor’s office that screamed “SOMETHING IS WRONG WITH YOU.”

And now. I don’t feel “thin,” or “healthy” or whatever.

I just still feel like “Crystal.” Still (mostly) funny. Still wearing my heart right there on the edge of my cardigan sleeve. Still trying my best to make a living as a writer.

But I’m not the same. I’m more likely to be financially successful, more like to get married and more likely to make friends.

Why is that?

Why do you think that’s an OK thing? Do you think I’m different now? Am I more deserving of financial success, marriage or friends because I weigh less? I think I’m the same deserving level as I was on July 31, before I lost a single pound.

I guess, in the spirit of that conclusion though, I should just do it.

Just BAM! Type those stupid numbers that are burned in my mind.

They don’t change one sliver of the bottle of spirit and soul and Taco Bell magic that makes “me,” “Crystal” after all.

So, um. Here you go.

I started at 198.

I’m now at 155.

I’d like to be 141.

I’ll be totally happy if I don’t ever lose even one more single pound ever.

I’ll be totally “me” no matter what I type at the end of those three sentences, ever.


Anyway, in complete opposition to every sentence I just typed, I present to you some visual aids:





I realize this isn’t the fairest “after” picture, since I’m kind of behind my mom on the left, but it was either A. this, B. a head shot I took of myself last week or C. a random picture taken right now at 3:30 a.m. of me in my super mario pajama pants and glasses.

I picked A. this.

If you want to see a full version, call me, make plans and come visit – I’ll even wear my skinny jeans that are now, umm, too big for me.

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Losing weight is overrated.

I kind of, usually spend all my time thinking about how freaking awesome life could be if I just lost weight.

But I lost weight.

I lost 30 pounds.

And I’m still insecure. I’m still stressed out. I’m still crappy at dating.

I still don’t feel pretty.

Journalism is still dying. I still can’t find clothes I like. My “check engine” light is still on. I still make mistakes at work and with friends and at church. I still have to spend a hour getting ready in the morning. My car insurance rate is still $180 a month. I still miss my grandma Lindell more than my soul can bear. Health insurance still isn’t fixed. It’s still going to snow soon. I still have weak ankles.

The only actual changes all suck – I’m always hungry, and I have to work out everyday.

The “congrats”  don’t make me feel nearly as good as I thought they would.

The “you look really good” doesn’t have nearly the ring to it I thought it would.

The icky come on’s from guys I never was interested in the first place don’t make me any happier – although I’m not sure I ever thought they would.

Maybe I’m being too honest right now. Maybe I should tell you that I do know I should be trusting God, and living for him and whatnot. I should tell you that I do know I never should have thought losing weight would solve all my problems.

Don’t worry. I knew all that.

But I still think these things. I still feel this way.

So now you know.

I’m semi-sure some people wonder how the heck a girl who seems as un-stupid as myself could have these thoughts.

I’d guess it has something to do with Barbie, Heidi Klum and the Weight Watchers commercials.

But I’m just guessing.

It also could be that the whole world and their dog conspires to make losing weight seem like the coolest thing since Twitter, because if they didn’t nobody would ever do it because losing weight is harder the hardest thing ever.

Again though, I’m just guessing here.

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lifting yourself up

today i downloaded music from my roommates rhapsody account onto my 2GB memory card, which i recently installed in my Barbie-pink crackberry. Strangely, her and i have similar musical tastes, which is probably based on the fact that we are still on the cusp of the industry’s target market, so i got myself a good helping up Rhianna and Brittney. the songs are for working out, so they are supa upbeat and what not.

yes. yes. i’ve started working out and such. only i haven’t actually started lifting weights yet because my mom scared the gall bladder out of me when she mentioned that my insides might not be all the way healed after my recent surgery — a fear i had not had until she mentioned it with panic over the phone.

i used to lift weights though. back in my grad school days id wake up every morning at 4:45 a.m. so i could get to the gym by 5 a.m. and work out with this amazing trainer who i had flirted into working out with me for free. and aside from the minor-ly annoying sexual harassment, i thought it was a pretty good deal.

he’d yell at me while i did the stair master, then explain to me how all the various weight machines worked. and im not sure how i got it in to my head to lose weight and stick with it, but holy dumbbell did i ever commit myself to the place.

not only did i never miss a day, i also gave up all alcoholic beverages under my new found belief that empty calories such as the type found in long island ice teas were just not worth the pain. and i only drank pop on wednesday nights during my weekly dinners with stephanie. and i ate 5 meals a day to keep my metabolism on the up and up.

and i lost weight. 30 pounds actually. and on the day i got my diploma from grad school, i worked out and weighed myself and then out of bliss, slid into a clingy black dress to wear under my gown. and everyone was so impressed. and they would say things like “wow, you look SO good” and a little part of me would wonder whether i had looked good before, but then I’d convince myself that i’d never gain the weight back and therefore never look like that again, so it was all a moot point really.

only the part of me even littler than that knew i would gain the weight back. because even though i had worked out. and given up all forms of alcohol and eaten five small meals a day, the only reason i actually lost weight was the diet pills i was taking.

and i when i stopped the “as close to meth as you can legally get” pills, i gained back 12 pounds in about three weeks.

and i tried to take the pills again, but this time my body knew to say no from day one, and i got really dizzy at work and had to have a co-worker drive me home at 1 a.m. because i was a horrid copyeditor and that’s when i got off.

so i had to give up on the diet pills, and as a result face the fact that nobody really does anything out of shear will power alone. somewhere, somehow they always have help. maybe it’s friends. maybe it’s God. maybe it’s diet pills. but nobody, anywhere, ever does anything out of shear will power alone.

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