And five months ago I told my story for the very first time at the TEDxMaastricht pitch night. I showed the audience the same two pictures leaving the second one to right before the end.
And when I told them that it was the same girl as in the first picture, an audible sigh of genuine surprise went through the public because they realized, as you do by now, that that girl was me.
And what struck me most after the pitch night were not the kind words from my friends, and not the compliments from strangers in the audience. No, it was that audible sigh of genuine surprise that I had heard when showing the second picture that quite confused me.
You see, I had never expected that anyone seeing that first picture wouldn’t immediately recognize the girl to be me because whenever I picture myself in my head, I still look that way.
Seven years after physically losing 40 kilos, I still struggle to recognize the way my body looks now. And it confused me because I’d always thought that losing weight was as simple as, well, losing the weight.
So, only a moment ago, I told you about how losing weight is a complex problem, that there are no standard tools to use and no definitive order of steps to follow. But most importantly, that it’s a personal problem requiring a personal solution, it’s a matter of compiling your own personal recipe to losing weight.
So, have I found all the ingredients to my recipe of losing weight and keeping the weight off and being happy with my new body? I think that in the past few years I have found out about quite a few things that worked for me, but it’s the final seasoning of the dish that’s still a bit of a struggle.
You see, it’s scary as hell to admit that sometimes I’m still feeling fat, and that when I look in the mirror I struggle to recognize the same image other people see when looking at me, and that sharing my story with you today, means overcoming one of my biggest fears.
Because what I’m scared of most is not that I stumble on words or forget my lines. What I’m scared of most is that when I leave this stage, you will look at your neighbor, raise an eyebrow, and say: “I don’t get why she’s on stage; she’s still fat.”
But I also know that that fear is irrational, as are many fears, and I no longer want to be scared because a great man once said that: “Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it,” and that: “the brave man is not he who is not afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”
And maybe, the triumph over one of my biggest fears is that final seasoning my dish needs, my final step to completing my recipe to losing weight.
So, as long as I’m still scared, I will continue to conquer my fear, and I will continue to tell my story until I no longer need to summon up any courage to tell people that I used to be fat, but no longer am.
And I hope some of you may find comfort in this story, knowing that losing weight and being happy with your new body is not always as easy as our society makes you think. And I hope you will find your own ingredients and compile your own recipe.
And do remember, that, in the end, it’s only one person that has to be satisfied with the taste of the final dish. And that person is you.