Im not proud. How can I be proud to have been more than 11 stone overweight?

You tell me I look amazing, you tell me I should be proud. You ask what my secret is, and say I put you to shame. You say I must feel better, and ask how much have I lost.

What I cant say is I dont feel better; I never felt bad in the first place. I ache, Im sore, Im pushing my body to shift the weight. Im tired from working out most days on a calorie-controlled diet.

Illustration -
Illustration: Lo Cole for the Guardian

No, I dont look amazing. My clothes cover flabby, excess skin, stretch marks and deflated breasts. The right clothes hide this, but trying to find them takes a lot of searching. The body in the changing-room mirror is nowhere near amazing.

Im not proud. How can I be proud to have been more than 11 stone overweight? Ill be proud when I keep to a healthy weight.

And, no, I have no secret. Im just doing what I should have always done: eating sensibly and exercising. No, I dont put you to shame. Im ashamed of myself every time someone comments on my weight loss. I really was that big.

No, I dont want to tell you how much Ive lost. Through gritted teeth, Ill tell you its 10 and a half stone, and Im the one shamed, again.

I dont want your compliments. I dont want my weight loss to be the focus of every conversation. I dont want my bigger friends to distance themselves because they think Im judging them. Please just be my friend the one who calls for silly reasons, who comes out for a drink, goes for lunch and never comments on my body. Please be my friend, who doesnt say each time we meet, Oh, Im starting my diet next week. We can do it together. Please just be my friend, regardless of how I look.

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