What It’s Like To Travel When You’re Overweight
This isn’t easy to admit, but,
I’ve postponed my life and my plans because I wanted to wait until I was thinner. I felt like my life wasn’t worth living fully unless I looked a certain way.
I wanted my travel photos to be Instagramable.
I wanted the men I met to be attracted to me.
I wanted to be able to participate in the free-spirited nudity of Scandinavia.
Do you want to know something?
I stopped waiting and I took those trips anyway. I traveled while being 20 even 50 pounds overweight.
Did I look like the 6ft tall blonde hair blue eyed women of Denmark? Nope. Not even close.
Did I sweat an embarrassing amount while walking around in the heat of the Italian summer. Oh, yes. So much sweat.
Did I keep my shirt on during naked yoga in Norway? Yes.
This is what really happened.
I cherish the travel photos I have. I love them so so much, and guess what? I look fucking amazing in them.
The men I met were attracted to me, and I even met someone I had something wonderful with for a short while.
I may have left my shirt on during naked yoga, but I gladly took my pants off.
While I was worrying about my body, I completely missed that I was traveling just to be joyful about being alive. Do you feel the ecstasy of being alive when you’re sitting on your couch? Probably not.
How to change your mindset about traveling while overweight
It’s not a secret to your friends that you need to lose some weight. They know what you look like.
It’s intimidating to travel while overweight, because we’re going to meet people that will get to know us exactly as we are. They didn’t know you before you gained weight and they might not know you after you lose it. Your overweight self is the face and body they will remember when they think of you.
When we travel, we are forced to view ourselves through the truth and realities of other cultures and people. Your first impression is going to be the real you, not the Instagram you.
You might be 50 pounds overweight, and someone is going to remember you that way.
You will have pictures taken of you, and you might notice that you are popping out of your jeans a bit.
You could have sex with someone that has six pack abs while you have rolls.
Any of these things could happen. Really.
One of those truths may have caused something to come up. Maybe it’s our friend fear, a past trauma, or a worry that you’ve been playing over and over in your head.
You’re better off working through your feelings about it now. Then, go buy a plane ticket and enjoy your body and be grateful to it for taking you places that you’ll fall in love with.
The Unsexy Truth
You have to deal with it. There’s not a magic quote to change how you feel about your body.
The way we feel about our bodies goes far beyond what they look like. A lifetime of societal standards, comparison, family pressure, and internalized shame can shape the negative feelings we feel.
The beliefs that are holding you back from strutting down the street, loving your nakedness, and elevating your life are unique to you. It’s not about losing weight, skipping dessert, or going to the gym at 5am. It’s about feeling good within your body. It’s about waking up every single day and deciding to show up for life in big giant exciting ways.
Dealing with it doesn’t mean changing your appearance. It means changing your mind.
You have to decide that you want to live your life right now.
You’re going to lose weight,
You’re going to get weird things wrong with you,
And you’re also going to gain weight.
You’re alive, and your body is working all day long to keep you alive.
Our bodies are fluid. They change in small ways every single day.
Please don’t let those changes rule your life.
Stop waiting to do what makes you feel alive.
When I was in Norway, I spoke about how I was overweight with someone I was living with, and he looked at me without flinching and said, “Well, don’t you want to change that?”
I was so offended, but he was right. The reason this upset me wasn’t because I did want to change my body. I did. It upset me because he didn’t understand that I can live my life fully in a body with fat on it, and I can show up shamelessly and fearlessly no matter what I look like. He wanted me to defend enjoying my life, and I didn’t defend enjoy my life, because I don’t need to defend myself to prove my happiest truth.
You will inspire some people and piss off others. If someone has a limiting belief about themselves, they will have a problem when you challenge that. I had challenged a belief within the person that confronted me in Norway. It wasn’t personal. Even though he was speaking to me, his beliefs come from within.
In some countries, you might be seen as fat.
No matter where you are, remember, what someone thinks about you is none of your business. So what if you’re seen as fat? Don’t let anyone decide how you are going to show up in the world. Show up ready the have the best day of your life every single day.
I would have missed out on the best days of my life, my favorite memories, and I would be completely different person if I waited to look a certain way before traveling. Show up in the world as whoever you are right now. You won’t regret it, but you might regret putting your dreams on hold.
You are the one that gets to decide what your life looks like.