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    15 Things People Don't Tell You About Extreme Weight Loss

    It has its pros and cons, like anything else.

    Hi, I'm Arielle! In May 2015, I embarked on a lifestyle change and have completely overhauled my eating habits, fitness goals, and outlook on life.

    I have yo-yo dieted all my life, and I never imagined being genuinely happy with how I felt inside my body.

    But that's where I'm at right now — 15 months and 110 pounds down after starting my weight loss journey. Here are some things that surprised me along the way:

    1. Just because I've reached most of my goals, it doesn't mean I no longer need some of the structures that got me here in the first place.

    2. But I also have to remind myself that because it is a full-on lifestyle change, it’s not a rush, and I have to be patient and kind to my body.

    3. This weight loss journey has become a part of my identity, and sometimes I don't know how to feel about it.

    4. My relationships with friends and family have changed; some have grown stronger, and some have become more distant.

    5. In terms of dating, a deep panic sets in when the subject of my weight loss comes up.

    6. When I'm out to eat with friends or people familiar with my story, I'm afraid they're diligently watching what I'm eating and making silent judgments.

    7. Some days I am still scared that I will spiral out of control and gain everything back.

    8. I'm no longer afraid of "taking up space," and I realize that I never should have been.

    9. Non-scale victories have become the most important measures of my success.

    10. I actually crave fresh produce and whole foods.

    11. While documenting my journey has made me extremely vulnerable, it also keeps me motivated.

    12. Inspiring and cheering on others has been the most rewarding part of this process.

    13. But because of that, strangers tend to constantly ask me the same very personal questions.

    14. Constantly buying new clothes is expensive...and worth it.

    15. I have finally learned to truly love myself, and that is something extraordinary.

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    I always assumed that loving yourself was tied to a number: whether it was the number on the scale or the number on your clothing tag. But self-love and self-worth, for me, is about appreciating the person I've become.

    A year and a half ago, I would have dreaded hiking despite the amazing view at the top of the trail. A year and a half ago, I wouldn't have dared sign up for a half-marathon because it would have been "impossible." A year and a half ago, I would have spent my summer on the couch instead of enjoying the New York sunset at an outdoor bar. A year and a half ago, I wouldn't have gone parasailing in fear that I weighed "too much."

    I have completely changed as a person. I am curious, adventurous, more daring, stronger, nicer, more energetic, and best of all, genuinely confident in who I am. I was always meant to be in this skin, but the person inside was always meant to blossom into something more — and I am finally there.

    If you'd like to keep up with my weight loss journey, you can follow me on Instagram!