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Exposed, Again October 8, 2013

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When I realized that this week was the 4th year anniversary of the Exposed Movement, originally started by Mish at Eating Journey, my initial reaction was to scoff and whimper, “No way.” I remember feeling pretty great about exposing myself when I joined the movement in 2010. I had been working on my health and fitness for about a year, and I was feeling confident.

This year, I could not be in a more different place. This week I have been debilitated by crazy, relentless pain, and the simple acts of showering or trying to eat a 10-minute meal sitting up have been excruciating.

But as I began to read – and be inspired and moved by- other “anniversary” exposed posts – Carla and Karen and Emily, Jules, Kate and Roni – I felt like, the biggest part of Exposing oneself is in the showing up. As is. And of celebrating what there is to celebrate.

This week, I’m celebrating the fact that I can still find a comfortable position in which to write (on my back, laptop propped on knees). When my writing is taken away, it’s all over. But I’m also contemplating where I’ve been SINCE that first Exposed post back in 2010.

2010

Since then, I’ve:

  • completed two triathlons
  • managed to stay within 5 lbs of my goal weight, and remained on staff at Weight Watchers
  • kept on my committed path of trying to be as healthy and fit as I am able
  • been able to discontinue my diabetes medication completely (although temporarily back on due to all the anti-inflammatories I’m on)

These are all big victories to me. The greatest victory I see is that I have not given up, not taken a U-turn or stopped caring or acting in behalf of my health. I might not be the unstoppable, badass triathlete I was in 2011, but that’s okay.  Here’s a picture I took this afternoon.

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This arm-over-the-head position is the only one that is not excruciating when I’m upright these days.

I’m still here.

What would it mean – what would it look like and feel like – to expose yourself?

 

Guest Post: “Body Image, Schmaty Image” August 23, 2010

I’m excited to welcome Jennifer Robinson as a guest poster while I am off hiking, biking and running away from grizzly bears. Thanks for stepping in, Jen!


Scenario #1: You see a photo of yourself that you think is highly unflattering. In fact, you wouldn’t show it to anyone. What you really want to do is throw it into the fireplace and be done with it. But let’s say you show it to someone important to you and she looks at it and exclaims, “What an adorable picture of you!” This leads you to a couple of possibilities: a) You look that way all the time and so therefore maybe it really is a good picture of you or b) Maybe you’re being too hard on yourself.

Scenario #2: You’re dressed up and ready to go out. You haven’t been anywhere at night for a long time because you have small children at home and you’re always exhausted. But tonight, you’re ready to have some fun. You put on your most flattering outfit. Granted, you don’t look like you did when you were 21, but whatever. You and your friends go to a restaurant/bar/bookstore and then you spot her. She’s you ten years ago. Seeing her ruins your night and you go home depressed.

Scenario #3: Each week, you notice that your pants are getting tighter. It’s the pants, you think. Not me. You go out and buy new pants in a size up.

I’m sure that many women can either relate to one of those scenarios. I’m no exception. Two years after my daughter was born, I came to a chilling realization. Over those two years, I had not lost weight (the nine months to put on, nine months to take off rule definitely didn’t apply to me). Instead, I had gained weight – about 30 pounds! It was awful…but I kind of knew how it happened. I had been so busy taking care of my daughter that food took on absolutely no importance. I ate whatever was there, when it was there. The weight had crept on. And now, looking at myself, I wanted it off.

But life doesn’t work that way, so I decided to try Weight Watchers. After my first weigh-in, I was ready to dive in full force. I was completely obsessed with the Points system. Before I could eat anything, I would calculate the points; you could name any food and I would know the exact count. After the first week, though, when I saw I had lost some weight, I started being easier on myself. It became like a game or contest. How many recipes could I make that contained the lowest points possible? What was the highest fiber food I could find? And could I really eat WW ice cream and still lose weight?

Over the next several months, I lost about 40 pounds and went down three sizes. I felt like the Incredible Shrinking Woman as more came off each week. It was amazing.

Now it’s three years later and ta-da! I’m still at my goal weight! That’s not to say that I don’t struggle with the above scenarios (and many, many more), but I’ve recently realized a few things that I wanted to share:

1. We’re too hard on ourselves about how we look. So many of us base our self-worth by a number on the scale – but that’s not a true measure of who we are.
2. Everyone ages. That 21-year-old girl? One day, she’ll be where we are now. So why not embrace the aging process and do it gracefully?
3. If you feel good about yourself and have genuine confidence, it will come through. There’s no such thing as a bad picture. There is such a thing as too much self-judgment. And who has time for that?

Maybe the trick is to re-write our own scenarios. If we have the power to get in body negative mode, we also have the power to take ourselves out of it.

Jennifer Robinson is tickled pink to be entering into the blogsphere. Her writing has appeared various magazines and literary magazines including Writers Monthly, The Readerville Journal, Full Circle: A Journal of Poetry and Prose, Long Story Short, Looking Back: Stories of Our Mothers & Fathers in Retrospect (New Brighton Books, 2003), and 2DO Before I Die : The Do-It-Yourself Guide to the Rest of Your Life (Little, Brown & Co., 2005). She lives with her daughter and husband in Southern California.

 

Stuff on my Tummy June 15, 2010

Filed under: body image,emotions — Susan @ 12:25 am
Tags: , , , , ,

I just had a great weekend in LA where I participated in the Mixed Roots Literary & Film Festival. I was fortunate enough to be invited to read my work which was a huge honor. One of the other writers posted a picture of the event on Facebook and when I saw it I was like…. Ahhhhhh!! I’m hiding under my manuscript!!! Do you see that?? (click on it for a closeup)

For as long as I can remember, every time I sit down I have to cover up my (ginormous, bulging, incredibly HUGE) abdominal area. (I try to be anatomically correct and not say “stomach” which is the fist-sized organ inside) When I sit down on a couch, I immediately search for a cushion or pillow to hug. If that’s not available, I’ll look for a shawl, or a jacket or coat, or a book or a laptop computer or a small animal or child. ANYTHING. I feel incredibly vulnerable having my, er, abdominal area, out there. When I am at the beach or by a pool, you can bet there’s a giant beach towel the size of Rhode Island draped across my midsection. Even when I am DRIVING MY CAR, I will often fold up a sweatshirt or jacket and lay it over my seat belt. As if. As if what, I don’t know.

So imagine my surprise/not surprise when I saw this picture and what do I see? My midsection is basically blanketed in my bright-white manuscript pages. It looks ridiculous. But that’s just how instinctive and automatic that gesture is. I’m just not going to sit there without SOMEthing on top of me, and that’s all I had – six sheets of printer paper. Jeez.

Since seeing that picture I have vowed to try an experiment. I am going to try and consciously not do this. I feel like it looks stupider to have random stuff on top of my body than to just let my body be there. You know that website, Stuff on My Cat? (it’s really silly, where people lay various items on their cats and then take pictures of them) Well, I could start a new website: Stuff on my Tummy.

I’m going to try and let it all hang out there. I’m telling you it’s not going to be easy.

 

Spanxed!! May 7, 2010

I received a package in the mail this week that had me feeling even more guilty than the donut I ate. It was a box of Spanx. I opened it with a combination of hope, anticipation, fear, embarrassment and self-loathing. Strains of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” floated through my head.

How did I get here? Recently I received a DVD of my solo performance show, which I’ve been studying in order to improve it. I remember choosing my outfit for that show so carefully. A bright colored Tshirt and black workout pants. I remember feeling good! and looking in the mirror backstage before heading on. Yeah! I looked good!

From the front.

Underneath the shirt, I was wearing a sports bra. What I didn’t realize until I looked at the video is that the sports bra created all sorts of (ack!!!!!!!!) bumps and bulges and hills and lumps in my… BACK FAT. What?!?! Who knew?? I didn’t know!! And the first thought I had was, OMG I have to throw away that shirt! I have to never wear that sports bra again! I have to… BUY SOME SPANX!

Now, I already own one pair of panty-spanx that I have worn on a couple of occasions (weddings). But it never occurred to me, until I saw myself From The Back, that I would need to get the TOP kind of Spanx.

Spanx seems to be a controversial sort of item. Are they a godsend, or a hideous re-enactment of the days of Scarlett O’Hara and her corset?

I asked the Twitterverse what they thought about Spanx yesterday, and got these responses.

  • i only wear spanx/corset when i’m at a family wedding, wearing a slimfitting dress. otherwise, flowy waistline. it’s torture.
  • Haven’t tried Spanx yet. Can’t imagine where all my “junk” would be stuffed! LOL
  • I lose my shape when I wear spanx…i get misshappen, not to mention uncomfortable
  • Absolutely NOT. All that does for me is squash my fat UP past the waist line so I have a quad rack! Not appealing!
  • Spanx? I love mine!
  • I like spanx, but I love the Flexees long tanks even more. A good undergarment is essential…:-)
  • Spanx = ouch. If I can help it, I’ll never wear ‘em again. Jiggles ‘R’ Us.
  • My thoughts aren’t deep…I heart Spanx!
  • Spill out the top. I hate them. Inspire me to exercise. Plus, they are uncomfortably hot.
  • I always feel my fat is just squeezed out the top and bottom when I wear spanx.

So. There are a lot of various opinions out there. I hated to feel like I was bowing to the vanity gods, but I tentatively tried the thing on. It was a bear to GET on, but once I did.. um…. I liked it. I really, really liked it! I put on my performance shirt and yes, it looked totally different. Better, in my opinion. So that’s it. It’s not something I care about for Everyday use, but on that stage, I’m telling you, I’m wearing the Spanx.

Is that crazy? Ironic? Hypocritical? I don’t know. Today I saw a Facebook update by Fit to the Finish. She wrote,

As I was getting my hair cut yesterday I thought about the past. When I was morbidly obese I stopped trying to look good. I stopped wearing make-up, wore my glasses instead of contacts, and never had cute clothes. I tried not to care.

So true! That just hit me like a punch in the gut. I thought of the days when all I wore was baggy stretch pants. So how far do we take this “caring”? Is it excessive to wear contacts instead of glasses? (I am personally extremely attached to my glasses) What about cosmetic surgery? Hair color? Botox? Makeup?  Personally, I find makeup MUCH more oppressive than Spanx. For some reason I find it upsetting. I will wear it on occasion, but it always makes me feel so false and unnatural. I do get my hair colored. For how long I’ll continue doing that, I don’t know.

I think that most people care how they look. And everyone has their own comfort zone of what they find acceptable, endurable, in the name of “beauty” or looking good. I do know that for many many years, like Fit to the Finish, I DID NOT CARE. (or pretended I didn’t) Now that I do care (more), it’s a tricky and interesting new territory to navigate.

Thoughts? :-)




 

Does This Vacation Make Me Look Fat? April 6, 2010

I’m home!! I got home from Costa Rica around 1am and if I don’t write a post now, I think it will be weeks before I have time to sit and do it. Things are crazy (again!) just as they were pre-vacation. Tonight is my solo performance show, and next week I begin a brand new job. Whewwwwww. So much for laying back in the slow tempo of Central America – I’m back in the USA again and back to the insane pace of life.

Being on vacation was wonderful, and relaxing, and rejuvenating. But it was a totally different environment and pace than I was used to. For one, I did not have my scale with me (thank goodness!) which gives me constant feedback. I use it to stay on track here at home, and without it, how would I know what was what? I wasn’t super worried about it, because I knew that even if I came out of the vacation a few pounds up, I could get back to it quickly enough. Still, I was curious.

One one hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if I lost weight because:

  • I was sweating buckets every day. Without even moving.
  • I was getting SOME exercise – walking to the beach, to waterfalls and the like.
  • I was not eating a single thing between meals.
  • The meals were what I would consider very healthy – protein, beans, vegetables, a lot of fresh fruit. Our host was an amazing chef!

BUT I wouldn’t be surprised to gain weight because:

  • I wasn’t doing ANYthing near my regular workouts. At one point I ran about 4 steps and then quickly gave that up. It’s like running in a steam bath. I couldn’t deal.
  • I didn’t swim at all like I’d hoped because the ocean was, although gorgeous, brutally rough.
  • The food was incredibly delicious and I often went back for seconds.

It was really, really hard to gage where I was. I couldn’t really use my clothing as a monitor because all my summerweight clothing, I bought last year before I got to my goal weight. So it was all pretty much hanging loose on me anyway. I couldn’t tell by looking at the mirror. I really had no clue at all. And you know, normally it wouldn’t MATTER so much but I do have this WW job you know, and I didn’t want to come home and have to battle back down to my range. So I would’ve preferred to not gain a whole bunch. I felt healthy. I felt good.

One measure I was able to take was my blood sugars. In the first part of the week they continued to be up because I think I was still dehydrated. I wasn’t able to drink as much as I would’ve liked to, so it took a few days for that to stabilize, but by the end of the week I was in a good place. I have to say it gave me a small bit of comfort to be able to measure SOMEthing objectively.

One thing that I noticed was that I felt more comfortable in my body than I ever have in a hot climate. Before, when I’d gone on a beach vacation, I’d felt awful in a bathing suit, disgusting when I sweated, and extremely unfit. On this vacation, I took a 5 mile trek through the jungle (to get to the waterfall, yay) and it was like… piece of cake. I took one hike to this eco-lodge up a very very steep hill, and it was like… no problem. I felt comfortable clambering around and never got huffy puffy or anything. That felt GOOD. And sweat didn’t bother me like it used to.

I used to be one of those people who was completely sweatophobic. It made me sick. But now it’s just…. water. And it doesn’t bother me. It’s really OK. Maybe because sweat during my workouts is a good thing – a very very good thing. I’ve made friends with sweat! Yahoo!

So when I left on my vacation I was 5 lbs “down” because of my dumb dehydration problem at the marathon. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to maintain THAT because it was mostly water weight anyway. In fact it was ALL water weight. This morning when I weighed myself I was 2 lbs up from that weight, so 3 lbs down from the day before the marathon. OK! I’ll take that! I hope I’ll be able to maintain that because it’s a number I can be very happy at.

So that’s that. Interesting, huh? It’s funny how things change when we don’t have our regular landmarks and ways of checking in. But I felt good about what I was doing overall. I’m eager to get back to my regular workouts. I’m glad it’s not 90 million degrees here. But it was also good to get out of routine and realize there are ways of staying healthy that look and feel different.

 

Time Squeeze March 22, 2010

Well, I’m in one of those places where I have so much to blog about but not enough time. This upcoming week is going to be CRAZY. I’m finishing up one of my classes which means I have mega papers to read and grade; I’m doing my final week of training before the MARATHON; I’m squeezing in a ton of work because next week (the day after the marathon!) I am taking off for Costa Rica (this does not even seem REAL to me) to help my BFF celebrate her 50th Bday. (one great thing about turning such a nice round age is that your friends all have these great celebrations!)

But there is so much on my mind. These are the things I would love to blog about when I catch a minute sometime.

  1. I’ve just recently had several spontaneous Twitter conversations about people who want to know how to deal with good friends who are very overweight or unfit. I have soooooo many thoughts on this. My short two cents on it: “Love ‘em and leave ‘em alone.” But it’s a lot more complicated than that, and I want to write about it.
  2. My aspirations for Fitbloggin‘ 2011 and how sad I am to have missed all the fun at 2010 last weekend.
  3. Why running is not like riding a bicycle. Even though I cannot ride a bicycle.
  4. How I got a little lackadaisical with the diabetes monitoring and then woke up. Again.
  5. “Feeling fat.” That’s gonna be a big one. It was inspired by reading this.
  6. And also inspired by a recent incident of TERRIBLE vanity-sizing in which I tried on a size 12 garment that I bought in 1982, and it WOULD NOT BUTTON.
  7. Geneen Roth’s hot new book, Women Food & God and how I think its message is more aligned with Weight Watchers than a lot of people seem to believe.

As always, I will take votes for which ones to tackle first! When I have a minute. Maybe on an airplane. Wait, are they going to have Wi-Fi in Costa Rica? Uh oh.

 

My Winter Coat December 10, 2009

It’s been really cold these days, so I’ve been wearing my winter coat a lot. I remember so distinctly buying this coat about a year ago. We were going to visit our daughter in her Chilly Midwestern Town, and I needed a really warm coat. So I went to the local outdoor gear store looking for a winter jacket.

I will never forget that day. It was such a low point for me. I remember trying on about a dozen coats, all sized large. None of them came even close to fitting me. I was fighting back tears, in a terrible mood, and so upset. Could I not find ONE coat that I could zip up without suffocating??

After a long time, I did find one coat: a black, down-filled, boxy size XL jacket. It was like the last one on the rack. I was so relieved to zip it up and it actually fit. I bought it on the spot and then rushed home.

So now it’s one of the few warm items I own (it doesn’t usually get THAT cold here, but this week has been Different). It is pretty huge on me now. I think about getting a smaller, more stylish warm jacket. But I feel emotionally attached to this one. I feel like, this was the only jacket that let me in, when all the other jackets rejected me. I dunno.

I got rid of a pretty big pile of some of my nicest “larger” clothes over Thanksgiving. I gave them to a friend who is a few sizes behind me on the weight loss journey. It was a scary thing to do. I wasn’t just getting rid of big old trash, I was giving away some of my nicest items. I said to her, I hope I never, ever, ever have to knock on your door and ask you to give me this stuff back. It was an emotional moment for me.

This is one of the biggest gifts of losing this weight: to really be able to go into ANY STORE I WANT and find SOMEthing that will fit me. In some stores, I’m still on the large end of things, but I can find stuff that fits. In other stores, I am at the smaller end, and THAT is certainly a new experience. It continues to amuse me that I have sizes in my closet that range over six sizes, and they all fit me perfectly. Dumb clothing companies.

 

Putting On the Brakes June 18, 2009

I don’t want to make it seem like I am complaining about something great that I have been hoping for, but this post is about the weird/unsettling side of losing weight, which I don’t see written about very often.  At the risk of seeming complainy or ungrateful, I want to write about some of the more unnerving parts of weight loss.

Today I went through my closet (again) and tried on a bunch of clothes.  I have a fun party for one of my closest friends coming up this weekend, and I thought, YAY I can wear something cute! Remember my nifty Cleopatra dress? I just bought that in April. When I tried it on this morning, it hung on me like a loose sack. The armholes are huge and it just doesn’t look right anymore. The only way I can wear it is if I get it professionally altered, which is what I guess I am going to have to do. I know, maybe some of you are saying POOR BABY, I WISH I HAD YOUR PROBLEMS! but this was the first time in my weight loss that I have felt weird and unsettled. It made me feel sad and suddenly like everything was shifting and that I was somehow not holding on to my image, or something. It’s hard to explain.

I feel in a way like things are moving more quickly than my psyche can keep up with. It’s like every few weeks I am a different size and while on one hand this is very exciting, it’s also strange. Like the ground is made of jello.

After I tried on the dress, I went to the kitchen and ate a little leftover bowl of mac and cheese that my daughter made a few days ago. I have not eaten any mac and cheese since January- it was my one go-to comfort food, and it just has a tinge of danger for me. But in that moment I was feeling like I needed to be grounded in something familiar, and I thought, I need to put on the brakes.

Let me say right out. I am not “skinny” by any stretch. I’m not like falling into anorexia or anything. I’m just venturing into a physical territory where I have not been in probably 20 years and that is disorienting and strange. Like I’m in some sort of Alice in Wonderland funny mirror shapeshifting place.

I do think it is time for me to halt the loss and maintain for a while. Maybe a LONG while. I need to get used to this, and stay here for some time. I can’t be buying new clothes every four weeks.

(NOTE: I almost deleted this post. I don’t want people getting mad at me for a “problem” they WISH they had. But I’m going to keep it up.)

This reminds me of many writer friends of mine, published writers who get flak for expressing a hard time they might have in the publication process – it’s lonely and hard to be on book tour. There’s “too much” attention. They have to deal with book reviews or readers who might not like their book.

The thing is, with any success there also comes some kind of loss: a loss of identity that has been familiar for a very long time. For a long time, I have comfortably lived in the role of Overweight Person. (as well as Unpublished Novelist, but that’s a different story) Even though I didn’t like much about it, I was USED to it. I am not used to this. I feel like I am stepping into the big unknown – exciting but also terrifying on some level.

BTW, it was good to have that little foray into the mac and cheese. It gave me a stomach ache, and didn’t really help me feel any better. A good reminder.

 

Shopped Until I Dropped April 25, 2009

I had a really, really intense and unique (for me) experience today.  I went clothes shopping for… seven hours!! It was craaaaaaazy!  My friend A., who is totally a clone of Stacey on What Not To Wear, offered to take me clothes shopping and hold my hand and give me advice since I am such a total deer in the headlights.

A. has taken me shopping a few other times in the past ten years- but those times, it was because I was feeling hopeless about being overweight and she was trying to show me that I could still find things that looked decent even if I didn’t feel great about my body. This was the first time that I have gone shopping – I think in about thirty years – where I actually got any pleasure from it.

My relationship with clothes is almost as complicated as my relationship with food!  Basically, my “before” wardrobe consisted of everything that was either black or brown, shapeless, drab, with no “adornment” (A’s word).  She used to describe my clothing as “mouse-colored pajamas.”

I owned (until today) four pairs of shoes. A pair of Dansko clogs for everyday, a pair of really ugly slip on sandals for warmer weather, a pair of Uggs for super cold weather, and running shoes. THAT IS IT. My feet are really really wide, and my arches are flat as pancakes, and most shoes out there are very painful.

We spent two hours in the shoe department alone, and my head nearly exploded. But I did prevail and I actually bought three pairs of shoes – that fit me, were comfortable and actually nice looking. Here is one of my new pairs of shoes. Check out the little gray and pink flowers! They look sort of sandallish, but guess what – they are really clogs in disguise. Which is why they feel magnificent.

It’s funny. Our plan was to meet around 11:30. I figured we would shop for maybe half an hour, have lunch, shop for maybe an hour more tops, and that would be MORE than enough. When I was staggering around with 20 pieces of clothing about an hour in, and said, “I think this is plenty,” A. just looked at me and laughed. Clearly she was just getting started.

I probably tried on fifty pieces of clothing. My main objective was to purchase a festive outfit for our friend W.’s wedding celebration party tomorrow. (the actual marriage took place a while back, this was a post-wedding party) Casual, but festive. It’s going to be at their house and yard, where they have goats. Not super formal by any means.

As we passed by a rack of dresses, A. pointed out this navy blue Cleopatra kind of dress with all sorts of gold “adornment.” I nearly wet my pants from laughing. “Yeah RIGHT!” She ignored my close-minded attitude and swept it up, putting it onto the three foot high pile in my arms.

When I literally could not hold up the quantity of clothing any longer, we went into a dressing room and I started trying on things at a manic pace. My friend sat and “evaluated” each outfit, why it “worked,” why it didn’t. It was truly a revelation. For one, I never had any concept of what might look good on me  – my motto was, the bigger and floppier and more nondescript, the better. But here she was talking about my shoulders, my “waist,” (ha ha ha!) my legs and butt and all of it.  And I started understanding more about myself and why certain things actually DID look better than others.

I tried on the gold-adorned Cleopatra dress. She said, “O my god, that looks great!” and I had to take a double take in the mirror. It actually did not look bad. But ME? Wear a GOLD-ENCRUSTED dress?

Let me pause here and say that I HAVE NOT WORN A DRESS IN FIFTEEN YEARS. I have one dress that I bought for a wedding fifteen years ago, and it is so ancient and ridiculous I have had to swear to both my daughters that I will never wear it again and not in their presence.

So here I was wearing a gold-adorned Cleopatra dress. And pigs were flying past the dressing room door, and hell was freezing over. But hey, Barack Obama is now president. ANYthing is possible, right?? :-)

I bought the dress. Along with a bunch of other things, some of which I adore more than I can say. I bought some Romanesque sandals to go with the Cleopatra dress.

I am going to post pictures. Yes I am! But I realize that these pictures will not have much impact unless I post my “before” pictures first.  I’m going to do it. So here’s the befores. You’ll see the Cleopatra outfit tomorrow, and then the rest of the clothes later next week.  Macy’s (where all this debauchery took place) is having some crazy storewide 25% off sale (YAHOO) but the catch is that you can’t actually HAVE the clothes until April 29th. Don’t ask. I don’t understand really, but I was willing to do that since I saved a bucketload of money.

The one thing we did NOT do was visit the makeup counter. Another place where I get incredibly nervous and feel like I am eight years old and playing grownup. We’ll have to save that for another time.

PHOTO UPDATE: Here are my hideous “before” pics, along with some pics of the Cleopatra dress.

 

The Dreaded “Before” Picture March 19, 2009

Filed under: body image,emotions,weight — Susan @ 9:51 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I’ve been looking around for something to use for my “before” picture, and boy did I find it. Last spring we were in Hawaii and my daughter took a picture of me from the beach, while I was bouncing around in the beautiful turquoise water. In the photo, I am a little speck and didn’t think much of it. But we happen to have a very powerful camera and when I cropped myself and zoomed in, I was… stunned.

You know how anorexics who weigh 85 lbs look in the mirror and see themselves as fat? I feel like I’ve had an opposite sort of distorted body image; I looked in the mirror and thought, “That’s not so bad.” I bought bigger and bigger clothes and as long as they were baggy and I was sort of swimming around in them, I felt comfortable because they were loose. I really had NO CONCEPT of how fat I had gotten.

I’m actually dying to show these two photos side by side: one of me, a week or so before giving birth. My face is pretty slender, my arms and legs are skinny but I have this huge bowling-ball belly. Then the one of me in the water in Hawaii. SAME EXACT WEIGHT, except in the second one, those extra pounds are in my face, my chin(s), my hamhock arms, and my torso. Aghhh!

It is really interesting to me, how I managed to get so overweight and didn’t really know it. On one level. Of course on another level I totally knew it and it made me miserable. But I tried to say “I don’t care.” Like this interesting post I read today.

Anyway, for now I am just using the Before pic as a personal reminder. When I look at it, Fleetwood Mac’s “Never Going Back Again” pops into my head, very Pavlovian like. No, no, no, no…

 

 
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