Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Unwind With A Little Rewind....Underneath the Blanket

As I said last Tuesday, I couldn't wait until I had a year of blogging under my belt so I could do something I'm calling "Unwind With A Little Rewind". I'm going to go back - waaaaay back - and find a post I wrote and re-post it. For me. Because sometimes I can't believe what I wrote or that I'm still writing or that anyone is still reading. And I think it's good to look back. And it's something I've wanted to do for a while. So here is today's edition.

Oh and feel free to join in each Tuesday. It's kind of fun to go back in time and see where you were...because it's so easy to forget how far you've come. It's also quite convenient when I'm having blogger's block or too completely lazy to write something to knock your socks off.

I wrote this on 1/28/10...and it was called.....Underneath the Blanket...


Yesterday I read a blog recommended by a friend and I found it very thought-provoking. The woman was talking about body dysmorphic disorder (sp?) and how after you lose weight you can’t see yourself thin. That got me to thinking about me and my incessant need to still go automatically to plus sizes when I shop….I even convince myself the clothes are much cuter there anyway.

How do you break a habit like that you’ve had your whole life – in just months or a year? Is it possible? Does any woman really do it? I mean YES – of course it’s part of the dream – walking into a store and shopping in regular sizes and looking good but to me that isn’t what happens.

For me – it’s not that I don’t see myself thin – it’s that I don’t see myself as thin “enough”.

There’s comfort in plus sizes because no matter what I pick up off the rack it’ll fit and it might be a little big but it fits. There’s no sucking in air, zipping zippers into skin, cursing in the dressing room, etc. It just fits. If I were to break the habit and go right to my real size – there’s a chance it won’t fit – just like it never did all those years before. There’s a chance I have to put it all back and then go to the plus section where I should have started anyway. There’s a chance the size I thought I now was – isn’t – not in this brand anyway and I can’t take that rejection – not one more time.

I think the perfect invention is a blow up life-size before picture of yourself that you could fold up and carry in your purse. Just imagine me standing in the dressing room thinking – “Are you freaking kidding me? I ran 5 miles every day this week and my fat @ss still won’t fit in a size 12?” – when suddenly before I break into tears and whip out the Twinkie in my purse - that I could get out a picture of me at my highest weight and stand it up next to me while in that dressing room…..THEN – yes THEN – I wouldn’t feel like such a failure knowing I have to reach for the next size up.

I could “see” it – right there in front of me. Because for me – I forget how far I’ve come, the hills I’ve climbed, the struggles I’ve faced and how big I was. I think we all want to forget it so we do…but remembering is part of the key. I suppose this is why people who are successful at weight loss carry a picture of themselves at their highest weight around with them. Forgetting doesn’t work….it’s pretty much denial that a fat me ever existed.

It’s the same with staying home instead of going out because you can’t find anything that looks good and you’re afraid of what people will say. I thought that would go away after losing 70 lbs – turns out no – the feeling is the same, just a different reason. Now I’m afraid I haven’t lost enough, still nothing looks right and my God what if someone notices and says something like “how much weight have you lost?’

You’d think that would be a celebration but for me it’s not. Saying I lost 70 lbs is flat out admitting I had it to lose. Saying I lost it is admitting to the public I was overweight. It’s like admitting I had a problem and who the hell wants to admit that? It’s all part of the journey I realize now – saying yes – I let myself go, I didn’t care, I had issues, I had problems, I didn’t make myself a priority, I wasn’t healthy – sometimes to complete freaking strangers….but every time you say it – it gets easier to believe. And every time I have to walk out of the dressing room and put the plus size clothes back and go get a smaller size – it gets easier to see.

Part of me loved the fat girl in me – because I told myself I was happy with me as me – fat and all - and confident enough to be fat in my own skin and know people still loved me. I filled myself with good lies every day and I believed them. It was a good fat world……until the sun went down and darkness fell and I was still fat. I guess now there’s a difference – I’m awake even in that darkness now.

I’m doing this for me. Though I have lost almost 1/3 of what I was – I’m more of a person today than I was then. But I will never make the mistake of thinking that weight was just fat. It wasn’t – it was a symbol of a million things I couldn’t face or talk about or live with.

Fat is like a blanket that covers you up and keeps all the ooey-gooey stuff nice and warm on the inside while you go on living on the outside. You lose it and it’s like someone stripped off the blanket and you have big arrows above you flashing and pointing like a neon sign saying “Look at this girl. Look what is under her blanket. Sins. Misdeeds. Imperfections. Lies. Pains. Heartaches. Come one come all – open for everyone to see!

It’s scary as hell.

And beware - it's not like as a kid when your mom ripped off your bandaid in one swift move. Oh no - this blanket stripping is slow and drawn out - painstakingly slow at times.

I have told anyone who asks – losing weight is easy science. Calories in – calories out – work out – done. The emotional weight loss is a whole different story and it’s not for the feint of heart. That’s why I believe so many people gain it back.

So many say, "Well I stopped working out and I started eating cookies again." Sure you did - but why? I believe it’s because the emotional weight loss was starting to take hold and facing that inner you that you haven’t seen in years is more scary than carrying around an extra 50 lbs.

But if you want – blame it on the cookies – I’ll never tell….I’ve been there. Done that.


Jen said...

I'd like to know more of your fat 'history', if you will. Meaning: When/How did you gain weight and how long did you carry the weight? Mine was a classic case of gaining it during pregnancy, then another pregnancy and then gaining even more in the 10 years of 'after the pregnancy'.

Karen Butler Ogle said...

Very familiar to this formerly fat girl. Sweating everything in the dressing room. I think reality finally hit me when I shopped once at my favorite store, The Dress Barn Woman. They have assistants to help you put outfits together and I was searching the plus size department for the perfect top to go with a pair of beaded and sequined jeans. While I was looking the assistant went to the other side of the store and chose the perfect top from the regular sizes. That was a revelation. It was also a beginning for me to see myself more as I am than as I was. However, I do still see the fat girl when I look in the mirror when I'm undressed. With clothing on, I can see the changes. But naked I see the large stomach and thighs, the wrinkled skin. Not a pretty sight. I only get the reassurance that most of the weight is gone, when I put on clothes that I know I shouldn't be able to get into and find that they fit. Weird, huh?

Amy W. said...

Dont you think it is the craziest thing when we go back and reread posts we have written. Sometimes I have no recollection of writing them, sometimes I get bored, and sometimes I am like...WHoa! I am a genius.

Is it time to meet again and go shopping and talk about how much we miss our life partners while Jen and Jen skip around CHicago?

Anonymous said...

This is so surprising to me because I always thought when people lose weight they are instantly happy. I never thought about the emotional aspect of it or even the way THEY think people think of them.

I'm so glad you shared this story and reposted this. I have a whole lot more respect for people who have lost weight now.

Jess said...

Good rewind. :)