Monday, September 21, 2009

Whose leg is that?

Yesterday I had one of those weird moments where reality splits and for a second, your brain is trying to figure out what just happened. It was simple, really. I was at the park, walking with my children in the sunshine when we decided to go up a little embankment. There was a concrete step up to the grass which required one to raise one's foot up to about knee height in order to hoist ones self up. No biggie. I raised my foot, placed it on the step, and glanced down. Time stopped. Whose leg is that?? What the heck???????

It was a fat leg... a pale, chubby leg with dimples from the cellulite and thick ankles. THAT CANNOT BE MY LEG. I had a moment of disconnect. Somehow, even though I am an obese woman in a 40-year-old body, I occasionally still *think* I am a cute, curvy, sexy 18-year-old with nice legs. I used to be. I used to put my leg up to tie my shoe and see the smooth skin, the muscle definition in the calf, the tapered ankle. What the hell happened??

It was only a split second but it seemed like forever as I stared at that leg that *couldn't* be mine. I don't look like that. I don't!!!!

But I had brought my camera and had taken pictures with my kids, too. And when I got home and saw the images, I was just aghast all over again. What?? I do NOT look like that!! I cannot possibly...

Pictures don't lie. I look like crap. I look worse NOW at 239 than I did on my way down the scale last year at 239. I've said it before... when I regained the weight, it did NOT go back on where it came from. It went back on in a most unflattering way. And I admit the clothing I chose was absolutely NOT helping. Going back to comfy stretch pants that cling to every roll is not making me look any better. In fact, I think I will always look crappy in this kind of clothing, because even as the weight comes off, the loose skin just hangs there creating a really rough landscape.

It's hard accepting and admitting how I really look. It's hard to wrap my mind around it all. Most of the time when I look in the mirror... whether now or when I weighed 214... I still see a 280-pound super obese woman. I never saw the weight loss in the mirror. I always saw the old fat me. But when I stop looking in the mirror and don't look at pictures for awhile, my brain tells me I look like I did when I was a teenager. And when I get a slap of reality, it burns.

Today's plan? Eat less. Move more. Do things that bring me closer to my goals. Aim for a stronger, better body. And get rid of the stretch pants.


Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Lyn. Sometimes, even though it's really painful, a jolt back into reality can be helpful. It can get you moving, keep you motivated. That's the way to deal with this - to let it spur you on to your goals.

Just focus on the positivity of working towards the weight you want to be and the life you want to have.

Best wishes,
Bearfriend xx

Leslie said...

You are once again so courageous and open about your journey. I relate to you seeing your leg and having an out-of-body experience. Just yesterday I went to by some new pants - just 2 pairs because my long pants from last year are too big. Yes - a blessing, and I'm not complaining about that. But I looked in the dressing room mirror at my cellulite pocked thighs, and I was totally grossed out and it got me very down on myself.

I had to flip it and say to myself that I've abused my body for many years, and despite it's imperfections, it's healthy and strong and serves me well. I'm working on her, and so are you.

Also, I couldn't help notice your picture in this post next to your starting picture...there is a lot of progress evident! A LOT. You're on the right path, and these harsh self realizations can help motivate us to continue.
Awareness is key, then acceptance of reality, and with those, we can move into action to change what we need to. I'll be writing about my dressing room experience later!

moonduster said...

Lyn - I know exactly how that moment felt, as I've had many of those moments too. (((hug)))

By the way, there is a very noticeable difference in your weight now than in your "before" photos! You are getting there!

Also, having lost over 100 pounds, I do have loose skin BUT that loose skin is slowly improving. It really DOES start to firm up over time and the closer you get to goal when you do this the right way.

Keep your hope alive and stick to the plan! And when we both reach our goal weights, I'll have to visit the US and we can both get some glamour photos done! LOL!

Melissa Venable said...

I totally get it. I really most of the time feel thin. The only time i FEEL fat is at certain dressy parties where my tiny friends are in their tiny dresses & i could never look like that in a dress. But just in my daily life- (except when i'm exercising- i feel HUGE when i'm exercising!) i mostly feel fabulous. I feel good. And i definitely feel THIN. Can't wait til that's actually reality.

Thealogian said...


I'm gonna be a bit of a meanie here but you wrote a REALLY moving piece yesterday about self-esteem and your sense of self shattered by the men in your life, religious shunning, that mother banging on your door, your father's early death, and of course, your crushed dreams. It was one of the most moving pieces I've read in a long while.

Yet, here you are today, totally beating up on yourself because your leg doesn't look like that imaginary 18-year old's leg in your mind. Its another illusion and its doing you no good.

Just think about what that leg has lived through. Walking to and fro from school (yours and your children's schools), walking through the halls of hospitals as loved ones are facing health-crisis, walking to the park, walking through the farmer's market on a beautiful summer's day, etc.

Your leg is a good leg--you may have knee pain here and there (and hopefully it will lessen as the burden of excess weight lessens), but your leg is you. Imperfect, but abundantly alive and able to take on the mantle of adult responsibilities which include taking care of your family's needs, emotionally and financially. In order to do that, you have to let go of that phantom--the 18 year old, the wife with the perfect husband, etc. She's just a 120lbs of extra burden who is keeping you from being self-reliant and joyful.



bbubblyb said...

I think you look just fine in that picture and it's true what others said about how much great progress you've made since your before pics.

I've really had to start looking at my body differently. We all need to start saying "I approve of you" when we look at ourselves. Our self worth is not defined by our size. Please don't beat yourself up it only makes you feel bad. Love the person you are today and know she's good, true, smart and so many other good things.

The one thing to remember is you can do anything you put your mind too *big hugs*.

What a Splurge said...

In my mind's eye, I think I look one way but then a photograph jolts me back to earth. You are so brave to even post photographs ... I don't have the courage to do that. If you follow your own good advice (I want to follow it too) Eat less, move more and work toward a healthy body, you'll have these pictures as a long ago memory.

Diane, Fit to the Finish said...

I'd agree with Bear, and try and think of this "reality jolt" as a motivational moment. Even at 40 you can still have a great, slim body. Just one pound at a time.

Your goals are solid - exercise smart, eat right, and focus on the future!

Lyn said...


This post was not mean to "beat myself up." I love the body I have been given. But reality is, it needs to change to be more functional. It's a fact that many people who've gained weight go through a lot of disconnect in their brains about what they really look like. I was just sharing one such experience. The shock of seeing *my* reality in a flash when I was feeling like a completely different person is another step in the healing process.

antgirl said...

Keep your eyes on the positives. It's not about perfection, it's about being healthier and being able to engage in the adventure of life.

It takes time, but the body will respond. I'm still working on tone. But, I do see a difference from a year ago.

You're really doing great. Count the accomplishments and count them big.

{ALL} for a Better Life said...

Just keep on going forward, but if it makes you feel better I too sometimes think I am still 18 hot! LOL

kelly said...

The difference in your pictures is crazy! You look completely different! Those wake-up moments are necessary from time to time. You are doing great, keep it up!

South Beach Steve said...

Lyn, you said it well, "Today's plan? Eat less. Move more. Do things that bring me closer to my goals. Aim for a stronger, better body." Keep focused, you can do this!

Chris said...

I can really relate to the "disconnect" feeling that you've described so well. I've experienced it too. Not once, but a couple of times. Alas, I just let go of those precious moments, instead of utilizing them to motivate myself.

Never again. I refuse to let my health and self-confidence compromised by my own complacency.

From a long-time lurking reader

*fitcetera* said...

i took pics today as well.
i agree with you ... it does NOT look the same even though i weight LESS ... i look like i weigh more.

we can get discouraged about how we look now.
we MUST look forward!!!

MissyM said...

Hello Lyn. You wrote that your body needs to change to be more functional. MINE TOO!! Like you, I will eat less and move more.

Karyn said...

I can relate.

Love the last line...'get rid of the stretch pants' LOL

Deniz said...

Don't give up, Lyn. You are doing great - just really look at the difference in your photos. You may never see your 18 year old body again, but you can see a healthier one you can love.

When I realise that the dangling belly skin I see when I'm doing planks closely resembles the old greyhound bitch in the park (who has had zillions of puppies), I could sometimes cry too.

But I make myself remember that it is SO much better than the way it was when it was stuffed to bursting with my fat.

Ditch the stretchies, treat yourself to something new that you KNOW you look good in and keep up the great work!

Name: Lynise said...

sometimes we need a 'jolt of reality' to get us back into the mindset we need to be in to really stay on track, (a lot more then we stay off track).

Maybe comparing the pic's between 214 and now can be a good motivator to show you where you want to be again.

Its never easy to realise the scales have moved in the wrong direction BUT there has to be something good come out of this and put a stop to the trend while the regain is only 25lb, rather then the full 60lb.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn. Hang in there. Remember that although some of the weight has come back you have SUCCESSFULLY KEPT OFF 40 POUNDS!!

I think your pic looks great. Hold it up next to your "before" pictures. You are making strides. Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Anonymous said...

I knew I wasn't imagining things! I look at old pics where I weigh the same as now, and yet things certainly do not look the same on my body! Gargh!!

And I agree with a previous poster, "Your leg is a good leg" :) But I also know the reality check photos can give you, to shove you back into the game :) Let it be just that - a positive, not a negative... (she says to herself...)

Heather said...

I have had a lot of those experiences, and its hard to deal with sometimes. but it can help you as well, so just use that to fuel you to keep on going. you have made wonderful progress inside and out, so keep at it!

Theresa said...

this is my problem too Lyn, I can't see anything even remotely accuate in the mirror, so I can only go by photographs. When I see what the camera captures it blows me away how different I look. Thanks for posting. :)

Rina said...

I know that you aren't pleased with the photo, but really, as an objective onlooker who is trying to lose weight herself - you don't look bad. You have a figure, you look like a woman. Yes, you will look better when you lose weight and you don't look as sexy as you did at 18, but really, don't knock yourself down too much. You don't "look" like 240 and I've seen people who weigh that amount look much worse. You're still cute, don't worry :) And for reference, I weigh 180 and am trying to get to 140 - this is not the opinion of someone who is 340 and jealous of your appearance.

Christina said...

You know what's horrible? I remember as a child staring at my mother's thighs and then my thighs and thinking how "huge" they were. I never said it to her even when I was young but even as a child I noticed and was already comparing. Now when I look down I have those same thighs and wonder if my daughter looks at mine and notices. ick.