Monday, May 17, 2010

My Parts, Part 1: Waist After Losing 70 Pounds (and Having 5 Kids)

I read a lot of weight loss blogs. There's quite a bit of talk about sagging bodies, loose skin, bat wing arms, etc among those of us who've dropped a significant amount of weight. There's pictures, sometimes, of the hanging bits that most of us have, and I think maybe it scares people. Oh yes. I have posted and will continue to post those honest pictures of the damage done to my body by morbid obesity. Hey, people should know. And if some 220-pound young lady sees how a 220-pound body looks on the way DOWN the scale after being nearly 300 pounds... how very different that body looks after the skin has stretched to twice its normal size and then deflated... maybe she will pick her jaw up off the floor and go change her life because she does not want THAT to be her body in ten years. Yes, people *should* know the consequences of obesity.

But people should *also* know that the body is a miraculous thing and can snap back significantly in some cases. Every body is different, but we all have parts we are more proud of and comfortable with than others. For some, their legs are shapely and sexy even at 250+ pounds. If you took a picture of *just their legs* you would not be able to even tell they are obese. Some folks have gorgeous bust lines regardless of their weight gain or loss. Others have that slim above-the-shoulders look with no double chins or sag. We're all blessed in one way or another.

So, I ask you, whats your best part? I know when people hear this question they immediately respond with "my eyes" or "my hair" or "I have a great smile." But I am not talking about that. I am talking about your flesh-and-fat-and-bone BODY parts. If I asked you that question... "what's your best part"... with the condition that it cannot be something on your face nor can it be your hair or just a general "I have beautiful skin"... then what would your answer be? Can you look at your body objectively and find a beautiful part you are proud of?

I'd like you to try it today. Maybe you already have an answer, but I know some of you will be stumped. "All of me is gross and fat," you'll think, But you're wrong. You have to think in terms of cropping ONE body part into a photograph and looking at that part all by itself. Try it in your head. Look at your parts alone. Do you have pretty knees? Strong legs? Maybe your calves are shapely. Or perhaps you have nice ankles. Do your arms make you proud? How about your wrists? You can look at your hips or your waist or your bust or your shoulders and see if they are pleasing for YOU to look at. Even your neck might be your best part.

I'd like you to *really* take a look and find it: your best part. And, if you are up to it, take a picture of your best part, crop it so only the part that is pleasing *to you* is in the picture. Then just look at it for awhile. Think about it. See your beautiful part, and start to see your whole self in a new way. YOU are beautiful and yes, you even have some body parts that are pretty. Once you learn to view parts of yourself as not only acceptable but beautiful, you can graduate to loving your whole self and appreciating ALL your parts as they change.

I have had 6 pregnancies and given birth five times. Some of my babies were big (8 pounds 11 ounces) and one was very small (two and a half pounds). I even had one c-section. I gained and lost a lot of weight, a lot of times. I spent several years close to 300 pounds and you can see the size of my midsection in those "before" pictures on the left side of this blog. I am 40 years old. But you know what I love? I love my waist.

This is the waist of a 208-pound, 40-year-old woman who has had 5 kids and lost 70 pounds. Me. I am proud of this waist. It's curvy and beautiful to me. I like how it is soft to the touch yet firm underneath. My babies came from there. I have stretch marks to prove it. They've faded *a lot* and my skin is not terribly loose. I didn't touch up this photo (I don't touch up ANY of my body photos except to crop and sometimes adjust lighting) so this is the real thing. And I am happy with it.

So, don't be too scared that your body will be all wrinkly and wobbly and saggy when you lose your weight. Maybe it will, maybe it won't. You WILL have parts you like and others you don't like as much. That's ok. But I tell you what, this waist is a lot better than the waist I had at 278 pounds, for ME.

If you do take a picture of your best part and blog about it, please leave me a comment so I (and others) can go check it out. Be brave. Look at your body in a new way! Everyone has beautiful parts. Even you.

58 comments:

RedHead said...

Your waist looks GREAT!!! I wish I could feel/say the same thing! Still have work to do! And I still have to look at this "new" body and figure out what I like/don't like. It's hard.

notjustcelery said...

Great post! I think it's important for everyone to find something they love about themselves! I love my butt, biceps, and neck/collarbone area!

tiffrutherf said...

Wow!

Leslie said...

If I had your waist, I'd love it too. At my bikini wearing thinnest in my early 20s, my waist didn't look that good! You look great!

I have good ankles and pretty hands with long fingers. At age 56 I'm glad for anything that is not awful! I look pretty decent in clothes, but I can tell you I'm glad I'm not on the dating circuit and contemplating getting naked for the first timed in front of someone!

midlife_swimmer said...

your tummy looks great! coming down from 387 doesn't leave such a nice tummy after 40 for me personally BUT I am not ashamed of any part of me and have no trouble being naked in the locker room at the gym or in a swimsuit in the pool.

My favorite parts keep changing so I would like to say I like all of me at the moment....it all looks great compared to 135 pounds ago for sure!

Shelley said...

Dang, your waist/stomach looks wonderful!!! I weigh more than 50 pounds less and mine looks like hell.

OK, in the spirit of your post, I'll say that I do love my forearms - they are almost "cut" looking from all of my weight training and I catch myself admiring them, lol!

Lori said...

I think you look great!

I have to say I love my thighs. They do so much for me and never really complain. Plus they are strong!

Teale said...

You do have a lovely waist! I'll have to get back to you on my favorite part, because nothing is jumping out at me. But you're right, everyone's got something... I'll just hav eto think on my something!

✯FiTCETERA✯ said...

I don't even look that good when I weigh under 200 and I've never had kids. You have a great figure Lyn, and carry your weight well.
My best physical feature is ... ummmm .... ahhhh ... crap I don't have one. My ankles are thin for a big girl. I guess I'll say ankles. The rest of me IS gross and hanging and fat and no, I really don't like any of it.
I wish I could say otherwise. Hopefully when I'm smaller I'll be happier with it all.
Right now, not so much.

Sarah said...

Your waist looks AMAZING!

For me it's my legs. They are so buff looking.

Steelers6 said...

I thought this was a good 'thinking' post, Lyn.

I was scrunching up my face trying hard to think of something that I could personally say I like..hmm. There was a lot of hemming, hawing, hmmm's, uhhhh's.. etc, [picture me mentally going over each part, and then actually looking at my wrists and stuff] when finally I think I even said out loud ummmmm...my WRISTS? wondering if that was cheating, maybe about like saying eyebrow or something...and read on a bit and you said "how about your wrists?" so then I knew I was ok. But I would like to add so many more parts to the list and hope I can in my own brain and also as they improve with my efforts over time.

Thanks Lyn. Chrissy

ps--Oh no! My word verification is "portly"! This is not helping me! hahaha

April said...

i've been following your blog for a couple months now, and we are right at the same pace. ...i just hit 206 on the scale and was 264 at my heaviest. i get that every body is different, but our bodies look completely different. i'm 30y/o and 5'6, and have had no babies. i have to ask, how tall are you? my stomach looks nothing like yours. i would love to have a stomach that looks like yours. i still have a huge roll where my belly botton is, i HATE it! ...i would imagine that if we stood next to one another i would look 20 pounds heavier.

anyways, your challange. when you first asked the question and stated it couldn't be anything like hair or smile, i immediately thought "i have nothing". as i sttarted to read more i thought of my hands. i love my hands. and my neck. with my weight loss i finally have a neck with structure. i love it. i might just post about this tonight.

thanks for sharing your story!

Silly Stamper said...

I wanted to tell you congratulations. Your tummy looks FABULOUS!!!! I'm so happy that you are doing well.
My favorite part of me since gaining 100 extra lbs are my breasts. I have a nice rack and it's the only part of me that makes me feel feminine & sexy.

Lyn said...

April~

I am also 5'6. But I bet if I put up a picture of my thigh, you'd guess it came from a 300 pound person. We all have good and bad areas!! And if you search my blog for arms you can see that those look quite, um, different as well :)

Cathy said...

You have a great attitude!

Karen said...

Well hubba hubba, Lyn. And now I must reveal your TRUE identity (since I and I alone have known all along). But you gave it away yourself with those abs. Everyone, say hello to

BRITNEY SPEARS!!!!

(Sorry, Brit, you didn't think you could hide forever, did you???)

Lyn said...

ROFL!!! Karen you are awesome :)

-J.Darling said...

Awesome! My co-author of "The Diary of a Mad Fat Woman" blog (www.roastedbearmeat.blogspot.com) has AMAZING legs! Though she's been a bit heavier than me, you'd never guess by those stunning legs! As for me, I have chunky legs, but rarely show my weight above my bustline. :)

Anonymous said...

You could never tell you had kids or lost all that weight, you look fabulous!

PaulaM

that TOPS lady said...

While hunched over getting my epidural during labor, the nurse said "You have the back of a thin woman". I'll take that!

Ashley said...

Ok, I'm definitely not taking a picture because mine is my butt. I am super, super picky about what pants I buy, particularly jeans, because I feel they have to do my butt justice and make it look as awesome as should. As in, I buy designer jeans, even though I'll only buy store brand cereal.

skinnyhollie said...

Love this question! I could only WISH my waist looked as good as yours!

My favorite features include my neck/chest/shoulder region.

I posted pics and posed the same question (giving you credit of course!) on my blog...

http://www.skinnyhollie.com/2010/05/whats-your-best-part.html

Hollie

Georgia said...

GREAT POST! Your waist looks great!

Since I was just about to post for the day, I grabed a camera and took pictures of my favorite parts!

Are you finding that the fitter you get the more favorite parts you find?

Rebekah said...

Wonderful post, as always! And damn girl! You have a gorgeous waist! Its SO hard to beleive the 40 year old 5 kids over 250 pound thing.. Like REALLY hard! you look so great!

Autumnforest said...

I am actually going to post a photo of me in a bikini on my b-day in September and that has kept me going. I have to admit that your belly and waist look outstanding. That's just crazy. Are you sure your weight is right? You must be very tall! That's an awesome shot. Now, you make me want to put one up on my blog. I think I know what I'd do a shot of... In fact, I'm going to do it before I lose my bravery. http://autumnforestghosthunter.blogspot.com
I will post it right now. You have definitely given me something to think about! Perhaps we should call today--I love my parts day!

PatriciaW said...

You look great, Lyn! Wish I did at seven years older and a lower starting weight. But I can tell that just in the last year, my skin has lost noticeable elasticity. Still, I'm hoping when I get these 70 lbs off, that it won't be all sags and bags. :)

Kathleen said...

Nice!

Worrying about loose skin can be an excuse -- reason to put off weight loss. I would say that even with a little loose skin, I *feel* much, much better!

Fattie Fatterton said...

You have an amazing waist to begin with - but to know all that your body has done through pregnancy and weight gain, it is really exceptional.

For me, it's my rack - they're real and they're spectacular!! :D

Lin said...

Lyn,
You look great! Congratulations and PLEASE keep up the great work! I'm so jeolous!!! (but in a good way, lol!)

Natalia said...

Nice waist! I hope to have one someday!

Jenn said...

You stomach looks fantastic. I've only had 1 pregnancy and have lost 45 lbs and my stomach is a saggy, stretchy mess! I do love my thighs though because they are firm, muscular and kick butt! :)

varunner said...

Your waist is beautiful and you are right to love it, particularly after having children! No waist pics for me right now but I'm working at it (9 month old twins have left some work to be done in that department!)

Stephanie Hill said...

Thank you. It's nice to see that losing weight doesn't have to leave you with rolls of hanging skin. You look wonderful and you're only getting better!

Julie said...

My bum, my boobs and my hands. Thanks Lyn once again.

In Honor of Me! said...

I really like my legs and my arms; the shape, not necessarily the color. My arms are freckled from the sun, my legs are white as snow. But my legs and arms are shaply, not the legs and arms of a woman who onced weight 323 lbs!

Thanks for reminding me of that!

Now.....can we trade waistlines? One of the excuses I have also used for not losing weight has been...I will NEVER have a flat stomach. Who cares???? What a pathetic excuse to overeat. WHo knows, my old tum-tum might surprise me ....IF I gave it the chance.

Thanks for the inspiration. I look forward to it everyday!

Love ya!

Taryl said...

Your waist IS beautiful! Mine is occupied by baby#3 right now, so while I love the look of my own it's had some of its' definition lost to a growing baby inside.

My favorite part of my body, hands done, is probably my legs. They are great looking, even at 260 pounds they were lovely and they haven't changed much since losing 50 pounds. They're painfully white (I am in Alaska, after all!) and I don't shave as much as I probably should (lazy hippy that I am) but they're still one of my favorite parts of myself.

Katie Ann said...

I carry most of my excess weight in my stomach rather than the standard hip/thigh area, and have never had a defined waist. So jealous of yours!

My favorite part is definitely my butt, I'm rather proud of it (my sisters are both lacking a bit back there, which just adds to the joy since they both got height). I get a lot of compliments on my calves, since they're somewhat inexplicably toned and muscular, but I just see them as bulky.

Leaving Fatville said...

Wow, you look great! I sure wish my waist looked like that after my one kid!

My favorite part of me is kind of strange. It's my wrists. I like that they look dainty and small. They match my frame, although not much on me does. They look graceful, even when I am not.

Friend of the Bear said...

Hi Lyn. Just wanted to say I think you're looking great.

So glad you're feeling so positive.

Bearfriend xx

laine @ beets, butter and mountaintops said...

I used to love my wrists because they are thin. But now they just seems too tiny to get me up into handstand in yoga.

So, what do I love? My upper arms, shoulders and lats that can now get me up into Wheel pose in yoga.

Tammy said...

Holy crap your waist and stomach look AMAZING!!! Nobody would ever know how much you USED to weigh, or that you had 6 pregnancies!! I am floored by such an awesome picture!!! You should be very proud. :)

I have pretty great legs, or at least I thought I did, until Sunday. I met a friend at a bridal shop...she was trying on dresses for her wedding in october. I sat down on the platform that she was walking across, modeling her dress in front of a wall of mirrors. I turned and looked straight ahead into the mirror that I was facing and saw right up the legs of my shorts. OH DEAR GAWD!!!! lol The lower half of my legs definitely look better than the loose, flabby, downright scary upper half, lol. I think I'll just stare at my calves from now on. :)

Joy said...

Your waist is beautiful!! I hope to achieve that as well. Several Blogs are asking us to say what our best feature is. I'm feeling a little funny about answering the question. I guess I better do some pondering to see what's up with this. Keep up the great work!! Hugs!

Gerri said...

Awesome waistline! I aspire to have a waist like that. My best part, calves and ankles at the moment but looking to have great other parts too!

Julie said...

Looks great! I only hope my belly and waist look that good when I lose more weight. I too had 5 kids and spent a good portion of my life obese!

Anonymous said...

WOW Lyn,

you would never be able to tell your age, or weight from that pic. You have Im sure made us all feel better about ourselves. Yes we all have something that is good and others not so great. I actually have a small waist too and I've had 7 kids and 10 pregnancies, but under the waste my stomach does hang over! :(

Mother of Many

Anonymous said...

Lyn...Congratulations on a trim waist...your waist is absolutly beautiful. Never would anyone ever guess you were once overweight, and had 5 children...never. Thanks for this post...and reminding each of us...our journey begins with us loving ourselves & therefore taking better care of our selves.
Each journey begins with one step...and one good choice after another...thanks for the encouragement.
I just began this journey...day 15 of the rest of my life...lost as of today -6...
Bless you once again for sharing this blog with us...Rhondabill

Val said...

I think I've still got killer legs, but I'm fairly proud of the whole-body photo that my son snapped of my on his iPhone. I look nowhere near as bad as I felt after 78 mi "at race pace"!

destinationathlete said...

You DO have an amazing waist...I've only had one child, of average weight, and have lost 50lb and mine looks nothing like that...I barely even HAVE a waist.

But anyway, enough about that. ;)

My favorite part? My legs, from like mid-thigh down. I have pretty good legs. But other than that...;)

TheDiaryofaFatWhiteChic said...

I just have to say WOW! I weigh 207 and have only lost about 13lbs...my stomach looks no where NEAR as good as yours does! I definately feel self-consious of my body...and I don't know how I will ever get that flat tummy. Even when I was at my smallest, 135 at age 17, I had a little jiggling. I was flat, but soft... that made me mad, but since I didnt excersice and had lost 60 lbs, It was to be expected I guess. I just have to work harder this time around.

Anonymous said...

You go girl! You look awesome!

I love my boobs - they rock!

Zazzers said...

I love my legs, I have really long legs and they are muscular. All I need to do is get a tan and they would be rocking! :)

If you have time, could you visit my blog? I'm just starting my weight lost plan, and could use feedback.

Thanks!

Sandra said...

You should be proud of your waist - it's amazing considering all it's been through. My favourite part is my shoulders - and my collarbone. And I'm told by a young friend I have great legs - so sad others often see the beauty in us where we fail to .

Shauna said...

DUDE you look fab! :)

moonduster said...

Woohoo! Look how small your waist is getting! You look GREAT!

My best part would have to be my legs. They never really put on the weight with me that the rest of my body did, so they don't have all of the loose skin that other parts of me have. And they are very toned.

I'll see if I can get a picture of my legs later this week.

anne h said...

Dear Britney:
You are a cutie!
Good job, Lyn!

screwdestiny said...

Wow, Lyn. You have a great waist. It's gonna look awesome when you drop even lower. You should definitely be proud of it.

And I love the idea of this post, too. It's true that everyone can find at *least* one spot on their body that is beautiful and they can love. Maybe I'll do a post like this on my blog.

Andra said...

You look great and you are so brave. I took your challenge! I posted a photo and blogged about my shoulders. I'm very proud of them.

http://lovetoeathatetoexercise.blogspot.com/2010/05/no-weigh-friday.html

Michael Scott said...

I reduced my weight back in 2005/2006 by 161 pounds in 20 weeks and was left with a lot of loose skin and some real 'body' issues as I struggled to deal with what I saw in the mirror.

I had two tummy tucks to try and sort out the skin but then after a nervous breakdown and sorting my head out I realised that I was going in search of a body that I was never going to find.

For me being at peace with yourself and your body means you see imperfection perfectly as opposed to constantly criticising yourself and how you look.

In heinsight I am who I am, and I still have some loose skin but nobody ever died young due to some loose skin on their arms and I am too busy living my life now to even let it worry me.

As I said to somebody last week, 'loose skin is a sign of success, if you haven't got any loose skin then you haven't trimmed down yet'

Have a great weekend all

Mike ;-)

(I do a daily NLP based diet mindset blog at www.thedietguy.co.uk)