The other day when I took those progress pictures and posted them, I had to really sit and do double and triple takes for awhile. I do it every time: take pictures, then stare at them because I can hardly fathom that that is ME. I swear I looked at those pictures 100 times yesterday. But I also looked at some old pictures of me at 278 pounds. I also held my face in my hands and cried when I saw some of those pictures from August 2007 that I had forgotten about. How sad I looked. How my face was distorted by the fat. How unhealthy, how unwell, how bereft of hope I had become. I truly wept.
I don't know what kind of mental disconnect allowed me to gain all that weight and not ever really SEE it. I guess I saw it in the mirror. I guess I knew I was wearing size 26/28 pants and 3X-4X shirts. I knew I was in pain... I remember that. But somehow I let myself block out what was really happening to my body. I knew I was fat, but I honestly DID NOT KNOW my true size. And now when I see those pictures after several years I am just shocked.
Whenever I take new pictures, it shocks me the same way. My brain takes a long time to catch up to reality, I guess. Sometimes I think I must have a trick mirror; one day I look and see this thin-looking young woman and I do a double take because I barely recognize her, while the very next day I see myself with fat rolls and a giant belly and I think UGHHH, how can I still look this way after losing 80 pounds?? I probably see myself at about 225 pounds when I look in the mirror now. Except for magic mirror days when I see a normal person.
The pictures are for more than just to show you my progress, although the feedback I get from you all in the comments helps me a lot. You telling me that I look good confirms that I actually DO look smaller and it is not just some weird game my brain is playing with me. The pictures, mainly, are for ME to grasp what is going on with my body. I HAVE to look at them 100 times. It helps me get my brain around the reality of my body. It is a very strange and disconcerting thing to not feel familiar in one's own skin... to not really know what one looks like. I find myself looking at random people on the street and thinking, "Am I as big as her? Am I about that size? Is she bigger than me?" I have a very hard time gauging that. In fact sometimes I have to look at how far apart someone's hips are on a chair and how many inches of extra butt hangs off the sides, and then look down at how I am fitting in the same size chair, in order to get some idea of whether I am that size or not.
And just when I think I have it figured out, it changes. "I am a size 18!" But then I'm not. Hey, I'm not complaining. Just saying, it messes with my head a little.
When I take progress pictures, I am usually pleased with how they turn out. I don't edit them at all, except to lighten them a little when they come out too dark. I think if you saw me on the street, though, you might think I look fatter in person. I dunno, that could just be my warped self image talking, because *I* think I look fatter in person. I certainly have a bit more of a belly when I am wearing a bathing suit or looser pants; I always wear the smallest jeans that will comfortably fit me for my pictures. That way I consistently see the progress instead of loose bits hanging here and there. I mean, really. Things are squishy and weird right now. My belly is NOT firm at all; I can push on the fat and it compresses into a pretty small space. So the jeans do make me look slimmer. However, I always take measurements in the buff, so I get an idea of how my body is changing without the clothes to help.
Anyway, I am trying to be much more aware of my size and my shape as well as my health. I want to NOTICE if I ever start to regain weight. I do not want to obliviously gain 80 pounds in ten months like I did before. I won't be wearing stretch pants for that very reason. I need to know how big I am.
I think it's a good thing to be self aware and in touch with your body. Taking progress pictures and taking measurements helps me do this. I might look in the mirror and see 225 pounds, but there is no denying the truth of the pictures and the measuring tape. I am totally shrinking. And I love it.
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