Tuesday, October 26, 2010

It's Real

I admit it. I left my 100 Pounds Gone Pictures post up all day Monday without a new post because I loved seeing them there on the front of my blog. I didn't want to post and move them down the line into the past... even though I did link them in the sidebar. I cannot express how very happy and proud I am of those pictures, but let me try to explain.

I have had a hard time with body image forEVER, and looking at pictures has, frankly, been painful. When I was morbidly obese I thought I looked okay most of the time, and then I'd see some random photograph and be absolutely horrified. That could NOT be me. I am NOT that big! Am I? And so I'd eat to forget, pretend I was smaller, look away from my reflection in windows, try not to let anyone take a picture of me.

As I lost weight, I decided to take progress pictures. I have them all linked on the left sidebar of this blog. I started with 30 Pounds Gone pictures and yes, even I saw the obvious difference there, but I was still kind of appalled at how large I looked. Every ten pounds since I have taken photos and measurements and posted them on my blog as a way to track my progress, but every ten pounds I have looked at those pictures, so upset and disappointed that I "didn't look any different." As my dear friend Karen could tell you, I sent her my pictures every time before I would post them. I'd say "omg, I do not look ANY DIFFERENT!! I still look JUST AS FAT!" and I would lament and cry and whine and sometimes even retake the pictures in different clothing to see if I could looked any better. Every ten pounds, Karen said to me, "You DO look thinner! You HAVE changed. You have to trust me on this. You do not see yourself as you are. You look great!" And because I know she wouldn't lie to me, I just had to force myself to believe her and post them on my blog. I always wondered if someone would come and comment, "You don't look any different. I don't see how you can claim you've lost 40-50-60 pounds. Your body looks the same." But no one ever did.

So as I posted pictures every ten pounds, I got feedback. LOTS of feedback in the form of comments and emails telling me how GREAT I look, how much slimmer my waist or arms or hips were, and cheering me on. I was always kind of stunned by it, but I figured all these people couldn't be fibbing for my ego's sake. Every time I posted more pictures, I'd have to keep going back to my blog and staring at the pictures. I mean, it's been almost obsessive... every time I sat down at the computer, I'd go to my page and look at my pictures. Because it didn't seem real. Because sometimes I'd look and could SEE what other people were seeing. I'd sit and compare the pictures to older ones and every so often I'd get a glimpse that hey, I was getting smaller. I was looking better. The measurements going down and the clothing sizes shrinking were confirmation that is was not just an optical illusion.

But I still felt fat. My brain still held the image of me at 278 or 245 or even 220 pounds when I thought of myself. Not less.

When I stood on the scale this weekend and saw 178 pounds, I was so excited. I cleared all the stuff out of the way in my room so I could take those pictures. I took measurements. I put on those size 10 jeans and a top and I looked in the mirror.

I gasped. I spun around. I looked at every angle. How on EARTH did that happen? I actually look GOOD, I thought. I look amazing!!! I was just so thrilled at what I saw. In fact, I have not weighed 178 since 14 years ago when I was 27 years old! I barely remember it but I actually think I look better now, at 41, than I did at 27. Maybe it's attitude, or confidence, or just being more aware and happy. But regardless, when I stood there and snapped those pictures this weekend from all angles, I felt on top of the world.

And then, I set the camera aside. I didn't look at the pictures. I went about my day.

"Send me the pictures!" Karen said. "I am waiting on pins and needles here!" But I didn't send them. I didn't even take them off my camera for hours.

I was afraid the pictures would show me how I REALLY look. I did not want to lose that feeling I had of pride and happiness when I looked in the mirror. I was scared to download the pictures and see that it was all just a mirror trick and I actually still look obese. I was afraid I would cry because I don't look any different.

Finally I just took the leap and downloaded them. As I started looking at them on my computer, I noticed something.

The pictures look EXACTLY as I looked in the mirror... EXACTLY how I am imagining myself in my mind!

The pictures on the computer MATCH the pictures in my brain!!

Do you know how big this is? If you've ever suffered from body dysmorphic disorder you know.

And so I posted them, I read every comment, and I loaded the page several times on Sunday and Monday, staring at myself in the pictures and accepting that yes, that is me. I did this. I look good. And for the first time in MY LIFE, I actually not only accept but LIKE how I look.

I turned a corner. I finally do not feel like a fat chick faking it that she lost a bunch of weight. It is not fake, or temporary. It is real, and it is my body and my life. I cannot tell you how exciting this is to me. If you had shown me those pictures three years ago when I started this blog, I would have probably fallen over from a heart attack in shock. But now it's real. I am so happy.

Scale says: 176.

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a joy!
Congratulations!

This KNOWING is something far more valuable than any number.

But you know that!

Marie

Lucrecia said...

You've come so far! I had that mental picture problem last year, I lost 30 pounds but I couldn't SEE it and I let it get the best of me and I gained every one of them back! :-( Kudos for you for sticking with it even when it seemed like you weren't getting anywhere in your head!

Christina S. said...

I am so happy for you. I know many have said this, but you truly are inspirational. Not just because of the pounds you lost, but because of your ATTITUDE! You have been honest and thoughtful and have persevered despite having many set-backs and challenges along the way.

I am 29 and have been overweight since I was 7 years old. I am trying to work on understanding why I eat compulsively. I know there are causes for my behavior. I don't want to spend another 20 years beating myself up and making myself miserable over my weight. No, it's not easy for me to lose this weight, but I know it's doable . . . and you've provided a great example to me for HOW it can be done.

Mind Over Fatter said...

What a breakthrough Lyn, nice to see your mind has caught up with your physical body. The topic of body dysmorphic disorder is one I will keep connect to... sometimes my issue I see myself smaller than what I really look like in pictures, therefore I fool myself into a false reality. Strange eh?

Lisa said...

wtg Lyn! :)

Katie J said...

Congrats on the 100 lb. loss Lyn. You are one of the 1st blogs I ever read and it has been a pleasure watching your transformation. You have shared with us the ups and downs and have taught us a thing or three about how freaking hard this WL Journey is. You should be very proud of yourself for not throwing in the towel when things got tough. You are an inspiration to MANY Lyn! Thank you for allowing us to be along for the ride.

Beth at Obesity Strike said...

YAY! I remember having a similar experience the first time that I lost my weight. So excited for you.

Theresa said...

I'm kind of envious that you can "see yourself" as you are. I feel like I'm still right where I started. How do you think you got there? Looking at photos? Getting positive feedback? I need to start the process in my mind too.... as always you are such a wealth of support, information and joy for me.
hugs!
176! :D Big grin!

Theresa said...

One more comment........ I would LOVE to see you change your photo from the "what I looked like" to the "what I look like" one! Even side by side ones would look awesome. I think the 100 pound photo should be the first thing we see on your page! It's what you've done, it's what you're doing and it's who you are and who you see! <3<3<3

Lyn said...

Theresa~

It took a lot, and I mean A LOT of mental work to see myself as I am. I had to stop looking away, start to be in pictures more and actually LOOK at them repeatedly. I spend time looking in the mirror every single day. When I shower I take time to look in the mirror too. I look at every aspect so I notice small changes. I pay really close attention to my body now. Every day. And it took months/years to do this. I think it can happen for you too! Start by looking. Alot. Even if you don't like something, keep looking, daily.

Anonymous said...

Actually feeling how you look is a rare thing. I'm so glad you feel that way - it means you are in a good place. Give your self a bigpat on the bcak!! You did it!!

Stacey
SWPA

Jen said...

That is great! I just started blogging my fitness and weight loss and you are an inspiration! Thank you!

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

So Awesome!! I can't tell you how much I RELATE!! I feel the SAME WAY about my pictures!! I kept waiting for everyone to say I haven't really lost any weight. Even now after losing 111, sometimes I still think I'm way big. But I am starting to feel convinced that I am smaller. It is a great feeling. And size 10 pants... how awesome is that!! I am a shorty so my weight bunches up and I'm finally in a size 16 and that is small for me... but can't wait to fit into a size 10.

You are not alone, girl!! Cheers for you here in Oregon!!

~Margene

Anonymous said...

Hi L,
Why not consider taking the picture of obesity pics down and putting up the 100 lbs lost pics? They are so motivating for me!

Anonymous said...

I agree that maybe you could leave the 278 pics up with a "Where I started" tagline, and then put up the 100 pounds lost with a "where I am".

For me personally, that's what hooks me into a weight loss/healthy living blog. The awesome before and afters, right there up front, where you can see them. And then of course still keep up the links for progress pics :)

Carol said...

Hi Lyn: first of all, congrats on your success!--you look great. Secondly, I wanted to thank you for all your advice and tips. I recently found your blog and went back and read your first posts when you began your "journey". I know you are on the Medifast plan now, but I appreciate all the tips you offered in your earlier posts, i.e. your list of "favorites", farmers market, etc. I had never tried lima beans previously and now love them (thanks to you) and your favorites list was most helpful. It's always easier selecting new items at the grocery store when they've been tried and recommended by someone. Also, your neverending encouragement ("never give up", "you/we can do this") is most appreciated. Now you've proven that it CAN be done!

mariana said...

i am so happy for you. i came here just to see you 100 pounds gone pictures 100 times since sunday!

:)

Karen said...

Oh Lyn, I just cannot tell you how happy I am for you!!! You have done such an amazing job and have inspired everyone along the way. Thank you for sharing your journey so openly with us all!
I think you should put one old and one new photo up on the first page so we can see it everytime we log on to your blog! It gives us all hope!

Bobbie said...

You really do look amazing! And I was once a size 9 many many years ago and I did still feel fat then, and that may have been why I never could keep it off. I always felt fat so in my mind I was fat so I went back to old habits. I'm sure glad you are getting your mind wrapped around everything as you have lost this weight. I believe it will help you keep it off in the future. Still cheering you on.

Chris said...

WAY TOO GO! Glad its sinking in! years from now it will be hard to remember back! :-)

Lisa said...

Awww, congrats again. This post just gave me goose bumps. :-)

Rosie's Weight Loss Blog said...

I have some definite body issues that I need to get over as I continue my weight loss. I am so proud of you and hope to be like you, that's why I love reading your blog!

Tanya said...

It's like I was reading my own story!! Amazing post. I'm down 84.4 pounds as of last Saturday and I still look in the mirror and see the same person I was 84 pounds ago. I'm afraid if I don't get things under control by the time I get to goal, I'll suck at maintenance... Keep up the awesome work! You are truly an inspiration!!

spunkysuzi said...

I'm so glad your mind is catching up to your body!! That in itself is absolutely amazing.

Ann K. said...

Looks to me like you made a major mental breakthrough. Body dysmorphic disorder wreaks havoc on your self and body image, I can definitely relate.

This part about "not feel like a fat chick faking it that she lost a bunch of weight" really resonates because that was an insecurity that I used to nurse. It can be challenging to stop seeing yourself as a FAT PERSON and just see yourself as PERSON. You are managing this really well, Lyn.

Spaghetti Cat said...

So full of joy and happy for you Lyn! That is totally remarkable that the thoughts and feelings of your body match, because I still have not got a grasp on what i actually look like.

Madame: The Journey said...

It's very real. It's also well-deserved, embrace it. :o)

Fat Grump said...

Oh Lyn...I am SO happy for you!
You look absolutely fantastic.

Well done you!

Never forget all the people out here that you are inspiring, urging on to do something, to keep at it. You remain my inspiration.

Big hugs x x x

icannotweight said...

I am really impressed and inspired by your ability to really see your new and awesome body. I still have not made that leap and it is so nice to see someone else do it successfully.

About 6 years ago I lost from 260lbs to 148lbs.. I did it in a year, and that was too quick for me to really recognize the changes I guess. Despite wearing size 9/10 and medium shirts, despite being in a "normal" weight range, all I could see was my saggy skin and my stomach, which to me looked HUGE. I was wrong, it got HUGE again as I regained much of my weight and topped out at 235.4 this time.

I'm back down to 170ish and it has taken MUCH longer this time. I had hoped with it taking so much longer that I'd really get it this time, that I would see I'm not "enormous" anymore and my stomach would look ok. It doesn't. I still feel gigantic. But every now and then I'll see a picture I like, or get a glimpse of the right angle in the mirror.. and I'll feel like I've actually accomplished something.

I'm still trucking at it, it's taking a long long time, but I think that is better for my brain. I need to start seeing the real me instead of the old fatter me.

THIS is why I was so happy to find out we were about the same size, because to me, you look absolutely "normal" sized. You look fabulous and I would never tell you to lose weight. If I am about your size, then I look similar to what you look like.. and I can't see it, but it must be true right?

screwdestiny said...

It is wonderful that the image in your mind finally matches what you actually look like. I've suffered from having a distorted body image before, and one of the things that I used to do was actually take a picture. Because some days I thought I looked fine and then others, in my mind, it looked like I had gained 10 pounds and I'd freak out. So I would take a picture, it would look normal, and I would just tell myself that was what was real.

And I love your attitude now. It's great that you finally love your body.

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