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.