Lying in the bathtub, I look at myself and wonder. Was I really 278 pounds? Just four short years ago, did this still-heavy body really have 85 more pounds attached? I can't remember it. I don't remember lying in the bathtub at 278 pounds and seeing 85 more pounds of fat on myself. Maybe I've blocked it out. Maybe it was so horrifying to me, what I had done to my body, that I just could not see it. I know I didn't see it in the mirror. I know because every so often, when I find some random photograph or stray piece of 3X clothing, I still gasp in disbelief. That CANNOT have been me. Not MY reality. I did not see it.
I wonder if what I am seeing now will fade and morph into the new shape my body takes in the future. It is disconcerting to be able to grab handfuls of *stuff*... fat and skin... where there used to be smoothness and muscle long ago. We know we are supposed to love our bodies and be forgiving and accepting, and I have done pretty well at that, I think, yet when it is right there in your hands... well, it is a little scary, maybe upsetting, and kind of confusing.
I wonder how it happened to me. I remember being young and having that body of youth, the skin soft and tight and proportions fairly perfect. I thought my thighs were too big and my knees too fat and my size-A breasts not big enough because the other girls talked about how many pencils they could hold under theirs and I had no idea how that could even be possible. I remember how wonderful, amazing, and frightening it was as I watched my body change over nine months of my first pregnancy when I was 20 years old, how even though others couldn't tell, I could. I was suddenly round and firm and my breasts were getting bigger, and my skin growing wider and wider across my middle as my son grew within me. I felt monstrous even though when, at 8 months pregnant, I finally went to our family doctor and asked him if he delivered babies and he said, "Yes, are you planning to try to get pregnant soon?"
After children, the body is never the same. It's okay, though. I didn't mourn the passing of the body that never knew motherhood. I was glad to trade it for the children and the expererience; the stretch marks and baggy tummy were so worth every little flutter and kick I felt when they were inside me, and I was glad to have the sagging, size-D breasts in return for years of looking into the eyes of my babies as they breastfed and the wide, adoring smiles they gave me afterwards. That body, fattier and larger with scars and stretch marks, was the price I paid for love, and worth every single change.
But the body of the binge bring sadness. I know how much of this fat and skin is from babies and how much is from overeating. I can tell the vast majority of the excess of body-looseness I am seeing in the bathtub these days is not from babies, but from Big Macs. It's from bowl after bowl of brownie batter, it's from eating pizzas and garlic bread and packages of donuts. It's a reminder of my major fault, my weakness, my addiction.
And yet it is also an honor badge, in a way. Four years ago, there was no looseness to grab, no skin to sag or hang. It was filled and stretched to the limit with fat, growing every day a little wider. It was smooth and tight as could be, round and plump like my entire body was pregnant with a hoard of children ready to pop out at any moment, when, in fact, it was my fat cells filled to the brim and multiplying as fast as they could to keep up with my insatiable appetite for more.
So I look, I take it in, I roll the skin and fat between my hands and think about how it used to be, and how it will be. I wonder what will be left when I have completed this part of my life's journey, what it will look like and how it will feel. Will I remember, or forget again the uncomfortable vision of myself in this condition, soaking in the tub, taking it in?
I don't know what will happen, someday. I know I am changing my life, and have changed it and my body dramatically. And that, I can be proud of.
Deck The Halls
4 hours ago