Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Thoughts in the Tub

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.

13 comments:

Marilyn said...

This is a fantastic post, Lyn - I share your disbelief about a body that USED TO carry 90 more pounds than it does today. I couldn't AFFORD to see how I looked or feel what I felt on a daily basis. I think our minds can only process just-so-much about what our bodies have endured with the extra weight and the mind tries to shield us from harsher realities. I'm learning to accept my body being squishy now - it's much preferable to being stuffed-to-bursting, as it was in the past!

And you can and SHOULD be very proud of the dramatic changes you've made to your body - we all know those kind of changes don't happen "by accident", but through your strong, persistent intentions!! BRAVA!!

XOXO - M

Princess Dieter said...

Mine carried 116 pounds more, and sometimes, i still surprise myself. I see a store window reflection or hubby snaps an impromptu pic..and I think: Wow, that's ME? Dang...I look good.

Then I stand naked in a full length mirror and see the shar-pei hanging bits and feel sad. I still like my body naked some days. Some days, I feel crazy sexy.

Some days, I just mourn that I damaged myself so much that I'll always need some sort of shapewear, be it a really good bra or somewhat restraining microfiber undies or spandex. Something to keep that rather alarming looseness there and here and there...less loose.

I wish i could go back to my 140 pound 20 year old self and say, "Please, don't let this happen. Do what it takes to NOT let this happen."

I wish...

But I still know I'd rather have this loose skin and be where I am today than have my firm flesh and be 300 pounds. Or even 250 pounds.

This is better. :)

I take health and energy and flexibility over tight skin...

Right? :D

Forty Pound Sack said...

What a wonderful post! Your insight always gets the wheels turning. I have had the same "who is that" moment when I see myself in photos. Denial is a powerful thing ~

Anne H said...

At first I didn't get it - that I had lost the weight.
Now I can't imagine "that" was ever me.
Perception is a wacky mistress!

timothy said...

wonderful post, with me i have an aparently permanent dark ring around my body from wearing my pants waaaaaay too tight because i refused to go higher than a 40 (probably needed a 44) i'm in a 32 now comfortably but that mark is still there.

lisa~sunshine said...

Once again you captivated me and really made me think.. I've experienced many bath tub times like this looking at myself and wondering.. Since I was always BIG.. even as a kid.. I don't have the images of the teen nice body.. I do sit here and wonder a lot.. why I didn't care before and why I didn't do anything? Those are questions i'm not sure I will ever know.. but I do try to process through them...

Anonymous said...

Hi Lynn,

I just came across you blog and reading this post, I was imaging some pretty noticeable damage done to your body and skin, but then I looked at the picture on the left hand side and was totally surprised - I didn't see that at all! Just because I know how easy it is to get stuck in your own head, I thought I'd let you to know that you would never guess went through all that weight loss. Of course to you it's so obvious, (why are we all so aware of our own flaws!) but you really do look great. I've been struggling with my own ups and down for some time and think your blog is awesome! Good luck with everything!

Lyn said...

Princess~

oh yes. This is definitely better! I always tell people who want to lose weight but are worried about loose skin, "Lose the weight, and if you don't like the results you always have the option of gaining it back!"

Anonymous~

thank you for those kinds words! I agree, I look pretty good in clothes (except my arms). It all squishes down quite nicely and fits into relatively small clothes! LOL! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn, My name is Rebekah and I've been reading your blog for about 4 weeks now. I started at the begining so I'm still back in 2009 in terms of your journey. I would imagine others have said this but someday, when you are ready, I think it would be amazing if you turned your blog, into a book and published it. I LOVE sitting down in the morning to read your blog but sometimes I wish I could be sitting outside OR sitting on my stationary bike reading it. I am usually not a book buyer, but I WOULD buy this.

Curvy Natural & Fit said...

Wow!! Very moving post. Thanks for sharing. Some of these same thoughts go through our minds. Here's to a bright and healthy future ahead. :)

Curvy Natural & Fit said...

I absolutely love the honesty throughout your blogging!!! So many of us can relate to your feeling because we have been or are there right now! Thanks for sharing!

-Kassandra

Miss April said...

Awesome post, you're such an inspiration.

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