Back when I was losing weight fairly steadily, I used to go to the Farmer's Market every week. I'd go for fresh eggs and vegetables and milk and meat, and every week I looked forward to seeing some of the vendors who were noticing my increasingly slim and fit figure. It was great fun to put on a new, tight shirt and waltz up to the produce stand just to see the vendor's face light up with a grin or sometimes if it had been a few weeks their jaw would literally drop as their eyes darted to my hourglass waist and they'd exclaim, "Wow! You look fantastic!" and they'd gush on about how much I had changed my life. It was really ego building. I cannot tell you how confident I felt.
Those little encounters fueled my desire to keep going. Honestly, most days when I got up and looked in the mirror, I still saw fat. In fact I saw obese. I saw rolls and bulges and was horrified at how I looked. Mentally I felt like a fraud. I wondered if I met some random blog reader and they somehow recognized me if they would be shocked at how huge I really was and say "she looks nothing like her pictures! What a fake!" It made no sense, because I *did* take lots of pictures, I saw them, they looked good (but didn't match what I saw in the mirror) and my clothes were getting smaller. Yet in the mirror I usually saw a very, very fat woman. It was only once in awhile I'd get dressed and look and gasp and say "oh my goodness, I look great!" And the feedback from the Farmer's Market vendors solidified that.
Now I've gained along the order of 30 pounds. Those clothes I wore at 178 pounds do NOT fit. I know I have gained. I see it when I look down at my body. But do you know what I see in the mirror? The same. No change. I see the same "fat" person with the bulges and rolls that I saw when I was 30 pounds lighter. I usually look and do not see ANY difference. THAT is what makes it hard to be grounded in reality of what I weigh and how I truly look. The mirror lies. I am in clothes 2 sizes larger, my belly is huge, but I look in the mirror and see the same thing I saw when I was 178 pounds.
What grounds me... what snaps me back to reality... is, once again, the reactions of other people. I haven't taken a picture of myself in a long time. But yesterday, I went to a store where one of those Farmer's Market vendors works. She is someone I admire. She lost a lot of weight, too. We shared the camaraderie of changing our lives and getting fit and looking awesome. She was one who always gushed.
I was sort of nervous about seeing her yesterday. I saw her talking to another customer, so I went up and waited until she was finished. I sucked in my gut. I stood taller. I raised my chin a little bit in case any double-chin-like fat was showing. I tried to look as skinny as possible. But when she turned and saw me, it was obvious. As friendly and sweet as she was, I saw it, for that few seconds when she first took it in and saw that I was a good 30 pounds heavier than when she last saw me. Her eyes darted down to my (nonexistent) waist and back, quick as a flash. She smiled but her eyes didn't. She was happy to see me. But I saw it. I saw the sadness and the fleeting thought, "oh no, how could she gain so much? How sad, she is gaining. What a shame, she was looking so good..." Of course I imagine the dialogue, but I saw the emotion and I know what people think when they see someone who is a lot fatter than the last time they saw them. The whole thing just sucks.
I come home. I look in the mirror. I can't see it. I look the same.
Only with my clothes off, alone in the tub or the shower, I see what is really going on with my body.
I feel a mix of sadness, shame, and determination. I am letting the determination lead me. At this point I don't really think it matters *what* I do, as long as I don't binge or let myself slip into not caring. I do believe as long as I am working at it, giving it some effort, I will reach my goal of 199 by January 1st. I am focusing on that, and my kids, and the joyful parts of this Christmas season.
Deck The Halls
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