Sunday, February 4, 2018

Not Invisible; Shaken Self View


This week I saw a lot of changes in my life. I've found them a bit disconcerting, have had to take some time to reflect and feel my emotions, but yet have also found them to be a good thing. A positive thing. And even a familiar thing.

The last time I weighed 206 pounds, which is what I weigh today (down 2 pounds from last week) was in early 2012... six years ago. I was on the way back UP the scale then, sadly. I had hit 206 pounds on the way DOWN the scale in May 2010. I was able to stay under this weight for a total of 18 months straight before the regain.

Which brings me to a couple of things. One is that I am getting comments on my weight loss occasionally now, and almost exclusively from people at church. I realized this week that those folks have never seen me this thin before. That is SO HARD for me to get my head around! I still feel like it was just yesterday that I was 175 pounds and all my friends from my clubs and from dog training and from my daughter's school had met me when I was near that weight so had never seen me obese. And how when I regained, it was so horrifying to me, and probably to them, since they'd never seen me fat. I was soooo embarrassed. It was just awful. And I have carried a sense of shame and feeling like "yeah, I used to be thin, and I gained all this weight" and felt like everyone in my world was seeing me through that filter. Even worse were the friends and family who *did* know me at 280 pounds, were awestruck and cheering for me when I lost over 100 pounds, and then everyone shut up and stopped talking about it when I went back up the hell scale and regained all but 25 of those pounds. How humiliating for me to believe that people saw me as a success-then-failure, a story of crushed hope and dashed dreams, a thing to pity because "she did so great, what happened to her? So sad. What a shame." Dramatic? Yes, but emotionally, that's how I've felt, all this time. So when I realized that the people at church had NEVER seen me this thin, it was a complete shakeup of my (limited personal) world view. In fact, I weighed about 230 when we started coming to this church and never got more than a few pounds below that weight in the 4 years we've attended. Oh I GAINED and people noticed, I could tell, because 28 pounds extra looks bad on me. But now I look different in a good way. In fact, over the cool fall and cold winter I have felt chilly all the time so I started wearing a thick fleece zip-up jacket everywhere I went. I have 3 of them in different colors plus two similarly thick and loose sweaters and I am pretty sure that I had one of those on at every church service and celebration and meet-up I have gone to since last fall. Well, they are all quite big on me now. Baggy. Loose. And they come down past my hips and cover a whole lot of body flab... or lack thereof. It was kind of hard for me, but this week I stopped wearing them. Smaller jeans, more form fitting tops, a new bra, and no baggy jacket. Suddenly I am not invisible... and people are *really* noticing the weight loss.

It's not just at church, but even at the mall or walking in a store or down the sidewalk, people aren't ignoring me anymore. Not just nodding and walking past me. People make more eye contact, smile, speak to me more. Even stop and make conversation. And people I know are coming up to me and being more friendly and inviting me to do things with them. The same thing happened to me when I lost weight the first time. No, it's not just me feeling more confident; in fact I have felt a bit nervous about "being noticed" and like maybe I am not ready to go through this again. It's not all positive, losing a ton of weight. Oh most of it is, and it IS worth it, and I'm so thankful and happy. But I had to take some time this week and go back to my blog archives from spring 2010 to re-read how I experienced getting to this weight back then. How it was a bit unnerving, being in an unfamiliar body. I am going through almost the exact same experience now, a second time. I reached up towards my neck this week and was surprised to feel prominent collarbones, which have been hidden by fat for many years. I looked down and saw that my ankles are no longer swollen and puffy, but look slender and defined. I feel hip bones, soft squishy fat on my body that is no longer firm and smooth, and see the loose skin under my chin and on my arms and belly starting to become more noticeable.

It's harder and easier this time around. I know what to expect and that this is normal... that's easier. I know how startling it is to suddenly feel like your body is melting off your bones like a candle's dripping wax... that's hard. I know I have gone through the emotions before and it does help to go back and read those archives. And I have a heads up now and know that the emotional part of this journey can sabotage me. I have to navigate these feelings differently this time if I want to keep losing and then, ultimately, maintain a healthy weight. It's getting to that critical time in my weight loss where I have to deal with these emotions about my body. I am less than 30 pounds away from 100-Pounds-Gone Again, and now is the time to take this seriously. This time *has* to be different, if I want a different ending.


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about therapy again?

Ruth-Hanna Strong said...

Congratulations for recognizing the importance of sitting with your emotions. Thank you for sharing your journey. You inspire me.

May confidence carry you through; may you recognize the support all around you; may you have grace for the silence.

Lyn said...

Anon~

Yes, I have. I was looking for a counselor who knows eating disorders but haven't found one in my network. Still considering it though.

Ruth-Hanna Strong~

Thank you! I appreciate that :)

LHA said...

This was a thoughtful and important post. I appreciate you sharing your journey. I am working off a small regain from Nov-Dec, and reading about your success really inspires me. Although I am not on medication, your way of eating is very similar to mine. Wishing strength to both of us to deal with the emotions that go with the roller coaster of weight loss.

Anonymous said...

I experienced this too. When I weighed 135 pounds, my world was wide and broad and everyone was my friend. At 190, not so much, and I experienced fat discrimination. It has changed how I feel about people.

Leslie said...

Powerful post, Lyn. Your processing of all these feelings of dealing with the mostly positive but still difficult aspects of weight loss seem so important. I resonate with a lot of it. I think this is the deep emotional work of accepting ourselves and tolerating the discomfort of emotions that seem dramatic (they're not) that arise over such big changes in ourselves. It's as hard to sit with uncomfortable feelings as it is to actually take action and make the changes necessary for sustainable weight loss. I sincerely hope and pray for your continued success with this whole life journey. Getting these thoughts out of your head and sharing them with others takes some of the sting and fear from them, so they don't become little secrets about ourselves that make us feel shame.

MaryFran said...

What an awesome post!!!! I have experienced much of the same (except I’m needing to lose again!!! Keep up the good work!!