Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Hi, Skinny!

"Hi, Skinny!"

A guy I know said this to me today. He volunteers a lot at the church and stopped by the office to pick up something.

I'm never sure quite how to react to a greeting like that. I am by no means "skinny" according to the most widely accepted concept of the word. A lot of people at my weight have reached their all-time heaviest; it's the worst they've felt and looked their entire lives. It's the depressing, embarrassing before photo in their weight loss story. Yet for me, it's the smallest I've been in years. I don't doubt I'm currently the most physically fit I've ever been (not to say there isn't room for improvement). How can one weight be so drastically different?

On Monday another member of the congregation called the office and after taking care of business asked how I was feeling. I assumed she meant after my neck surgery, but she was unaware I had it. "I just noticed you've lost so much weight..." she replied hesitantly.

My bizarre reply: "Oh, that was just exercising and watching what I eat."

JUST?!?! What the heck is that? That's like the Chinese saying "Oh, we just threw a couple rocks together" when talking about building the Great Wall of China. Why do I downplay my accomplishments? It's not like I'm Amish and prohibited from demonstrating any kind of pride.

But after this phone call I had to laugh to myself that this woman had assumed I must have been very ill for me to lose so much weight. Because five years ago I was pretty much convinced the only way I was ever going to get below 290 again was if I caught some kind of "wasting" disease that prevented me from absorbing any nutrients out of my food. Ever read the Stephen King book "Thinner?" How many of you had the fleeting thought, "maybe I can tick off some gypsy woman so she can curse me to lose weight!"

So here I am, 15 pounds away from the 199-200 threshold. So how come most of the time I don't feel any differently than I did at 315? Now, as soon as I type this I know it's not entirely true. There are so many reminders every day that I am no longer that size. Just a few off the top of my head that I noticed today:

Visible veins and tendons in my hands and feet
Noticeable jaw line and cheekbones
My "fat" clothes are now my 18/20s, not the 30/32s
Initiating a running race with my daughter (she still won, but I had to stop and turn around because my favorite butterscotch flavored lip balm fell out of my pocket!)

But still, I look at myself and see enormity, flabby and floppy parts that you aren't ever going to see on "America's T0p M0del" or whatever it's called.

Basically, I look at myself and think, "There's still so much fat there. I've lost over 100 pounds, but..."

That's the story of my life, really. Never seeming to do quite enough. Like the report card I brought home. Almost every grade was an A, but the comment I received? "What about this B+ on here?" I learned at an early age that no matter how well I did, my faults would always overshadow my accomplishments.

For a long time (let's face it, most of my life) the most obvious fault was being fat. "She's so smart, so funny, so efficient, so nice, such a beautiful face, but." No matter how many A's I achieved, that B+ was hanging off my bones for the world to gawk at.

And I admit, the quest to be perfect was (and still is) exhausting. The perfect respite? Cookie dough! Pizzas! Bowls of gnocchi with Alfredo! It was my comfort, my rebellion, my all-in-all.

It's been hard learning that I can't be perfect and to accept my flaws. Even harder to understand that people will still like me despite my imperfections. It's part of that gradual shift in my life to stand up for myself, to give myself credit for what I can do, and to find new ways to console and fortify myself.

The last three days have been so amazingly stressful. While I did overeat a little Sunday, it was minimal to previous episodes, and since then I've been able to navigate the daily bouts of nerves and anxiety without running to the store and buying the tube of cookie dough. Writing here has helped a lot -- expressing my feelings and analyzing them has become the most sure-fire method of preventing a binge. It takes the urgency away, the almost animal-like instinct to rip into a hunk of meat and gnaw on it.

Now it's time to go make me supper. Anyone who has read some previous posts on my cooking adventures knows I face a review from my husband, the expert, award-winning cook (no joke). Hopefully I can fill Hubby's belly and get a thumb's up! But if I don't? What do I expect? No one ever trusts a "skinny" cook!

1 comment:

jen said...

That reaction from the lady at church was a little weird, so I am guessing that you downplayed what you did mostly to avoid scaring her into thinking you've become an anorexic or something. People are so strange.

Congrats on your success.