Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Navel Gazing

I was typing in some more old journal entries (April and May 2004) and it was nice to revisit some of that early optimism and all the validation I was getting as I lost my first 40 pounds. It's funny; I got more comments then than I do now, having lost 130. But like I mentioned before, the past year it's been so much more gradual, whereas back then the weight loss was pretty fast and furious. Besides, I had been so obese for so long, that it was definitely a startling change. Now that I'm not so big, and the changes aren't that obvious, it falls under most people's radar.

I also think a lot of people, including myself, have pretty short-term memories. My mom is one of the few who seems to get periodically startled by my appearance, but that's because she has a lot of old pictures of me around the house that remind her of what I used to look like.

Even I have trouble remembering exactly how I felt and looked when I weighed over 300 pounds. I've said to other people that part of the problem was being so detached from my feelings and my body back then. The other part is that it has been gradual; I didn't wake up one morning and weigh 130 pounds less. My body is still my body, but it's just slowing deflated over the past three years.

However, the other night I was thinking about my regain period and how disappointed I was when I got on the scale when I returned from my honeymoon. In the pictures of our trip I look bloated, and I definitely felt that way, too. I also felt a lot of failure because of regaining so much weight, even though I never got back to the 300s, which was one small consolation. But I knew that if I didn't get some control back over my eating, it wouldn't be long.

I guess what saved me was all the hard work I had done in 2004, establishing exercise and eating routines to which I could easily return. I beat the odds and was able to turn it around, which I know isn't the usual story.

I remember when my big goal was to get under 230; at the gym I went to the weight limit on some of the machines was 230, and I was so hopeful I could break that threshold someday. Part of me is glad that I didn't just settle at 230 and I continued to find new "brass ring" weights at 200 and 180. But I do have a little concern that I may reach a point I'll make goals for myself that are unrealistic and unattainable and will beat myself up for "failing." I don't want to set myself up for that, so I'm definitely trying to stay in tune with my body and when I get to these mile markers, taking a thorough analysis of how I look and feel.

The thing is, I 'll never reach a point that I'm totally thrilled with my body. I will always have my knock-knees, my scars, and now lots of loose skin that make me less than perfect. I don't want to say I want to find a point that I can "settle" with, but that's basically what I have to do. I have to find joy in my strengths and find forgiveness and acceptance for the things that aren't going to change. Granted, I could have plastic surgery, but my uneasiness with doctors/ hospitals/operations is larger than my vanity.

Besides, I don't want to fall into that fear/denial of aging that involves the face lifts, the tucks and expensive treatments to turn back the clock. Even my hair: as it goes gray I really balk at dying it, because that's all it takes to start the "I can't let anyone know I 'm getting old" snowball.

Maybe this ties in with being fat; when I was over 300 pounds I knew I wasn't tricking anyone into thinking I was thin by wearing certain clothes (black is slimming, never wear horizontal stripes or white pants!). Likewise, when I see an older woman with a face lift I'm not tricked into believing I'm looking at a 25 year old chick.

Let's face it: we all get old, we're all going to get wrinkly and saggy and all the other "fun" things that come with age. So I'm just getting used to the saggy thing early. My Hubby doesn't turn away from me in horror; in fact it's quite the opposite. Since his opinion is the only one that really matters to me (other than my own, of course!), and he thinks I'm sexy just the way I am, why worry myself about not being perfect?

Can you tell by all this navel gazing that not much is going on right now? We're in the midst of a big snow, all the schools are cancelled again, and we're just shoveling ourselves out of our homes. Everything's all right on the food front, the only exercise I'm getting is housework and the aforementioned shoveling. I'm still not feeling 100 percent but I am slowly improving. So I'm just doing what needs to be done and taking it a day at a time.


Helen said...

I really related when you said you'd never be at a place where you are happy with your body. That is me to a T...even when I weighed my least, I still felt fat. This is ridiculous to me now when I look back. I do hope to get to that place that I remember, slightly more than my lowest weight, where I felt and looked good...if not perfect. :-)

Vickie said...

If you don't mind a request - would you please write - IN DETAIL - what you mean when you say "you CALL your husband" on things that he says and does.

Specifically what you say, how he reacts, what changes, what stays the same, how you feel.

THEN - ask him for his perspective (if you wouldn't mind) and write that too.