If you’re anything like me, you think that weight loss will change your thinking. In my case it has and it hasn’t. My mind is not so friendly to me some days.
I used to sit and obsess over what I was going to eat at a restaurant. Imagining every yummy bite of food and the big plates. Now I sit down in a restaurant and imagine all of the money I’m going to pay in comparison to what I will eat. I grocery shop for the ingredients in my head and curse the markup!
I used to get into a car and pull the seatbelt all of the way out and say a prayer it would buckle. I now get into the car without a second thought to the seatbelt.
I used to cringe at the thought of my husband or kids, friends meeting me. I worried about how people would judge them because, of my size. I now am more open to these introductions.
I used to eye a chair or booth with skepticism, wondering if I’d fit into it or if it was strong enough to hold me. Wondering if it would look like the table was a shelf for my boobs to rest on. I now don’t even have these thoughts or much of those things called, “boobs” without an amazing bra! All hail underwire.
I used to avoid turnstiles like the plague. I would have happily army crawled under them if it was allowed. When I had to go through one, I’d turn sideways and suck in my tummy. Or have to endure the shame when the person working the turnstile took pity on me and directed me to the little gate off to the side. I now still turn sideways and have that moment of panic before going through a turnstile. Why? Who knows old habit???
I used to walk into a room and look to see if I was the biggest one there. I now walk into a room and look to see if I’m the biggest one there. SIGH…My Big Guy LOVES when I say, “Am I her size? Would I be her size if I were 4 inches taller and had hips?” these are a few of his faaaavorite things…
I used to have to do contortions to paint my toenails without passing out. I now can easily paint my toes like a normal person. I can also now see my toenails when I glance down. That’s a pretty nifty accomplishment.
I used to look in the mirror and see someone a little smaller than I actually was. I now look in the mirror and see someone larger than I am. Yeah, gotta love it. I’d get rid of this mind if I wasn’t so attached to the slivers I have left of it. I’m a mom, I lost most of that thing, years ago.
I used to wear capri pants and flip flops in the middle of winter. I didn’t own a jacket. I now wear thermals under my jeans, topped by snow pants and 6 pair of socks, while trying to fight the urge to climb into the oven, if the temperature drops below 70. Btw, my mind tells me I wouldn’t fit in the oven. It may actually be right this time.
I used to hate shopping for clothes, dreaded having to try them on and see myself in those evil, tri-fold mirrors. I now love shopping for clothes and trying them on. I just wish I had a little fashion elf in my pocket, that would put it’s itty bitty hand on it’s hip and say, “Girl, don’t you even THINK about going there.” when I pick something strange.
I used to think that everything would be magically different if I just lost weight. I now know that while many things change, we still have the same struggles as before. Only now we must learn to deal with them WITHOUT food. I think that was one of the toughest lessons I learned in this process. Weight loss isn’t like rubbing a genie’s lamp. If it was, I’d ask that genie to shrink and iron my birthday suit. It is a physical, and emotional process. Relationships will be affected. Your coping skills are affected. The way you view yourself will be affected.
My Big Guy and I went through some serious struggles in the first 1 1/2 years after my wls. After a lifetime of being big, it felt strange to be “normal” size. I allowed people to cross boundaries because, I didn’t know how to respond to compliments. On the outside I seemed more confident and willing to step out of my comfort zone. On the inside I was falling apart. Dealing with life is hard when you lose the one thing that always gave you comfort…FOOD. We had kind of split up but, like any tumultuous relationship, food kept pulling me back in. I still was attracted to food. I couldn’t just give food up. We had too many years and memories together. There was a constant battle between my mind and my tummy. I was becoming very depressed. Putting on an act so that my outside seemed perfectly together. It’s an exhausting way to live. I pushed my husband away. Doubted his sincerity when he complimented me. It took a toll on our marriage. I was trying to figure out who I was becoming and Big Guy was forced to adjust each time something changed. I am grateful to God for holding us together and I am grateful to my husband for his willingness to go to counseling with me. It strengthened our relationship in every way. It definitely didn’t happen over night but, it was worth every bit of effort we put into it. We are both very aware of the fact that God worked on our marriage and our hearts.
Another hurdle I am still trying to clear is, the way I view myself. I still see myself as larger than I am. I don’t see myself up near my highest weight but, about 40 pounds heavier than I am. I can go to a store, try clothes on (Usually grabbing sizes too big for me before admitting I need the smaller ones.) and buy them. Bring them home hang them up and then the panic sets in. I look at the clothes on the hanger and can’t really grasp that they fit me. I start to doubt myself and talk myself out of wearing them because, of how I’ll look. Case in point, my Easter dress. I loved it in the store. Tried it on, got opinions, came home tried it on again and got compliments on it. Then as days went by I started freaking out about wearing it. I was going to return it. I’m so glad I didn’t. I actually felt put together and pretty in it after I saw the pictures.
You see, I don’t know what I look like aside from pictures. The person I see in the mirror and the person I see in a picture of myself are NOT the same size. For me to truly see myself, I have to see a photograph. I still have weight to lose and I’m okay with that. I will never have a perfectly flat tummy and I’m okay with that. We will not even talk about my arms and thighs but, I’m okay with them. The one thing I pray will change, is my view of myself. It’s something I am willing to work towards.
What are your non-scale related struggles, relating to your weight loss? I think we all must have some. Maybe not, it could just be me. I could be unique like the majestic platypus.