I am a person who can proudly state that from my highest fat ever, I have lost 175 pounds in my adult lifetime.
I shared this with some coworkers recently and a couple of them were like “what? no way. I cannot imagine you heavy and you are so active!”.
My immediate thought in my head was “but I am still big how do you not see it?”.
And one of my coworkers added, “you are so small. I just can’t picture it.”
Small. And yet I look at pics and think man, my arms are so fat or I look so wide … I don’t see the small girl.
I lost 140 after ballooning up with no clear understanding of why as not much of anything in my life had changed. I was eventually diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and PCOS. I worked with doctors, had surgery, walked 5 miles a day, ate mostly protein, and took my meds. Weight finally came off.
Then I had my boys and between my two almost back to back pregnancies, I gained 30. It seemed impossible to lose. I worked and lost 20 or so pounds but could not get the rest to budge. I was running and eating pretty well, but it seemed a stall I could not surpass.
Then I began to box. I started a primarily plant based diet. I took supplements. Drank keto coffee for breakfast. Cut sugar back. Cut alcohol. And I lost 65 pounds … putting me at a weight I did not know was even possible for me.
I can now wear a medium or a small. I can wear size 8 jeans which were forever my all time goal. My mom was tiny and an 8 growing up and I always hated being bigger than her … so I guess the number just stuck with me.
So how is it I still see a fat girl not that I fit the same size my skinny mini mom did? How do I look at a pic and think I look huge? How can I see my reflection at the gym and marvel at the muscles I have developed, but still feel like a big blob?
I recall when I initially lost weight, I always misjudged how much room I needed to squeeze through a space in public or fit into a chair comfortably. Now I sit on the chairs with kids in my toddler room and my butt fits the chair … I climb through tunnels and hang from the monkey bars … playing all over the playground with the kids while teachers half my age are too winded to keep up.
I have made such huge progress, and yet I do not see it. From a 3x to a S? From a size 28 to an 8? How do I not see it????
I workout like crazy – no less than 5 times a week. I walk an average of 8 miles a day and am currently following an even stricter diet. In two weeks, I have dropped another 6 pounds.
Before anyone gets concerned about my new diet – it is not with the intent of solely losing weight, I am following a diet that is supposed to be very thyroid and adrenal healing, so end goal for me is simply to feel better and less dragged down as I have felt lately. But back to my story.
I tried on a size 28 pants just to try to wrap my head around my progress … and maybe I will do it again and get a pic worthy of being shared here, but even though I see it, see the progress … and often am aware that I am small in many ways, I still see a fat girl.
I still find myself tempted to throw up when I feel I ate too much. Maybe because I am disappointed in myself for having a piece of cake, or maybe I am scared I will sky rocket with weight gain again. I struggled with bulimia briefly and thought it something left far behind me… so the temptation of the need to do that … its frightening. I am mindful of tracking calories, noting days I did not eat enough or ate too much and how I felt. I sometimes think it could be a slippery slope to an eating disorder, so I am always checking myself to make sure I am on a healthy track.
I push myself to work out extra long or extra hard. I sometimes make myself dizzy from pushing too hard. I am trying intermittent fasting and sometimes think I am pushing the hours on that too considering how active I am … but it works, so I keep doing it. Truth be told, I am angry and annoyed days I do not fit a workout in, so it feels like a bit of an obsession, even if a healthy one. I am having to learn to tell myself not to work out once in a while and instead take a nap or sit and read my book.
“Body-image experts say it’s not uncommon for people, especially women, who have lost a lot of weight to be disappointed to some extent to discover that they still aren’t “perfect.” The excess fat is gone when they reach their goal weight, but they may have sagging skin, cellulite or a body shape that they still deem undesirable.
This may happen because the brain hasn’t “caught up” with the new, leaner body, particularly for people who were obese for many years and then experienced rapid weight loss.” – NBC News
So we have lost the weight but still see all the trouble spots and it lives in this fat girl mentality. At least this is what it seems to be for me.
With my progress, I wear shorter shorts and used to only wear capris in the summer. I view this as an awareness of a win! But, also I find myself needing to try on smaller sizes when trying on clothes after misjudging what will fit, clear unawareness of my win.
I would like to think that at some point, my head will wrap catch up with where I am at. Not in fat loss mode anymore, just staying fit and trying to learn to accept the imperfections as they are. Loose skin on my hips and arms are my hated zones. Maybe someday I will have plastic surgery. Or maybe I can simply learn to accept my flaws and see that I am pretty perfect the way I am.
I had one realization as I have begin to dig deeper into reflection and questioning about this … I think when my marriage fell apart and my whole world turned upside down, working towards this goal of weight loss was a saving grace. I put so much effort and energy into it. In a world of chaos, this was something I could control and focus on.
The first step in growth is to recognize the struggle that needs to shift. I see it. I voiced it here. Let’s see what comes next.