Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Change is hard

Okay, time for frank discussion from a woman on the "losing side." Things are changing and they are staying the same.

Here are the things that are changing:

  • my size

  • the way people view me

  • my clothes

  • my attitude at times

  • my eating habits

  • my weight

Now here are the things that are staying the same:

  • my view of my self

  • my feelings of insecurity

  • my attitude at times

  • my need to be liked

I've blogged before about how difficult it is to deal with the changes of weight loss, particularly when you find it difficult to see much change in yourself. Recently, people have been complimenting me and telling me how they can really tell that I've lost weight. I know that I have lost weight, I've seen the number on the scale, I see the change in my clothes and all, but when I look in the mirror, I really don't see much difference from when I started. It's the curse that I suppose allowed me to get morbidly obese, to really not see yourself for what you are. I used to think I looked okay when I looked in the mirror, if my makeup was right and my hair was fixed, I would leave the house feeling good about myself until I would see a picture from that day or my reflection when I wasn't expecting it. When I would see my reflection, I would be stunned by my size and overwhelmed with this feeling of disbelief. Now, when I get ready, if my make up is right and my hair is fixed, I leave the house feeling good about myself, people say nice things to me, as they did 50 pounds ago. I go about my day feeling the same for the most part and still feeling the same size. I feel like, 50 pounds has made quite a difference in me and at the same time none at all. Sometimes, when I'm walking up to a store, I see my reflection and it catches me by surprise, I am shocked, that I don't look like the biggest person around. It's really difficult to reconcile these changes in my body with the lack of change in my brain.

Last night my husband and I had an uncomfortable conversation. He told me that I needed to change the way I think about myself and the way I talk about myself. He said that every conversation eventually makes its way around to me being the fat girl and that it upsets him, because he doesn't see me that way and neither do our friends. It's hard to explain to him or to anyone what it's like to live a great portion of your life a particular way and then suddenly be expected to change. As a very overweight woman, I was painfully aware of my place in the world. I always made jokes about myself and my weight, because I didn't want anyone thinking that I wasn't aware of my situation and I wanted to ease the tension by allowing people to laugh with me rather than at me. I felt overlooked on a daily basis. I felt out of control and I felt out of touch with my own femininity. There were moments when I felt so ashamed of myself because I had let myself get so big, there were moments when I felt that my only comfort could come from food, and that no person could truly understand what it was like to live inside my body and inside my head.

My life was punctuated by moments of hurt, and feelings of unworthiness and invisibility: from my first husband who said and did hurtful, demeaning things to me and repeatedly betrayed me. To friends, who after my marriage ended ,wanted to see me stay locked in my prison of fat and self doubt, because that was the most comfortable place for them to keep me. There were new relationships, where I tried to step out of my comfort zone and trust and things didn't turn out so well. So, now, as I'm making my way through this process of change, I find that I'm still chained to some of my old ways of thinking.

Sometimes, I look at the way my life is now and I still feel unworthy. I want to be the kind of wife that my husband deserves. I want to be attractive to him. I want to be interesting to him, but I guess what I need most right now is to be attractive to me and interesting to me. I am so out of touch with the person that I used to be and with the person that I want to be. Change really is hard.

But it is Wednesday....Big hugs!



LDswims said...


I think the mirror tends to agree with the minds eye - but the camera tends to agree with the real image. I would challenge you to take a picture every morning before you leave. Do those images match what you see? I'm going to guess they are better.

Learning to love ourselves is the hardest part of this journey. My question for you is all of us out here in blogland, your husband, your friends, your kids, your family - can we all be so wrong? Take a step back and see yourself as we see you.

And here's how I see you.

You are compassionate, sincere, trustworthy, a hard-worker, devoted, and generous of your time, attention and sentiment. You are beautiful and funny and interesting and easy to want to be around. Your blog is one I actively pursue regularly - and always have since the day we stumbled across each other.

Does that match what you see? Why or why not?

Much love to you!


Drazil said...

Enlightening post...and believe me I've been there. It's been a few years since I've lost my weight and still I go to the plus size section. Still I see myself and don't recognize me. Still it's hard to dress my curves instead of wearing the biggest thing I can find. It takes time. Try not to be so hard on yourself. You'll get there. And blogging it out helps. Everyone goes through this at some point and we make a decision. To go back and be comfortable being uncomfortable and unhappy or go forward and be uncomfortable with being newly inwardly happy. Both options are scary as hell but I think one carries regret and sadness and unhealthiness'll do the right thing. You are never alone.

Amy W. said...

I swear it is really crazy and you can't explain it to we can't see ourselves. It is kinda frightening really. I know I am a size 10. But, I swear...when I was 327 pounds, I would have looked at someone who was a size 10, or 12, and think...they are thin!!! They are healthy. I wouldnt have ever thought...they are FAT. But I cannot see my size 10 self. And I think others see my big self. I think others must constantly be thinking "what is the fat girl doing?" And I really do think they are thinking that.

It gives me anxiety just now thinking about it.

I still make jokes about my fatness. Like I will say somethign about my fat arms or refrence my fat and it makes Heather annoyed bc she says I am not fat, etc. But I am so used to making the joke and beating people to the punch.


Hugs back to you!

DiZneDiVa said...

You've inspired me to do a blog that I have been putting off for a while... I feel your pain. XOXO

Bonnie said...

Your honesty is so brave. Hopefully in time you will feel more comfortable in your new thinner body. Your mind needs to catch up with your body, but I think that's completely normal. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Jess said...

I just recently started experiencing this very thing. Mostly when I am trying on clothes at a store. I look at myself and think, surely that can't be me. Are my legs really this much smaller? Is this a trick mirror? Maybe it's the way it's made that it shaves a few pounds off of your image. Hell, I even started thinking that way about my door mirror in my bathroom. It was a normal mirror 20lbs ago but now it's playing tricks on me.

It is hard to explain to other people. Especially when everyone is telling you how small you are. It's like you just want to ask them "WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT? I AM HUGE!" Pictures do help though. I am amazed at my pictures. That really does the trick when I go back and look at myself a year ago compared to recent ones. It's CRAZY!

Sandy Lee said...

Oh Tess. I feel the same way. Just the other day I still felt like I still had the 40 pounds still on me, yet a jacket I wore last year overlapped by a foot. It doesn't seem to clue in that I shrunk. But I feel so much better. I still have flaws (but what 56 yr old woman who has had 2 kids doesn't!!) but I am being much kinder to myself. And you must too. I have found that I stop saying negative things and try to always be positive about the weight loss. And I am accepting compliments without saying but...

Yup, 50 pounds is a big deal. In all honesty, it's my dream to walk around and tell people I have lost 50 so I will be working on my next 10 to be able to do that. So strut yourself. You are a beauty both inside and out. Let's start living like we truly believe it. It won't happen overnight but each day will bring you closer to the girl (yup, I said girl) you want to be. We're here cheering you on. Love you girl.

Rachel said...

I appreciate your honesty. I think your mind is adjusting and it will!!!! I think your feelings are a sign that you are internalizing thoughts and ideas and growing...I love reading your blog.

Rachel said...

Your husband seems like a sweetie who really cares. I'm so glad you are surrounded by that type of love and support.

Camille said...

It's weird because 75 pounds ago I didn't think I looked that bad, but now I think "Holy Crap! I was huge!" I think that's a part of it too. If you think to yourself, I still need to lose some weight, tone up, have plastic surgery or whatever now, what in the hell was I thinking at my highest weight? Great post, Tess. Food for thought. Your husband is a super sweetie!

Kristin said...

It's really difficult to make that change, isn't it? I often feel the same way.

All I can tell you is, I thought you were rockin' awesome when we had lunch in Chicago. You're a kind person, funny as hell. I could have chatted for another three days with you. You're awesome, so own it, girl.

Read said...

It is so true that it's not something people who haven't experienced can understand. They just can't. No matter how much they want to, or how much they try. But I think that's one of the biggest gifts of this blogging community - we do all get it.

I struggle with the same things as well and it's hard - a life time of habits and points of view are seriously hard to change. On some days I wonder how it's even doable at all - but then I know it is. I'm confident it is. I'm okay with not knowing how I'll get there and I hope you can be too! One step at a time - one small change at a time.

You have made all these amazing changes to your body and now you need your brain, and thought processes and your attitudes to catch up. They will. I'm 100% confident they will. It won't happen over night, how can it? There's a lifetime of history and concrete knowledge to overcome - but you will. And I will. And everyone else will too.

You need time. You need time to learn to live with your new body, to learn to live with the way people interact with you and to begin to learn the rules of how to interact with them - it's different now and in the future it'll be different still. Listen to your husband, and I bet he'll listen to you too and he can take your hand and hold on tight as you do learn all the ways of this new world.

Kim said...

I feel the same way very often. I will look at a picture of myself 50 lbs ago and think what the hell?! I was never that big, but obviously I was. Big hugs to you!

Stephanie M. said...

Thank you for writing this. I completely understand. Some days I just feel like what I see isn't the same as what everyone else sees. Like I used to think I looked pretty darn cute and then I'd see a picture and...eeeeek! Now I see a picture and think I look so much smaller than I feel some days. It's weird. I'm kind of glad I am a slow loser - it gives my brain time to catch up sometimes.

Angie said...

I really get what you are saying. I feel that way every day. I KNOW there are changes. I KNOW others see it but in my mind I don't feel it yet. I look in the mirror everyday and think I really don't see it. The thing is people around me don't say anything about my weight loss really. Sometimes I get a person to say they can really see it in my face. Really because the rest of me lost more weight than my face. Hang in there, I think at some point we will have the light bulb come on in our heads and we will go "oh yeah, I HAVE lost weight and I look thinner" and actually feel it!

Catherine55 said...

This is such a great post. I'm still wrapping my head around how much I have changed, too. It's really important to let go of (and by that, I mean STOP) the verbal side of being fat (the part where you say things out loud about being the "fat" girl) to help your mind get used to you not being that person. Try to stop your external behavior on that front, and eventually, your internal behavior will stop that too.

Sending you a big hug. You are worthy of all of this -- and fun and attractive to boot. I love it that your husband doesn't want you putting down his girl anymore. :)