This is a pretty full weekend. At work, we’re hosting a regional workshop for an organization important to our industry. Last night was an icebreaker party. Today we had a full day of demonstrations, presentations, talks, etc. and a dinner. Tomorrow night I’m invited to a nice birthday party. Three social activities = three opportunities to show off some of the clothes I bought a few weeks ago. Remember that I work for a marine mammal facility. Many of my co-workers spend their days in bathing suits. Those of us who aren’t on the docks are usually in shorts, sandals and T-shirts or tank tops.
Even though my weight loss is noticeable when I’m dressed in T-shirt and shorts, it’s even more obvious when I wear “dressier” clothes. Last night, I put on a pair of cropped pants in yet another size smaller and topped it with a fun top that has rows of narrow ruffles in bright turquoise with a hint of sparkle. I loved the look in the mirror and, have to admit, really enjoyed the compliments from my friends and co-workers when I arrived at the function. About an hour into the party, one woman I hadn’t seen earlier in the night, came up, hugged me and said, “Mary, has anyone told you tonight how fabulous you look? What you’re doing isn’t easy, but wow, is it working.”
A positive comment like elevates my spirit sky high.
Tonight I put on a more tailored, button down blouse in a deep teal that I bought last month. The material is a little stretchy, and the top is a bit fitted, coming in at the waist. Previously, I would never have chosen a garment like this. The last thing I wanted in clothes was anything that might cling and accentuate my truck tire midsection. Even I could look in the mirror at myself and know that this outfit truly flattered my improving figure.
My friends’ reactions were amazing. They see me every day, but I’ve probably never worn anything this tailored in front of them before. If they saw me in a button-down top, it was an oversized “big shirt” and definitely not fitted to the waist. It was a revelation for them and for me!
I was in line with a different group of co-workers when it was time to go to the buffet. The aromas of the different dishes filled the air and made us all hungrier. I said to a colleagues and his girlfriend that it was a good thing that the line was moving slowly, because I needed time to decide between the chicken marsala and the eggplant in pasta. The girlfriend, who doesn’t know that I’ve had weight loss surgery, said, “Take both!” I just smiled and said that it would be too much for me to handle.
When I reached the chafing dishes, I took a dab of rice, a portion of chicken equivalent to half of a half breast, and a couple of forkfuls of salad. I felt good that I didn’t let my eyes get bigger than my stomach, but took the amounts of each dish that I felt I could physically eat. I got back to my table and one of my other friends looked at my plate and said with warm admiration, “You are being so good with your portion control.”
That comment proved to be positively reinforcing — surprisingly so. Those who have read this blog from the beginning might remember long ago posts when I talked about how I always felt like people judged what I put on my plate, monitored my eating and, even if they kept their thoughts to myself, nonetheless disapproved of my choices. I hated it when people commented about my food. When I started to eat solid foods again a month after surgery, I didn’t mind explaining to people what I could or couldn’t eat, or how much, I was still uncomfortable with people visually assessing my portions. So, being able to hear the comment and take it in the admiring spirit with which it was intended told me something about my emotional progress.
I’m really looking forward to tomorrow night’s birthday party. I know it will be lovely and fun with many friends attending. Best of all, I have a dress that I love all picked out. It’s purple and turquoise — two of my favorite colors to wear — and a festive style. I know that when I put it on, I’m going to feel happy, confident, and in a party mood.
It used to be that my goal was just to look presentable — make the most out of a bad situation, i.e. my overweight body with its bulges and rolls. Even though I’m far from goal, the weight loss and toning have already given me a greatly improved body. I’m not ashamed of it anymore. I enjoy the positive changes and love dressing up to make the most of the improvements.
It’s just another way to feel good about all of the positive changes.