Weighty Matters

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Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

on February 10, 2012

I’ve lost 33 pounds and friends tell me they see a difference.  I stare into the mirror and don’t see a change.  Honestly, I don’t expect to see a thinner me yet.  My ingrained belief is that when you have sooo many pounds to lose, you have to lose a higher percentage in order for there to be a real noticeable change in appearance.  I feel the change as some clothes are looser and I can already walk and move easier.  That’s all good.

Appearance is such a big deal to many of us.  Body Image is a huge (pardon the pun) issue.  I have what I call “fat eyes”.  In the past when I have lost weight, often great amounts, the image of myself in my brain is always swollen from the reality.  Conversely, when I’m at my heaviest, I look worse to myself in photographs than in my mind’s eye.

In addition to my less than stellar self-perception, I automatically project the reaction of other people.  I’m positive that when I walk into a room of strangers, their first reaction is not, “What a nice person with a friendly smile”, but “Oh my God, that woman’s a walking whale.”  I know for a fact, that stems from teenage trauma when some younger people were relentlessly cruel.  A high school classmate used to yell, “Thar she blows” at me across the Quad.  You’d think that almost 40 years later, I’d have banished that memory and the resulting damage, but even now I flinch.  I believe if I had dealt and processed it properly at the time, it would not still affect me now, but I didn’t so it does.

I don’t remember a time in my life when I was thin.  I have degrees of thinner and also of fatter.  My sister-in-law showed me a picture of me from her wedding.  I was surprise at how good I looked.  I eagerly anticipate looking that good again.  I have to believe that I’ll believe it when I see it.

Since I am still medically obese, even though I’m losing weight, I’m again projecting other’s reactions.  What happens when they ask me how much weight I’ve lost and then when I tell them they realize they don’t see it?   I know I’ll watch their facial expressions to see what they think.  That’s a reflex.  I know that what I need to do is shore up my mental and emotional health so that I’m not adversely affected by a negative reaction.  Instead of crumpling inside and feeling lousy, I will remind myself that it doesn’t matter what other people see.  The only important thing is that my effort is paying off in positive results and every pound lost is great progress.  I will prevail.

Where I am today isn’t where I’ll be tomorrow or the next day, next week, next month.  Six months from now, it is entirely possible that I will have lost close to 100 pounds.  Even I, with my fat eyes, will see the difference in my body.

11 responses to “Mirror, Mirror, On the Wall

  1. pinkpelican says:

    Going back & reading your backlog … I’m also Windrose Betty. FGBVs!

    After my surgery, my mom & my husband both said they could see visible differences even during the first week. It took at least a month or two before I started to actually see the changes when I looked in the mirror. Part of that was provoked by the changes in my clothing, how loose it got, & how quickly.

    There is a huge difference in what I see in the mirror & what I see in photos.

    I think this is very normal. You will start to see the changes soon, actually perceive them, if you haven’t already. Be patient & it will happen.

    I started at a 5X. My surgery was July 21, 2012. Overall, I’m down from 377 (my highest weight) to 253. I lost 15# prior to surgery, & the remaining109 since July. I’m now wearing 1X – 2X tops; my jeans range from a 22 to a 26, depending on the brand & cut (I topped out at 32 in jeans). Do a lot of shopping at Goodwill & consignment stores … I had to turn over my cold weather wardrobe twice, because I dropped so much weight so fast.

    Everybody at work has been very supportive, and friends routinely tell me they see a difference from month to month. I’ve even had the experience of a complete stranger who apparently works in my building do a double take, and then say “Have you lost weight? You look great!”

    People will reinforce this for you, but you will also start to see it. I also keep before and current pictures on hand. (I actually have them mixed in with other photos of people I love as a slide show screensaver — when one of the “before” pictures pops up, I am amazed at what a difference I now perceive in myself.)

  2. Hope says:

    Mary, I’ve always thought that you were beautiful. You have a lovely soul and it shines through.

  3. I can honestly say that when I met you at RWA last year, my most lasting impression was of the size of your personality, not the size of your body. I thought you were beautiful.

  4. inkgrrl says:

    Light and continued healing to you. We have to heal our minds as well as our bodies. Sounds like you’re making good progress.


  5. Skye says:

    Sounds like self-perception may be the most difficult hurdle for you here. Many good wishes for getting past that. I’m about 45 lbs overweight and I don’t work at losing it particularly. Sometimes I look in the mirror and see my face as younger and thinner and sometimes I look and see bloated and old. It’s the perception that sets the tone of my day.

    May your mirror show you reality and may you see it with clarity.

  6. Comments from when we were most vulnerable don’t ever leave us, do they? You are brave and beautiful and (bonus!) a really good writer. 🙂

  7. lizzie says:

    That is an amazing loss! You must feel so happy with how this journey is unfolding.
    It is hard not to hang on to some of those hurtful, stupid comments from the past, but this is a new beginning; I am sure there are many people who when they meet you are struck by your friendly personality and lovely smile! Try to look forward not back – hopefully there’s nothing but good times ahead.

  8. londonmabel says:


    Just leaving you a passing smile.

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