Weighty Matters

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Objective Body Image

on May 11, 2014

I’m going on a trip in the near future. I’ve talked here and there about picking up some new clothes. Today I pulled out everything that I thought I wanted to take with me on vacation and tried on different outfits. I always used to hate seeing myself in the mirror. Seeing my supersize body always made me feel like crap. I never ever looked good. At best, I could sometimes train myself to look and see good-enough-considering-the-extra-200-pounds. Not that it felt good, but it was the best I could do at the time.

Even when I was on a losing trend, I always had “fat eyes”. I still struggled with that “objects in the mirror are larger” mentality and vision even after surgery as my weight loss progressed. The inside of my brain is sometimes like an old time funhouse mirror that distorts the image. No lie, I despaired of ever developing the honest objectivity to see my body image as it truly is, without my diseased thinking and poor self-image picking out only the flaws.

The journey has helped, particularly this blog and posting pictures of myself along the way. Just taking pictures of myself was a big step. I’m used to hiding behind others, attempting to minimize my size. I never wanted pictures of just me or at least no full length/whole body photographs. Ugh. They all made me cringe and hate my body even more. Somewhere along the line of these last two plus years, a healthier vision began to develop. I’ve become more comfortable looking at myself and am learning to accept and like what I see at every stage. This is terrific progress, particularly when I know I still have about 25-30 pounds to use. Are there still flaws? Oh sure. The skin of my thighs and upper arms is incredibly loose and wrinkly. Although the two stomach rolls I have are much, much smaller, I am still not roll-less. However, when I look I don’t want to immediately look away or cover my own eyes. I’m objective. I can really celebrate my overall smallness and pat myself on the back for the improved muscle tone and shaping from my fitness efforts.

Today I tried on outfit after outfit and looked at myself — really looked — in a full length mirror. Rather than dread, I experienced joy. There’s real happiness found in putting on that flirty party dress with its tiered ruffles and the bold pink/black/gray splashed print of the fabric. I was in love with the funky, almost steampunkish styling of an awesome blouse that I found on Friday and the way that it nips in at my waist. One new top has a really great neckline that shows off just the right amount of chest, including collar bones that were previously buried under fat. It also has an asymmetrical hem and a festive, eye-catching print. It makes me feel like partying just looking at it.

Admittedly, I selected styles and designs that minimize the flaws and accentuate the positives. I’m not at a place yet where I am comfortable showing my bare upper arms and I want dresses and skirts to be long enough to cover the wrinkly-jiggly thighs. But I’m not hiding behind voluminous outfits. I have tailored blouses and pants that show off my improved waistline. That flirty dress still hits above the knee. You know I’ve come a long way when I can twist to get a rear view and not even wonder if my ass looks fat. Instead, I smiled at the lack of “shelf butt” and the smooth lie of the fabric over my behind.

There was a time when I really had to go through these trips with blinders. I had to work hard not to think about how I looked and block out to the best of my ability what I imagined other people thought when they saw me. This time, I am delighted that my suitcase will be filled with fun, beautiful, perfect-for-me, fashionable clothing. I can’t wait to wear every single garment and will do so knowing that I truly look my best.

It might not be my ultimate best, but it’s pretty darned great!

One response to “Objective Body Image

  1. hoperoth says:

    I bet you looked fab! I read a great article the other day about stopping the negative body talk in its tracks. I wish I could find the link for you. The basic gist is to stop yourself and reframe the stuff you’re saying to yourself. Instead of “damn, my thighs are so big” you say “I have really strong thighs. I can go on long bike rides because of them.” I think it’s helping? :p

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