Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Facing Myself For The First Time In A Long Time

I am in the process of slimming down. It's an interesting process for me, one that has me behaving as giddily as a teenager. Suddenly clothes I have had for a while look great on me, and I am being more experimental with layering and colors. Instead of ending up in tears and saying I am not going like I would have a year ago, I revel going out with my husband.

Now to be quite honest, (and this is going to be an honest post) I was not too big to begin with. A year ago, or even a few months ago I fit into my size 16 jeans comfortably, and one pair of 14's fit just fine. I've always been the one who no one believed me when I told them my weight. I was blessed, from my mom, to be that person who just looked fine no matter the seemed to distribute itself properly all over my 5'8 1/2" frame. I've never had a big belly and I have always had kind of a flat ass. But my first year of marriage had me feeling frustrated, stressed, and a problem I have dealt with for going on 11-12 years now encouraged me to binge (along with it's sidekick) and left me feeling horrible. Now most of my 14's fit quite comfortably (although I must say Old Navy sucks on size consistency, because while most fit perfectly fine, and one is even slightly baggy, there are 2 pairs---the same style as the baggy only darker---that are not quite fitting how I would like). My hips are slowly disappearing, and suddenly my curvy long torso shape is returning. My face is slimmer, when I smile my dimples are deep and my cheeks pop. My husband, my best friend and biggest supporter, cannot quit telling me how wonderful I look.

But I am scared shitless (pardon my French). As any woman who has ever considered herself chubby or fat (whether in her head or not) can attest, sometimes it's easier being that way. Sometimes it's comfortable being the chubbier friend. I've had moments in life where I have dropped weight and suddenly a friend gets almost aggressive, as if I have committed a crime in our friendship. While I have never had a problem attracting men, whenever I would lose weight men would seem to come out of the woodwork in droves, and being one who was not entirely comfortable with herself, I was terrified and didn't know how to handle it. You would think things would be different now. I'm very happily married to a man who with a straight face said that if I ever reached something crazy (for me) like 500 lbs he would be sad because it would be unhealthy but he would still love me and find me attractive. And I don't blink an eye when it comes to him, I know he has loved me off and on since he set eyes on me when I was 13, so frankly, he's around whether I want him to be or not! It's other people who ask if I've lost weight, which freaks me out because they seem to notice before I do. And it's my family, for whom I was always the chubby one.

My 3 brothers are all fairly tall and slim (one brother is 6'4", another 6'1" and the last one, ten years younger than I is probably going to hit at least 6'4"1). I was the one who always ate the least but weighed the was funny enough it should have been a sitcom. The last time my mother saw me was over 6 months ago, and it's been about a year and a half for everyone else. So if I show up several sizes smaller, shocked will be the most delicate word I can family is sometimes not as tactful as they should be. I've avoided talking about my actual weight with my mother since she's stressed and having put on a bit of weight is currently slightly heavier than me. And deep down I feel like she will see my weight loss as a betrayal.

But for the first time in a long time I have faced myself, looked myself head on in the mirror and realized I am humongously happy. My life isn't perfect, but it's pretty great. And being happy has made me see that I don't have to continue to be slightly overweight just to make myself or others feel comfortable. I'm comfortable being able to think I look good. I'm comfortable being able to make my husband give me piggyback rides around the house (which actually freaks my dog out, so we don't do it too often). And I'm comfortable standing up for myself, even to my family, when I wasn't even 6 months ago. I have chosen in these past few months to make my husband and I the 2 most important people in my life, to not let anyone do anything that upsets one of us unnecessarily. Basically I put me first for the first time that I can ever remember. And it feels great. For the first time the weight loss is happening naturally (I am not actually dieting, we just have always eaten fairly healthy and now we walk everywhere a lot....but tonight we are having pizza!). I'm not freaking out trying to drop any certain amount of pounds, I'm not aiming to reach a certain point by a certain date. Hell, if all I lose is another 10 lbs I will be enormously happy. And if all goes well, this time next year I will have a bit of a belly, so really, in the end me being healthy is what matters.

I will try and run an occasional update with photos as a way to track the journey. I'm ready for one hell of a ride, because sometimes that's how life is......The journey should be as fun as the destination.


  1. Wow - A very honest post.

    The same thing happened to me about 12 months ago. I was overweight - just far too chubby all over. However after a year off from my job to live in Europe, I returned home to my same friends, family, job, city and suits having lost about 30- 35pounds from all the walking and life there - but it wasn't just my suits that didn't fit anymore! Friendships, the way I was treated at work - everything changed. My best friend - with whom I thought nothing could change our friendship turned my weight loss into a competition and immediately started dieting. Other people treated me with more respect (or in some cases more hostility). It was like I came home a different person. I realise that some of the changes/behaviour were due to other factors, and of course that my weight loss had sparked other changes in me - more confidence, more attention to clothes etc - but it was like I had changed shape and didn't "fit" back into my life. Alot of people kept trying (unintentionally, I think) to make me back into the same person - and it is hard to resist.

    Almost one year on, alot has changed in my life because of this. I truely never thought losing weight could have the power to completely change friends/work/a life.

    Good luck! I think it's good you are already thinking about your "re-entry" into seeing people again. I hadn't given it any thought (I just assumed people would notice once, then get on with their lives!) and I wish I had given some thought to "coping strategies".


  2. You just wrote what I have struggled with for years. I'm so glad there are others out there who feel the same way. I have never heard it articulated so honestly before. Thank you. I am happy for your success.

    Stephanie H.