Monday, September 29, 2008

Girl Disappearing

“I know this is a personal question, but are you losing weight?”

“I am.”

”I thought you looked slimmer! How are you doing it? Weight Watchers?”

“Nope, I’m just eating right and exercising.”

“Well good for you! It sounds so easy, but it’s hard, isn’t it?”

“It was hard at first, but it’s gotten a lot easier with time.”

“Well, you look great. It’s really starting to show.”

I’ve lost 31 pounds since May 22, 2008. Even though 31 pounds sounds like a lot, I don’t see much difference in the mirror other than smaller hips and more defined leg muscles, so I have to rely on comments like the one above from a co-worker, and the fact that I am continually moving to a smaller notch on my belt every couple of weeks as reassurance that I’m doing this whole weight loss thing right. 31 pounds doesn’t show a lot on me, because in the big picture, I have a total of 110 pounds to lose before reaching my ideal weight. Of course, now I only have 79 to go, but that’s a piece of cake, right?

Actually, with the exception of that first month when I lost a lot less than I had hoped, it has been relatively easy. Once I was able to accept “slow and steady wins the race" where weight loss is concerned, and that losing nearly 8 pounds a month actually rocks, I began to look at all of this as second nature. I have changed my life. I have changed my relationship with food. Food was once something I ate because it tasted awesome and made me happy for a few hours, but now it's something I eat to fuel my body and help it run as efficiently as it can.

I also learned very early on that I shouldn’t deny myself anything, even absolute junk, because depriving myself of something I really, really wanted was an express ticket back to my old eating habits. I have to watch portion sizes, but because I eat junk less frequently, and because I still find a way to work it in to my daily calorie allotment, it hasn’t slowed my progress at all. I’ve lost 31 pounds even though I still eat at Chipotle once a week on average--I’m just not having McDonald’s for breakfast, and Burger King for lunch beforehand.

I don’t know why I’m rambling about this. I’m not trying to sell you on anything, I swear. I think I’m doing this more to satiate my own shock, actually. I can’t believe I’ve come this far and I’m not miserable or ready to give up. As someone who resigned herself to being fat for the rest of her life, I’m shocked I didn’t give up the first day. I wasn’t happy where I was even five months ago--I was inconsolable, in fact--but I didn’t know how to change something that had always been, so I just accepted it, and appreciated the fact that my husband loved me exactly as I was even if I didn’t understand why.

I’m ashamed of how stupid I was, to have yielded as easily as I did and not trying to do this sooner, but the truth is I was defeated back in elementary school when I was called to Principal Kimbal's office and told that someone with thighs the size of mine should only wear shirts that came down to their knees. Yes, I just typed SHIRTS, not SKIRTS, and it was on purpose. Apparently, my childhood thighs that fit into a size 10 jeans (no, not an ideal size for an 11-year-old, but not nearly bad enough to merit such attention) were too hideous for her to stomach and should be covered, completely, and preferably by a bulky sweater. Principal Kimbal tried to teach me about modesty, but really only walked away with a huge chunk of my self-esteem. A few years later, in middle school, a scrawny kid named Josh asked if I wanted some butter to go with my rolls. He was just trying to be a jackass, and I knew it, but he may as well have dealt me his best right hook and shattered my cheek bone, because he left me with an ugly scar to carry all these years. And while I can’t blame my old principal or Josh for letting myself get morbidly obese—I’m the only one to blame for that—they, and the comments of a few others, broke me mentally.

As a result, I disappeared into my own little world. I tried to become invisible thinking people wouldn’t comment or poke fun at something they couldn’t see. The problem was I couldn’t hide from myself. I am my own worst enemy, and I am a brutal critic.

But in the last 4 months I’ve found myself again. I’ve found real, honest to goodness happiness within myself. I’m not willing to let it go anymore. I’m not giving up. I look and feel phenomenal, and having people notice only provides that much more validation.

I started this little journey at 242 pounds. I was 242 pounds of blubber with eyeballs and a big heart. I am now down to 211 pounds with some muscle definition and a relatively tight butt. My ultimate goal is to get down to 132 but that’s not set in stone. I’m taking it 1 pound at time and if I decide I’m happy at 150, I’ll stay there.

I’m still a girl disappearing, but this time it's not into my head, it's in my own clothes.

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