Buckle up kids, this post is going to be a long one.
A lot is written about weight loss transformations. And usually the stories follow the patterns of ‘I was fat and miserable, now I’m slim and happy – just look at these photoshoot pictures!’
Don’t get me wrong, there is a huge amount of value in that, and every time I read about someone who’s life has been changed by their efforts, my heart shines. But what these stories all lack, is real information about the actual process. It’s really difficult, and not just in a ‘I must resist that pizza’ sense. I will explain myself in the following post. If you haven’t got a cup of tea, then I’d like to suggest that you make one – this could take a while, we’ve got 4 stone’s worth of what goes on in my brain to cover.
My physical self
I take photos once every couple of weeks/ when I remember of myself in my bra and pants. Looking at my entire body from the tips of the baby hairs that stick out at all angles on my forehead, to the silvery stretch marks on the sides of my tummy right down to my shorter-than-average toes, has made me really start to think about how I’ve been treating my body. Short answer: not very well. And one of the continued reasons I didn’t treat it very nicely was because I never looked it in the eye. If my body was another person walking towards me on the street, I would have been looking at the floor. I never looked, because I didn’t want to confront the damage I knew I was inflicting. It wasn’t so much a sense of hating how I looked, it was a sense of guilt that I’d treated this amazing thing so utterly terribly.
By taking these pictures week-by-week as I’m losing the weight and standing in front of the mirror really looking at myself, I’m watching it change. The way my skin – having been forced to protect much more of me than it was designed to – is slowly receding back and looking much healthier for all of the water I’ve been drinking, the way my waist is now a waist, rather than just a blank valley between two tyres. The way when I flex my neck back and forth, there is a hint of collar bone. The way my legs, which have valiantly held me up for so long, look strong and in proportion. My silhouette is now one of relief, my entire body is letting out a week-on-week sigh of “ahhh, that’s better”. With this, comes a new feeling of guilt. The feeling that I ever let it get as bad as it did. I know everyone’s instinctual reaction is ‘yes, but you’re doing something about it now!’. I know, and I know I can’t change the past – but that doesn’t change the fact that right now, I’m feeling a lot of redirected guilt. This is obviously overtaken by the ginormous sense of achievement that I’m feeling, and the fact that I can now buy clothes which are a couple of sizes smaller, but it’s still there, and it’s important to acknowledge without dismissing it. Dismissing feelings and not thinking about them too closely was how I got in this predicament in the first place.
You CONSTANTLY hear about the health benefits of weight loss, but I’d like to list a few things that I’ve already noticed. A couple of them are things other people have noticed.
My parents are no longer worried about the noisiness of my breathing
This is something Mum told me quite recently. That when I used to FaceTime them, I sounded a bit like a warthog with a cold. Those were not the words Mum used, but they’re the words I’m using to describe the dramatic reenactment she gave me.
My feet don’t have a constant dull ache in them
They say you can get used to most things if you live with them long enough. For I don’t know how long, my feet used to ache – just a little bit – whatever I did or however far I went. I’d grown so used to this, that I didn’t actually fully notice until it stopped! It has now stopped. I spent hours on my feet and walking last Thursday, and was absolutely fine.
I no longer snore
Vicki verified this when the B-gang came to stay with me to go to the Harry Potter Studio Tour. It would also explain why I’ve been sleeping better, and must have a link to my scary loud breathing mentioned above. I actually find this slightly terrifying.
I don’t sweat quite so much
I’m the world’s worst sweater when I’m nervous still, but in every day life walking from A to B, my pores stay dry. I can also go two stops on the tube in a scarf and coat, without feeling like I’m going to faint and/or having to worry about a forehead sweat drip rolling down the end of my nose and falling off to make a noise in the silence thus drawing everyone’s attention to how sweaty I am.
This for me is a big one. It’s inevitable that as you lose weight, everything gets bigger. Yes this is a nice thing, because it means I’m losing weight. It’s also REALLY BLOODY FRUSTRATING. I buy a top, and within a few weeks it’s baggy in all the wrong places. Most people I’ve complained about this to throw back the line ‘but it’s a nice problem to have’. No. No it’s a crappy problem. And the only reason I don’t argue is because I love you.
It’s nice that I’m losing weight, which is the cause of the issue, but having all of my clothes baggy all of the time, is not a nice problem. I can in no way afford to keep buying new stuff continually at this current time, so I’m just going to have to stay baggy. It does grind my gears though. I’ve never been the ‘wear baggy stuff’ type, and I just want to be at target so I can start wearing stuff I feel comfortable in again.
So this is another big one for me, helped by looking at regular before and after pictures, and monitoring the changes in my body – but still tough. I find it really hard, despite all the changes mentioned above, for it to register in my brain that I’m actually doing it and that I’m already a smaller size than when I started.
For example, I went to buy some jeans the other day, and the first pair I picked up and took into the changing rooms with me were a size 30. I didn’t take a photo, but let’s just say I wouldn’t have got very far wearing them, without them becoming ankle-warmers! Because I’m losing it quite quickly, my head is finding it very difficult to catch up. I constantly have to remind myself that I’m still the same person – I’m not losing me.
I still wrangle with the depression monsters, but I think the combination of having a better quality of sleep and feeling happy about my progress, helps me to deal with them. There have been no spirals.