So – after posting yesterday, I left the house, and then agonized for hours about it. I had just posted a pretty awful photo of myself, and then lots more photos of me, and I was worried that y’all would think I was fishing for compliments or something. Which I wasn’t.
I haven’t lost as much weight as some people (instead of losing 1/2 of my weight, I only lost about 1/3), but you know, it was a pretty impressive change for me, and I really shouldn’t feel badly about talking about it. How weird are we? I felt bad when I was overweight, and now that I’ve lost weight, I feel bad about talking about it? We are such a weight-conscious society – but so few positive dialogues are started about weight.
I’ve been castigated for being overweight AND for wanting to lose weight.
I’ve been told that I wasn’t trying hard enough to lose AND that I was trying too hard, and that if my body wanted to be thin, I just would be thin.
I’ve been scolded for running – hard on the knees AND told by a trainer that I wasn’t running enough.
With all these conflicting messages out there – “thin is healthy!” “love your fat!” “heavier people are healthier” “you can’t be too thin” is it any wonder that there is such a prevalence of body dysmorphia?
In my mind, I look almost exactly the same now as I did two years ago as I did six years ago. This is what I look like in my head (although less dressed up):
That is about 20 lbs heavier than I am now, and 40 lbs lighter than I was at my highest weight. But that is what I have looked like for the past 10 years or so, at least in my mind’s eye. (When I was 19 & 20, I pretty much believed that I looked like my 16 year old self, but without the velvet choker.)
I don’t think I’ve ever had a terrible body image, although I do like myself a lot more now than I did six years ago – I’m sure some of that has to do with my weight loss, but some of it might be the presence of the architect (who, by the way, I met about 3 weeks after that BEFORE photo I posted yesterday – and he still liked me).
I don’t know….I think that we owe it to ourselves and our friends and your children & grandchildren to be honest about the connection between weight issues (over or under-weight), physical health issues (there are some really unhealthy skinny people and some pretty healthy overweight people), and mental health issues (running keeps me sane in the winter – and I wish I’d had something like that growing up). There is a balance, and each person balances a little differently. The key is to know oneself, right? If you don’t know who you are & what you value, you’ll never achieve the body/spirit health that I think is key to a long & happy life.