Monday, May 5, 2008

Why Do I Need a Vacuum Cleaner (My Body-Image Just Sucks)

I did some clothes shopping this weekend with my best friend.

I can wear size 16s now, in jeans and dresses. I didn't get another pair of shorts, but I did pick up a cute dress, since it was on sale. I also got some more tank tops (14/16s... time to toss out the 4X I think...) and a blue crochet shrug.

Carol thought I looked great.


I didn't.

I don't know what the hell is going on with me. I've lost nearly 25 pounds, and I hate the mirror now, even more than I hated it 30 pounds ago. (remember, I was heavier last July when I last saw my asthma doctor...)

My fat is doing weird things. Instead of having a fairly smooth "belly bubble" for lack of anything more dignified to call it, I've got two... bumps. My upper stomach, right under "the girls", is noticeably distended. And then I slim down a bit. And then I have a paunch. I've also got some very loose skin around my thighs, but my arms aren't budging a bit. My cheeks have thinned down some, but my double chin (which went away for a few weeks) is just as obvious as it ever was.

I can't figure it out; why is it that the more weight I lose, the more I hate my reflection? I know everyone's talking about how much better I look, and that things are so obvious from the progress pictures, but I can't see it. To me, I look pretty much like I've always looked.

I've started obsessing over beauty-related things that didn't used to bother me. I've bought cream for under my eyes to try to get rid of those puffy dark circles. I've got 2 kinds of skin-cleanser, and a moisturizer for my face, and now that most of my dental work is done, I've started getting self-conscious about how yellow my teeth are. I fret about how many zits I have (You'd think at thirty-six years old, I could stop having the skin of a teenager, really!!) and worry when my fingernails are ragged or dirty.

You know, I spent a week being sick, and the house got somewhat messy while I wasn't doing anything, and despite the fact that I managed to get things back into shape in about three hours this morning, all I can seem to focus on is what still needs to be done. (My desk needs to be dusted, for example. And I really should clean out all the gook that's managed to accumulate in the sliding door track, and Darcy's mirror has fingerprints all over it, and the kitchen floor is in dire need of a good moping, and while I'm at it, the refrigerator is all disorganized again, and...)

This is so STUPID.

I don't know why I can't seem to focus on anything that's good.

I don't know why all I ever do is drag myself down.

One of these days, I'm going to figure out why I am so fucked up.


Don't hold your breath.


R.Shack said...

Oh hun, I know how you feel!

I think as we lose more weight we become more self aware and we realize how much we've let fall to the wayside and that can feel worse than 'being fat.' Well, not worse, different, and still bad.

I think it's good that you're taking time to do those things for yourself. We need to take care of ourselves!

Just do a few extra crunches once in awhile so when you shed that extra layer there'll be some sexy muscle there and keep your chin up because you do look GREAT and you're such an inspiration to me.

I'm the eternal optimist, or at least I pretend to be so life seems better... and I say that a bad day just makes it so much easier for the next one to be better!

Take care sweetie!!

Anonymous said...

You did look great, sweetie. I wouldn't have noticed the thing with your stomach if you hadn't told me about it and then kept poking at it, and pulling the dress tighter across your stomach to show it off (hanging naturally, there was nothing to see).

I bet Thomas will be happy to tell you how sexy that dress is, too. ;-)


Cammy@TippyToeDiet said...

Life is just plain overwhelming sometimes. I've resolved myself to a life of rampant imperfection, and I'm quite content this way. Disorganized, but content.

Body image has been the toughest part of the whole change thing for me. I'm going through exactly what you describe. Some of the loose skin *does* get better, although I'm not sure how much since I'm not finished yet. :) It isn't pretty from the outside, and to pretend that it is is disrespectful to ourselves. We can take comfort in the knowledge that our insides are gorgeous, and the outside will catch up. I've always likened it to that yellow, sticky, icky phase caterpillars go through on their way to becoming butterflies.

To give this a practical spin: I've purchased a "shaper" shell from Target that kind of holds the paunchy, jiggly bits in place. That helped a lot with self-confidence. Pants with Lycra are also helpful, which is NOT something I ever thought I'd write. :)

Everything else you describe can be fixed with a bleach, a cream, a lotion, or a potion. (Oh, and the zits may actually be a blessing in disguise. Your skin still has lots of natural oils, which will help in the "shrinkage" process.)

I know the mirror is tough right now, but try to look yourself in the eye and recognize the woman *truly* reflected in the image: strong, successful, compassionate, and generous. Love *that* woman, even when you can't love her reflection. :)

Wishing you happier days ahead!

Felicia said...

It is not stupid! Its called normal. All the feelings you are feeling are so normal I can not even tell you lol.

I totally know how you feel. I just choose to quickly put clothes on to avoid the "omg where did that come from" thoughts lol. Trust me I could make you feel much better about your body with one single photo but I wont blind you with "EWWWWWWW".

As for the acne like a teenager thing. GIRL you are so singing my song on this. 36 years old you would think enough is enough already.

And the list goes on of the "sigh I so wish this part was different". But ya know what!! No matter what little bits you don't like, life is still better since you have been losing. In the long run ( that is really not that long ) you will be so much better for the loss of weight.

You are doing amazing. YOU ARE AMAZING and that is the most important thing to "look" at!!

*super big hugs*

Anonymous said...

Your body will adjust. It's just moving the fat and the skin that is attached to it to other places. You body is fighting it.

Just know that you are doing god things for your overall health.

Don't let it get you down.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on your weight loss. You're doing good.

As to your body image issues, it happened to me. As you lose weight, you start to see yourself in a different light. Things like being concerned about lotions, dark circles, and nails is perfectly normal. You are starting to feel better about yourself and your desire to take a look at things you haven't looked at in a long time is also normal.

When I was heavier, I didn't care too much about my clothes, make-up, etc. I was 45 years old when I had my first manicure (a reward for regular exercise).........:)

I'm new to your blog, so I don't know what you've been doing as far as exercise, but you might find that it helps tone some of your "loose" fat.

It took you a while to gain the weight, and it will take a while for you to lose it. It will also take a while for your new body to get used to its new shape...........:)

Manuela said...

I went through a similar thing when I lost all my weight. It is totally mental and no matter what anyone tells you it's what you think that counts.

You'll eventually get used to the new you and embrace her, zits and all (I went through a bad bout of breakouts a couple of years ago--hate to say that it's hormonal and is part of the aging process but, it WILL CLEAR UP!)

Anonymous said...

You know, I think I understand what you're saying here. I commented to my walking buddy that I was never really that body-conscious until I started losing weight, though you'd think it would be different.

I think -- for me, it might not be the same for you -- it was that when I was at my heaviest, I had trained myself not to really look at myself. I never saw the details, the ugly little things, because I was visually "skimming". Is my hair sticking up? Do my clothes match? Is there something dripping off my chin? And beyond those things, I didn't want to reallysee. So I didn't.

But when I started slimming down, I really started to look at myself...and I was disgusted, pretty uniformly. Because yeah, I looked better, but I still didn't look good. And I started noticing awful little things that had just slipped right under the radar before, like a bad haircut and bad skin and thin brittle nails and...well, a lot of things. And wrinkles!! Tons of wrinkles!

I think I've gotten to a place where I can mostly focus now on "better" being enough...well, not today, but most days. Okay, some days. :-) As I keep telling people, I think that during the process it's really important not to focus on how you look right now, but on the difference between how you look now and how you looked then. But it can be hard, sometimes, to see the difference, especially when you're tired and disheartened and don't feel you've been doing well, which is so me today. So it's down to others to point it out to us and down to us to try to have faith in what they're telling us...if we can. It's hard. Those days are really, really tough.

I just hope you know you're a great person and you really are doing amazingly well. Be proud of what you've done, and what you're doing, even when it's really hard to make yourself see the changes others are seeing.



Anonymous said...

My wife (Losing CD) is going through the same thing. As she loses weight, it seems to disappear from strange places. As a result, you get weird body shapes - like divots in the hips, a smaller waist which seems to other areas look worse. Anyway, I am sure she can sympathize with you.

Put more faith in your friend Carol's opinion. Just like my wife only sees the negative aspects of her weight loss, I am stunned by how much weight she has lost and think she looks great.

Trisaratops said...

Sometimes I have the same feelings, that I've come so far, but I don't have much to show for it. You have to find a way to squash that voice. Focus on how far you have come, and how much healthier you are now. Did you feel this way about yourself 25 pounds ago? You ARE inspiring, and strong and funny and beautiful and kind. And I think that you're more aware of other parts of your body since you're changing your weight so dramatically. And it's nice to focus on that stuff too! You're not shallow, and it's not stupid. so there.