Damn all the cameras.
I took a co-worker to lunch for her birthday today, and she was all giddy and wanted to commemorate the day with a photo. Sure — now that photos are less embarrassing to take, I was entirely on board. I even thought it might actually be kinda cool to see myself in a picture after such a long evasion of anything with a photographic lens that could be pointed at me like a weapon.
Well, cool it wasn’t.
So much weight lost, and I still look like shit.
Have I been imagining all the changes? Or is it just that they’re so subtle, only I can notice? I mean, who the hell else is gonna notice my fingers are smaller? Ugh, and I had been walking around all, “I feel pretty!” God. No wonder only 3 people have realized I’ve lost any weight. It’s not like I’ve moved the needle from fat to thin; I’ve only moved it from fat to marginally less fat. Looking at that picture was such a deflating moment. It made me feel hopeless. And crazy. And stupid. Still fat, and now hopeless and crazy and stupid to boot. Needless to say, I hid that cursed photo from my wall when the birthday girl posted it on Facebook. I’m not quite ready for prime time, I guess.
I felt a little draggy the rest of the day. I ended up staying late at work, so late that it derailed my normal routine of going straight to the gym after my commute, then coming home for dinner. Somehow, I convinced myself to walk a mile to the gym after dinner, do a mile and a half on the treadmill, and walk back home. (Getting my miles in has become a dissociated obsession at this point, so I was going to do that regardless of my never-ending fatness.)
During the treadmill slog, something magical happened: I looked in the mirror, and it was not what I had seen in the photo. All I could see of myself that wasn’t obstructed by the actual machine was my chest and points north. I realized I was staring at the way my shoulders were moving with my swinging arms. I snapped out of it and kind of forced myself to look myself in the eye. I was wearing an expression I’ve never seen on my face before: defiant determination.
Fuck that photo. It does not define me. What I do in reaction to it does.
Did I have a diva moment where I didn’t want anyone to see that picture of myself? Sure.
Did I slip into a negative space and allow myself to feel defeated for several hours? No doubt.
Did I throw my hands up, pick up a pint of ice cream on my way home from work, and spend my night crying into it on the couch? Hell no, I didn’t. My defiantly determined ass walked itself to the gym and kept moving right along.
That chick I saw in the mirror at the gym? I want to always be her. Her narrower shoulders were high with confidence, her slimmer neck was strong, and her single chin was up. No one else in the gym knew it, but that chick is a bad-ass. It took the treadmill to literally block out the “bad” parts so I could focus on the positive progress I’ve made. It’s NOT all in my head. It’s so easy to lose that focus if you let yourself.
Thirty-six miles to go to reach 200 miles for June. I think I’ll focus on that instead.
…And maybe no more pictures for a while.
I feel your pain! I always hate taking pictures!
It takes a lot of determination to resist the trap of disappointment, discouragement, and self-sabotage. I should know; I’ve fallen into that trap more times that I’d like to admit. You felt the emotion, acknowledged it, maybe even wallowed in it a little bit, *but then* you got back up and went about your kickassery. That’s extremely commendable.
I didn’t see the photo you’re talking about, so I can’t comment on that, but I did see two other recent ones and can tell you that you do *not* look like shit. Okay, so you’re not yet where you want to be, but your pants are *literally* falling off of you. Like, down around your ankles! I mean, what the hell?!? haha. Enjoy your everyday successes and try not to get ahead of yourself! 😉
There’s nothing better than owning an emotion, be it sad, bitter, or happy and then figuring out how to react appropriately. You owned that you were mad. And you reacted, in my book, the way you should have, you got madder! You got crazier and stupid-er and kicked that you in that pic right off the treadmill and replaced her with a better version. You rock! Work it girl! And so happy you finally started a blog. You’re a great writer and I’m a fan. Keep pushing, keep getting mad, and keep fighting! #girlpower
Wow, thank you! Your comments are always so supportive and uplifting. You made me smile (and probably blush)! 🙂 I hope your process has been going well.
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