It can be really easy to lose sight of who you were once you’ve lost so much of yourself physically.
Sometimes, I’ll be in the middle of one of my hours-long cook-a-thons during meal prep for the week, and I’ll have a sudden flashback to what that was like when I first started. I would have to take a couple of breaks to sit down and give my muscles and joints a rest. If I stood in one position too long, my left leg would start to go a little numb around the knee area and I’d either have to walk it off for a bit or just deal with it until I was done. (I probably should have talked to my doctor about that, but it stopped after I lost about 30 pounds, so I assume it’s nothing I should worry about now.) After my few hours in the kitchen, I would be down for the count for the rest of the day, usually with swollen feet and sore hips. That’s just from standing there!
I also sometimes remember the feeling of first getting up in the morning, not really feeling rested, and the discomfort of those first few rigid steps after coaxing myself out of bed.
I remember my walk to the metro taking 8-10 minutes longer in the morning because I had to stop and catch my breath at the top of those stairs on my route, and because I moved so much more slowly in general.
I remember trying to hide being winded while walking down the hall with anyone at work, and avoiding walking any more than down a hall with someone at work because it was too hard to hide being winded.
I remember getting out of the car after even just a short time driving and having to take the first several steps very, very slowly.
I remember always sticking to the shower curtain because there was no way to be in the shower without a part of me touching it.
I remember never untying my shoes because it was too much effort to get into a position to retie them.
I remember hating going shopping because nothing fit except the most horrendously ugly articles of clothing ever created.
I remember getting irritated when people would stop and hold the door open for me if I wasn’t that close to the door, because it made me feel like I had to rush to get to there, which made me lose my breath and feel embarrassed.
I remember driving to the grocery store two blocks away because walking was too exhausting.
I remember not wanting to go out on weekends because I only owned one pair of pants that fit, and I washed them on weekends so I could wear them to work again all week.
I remember not taking pictures when I really wanted to, because I didn’t want to see myself in them.
I remember avoiding travel, which is something that makes me happy, because it was too uncomfortable to sit on a plane or train.
I remember not wanting to go to the movies with anyone because I NEEDED both arm rests unless I wanted to twist myself up and feel the pain for hours afterwards.
I remember coming up with excuses not to see my friends or family whom I don’t often see because I was too ashamed of the weight, even though it would have made me happy to see them.
I remember hiding from the world because I had failed and therefore didn’t deserve to be happy.
I remember feeling guilty for not being happy. I had everything set up right so I could be, and I ruined it.
I remember feeling hopeless, like someone looking back on a life she hadn’t even lived yet.
I remember I never wanted to die, but I didn’t want to live.
I’ve only been at this for shy of 6 months, and I’m sure there are already things in this vein that I’ve forgotten. After all, none of this was pleasant to experience; who would want to remember it? I can’t believe I got myself into a situation where the above was my daily experience of life. Of course I was miserable.
Now, I’m replacing the bad memories with good ones.
I remember the first time I felt my bath towel close the whole way around my body.
I remember the first time a pair of workout pants became loose, then entirely too big for me.
I remember the first time I cracked 3 miles on the weight loss setting of the elliptical.
I remember the first time I flipped my mattress and changed my sheets, and realized I hadn’t changed my breathing at all.
I remember the looks on various people’s faces when they saw me for the first time since before I started losing weight.
I remember the first time I painted my toenails without straining. They were bold blue.
I remember the first time I rocked a dress at work. It was bold yellow.
I remember the first time I donated BAGS of old fat-girl clothes to charity. And now, the second.
I remember the first time I was walking with a co-worker outside of the office to get coffee, and I had to slow down.
I remember the first time I up and jogged for 5 minutes.
I remember the first time I felt capable of participating in an outdoor race. So I signed up for one.
I remember the first time I recognized myself in the mirror after all this time.
I remember the person I always was who’s been desperate to come out.
I remember she’s worth it.