How Your Body Image Can Change You

imagesIt’s amazing how different I am since I became heavy. I used to be a figure skater, a dancer, I sang in a band, I was in every play. I was an attention whore. As I got older, I sold advertising, and was confident and flirted my way to be the best salesperson in the company.

Now? Total opposite. I had a crazy weekend that I was in charge of this past weekend. As a blogger under an assumed name, I liked being anonymous, where nobody knew who I was and I can hide behind my computer. But to be out there and having to be at the center of things when I’m heavier than ever wasn’t as easy as it may have appeared.

This may sound awful, but we are all friends here. Since I was ordering shirts for the group, I saw there were lots of larger sizes, and I was relieved to not be the only one. How awful is that? In real life my sisters and mom are tiny, all of my friends are skinny, even my husband is thin. I’m always the big girl in the crowd. So I was looking forward to fitting in for a change.

Turned out there were a shitload of gorgeous women, and women who may have been bigger but the confidence they had made them gorgeous as well, but I had a great time anyway. I loved how one of the skinniest was the one who wouldn’t let me get down on myself. As soon as I got to know my roomies, I felt almost comfy enough to not worry about my weight which was awesome.

But I am different. I would never, in a million years even sing karaoke. I walk with my head down, I wear black most of the time, my lack of confidence has spread to all of my daily activities, and I can’t imagine going out and selling again. It also doesn’t help when my mom calls daily to “check on my diet progress”.

I have to say, my husband has never done anything but compliment me on my body, he is so amazing and makes me feel so good, I thank goodness for him every day. I also met Jasinda Wilder this weekend, author of the Big Girls Do It books, she is AMAZING. Confident, funny, gorgeous, and about my size (but she carries it way better)…I want to be her when I grow up (so she is a lot younger than me, who cares?) I would like to get to that point where I feel good about myself. I don’t want to be skinny. I just want to not look pregnant!

I have Lyme disease. I have been diagnosed with other neuro-muscular diseases for years, and I think I use my pain as an excuse not to exercise. But I have joined Audible.com, so now I have books to walk to, and I will be forcing myself to move my ass and maybe gain a little confidence back in the meantime.

Now I am looking through the photos of the weekend, and I can’t believe I ever let myself get this big. You would think that would motivate me more, no? I guess not, because I haven’t stopped eating crap! But the pictures bothered me enough that this time, I really am…..Starting on Monday.  Who wants to join me?

Comments

  1. Wow! This was an amazingly honestly revealing post. Thanks for sharing.

  2. You are beautiful inside and out. Hold that head up high mama and do it! 🙂

  3. Well considering my email address crumbcake**@aol.com. What does it say about me? I’m in! Even if I start walking, you can always talk on the phone and I like to call it (walk & talk). I am ready mama! We are going to be some Skinny Ass bitches during Book Bash!! (skinny is whatever makes you feel good about yourself).
    I love the post and I thank you for writing it! <3

  4. I love that you shared this. It is not only brave, but helpful to all of us to know soneone feels lime we do..Many of us have a similar story. I was honored to meet you this past weekend and you are gorgeous. I battled weigh for years since Having kids. I lost 143 lbs. And have kept 120 of it off for five years….if I can do it, I swear any person can. I put on about 25 pounds in the last couple of months since I quit my job and I can feel the difference and my pants do not fit. I know I know waaaaa…but seriously I threw all of my clothes to goodwill and now I feel like Hugh Hefner always in my pj’s…..I can’t get the weight off…i hate aging …I’m 43 and it’s never easy to lose weight, but gets harder with age….I’m with you starting Monday 🙂

    • Spelling errors grrrr…. Someone* and like not lime, my fat fingers on my dinosaur arms

    • Write a post for me!!! Tell me how you lost it!

      • joanne christenson says:

        Ana,I lost my weight because of Disney quest. My husband did 22 years in the Marines. We took the kids to Disney quest just before he deployed yet again to Iraq. Ran up a flight of stairs and thought I would die. Went o hospital, ruined family trip, for doc to tell me he just wondered how I would like him to crack my breast bone for heart surgery if I didn’t lose weight. I hated him and myself.

        Hubby left and I went to the doc & nutritionist…..then spent 6 months gyming it up. I haven’t had soda in 5 years. I was told not to drink 30 min before , not during and not 30 min after a meal. Drinks push food down so you eat more. I keep my sugar intake so low. But other than that I eat smaller portions many times a day. That and the exercise from hell. I thank the marines, I went to the base gym and they used to peddle faster or lift more when they saw my fat ass walk in, then I asked for help. Boy they hurt hurt hurt me and it helped take off about 80 of those pounds.

  5. I have never been skinny, but I’ve also never been as big as I have been in the last year. I completely agree with you that getting heavier changes you as a person – not just physically. I am less confident in myself than I was before (which wasn’t much either) and it sucks. It makes me not want to leave the house – which compounds the problem. Everyone says “Start with just walking”, but they don’t understand how self-conscious I am about anyone looking at me or judging me. I even won an essay contest for a year at a gym and I went for 3 months 3-6 times per week for at least one hour at a time and then I got discouraged because I didn’t lose one pound – not even ONE! I didn’t start eating more than I had been – I actually started eating slightly less and was eating healthier things. It didn’t make any sense to me. It was suggested to me to write down everything I put my mouth. I was not comfortable doing that, even though I don’t eat crazy amounts – I just didn’t want it down on paper for anyone else to see. So, I quit going and was ashamed of myself for it. I felt like I let down the people that chose me to win and myself. I hate being fat. I’ve been fat my whole life. I was bullied in elementary school. I tried out for cheerleading in junior high – thinking it would help me gain confidence and lose weight, but was told that they wouldn’t be able to find a uniform that would fit. I’ve been passed over for jobs and have had to settle for other jobs. I want the LAP-BAND surgery but can’t afford it. I have gained and lost and re-gained weight so many times and it seems easier to put on and harder to take off the older I get (I’m 33). I know I will never be skinny but I don’t want to be one of those people you see on tv that can’t get out of bed anymore. I think I have the know-how, but I just haven’t found the right motivation or enough motivation to do it.

    • I get you girl! And it does get harder, I will say this about being self conscious at the gym (even though I am too)-when I see a heavier girl at the gym, all I think is “good for her, she is doing something about it!”. They will judge you more for NOT doing it. (Look at me giving advice I don’t take myself).

      Kelly, I’m not going to do a crazy diet. Join me, starting Monday, as I make small changes to get healthier.

  6. Christy Dixon says:

    So touching and honest! Thank you! And thank you Jasinda for suggesting I read it! (I feel like Jasinda and her books rescued me!) I have rheumatoid arthritis and a number of other assorted things that go with autoimmune diseases and I too have used my pain as an excuse to not move. If it hurts, I sit down. BUT its what I eat while I’m sitting that’s killing me. I begged and begged until hubby gave in and bought me an awesome treadmill and its right smack in the middle of the livingroom so I can walk while I watch tv. Well…. I caught the feud going around so that was one week off. I do chemo infusions for the ra so that’s another week I felt too bad to walk (did I actually say that?) I’ve probably used it a total of 10 times since Christmas! I’m with you! Starting on Monday my butt is on that treadmill, even if I’m just strolling! And I start watching what goes into my mouth. Wait. Not just watching it…being more selective! Let’s do this girl!

  7. Just had chime in and agree with Jasinda! You are both beautiful, vibrant, live-out-loud ladies and much loved! Keep up the awesomeness 🙂 You rock!

  8. I live this everyday. Know how you feel. My closet is FULL of black clothing. Heavier than I have ever been in my life AND I have a membership to the gym that is less than a mile from my house. Almost always the heaviest person in the crowd. I can LOOK at food and gain weight. I am glad you had a great time with great women. Good luck to you. Thank you for sharing.

  9. We have a lot of mixed cues from society and we all are confused by them. I have been heavy and thin. Right now I am at my lowest weight since puberty. I am terrified of becoming heavy again. I have weighed as much as 200 pounds. I have been a weight watchers leader. I’ve been diagnosed with an eating disorder. I have 4 complete wardrobes of clothes in different sizes.
    Back when I weighed 200 lbs. in my 20s it took a a different mirror to make me realize I was really heavy and that aside from how I looked, I felt terrible. When I looked in the mirror I saw the another person’s body and it wasn’t me – but it was. The habits of a lifetime are hard to break. But I work at changing my habits. Pretty much every obstacle I face in my life is me in some way. It’s learning to change the roadblocks and self-sabotage that helps me grow.

    If you aren’t happy with your body, and you have something like Lyme, some movement may increase your well-being and self esteem. I don’t know if you can do impact exercise with Lyme , but there is something. And there are a lot of painless ways you can make your life different.

    One thing I see is almost a backlash against thin people these days. We aren’t the ones confusing body image and self-acceptance. Many of us are just as damaged by the mixed societal messages (like magazine covers that tout weight loss secrets and best chocolate cake recipes). I feel inadequate because I can’t eat what people in books do and not gain weight. It doesn’t help when the damn vampires or shifters can eat food and never gain weight.

    Having Lyme sucks and I am sure it affects both physical and emotional well-being. I have an auto immune disease – but once it was diagnosed I gained 30 lbs – partly because Gluten Free products have way more calories than their counterparts and partly because I needed to try them all! in the past two years I have done weight watchers online and gotten back on track. And yeah, I wasn’t absorbing a lot of what I ate before. I was quite simply not facing the fact that I was over eating. For me one big part of weight loss and weight gain is personal honesty. Being a blogger and reader however is a pretty sedentary lifestyle, so I make sure I work out at least 5 days a week for at least 30 minutes.

    If you can’t change everything today change one thing. for example – if you drink 3 cokes a day make 2 water or tea (one teaspoon of sugar is better than eight). I notice when I eat sugary stuff the taste isn’t satisfying and I eat more of it because I am chasing after the satisfaction that’s just not in there. If you habitually cook in butter or oil switch to an oil mist or spray. Don’t eat what your kids leave on their plates. After a while those little things will make a difference.

    Every time you make a change you WILL feel better and more in control. Lyme may have made you feel powerless, but YOU are the only one who CAN TAKE BACK YOUR POWER. I think you are on the way to doing that. because you are looking at it honestly.
    It’s not about being magazine model skinny. It’s about being who you want to be, being healthy, instilling positive habits in your life and your kids’ lives. And, yeah, it’s about looking in the mirror and being happier. When you look in the mirror now, you aren’t happy and it’s not just because of societal pressure.

    It’s about having lost your sense of who you want to be, It’s about Lyme taking your health. It’s about how you feel in the body that you have. We see all that because humans are visual and seeing and recognizing ourselves is part of what makes us human.

    Lyme probably makes it tough to be a marathon runner, but very few people are marathon runners. I hate hate hate running – so I don’t don’t don’t run.

    But you CAN do something. Find out what that is. There’s got to be some kind of forum for people with Lyme to discuss exercise possibilities. And, the doctor could send you to an exercise therapist.

    I have a friend who exercised and was healthy. She was unhitching a trailer from a truck when the truck’s brakes failed and ROLLED OVER HER. All Six sets of wheel.s It broke a lot of stuff. After she could move again she started training and it was, she said, because she could. She could — the accident had taken her ability to do something. She took her ability back. Because she could. She really inspires me.

    You can feel better about yourself on a lot of levels without being skinny skinny. Being less heavy won’t make you happy or more confident. You’ll be in the same body either way. But it will probably make you healthier. What will make you confident is [mirror or no mirror] seeing the positive things about yourself: good Mom. That color looks great — it was a good choice. Kickass blogger. Making a difference. Achieving any goals.

    Not just heavy women put off their happiness until something. Many women put things off – like financial security/ buying good furniture/whatever — until they’re married. Those women can also take back their power.

    I think this new blog is a very positive step. And since you are a blogger – and a kick ass one at that, you have a community of people who support you. Isn’t that awesome!?

    • WOW Steph, that was a post in and of itself! My blog is open for you to write a post anytime. Thank you for this, you are a good motivator!

  10. I believe beauty on the inside is worth more than outward beauty! Having wonderful family and friends is a huge blessing to have. I know all to we’ll auto immune diseases, and the limitations they put on your body, but with determination and support from the ones who matter, you can do it. Keep up the good work, and reach out to people who have been there and can be your support buddy. I’m here if you need me. 🙂

    • Thanks Kelly. I do have an AMAZING family, and some great friends. I am very happy, perhaps that’s why I don’t have that much motivation! I don’t want to be bitchy like I get when I diet. But I’m not happy when I look at myself, and I don’t like the personality changes.

  11. Ana, you will love audible! Get “Outlander” first. You will walk 10 miles and not even know it. I’ve lost 100 lbs. so I know what it feels like but trust me every pound you lose wil make you feel incredible, and with Summer coming this is perfect timing!! The best advice I have is DON’T HAVE IT IN THE HO– USE if it’s something you really like. Best wishes Honey. If I can do it you can do it.
    Kathy
    ps. I was lost after FSG until I found you!

    • I’m so glad I can help! Not having it in the house is the problem. My skinny husband is a junk food junky and so are my boys–I try to get him to get stuff I don’t like as much, but there is’t much of that. How did you lose it?

  12. I just read this post and have to tell you my friend that you are one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met, and I love you so much!

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