Lately I've been thinking a lot about self-image. I just finished watching the second season of 'Ruby', the journey of a once 700+ lb woman who is now in the 300 lb range and still battling her food addiction daily. In the two hour season finale she and her friends, who are also battling with weight issues, went to a 6 day intensive program with an addiction specialist. One of the exercises they did was to draw life size versions of themselves, the way they thought they looked. It was very interesting to see the results compared to the actual way they looked. Some people thought they were much bigger than they actually were, and of course others didn't see their large sizes at all. The addiction specialist talked a lot about actually looking in the mirror and seeing yourself for what you really are. Of course I didn't feel like I had an issue with this. I know I'm big...huge. I know I always have been. There is NO WAY I see myself as smaller than I really am. I look in the mirror daily. Yes I was looking in the mirror daily before surgery, but was a I really seeing?
I ran across this picture this past week. It was taken of me, without me knowing, at the Susan G. Komen North Texas Race for the Cure on June 12 this year. I was mortified when I saw it. I knew I was obese before surgery, and still am at this point, but I honestly hadn't seen THIS. I knew I was at my very biggest, but STILL. I just had not SEEN this! My stomach protruding as if I'm about 18 months pregnant, my non-existent neck, and then of course those arms. It was sweltering that day, as it normally is in Texas in June, and so I had rolled my sleeves up on my t-shirt. Yeah, maybe not the best idea. I remember this day. It was HARD for me. I could feel my excess weight all day long. I didn't have the energy I normally do at the Race. I couldn't squat to take pictures as I normally can. At one point I did squat and was seriously scared I wouldn't be able to get back up. I was pouring sweat profusely and it was hard to breathe. I was miserable walking around the Race course. When it was all over I was thrilled. I was also sad. Sad that I felt this way. I DIDN'T want to feel this way! Seeing this picture the past week brought it all back. I NEVER want to be at this point again. NEVER! I honestly felt like I was dying, which in reality I was. I was killing myself with the weight. In the weeks leading up to surgery I would have thoughts of "I can feel myself dying. I hope I can just make it until surgery day." I never shared that with anyone. Who wants to admit that?! Not me. It's amazing how nearly 6 weeks later and 39 lbs lost that hopeless feeling is gone. I think it immediately disappeared the day I had surgery. My hope was back. I guess I was looking before, just refusing to see.
Last Thursday I got together with two ladies who have also had the DS procedure. They both had it about 3 1/2 years ago. It was great talking to them since they have both been where I am. I got some good advice and enjoyed hearing and sharing stories of surgery side effects and such. One thing kept creeping up though...that ugly self image. Both ladies have lost incredible amounts of weight and are so much smaller than they were before their procedure, yet they certainly do not see themselves as I saw them. They both still want to lose weight, are not happy in the size they are wearing, and have that mental block of still seeing themselves large. It bothered me. I'm following behind them and I don't want to feel that way. I don't ever want to forget where I've come from and what I've accomplished. I don't ever want to not be able to see myself. When I am at goal I want to see that, be happy about it, and not still see my self as that morbidly obese girl. Don't get me wrong, I KNOW the mental part is one of the hardest things to change, but I DO want to change it. I'm looking into seeing a behavioral psychologist because I want to get healthy...both psychically and mentally. I never want to take for granted the accomplishments I make in this weight loss journey.