Even when I was at my goal weight in 2004/2005, I still wasn’t satisfied.
When people told me I looked great, I’d shrug it off , embarassed, and say, “Aw, thanks … but I’m not there yet!” I was afraid of admitting this was “it.” (What if there was more to lose?!)
Some days I’d say I felt “fat” when rationally it was just not so; I just “felt” that way.
Having never been thin and having nothing to compare my body to was a sucky situation to be in. I didn’t know where I was “comfortable” — except that it “had” to be X lbs.
X lbs., that sounded like a nice, good number. In my head.
I suffered from total body dysmorphia, but didn’t know it at the time. And, no surprise, I never got down to X.
That should have been clue #1 that I was aiming for the unattainable/unmaintainable for myself. Sure, it seemed reasonable, but it just wasn’t. Not for me, not for my build. Not without starving myself. (And if you know me, you know there was no way I was going to do that. I might have been restrictive/choosy for a while there, but I could never deprive myself of food. I love it too much).
Then when I saw the scale go up a little, I’d freak out and over-react and go into “I’m fat mode” again in my head … which, naturally, did nothing but put my anxiety into overdrive.
Now that I’ve gained enough weight to be genuinely uncomfortable in my own skin, it’s as though all those years of crying wolf — saying “I’m fat” — have come true.
And instead of being a drama-queen about it in my head, I’m actually staring it in the eye.
I don’t mean to imply I’m literally fat, and I don’t actually look at myself in the mirror and say “Hey you! Wake up!”
But I feel chubbier and chunkier than ever before and we all know the scale doesn’t lie. Though I haven’t stood on it much lately, I know where I stand and it’s not where I feel my best.
It’s almost as though I got what was “due to me,” if you will.
Does anyone else ever feel that way? Like when we build something up to be true, even if it isn’t, and then it comes to be true? Yea, you could say that unsettled feelings are here in full-force.
Of course, I’ve been moaning about my weight for a year now, while simultaneously trying to overcome my food issues … but while I’ve made headway in terms of cutting down on over-exercising, being more flexible about food, and not chewing/spitting … I’m not doing anything to lose weight, not really.
Even with journaling and exercising, I’m still eating a lot of sweets and stuff I know doesn’t make me feel good. I’m still waking and eating some nights (not all, but some).
And in the past few weeks, I’ve had more sugar than I have probably ever had, mostly because I didn’t want to deprive myself of anything. And I’m ok with that; really, I am. I had my fun this summer and have absolutely no regrets. It was nice to live it up a little.
But now I feel a sense of calm. It’s a new season, and it’s time to buckle down, to actually give a crap and make an effort.
Like my mom said after I shared how I was feeling, “You know what to do, Lis.” She didn’t coddle me; she spoke to me like an adult — affirming what I know and what I’m capable of (that I did it before and can do it again).
I turn 30 a month from today, and I’d like to feel better about myself on October 2 than I do on September 2.
So much of my self-esteem is tied to how I feel physically about myself. It’s not right, it’s not even sane to some people … but it’s the truth; it’s my “real deal”.
Days I take good care of myself — eat well, exercise moderately, sleep well … I feel awesome. Days when I don’t … well, you can only imagine the whipping my self-esteem takes.
So I’m making a commitment to really put forth an effort to cut out the junk. To just say no to things that are “eh” just because they’re there. To stop with the buying of things I know don’t make me feel good. To stop the mindless munching. To stop the midnight eating.
In a way, I need to apply the same “Choose Pride Over Guilt” mantra to my emotional/mindless eating now. I did it with chewing/spitting … and I believe I can do it with this, too.
For anyone in my family or close friends who is reading this who is disappointed to hear me once again bemoaning my body weight, please know that I’m coming at this from a very different perspective now.
I know being anxious about it only makes things worse. Now, I feel calm and cool and ready to give this a go, with a greater level of not only awareness but also a greater level of self-understanding, something I didn’t have before therapy last year.
I don’t want to be the girl who cries wolf, but this time, there really is something to be concerned about. It’s not just the numbers on the scale; it’s clothes that don’t lay how I’d like them to and a body that — for all I work it — isn’t showing me much for it. It’s the risk that every year older I get, the harder it’ll become to lose and the greater risk for cancer, diabetes, heart disease I’ll face.
So for me, the solution is truly about the food and the choices I make. I’m going to do what I can — calmly, reasonably … to reverse this cycle before I cause myself any more trouble.
Back to basics … but with an enlightened edge and a focus on health, not just weight.
And whenever I’m feeling down, I’ll just slip on my favorite pair of Joe’s. They always give me — and my booty — a lift. 🙂
How about you? Do you see yourself as others see you? Does your sense of self (i.e., strong/weak) change depending on your body size? How do you handle “fat days”?
11 thoughts on “The Girl Who Cried Wolf”
I totally have body issues. I don’t see myself as others do, and I am constantly reviewing my success/eating/weight/etc. in my mind. And though I know that avoiding things that make me feel bad helps, I still eat things and feel guilty later. I ate too much, the wrong thing, blah blah blah. And I know what you mean about how you feel–we’re not literally fat, but we can’t help feeling all the bits of infirmness across our bodies, and we hate it. Those extra few pounds torment us!
Although we can’t help focusing on the negative, or creating self-fulfilling prophecies, we have to focus on the positives. We’ve both made headway, and just need to stick with it. I need to make more progress on my self-talk, body image, and accepting that I’m not gonna look like a svelte 18 year old (I’m almost 28). Reading your blog is sometimes like reading my mind and thoughts. Thanks for being real and sharing so much!
Thanks, Kersten! I definitely “over-share” here but if it helps someone else, too … all the better!! 🙂 Absolutely — there is so much positive to look to — just gotta hone that in.
I can soooo relate to that! When I was at my lowest weight, I had no idea how thin I looked. A one or two pound gain would freak me out. If only I could have embraced that and treated myself better, and maybe I wouldn’t have gained 10 or 12! Sigh. Sometimes you take the the thoughts right out of my head.
Hugs, Lara! 🙂
I suffered from body dysmorphia for a LONG time, too. I’m pretty happy that on MOST days, I can see myself for who I am. Those are the days when I’ve eaten well, not let myself get too hungry or overstuffed, and added in a sweat session somewhere.
What I still struggle with, though, are the days when I overindulge. Not so much that day, but the day after I SWEAR it looks like I’ve gained 5 pounds. In my head I know this isn’t true at all – not even possible! It’s just hard to get that feeling out of my head.
Holly, it’s wild how much of it is mental, isn’t it?!
I really don’t think I can see myself objectively. Years of dieting, ED etc can really mess with your head that way. I see the number on the scale and think ok, at this height and weight I should be OK but when I look in the mirror/pictures I see myself as bigger. I am injured now and can’t work out and can’t even really walk more than a block or two so getting almost no NEAT either and I admit it is hard for me to not get consumed with worry about gaining weight. I look in the mirror and think I look bigger than two weeks ago even though my clothes fit the same etc. Like Holly said I also swear I look like I gained 5 lbs a day after I indulge even though logically I know it is not true but really hard not to “see it”. I hate it but yes my sense of self is much very tied to how I feel about my body size.
I`ve come a long way to stop evaluating myself based on my body but I can relate to everything you are writing in that I am past my comfort zone. I don`t fit into anything and it`s jsut not healthy. I know there is a happy medium from what I was before and where I am now. It`s that that I`m working toward. I think this weight gain was a necessary part of healing from my disordered ways. I now really do feel that I`m close to getting rid of that type of thinking, but I have been afraid to just be a normal person trying to lose some excess weight because I`ve never been normal about it. I do believe that I can do it though… it`s taken a long time to get here but I think I`ve made some huge progress and can attempt to lose this weight now without going back to old habits.
have you ever read The Body Myth? or It`s Not About Food? Both those books really helped me.
Susie, that’s awesome. I haven’t read those books, but I’d like to!
Apparently not! People tell me I’m very thin but I don’t see that at all. I do have to admit, though, since starting 30-Day Shred and really sticking to it (yes, I’ve missed a few days but I’ve tried to incorporate something on those days but I’m very, very close!) I feel quite a bit better; maybe a little sassy? I’m definitely more firm in many places that I couldn’t get firm before so I’m going to stick to that for a bit yet and see if I can keep gaining confidence. Shoot, it’s only 27 minutes of sheer torture a day!
I will often feel very committed to my goals on “fat” days so I don’t hate them all that much. It’s days where I feel like something might be getting too big that I tend to indulge. I’m weird like that. 🙂
As one of the people who tells you YES you are very thin, I know you have trouble hearing it. LOL — sassy is good!