Friday, 16 October 2009
I don't know if this is just me, but I'm assuming not.
We were driving yesterday, and an advertisment came on the radio for a weight loss program. It talked about a woman who lost 30kgs, another who had lost 50. And immediately, I related to the woman who'd lost 50. She was the one I was focused on. See, I said to myself, it can be done.
A few years ago, at my heaviest, I weighed over 100kgs. I am 158cms tall, so as you can imagine, that is incredibly heavy for my height. I joined weight watchers, and was told I had at least 50kgs to lose to reach my goal weight range.
50kgs. It's an enormous number, when you think of it that way, isn't it? It felt so insurmountable, I almost wasn't sure if there was any point.
Now. A disclaimer. Even at my most optimistic, I have never believed that the goal weight set for me by Weight Watchers, SureSlim or any of the other weigh loss solutions I have tried, was realistic. I'm not tall, no. But I'm supposed to be curvy. I am supposed to have an hourglass figure. I have boobs (OMG do i have boobs), I have have hips and a butt.
And I'm ok with that. But I believe that 50kgs on me, with my breasts and hips etc, would look ridiculous. In all honesty, my breasts are a G cup. They probably weigh 10kgs between them, and they cause me an enormous amount of pain. If I was to lose enough weight, my Dr believes a breast reduction would be a valid route. I'd still like to keep my big boob shape (I've had them since I was 9. I've always been large busted). I wouldn't like to go lower than a D or a DD. (50-60kgs is supposed to be my goal weight).
I'd be thrilled with 60. Ecstatic. I'd look freaking hot at 60. I'd still be happy at 65kgs.
All beside the point. My point is that 5-10 years ago, I had 50kgs to lose to get to a weight I was comfortable with. 60kgs to make Weight Watchers and SureSlim happy.
And in my head, I am a woman with 50kgs to lose. I am 50kgs overweight. A size 22ish.
It doesn't seem to matter what the scales tell me, or the tape measure, or even my clothes. I have 50kgs to lose.
Except. I don't. The fact of the matter (and boy I'm going out on a limb here guys, publicly admitting this), I weigh 83kgs. It's the lightest I've been in 10 - 15 years. I've been sitting on 85 since a month after Samuel was born ( I was 111kgs when I gave birth to him, lost 25-30 in 3 weeks), and nothing I have done has budged it from that 85.
Me about 4 years ago, at about 90kgs.
This past month, I have dropped another 2kgs. So it's 83. Clearly, still I have a good 20-25kgs to lose. And it's not just about aesthetics. I have diabetes, horribly uncontrolled right now. I have arthritis in all of my weight bearing joints, particularly painful in my hips and knees. I have severe pain in my back/shoulders/neck and hips, and have had for 11 years now. My cholesterol is high. I suffer from many of the consequences from obesity that a lot of people I know who are a good deal heavier than me have missed out on.
So there isn't any question I need to lose it. I'm not looking for platitudes or reassurances of "But you're not that fat" etc. I am. I am technically obese. And while I'll be happier 5-8kgs above the 'healthy weight range' for my height, I'm still 20kgs off that.
But why is it, that in my head, I'm still 50kgs overweight. Why is it that when someone asks how much weight I have to lose (in a forum thread for example, not random knobs on the street), I immediately say 'about 50kgs'.
There are clothes that I own, that I automatically reach for (and sometimes try to wear, since nothing fits me atm) that literally fall off. Including my favourite skirt (sob) from the pic below.
I am wearing a skirt that I have to HOLD at the waist. When I hold it out, there is actually about 10cms between my waist and the skirt. I have so many of these. I keep wearing them. Because in my head, that's the size I am.
Why is it impossible for me to think of it as 20. It would certainly seem more manageable that way.
Do you think we get to a point, and then always think of ourselves that way? Do you think that I got to 25, was 50kgs overweight and my brain just stopped? Moved in. Decided this was who I was always going to be?
Whenever I see people of late, they remark about how much weight I have lost. And my automatic response is "No, I haven't". I've been known to argue the point when they look at me oddly and say they can see it.
Just the other day, when watching a movie or TV show, they showed a morbidly obese woman, and it was a joke. The inference that the main character was interested in her was the punch line. And Joel laughed.
And I cried. Because I thought if he found the idea of her as attractive so absurd (and she was absolutely morbidly obese, no question, the whold 'stereotype', a post for another day), then he was clearly lying when he said he thought I was beautiful.
And he looked at me and said (amongst other things) that I looked nothing like that. But in my head, I'm still that girl. I still see this.
And the fact is, logically, I know that I was never that shape.
Do you think this is just a woman's issue? Just a fat woman's issue? Do you think men think the same way?
How do you see yourself, if you have a weight issue? What's your automatic response, when asked how much you would need to lose? For those of you who have lost a good deal of weight (though may not be at your goal weight yet), do you still feel, inside, like that same person. I do. I feel the shame of being morbidly obese.
Is it accurate? Am I just even more screwed up than we thought???? Will that ever change?
Disclaimer - This is not a fishing expedition. This isn't a ploy to get my girlfriends to come on and say "Oh but you're not fat, you're beautiful". I've been honest here. I'm not completely delusional. I'm the freaking poster child for "But you've got such a pretty face". If I lost the weight, I know I'd be very pretty. It's not the point here.
I'm just really interested in the psychology here.