This morning I hit an arbitrary milestone. After months of making a conscious effort to watch what I eat and trying to exercise regularly I’ve made some progress. And today? Today I stepped on the scale and discovered I now weigh what it says I do on my driver’s license. This is both exciting and pathetic.
I’m proud of myself that I’m more than 20 pounds lighter than I was back in the spring. I still have another 20 to go to get where I really should be. The next 20 will be harder than the first were, but I think I can do it. My goal was to see if I could reach a healthy weight that I can try to maintain by my birthday in March, and my gift to myself would be a new driver’s license with my actual weight on it, but I don’t think I’m going to get there by then. Maybe summer? Although my motivation is wearing thin so hard to say how fast progress will be from here.
But here’s a question to anyone else out there who struggles with his or her weight too: Do you see and feel the changes in your body when you lose weight? Because I sort of don’t, and I wonder about that. I know I am lighter. I started out at some size randomly bigger than an 18. (Target doesn’t really sell women’s jeans above an 18 so I had something from the men’s section for a while that fit but I don’t know what it was.) Then whenever I reach a point where I can remove my jeans without having to unbutton or unzip them I buy the next smaller size. I am currently down to a 14 which is starting to feel loose, and I have a pair of 12’s in the wings that I can get on but still look too tight to venture out in public in yet. The last time I worked really hard to lose weight after Mona was born I made it all the way down to an 8, and then I got pregnant with Quinn and Ian got deployed and cookies became my friend and that’s how I ended up in the men’s jeans. So I’ve come a ways in the right direction and I see the progress through my clothes. I also see the startled reaction on the faces of people whom I haven’t seen in months and know they see a difference in my appearance. But I can’t see it in myself. Is that normal?
Part of me thinks that when I am heavier I am good at 1.) just not looking at myself in the mirror much, and 2.) adopting an attitude of inner beauty being important. If I’m not actively watching my weight, then I’m actively ignoring my weight. If I am trying to lose weight, then I have to pay attention, and I get frustrated by what I see. If I’m actively looking to change a flaw then I am hyper aware of that flaw, otherwise how could I address it? Therefore my own body image is oddly better when I’m heavy, I guess just through the magic of denial. But it seems unfair to go through all this effort and not get to at least feel more genuinely pleased about it.
I mean, I am pleased, because I want to be healthy and I want to set a good example for my kids. Aden worries about my denying myself sugar, but we had a talk about how I don’t need it and different bodies need different things. Her body is growing so she can have the spaghetti with the meatballs and I’ll just have the meatballs and the salad and that’s what’s better for me right now. I want my kids to see that exercise is something you build into your day based on what I do, not because of some lecture. That there are lots of choices to make about food but they don’t have to be hard, just sensible. I think I’m accomplishing those goals, so the effort is worth it. But when you are overweight and dream of being smaller, it’s weird when being smaller in and of itself doesn’t bring the joy you expect it to. Or maybe it does and I’m weird? I’m probably weird.
In any case, yea! Officially smaller, whether I see it myself or not. I hate this struggle and the amount of mental energy it sucks up, but it’s important. This is the only body I’ve got and I’d like to keep it in good enough shape to keep building violins for a long time, and to be around to enjoy my family and so many other things life has to offer.
I’m looking forward to the weight on my driver’s license being wrong the other direction for a while.
(Quinn at the center of the labyrinth at school. That’s the kind of triumph I want to feel! Maybe I need to walk that labyrinth….)