Judging from the insightful comments on yesterday’s post, many of us have (or had) trouble seeing our true physical selves in the mirror, but not so much with photos. That makes sense, in a way, because photos are static and unchanging. We can wiggle, squirm, twist, and turn to get the best angle in the mirror. Or just turn out the lights.
And as some of you alluded to in your comments yesterday, it’s really not that different when you’ve lost weight. Some people still see the “before” image, no matter how much weight they’ve lost. As for me, I see the difference in the mirror and in photos–that part’s fine–but when I look down at my body, it seems like the same size it was before. It’s all a puzzlement, to be sure, and one I’ll be exploring in the future. If I uncover the Big Secret, I’ll be sure to let y’all know.
And while I’m searching for that one, I’ll try to find the one that fixes what I’m calling satisfaxia, the recurring inability to accept one’s body in whatever its shape or form, despite doing everything within one’s power to take care of it. That’s my monster-of-the-moment. Even eighteen months into maintenance and proud of what I’ve accomplished, I’m still too self-critical. Not always, but it’s clear to me that I still have work to do in this area.
In my ponderings today, I recalled walking into a department store one day, midway through my weight loss period, and seeing a nicely-shaped woman’s reflection in the window. I thought, If I could just get to be her size, I’d be satisfied. As I got closer to the window, I saw that it was, of course, MY reflection. But was I satisfied? Of course not. Pleased, but not satisfied.
Part of the issue is legitimate. When you’re an apple-shaped 49-year old who loses 100 pounds, you’re going to have some “leftovers.” And trust me, I’ve got lots of leftovers. Valerie Bertinelli, I’m not! These leftovers are only going away with surgical intervention, which given my unemployed status and lack of a sugar daddy/lottery win/blockbuster best seller, isn’t likely to happen. (Not to mention that it’s MAJOR surgery, and I’m a big chicken.)
So that leaves me with peaceful acceptance, and I’m pretty sure I can get there from here. I don’t even need a mirror. I value my actions more than my appearance (evidenced in the super-casual way I dress), so when I catch myself hyper-criticizing how I look, I’m going to review what I’m doing. If I can honestly say that I’m eating healthy (mostly–and mostly for me is around 90-95%, not 51%) and exercising regularly, then I’m doing all that’s within my control.
I’m not sure if I’ll ever achieve 100% body acceptance (heck, I’m not sure it’s possible!), but I’m going to get as close as I can get. Who I am depends a lot more on what I do, not how my body actually looks. It was true when I was larger, and it’s still true today. I just have to remind myself every now and then.
Meanwhile, if a plastic surgeon who wants LIFETIME FREE ADVERTISING on my blog happens to stop by with an offer of free assistance, maybe I’ll listen.
Or maybe not. I’d probably just start obsessing about the scars.
Goodness, I do go on. I swear, y’all are better (and much cheaper!) than therapy.