Satisfaction, See: Can’t Get No

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.

17 thoughts on “Satisfaction, See: Can’t Get No

  1. I regularly promise myself that I will have my breast reduced and lifted once I reach a good weight, but in all honesty, I have no idea what size they’re going to be. I have an absolutely horrific image if these sad, elongated, empty pouches hanging down my torso in my mind. Other loose skin thoughts don’t seem to bother me as much as the booby pouches.

  2. and this post is why struggles and challenges are SO UNIVERSAL no matter the “topic”
    what I am searching for….longing for… I KNOW when I get it (positive thinking!) Ill find something “wrong” or else that I want.

    ahhh human nature huh?

  3. I thought this was such a great post! You always inspire me (not only here but with the thoughtful comments you leave on my blog too) but this one today really hit me. For several reasons. Not only the key point about body acceptance but also how you are so sanely living all these maintaining months later. I am glad that most days I just don’t think all that much about my body. Food – that I still think about a lot. I LOVE how you always focus on things that can be controlled, your own actions, whether it has to do with your body or your eating.

  4. Cammy, I am so like you in that I still tend to be critical of myself no matter what. I do my eat good at leats 95% of the time & exercise is always part of my life.. consistent I am! :-) I sometiems wonder if that always seeing the need for something more in the mirror keeps me challenged each day to try new things & push myself in terms of my fitness. I guess there is good & bad to everything!

    As for that plastic surgeon, I would not think twice…. come my way! I know, bad but I have a few things I would like to fix that my routine will not!

    I really enjoyed this post Cammy!

  5. This is so great. And you are right, when I’m making healthy choices and staying active, it’s easier to have “peaceful acceptance” of where I am right now on this journey.

    Oh, and I’d be a big chicken, too, about surgery :/

  6. Thank you so much for this post! I’m still pretty new to maintenance (in September, I’ll hit 1 year of maintaining a loss of ~140 pounds), and like you, I’m still very much adjusting to the “new” me. And like you, I have a lot (!) of “leftovers”—it’s hard to think of myself as thin when I still have a belly, even if that “belly” is almost all skin. I even had my body fat percentage tested (using a Bod Pod) to reassure myself, and it’s 21%.

    I’m also still coming to terms that there’s nothing more I can do to make my body look like my ideal, short of surgery. There’s no exercise that will make my short legs longer (I’m 5’7″ and wear petite-length pants). I lost the “girls” with the rest of the weight, so I have to accept being less-than-generously endowed.

    My husband would be completely supportive if I wanted a tummy tuck, but my reservations are the same as yours—it’s $$$, my insurance wouldn’t cover it, and I understand it’s pretty painful and comes with a long recovery time. Given that, I’ll accept the “leftovers” as my scars from all the years of obesity.

  7. Great post, Cammy. As to satisfaxia–I think you’re right. It’s akin to everybody’s dissatisfaction with hair. I have dark brown super straight thick hair, but I yearn for waves and curls. My wavy curly daughter, only wants straight. My sis wants my thick hair, but I envy her blond locks. I laughed out loud at your seeing your own reflection in the dept store mirror.

  8. Cammy you are so funny! Hey, if you find that surgeon, please let him know I could use his services too!!! :)

    All kidding aside, I know what you mean. Sometimes it’s hard to be happy with what you have worked for. In a way, I think it can be a good thing if you use it as a tool to strive for something better in life, but don’t get too wrapped up in it. Sounds like that’s the attitude you have! :)

  9. I heart you. You’re so right.

    I like to bring a digital camera with me when I go shopping so that I can snap a photo in the dressing room to see what I *actually* look like. It’s easy to be deceived by mirrors and such. Pictures are much more honest (and right now, the pictures are telling me a truth I SO did not want to hear. Sighs).

    Even if we don’t have 100% body acceptance, at least we’re working up to more confidence!

  10. Oddly enough, even tho’ I know I am fat, I’m not unusually horrified by my reflection in the mirror. I’m not thrilled, by any means, but I seem to be able to accept who and what I am right now. Up and down over the years, I’ve come to terms with ME. Naturally, I’d like to glance into the mirror one day and see a thinner, healthier person staring back at me, but for right now, being an oddball who is satisfied that I’m living on the right side of the grass, I’m ok.

  11. I waffle back and forth on my feelings about loose skin. I know that if I had the loose skin removed from my lower body, I would be at goal weight. However, it is a part of me, and cutting away a part of my body that isn’t sick is really scary to me.

    Funny, but probably the most frequent question I get via email is how much loose skin I have. Do you get that a lot, too? Clothing hides a lot, but it is there. I guess I would rather have the loose skin, because it means the weight is still gone….

  12. I’m sort of starting to find acceptance for what my body has become. Partly this is because I no longer compare myself to 20 yo models in magazines, but real life women. I’m still on the chubby side, but I look fit, my cellulite isn’t overwhelming, and it’s arguable whether that’s just a touch of loose skin on my tummy. I’d still like to lose another 15 pounds, but am not willing to torture myself to do it. Thus, that leaves me with acceptance.

    I had a friend who had a tummy tuck/boob job. I told her to get implants, she doesn’t believe in them, now she is coming to terms with no fat = no boobs. I haven’t seen the results, but I know she’s got arms still to go.

  13. Great post! I found that when I first got to 136 lbs, I was soooo pleased with how I looked. Now that I have been around 136 lbs for over a month, I am no longer satisfied with the way I look. But I try to remind myself that I am at a healthy weight and I am exercising and eating well so it’s okay not to look perfect!

  14. It’s always something, isn’t it? Body image is a tough one. I can’t figure it out. You are right about not being able to escape the truth in a photo (except for the turning off the light strategy). I pretend that I can fool the mirror. Silly me.

  15. All I have to say is that it is a journey that never ends. I have contemplated surgery but just can’t do it. I am at peace with how I look – most days. :)

  16. Maybe because I had 2 c-sections – I would jump at the chance for a tummy tuck when I get to goal. (I recovered qucikly and easily from the c-sections – so no fear.) I know I will have a lot of loose skin there becaue I was so huge with the twins that I have stretch marks over an inch wide!

    I keep buying lottery tickets to finance that event!

    If that doesn’t happen, I am not going to be happy, but I haven’t tucked my shirts in for a very long time. So I guess I can just keep on not tucking in my much smaller, much more stylish shirts .

  17. At my heaviest I was over 250, I’ve kept my weight sort of around 200 for six years, still want to lose more. Some days I see the same hugely obese woman I was at 250+, some days I see a reasonably healthy person in the mirror. Even at my lowest (167) I had that back & forth.

    As an apple I’m pretty sure I’ll have belly issues if I ever get to a weight where i consider weight loss “done” and I’m not sure I’d be able to have the surgery. I’ve had surgery for medical reasons & don’t know if I could handle having surgery for vanity ones…

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