Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Thin Line

After nearly five months of working out, I am finally beginning to see some changes in my body. I am unofficially down 15 pounds and, glory of all glories, I am down a jean size. I went to the mall to do a little shopping and actually didn't hate trying clothes on for a change. I would even go so far as to say that I kinda liked what I saw in the mirror.

I seem to have crossed some sort of line. Over it, I am fat and ugly and below it, I am skinny and beautiful. It is ridiculous and without basis in any sort of rationale, but there it is.

I am still a long way from my goal. I have a good 25 pounds to go before I hit the weight I was when I met Neil six years ago. While my body has changed, in no small part thanks to having a child, there is no reason to think that I can not be that weight again. It is not even the lightest I've ever been. I was 15 pounds lighter still when I was in college, but I think 25 pounds is a realistic and attainable goal. If once I reach it, I find that I can go further and hit that nirvana weight, then I will go for it, but I will be more than satisfied with the higher number.

Not uniquely, I think, I have a very skewed view of myself. When I am at home, I face my reflection in the mirror and I am not entirely displeased. I'm far from perfect, but I think things generally look okay. But then I will see photographs, or catch my reflection in an unfamiliar mirror or window, and I will see the real me. The one the rest of the world sees. The one that still has too much junk in the trunk, the one who's stomach still sticks out further than I care to think, the one who probably shouldn't be wearing a tank top for all of the meat hanging on those upper arms, and, oh, the extra chins.

How is the vision I see in my mirrors at home so much different from this stranger?

Is the vision of the pretty me the delusion, am I just protecting my eggshell fragile ego from the harsh reality? Or is it the reflection of the ugly me?

Does it even matter?

20 comments:

  1. I understand this completely.

    Now that I'm at the gym and using it, on the one hand I'm amazed at how much progress I've made, and horrified at before pictures, and then look at now pictures and cringe.

    I think that two things are true. You look great now, and you will never be a childless 25 year old again.

    It's a complex job this mothering business.
    Thanks for everything you share. So much that you write rings true to me too. You're not alone out there.

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  2. I wonder that myself a lot. Which is the real me? Does it matter? More importantly, how is my INSIDE beauty?

    Now. Where did I put that cookie?

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  3. Gosh, this is soooo true for all of us I think. I look in the mirror and think I haven't really aged that much....LOL!!!!!!!!!!! Then I see pics and I think OMG! O.M.GGGGGGG! lol.

    But then i usually have a snack and forget about it. :)

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  4. The best thing about getting older for me has been the realization I do not have to look as good as I did in my 20's anymore, I discovered this at 30. Then when I hit 40, I figured out I really didn't care that much anymore about what people thought of my looks...I was beginning to become comfortable with myself. Am I still vain, yes. Am I willing to get my panties in a wad about the way I look now, no. And the best news, a few months ago I read that when you hit 50 and you are "plump", you actually start looking younger then your skinnier friends. Have I mentioned I will be 50 in March!!! WooHoo!!! I'll start to look really sexy-plump again, LOL!!!

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  5. First of all congrats to you - down a jean size and 15 pounds is amazing and reason to celebrate! And you're very pretty. You look great, and NO I am not just saying that. I've seen pictures! :)
    I have to say, I struggle big time with my body too... I'm up and down with my weight all the time. I am always 'dieting' - it's always short term for me, never 'let me just cut out the crap and eat better for my health'. If I did that, I'm sure I'd see lasting results, you know? Also, yeah, things change after having kids. I'll have have the abs I had before, no matter what. Okay, maybe with hours of working out, but that's just not something I am going to do! I do have less confidence today then I used to. Kind of sad, actually.

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  6. That is a question I'm sure many of us struggle with. I completely understand what you mean about the mirrors. I'm usually okay with what I see at home, but then I go into those dressing rooms with THREE mirrors, that give those extra angles and views. Then I'm not so okay.

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  7. Congrats on the weight loss! And going down a jean size! Woo-hoo! You'll be looking fine in November for our extravaganza!

    And just think of all that shopping we can do at the outlets!

    Oh, joy!

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  8. Going down a jean size is awesome--Congrats!

    I can relate to this post. If I check myself out at home, I think, "Okay, not bad." When I see pictures or, as occurred last week on vacation with a double mirror bathroom situation, have a chance to see my backside from the back, I am all, "Really?"

    Then, I find myself checking out moms at the park and thinking, "Are we the same size?" I feel like I have no real perspective.

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  9. I so get this. I like what I see when I look at myself at home but when I go out, especially to the salon, I am taken a back by the reflection and sometimes can't believe that is me. I just don't get this.

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  10. Ok, you just became the voice for almost every mother in America.

    I totally feel the same way. When I'm getting ready and I get my hair and makeup the way I want it I'm good to go. I'm thinking, I'm gonna turn some heads when I walk into Wal-Mart...cough...ahem....

    And then, I see myself in the security camera....What the crap?


    Who is that? That chick in the same outfit as me. Wrestling her awnry chil'ren into the shopping cart. That's not who I saw this mornin'.

    It's a cruel, cruel reality. Now I need to concentrate on getting my belly to stick out less than my breasts....sigh.

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  11. By the way, you look amazing. My vanity caused me to completely dodge your question and focus on myself.

    As long as you are happy with yourself, that's all that really matters.

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  12. After three months I am almost down 20 pounds. And I just cannot bring myself to even think about what a small amount that is in comparison to how much I need to lose. I'll get depressed. I just concentrate on how many bags of potatoes I don't have to carry around on my weary bones anymore.

    And then my "I'm happy" bubble was burst yesterday when I looked at a picture of me and the girls on their first day of school. Who is that fat lady in the picture??!

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  13. Same here. I can look in the mirror, and think I look pretty darn cute. But look at myself in a photo and I want to hurl.

    Way to go on the 15 lbs lost. And down a size in jeans, woohoo!

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  14. I too have that same experience when I contrast a photograph of myself with my appearance in the mirror. I know I've got weight to lose, but why does it seem so much worse when it's been captured for posterity?

    From your photos, I personally think you look fanastic. And if you went down a jeans size, more power to you!

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  15. I had a baby weight breakdown this morning. And yesterday. It is so silly that I can come undone because of a few extra pounds, but there you have it.

    I bet the rest of the world sees the you that you see in the mirror, or an even better version of you - from the pics I've seen, you look good! No one is as hard on us as we are on ourselves, except maybe stylists from makeover shows.

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  16. Good for you!!!!!

    We are all so hard on ourselves...

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  17. I like this saying I heard once as being something the French say: "No woman is truly beautiful unless she is truly ugly." That comes to mind for me a lot when I look at myself in the mirror!

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  18. I think we(women) all do this!

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  19. Funny how women obsess about this stuff and men do to a much lesser extent (if at all). In some ways, I'm glad I have boys for the whole image/appearance thing. But otherwise, I do as much as I can to knock the, "I'm so fat. I need to lose weight," out of my head. It's harder for me to win that game then the healthy habits (exercise, good eating) one.

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  20. You have described my own inner psyche to a tee! I don't know where you find these wacky mirrors, but they are the illusion! You really look great, and congrats on the jeans!!

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Give me some sugar, baby!