Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fat on the Brain

I just took a second dose of DayQuil so that makes it official.  I am definitely sick.  But so far it's still only in my head, no chest symptoms, which is good.  Though my buddy Katie, who is a nurse, pointed out that she's not aware of this symptoms in your head = workout, in your chest = rest theory of mine.  I don't remember anymore where I read it but I'm thinking maybe it's an old wives tale.  Or a new wives tale.  Oh boy, my head is buzzing a bit, I think I might have over done it a bit on the cold meds.  I think I'm skipping the gym today.  I can almost hear your collective, DUH!

Since I'm not exercising today I'll use this post to write about what's going on in my head (no, not the cold).  I think my mental self-image is stuck and I need to get it un-stuck.  I was overweight for so many years of my life.  I spent decades seeing a fat Michelle in the mirror.  In the several years before getting pregnant I finally made what felt like real (and permanent) changes to my body, and my mind seemed to be catching up to the idea that I wasn't fat.  Which is good.  Not just good, but absolutely mandatory if I'm going to keep the weight off.

I'm sure I've written about this before but I am convinced that the mental image, the feeling of being overweight or fat, is one of the reasons so many of us eventually relapse and go back to actually being overweight.  Think about it, if I make all these great changes, do all this hard work and lose all this weight, get fit, change my lifestyle etc - but inside I am still fat, I am still that big girl, I'm left with this feeling of not being there yet, of not having reached my goal, of perpetually being not good enough.  You're left with always striving to get "there" - to some magical place where you are thin and fit and feel good about your body.  But there can be here.  It's exhausting to be forever striving to get somewhere and yet never getting close, let alone arriving.  Who wouldn't give up eventually?  If I don't go through that mental transformation in addition to the physical one, I think that's a major red flag for relapse.

As I write this I am reminded that I used pictures of myself to shift my mental image when I lost weight before the kids.  I made a collage of "before" and current pictures and put them up on the fridge.  I think I need to do that again.  I took these pictures of me in my Gap jeans yesterday.  I didn't end up posting them because they are so fuzzy (and the kids hand prints are all over the mirror!) but I think I'll post one now next to a 2011 picture.   

This is a comparison of late February 2011, when Myra was 5.5 months old, to now.  These post-Myra pictures are probably the best representations of how I think I look in my mind.

And one from April 2011, when Myra was 6 months old, compared to now.

I can definitely see a difference in the top picture and also in the bottom picture, though less so.  I don't have a ton of pictures from the first half of 2011 but the way I look in these pictures is where my brain is stuck.  But seeing these images really helps.  I might have to put these up on the fridge for a while.  I need to start taking and posting more pictures of myself.  I think that will help get my brain in gear.

Thanks for humoring me as I stumble along this journey.  The kids are napping so I'm going to cuddle up with a blanket and hopefully get an hour or so of rest.


  1. Truly Michelle, I really think you look wonderful at the moment, I would be very happy to look like you (who knows, maybe I do but I have my own self perception issues :)) You look so fit and healthy! Your thinking sounds spot on though in regards to how you picture yourself and therefore how you picture yourself looking, feeling and eating...keep working on your mental attitude/self-images, you'll be fine :)

  2. Hi Michelle,
    I wish you could see yourself as fabulous as you are. Hopefully soon. I've been working on saying nicer things to myself and got the following from an app of daily Secret things: "If you feel bad about your body, that is a powerful feeeling, and you will continue to attract feeling bad about your body. You will never change your body if you are critical of it and find fault with it, and in fact you will attract more weight to you. Praise and bless every square inch of your body. Think about all the perfect things about you. As you think perfect thoughts, as you feel good about you, you are on the frequency of your perfect weight, and you are summoning perfection." Maybe a little over the top, but it inspired me to make up an acronym to say to myself every time I tell myself I'm fat. It's SSH..My body is sexy, skinny and healthy. There was another word in there but I forgot what it was...and like the SSH I hope you continue to come closer to seeing the real you in your mind. You are beautiful!

  3. Wow! Another great post. I can relate. Over the past few years, my body has changed from mostly diet. And I recall in the early stages of a some weight loss, being thrilled with reaching a new size in clothing, and seeing a new number on the scale. I remember looking at my body and thinking, "I'm small." Now what? And immediately assuming it was going to be TEMPORARY, just like it had been all of my life. I realized I was comfortable in my bigger body, but wanted to have a smaller one that I loved and appreciated. It was as if I was uncomfortable with the new me. People noticed I was smaller, and were quick to say, "you lost weight, you look good." In the back of my head, I would think to myself, "thanks. but, I think I looked okay when I was heavier too. Right?" Over time I learned to change this thinking into, "It's nice to be able to fit in my jeans, and feel comfortable in my fitted shirt, and show my arms." I think it took me about a year to feel comfortable in my body. I have a new idea of what is normal, which is much different from 5 years ago. I am sure research has been done on this very subject.

    PS: Your photos are great!

  4. Cherelli: Thanks. I bet you look a lot like me. I know you are out there living the life, going on crazy long hiking trips (even by yourself!) and stuff. You need to post some closer-up pictures of yourself not dressed in winter gear. Thank you for the support.

    Kristi: I love what you shared. I'm going to type it up and post it above my computer at work. I really want to feel in better shape than I do. I realized when I was taking a shower this morning that looking down and seeing my big stomach is part of my mental stuff. And it does look big in the shower. Has my body changed from having babies? I wonder if it looked like this at this same weight pre-kids? And I need to start on the brain washing too - clear out all the crud. Thanks!


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