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This is NOT going to get me down! (Body image adjustment, with pics)

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Friday, July 19, 2013

Ok. So. Down 50#. In one-derland. Feeling good, confident... walking tall, smiling often. Can this be undone with one click of a digital camera?

Well, yes... almost.

Yesterday I attended a staff barbeque. Wearing my polka-dot dress that I first wore in May 2013 (at 213#). That I thought I looked soooooo good in. I feel great when I wear it. My Spark profile pic of choice displays this dress, as do several photos in my gallery. I wore it to my son's high school graduation banquet. I wore it to dinner in a fancy restaurant. I wore it to a family function. Every time I put it on, I get compliments. I am intellectually aware that it is a regular size 18, which has become somewhat loose on me in the weeks since I first bought it... so, really, the numbers say, "I must look OK."

And then I saw these pictures of me at the barbeque.

Initial reaction: "OH MY GOD LOOK HOW HUGE I AM."
Second reaction: "HOW CAN I STILL BE SO BIG AFTER LOSING 50#!"
ad infinitum.

Basically, my internal dialogue could be visualized like so:

WHY is the first reaction, so critical, so cruel? WHY does looking at these pictures make me want to scream "I look terrible, how could I ever have let myself believe I looked nice?! I look just as large as I did when I was 245#!!"

It really bothered me.

To try and reassure myself that it wasn't *that* bad, I hauled out some "before" pictures. Some really "true" before pictures, that I haven't had the guts to look at in a long time, that I've never had the nerve to publish here.

And, yeah. Ok, maybe I'm not at "goal weight" yet (whatever weight that may be). But I feel better once I recognize and reflect on just how far I've really come. I DO look a lot different now. And it isn't ONLY "the difference in weight"...

I think that the "difference in weight" is actually the least important thing to note, when I compare these before-vs-now pictures side by side. Look at my posture - leaning in, TOWARDS the camera, vs shrinking back, arms clasped in front of me like a shield. Look at my expression - a big smile-for-the-camera, vs a panic how-can-I-escape look of fear in my eyes.

Yeah, Ok, I'm still a "big girl" but DAMMIT I LOOK ALRIGHT.

If I say this often enough... my mind may slowly come around to agree.

To help it out, I've made one more picture, for myself. To remind me... it isn't all about "size" anyways. It is about living, laughing, smiling, accepting who and what I am with confidence and pride.

Yes, I'm doing just fine. I will turn my head around. These pictures will LIFT ME UP, *not* bring me down. I post this last one for me, to remind me always of what I just said.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I had something similar happen, where I was wearing an outfit I felt very attractive in and then I saw a photo of myself in it and was so crestfallen, because it didn't look at all how I was picturing it. And I never wore that oufit again. But you know, the camera can be so cruel, freezing us at one angle and not necessarily our best one. That's not how people see us in life. People see us in motion, they see how we're carrying ourselves and what we're projecting. And we look lovely!
    2551 days ago

    Comment edited on: 12/5/2013 7:55:11 PM
    I loved reading this! You're so inspirational! And honey, you are rocking that polka dot dress! emoticon
    2551 days ago
    LOVED the new comments on the photos!!! What a great thing to do- replace those old thoughts with the true and fabulous ones! Well done!
    2636 days ago
    Love the negative thought replacements.
    You are beautiful! Revel in your accomplishments.

    2636 days ago
    Your blog is very good! You inspired me completely! You have come a long way well done! emoticon
    2637 days ago
    emoticon You've come a long way! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2638 days ago
    You look freakin' amazing! Sexy, fun-loving - I LOVE IT! You are totally enjoying life and rocking that dress, girl!!

    I have had the same thing - I take pictures of myself and am like, "OMG, I look like a whale! I have no waist, my arms are solid flab, and there are rolls of fat in all those yucky places!" That is just society talking - we are sexy just as we are!!

    You rock girl - keep on rockin'!!
    2638 days ago
  • KONRAD695
    Absolutely wonderful. emoticon
    2638 days ago
    This is FAN-TAS-TIC!!!!

    I love the labels on the pictures - if you were blonde, I would swear it's me (without that really cute dress!!! Where in the world did you get it?)

    Thanks so much for sharing and reminding us that we are coming a long way in changing how we feel and live even though we might not look like we expect to.

    You are AWESOME!!!
    2641 days ago
  • no profile photo CD14030258
    I struggle with the same issues but you have really come along way. emoticon
    2654 days ago
    2659 days ago
    2666 days ago
    You nailed it with the difference in the pictures - attitude! You are doing much better than I am, I won't even allow my picture to be taken.

    P.S. You do look great in that dress.
    2667 days ago
    What a wonderful post. I can relate to your pictures addressing what each negative part of the picture says in your head. Others look at you as a whole, but I know myself, I pull and shred myself apart. I loved your after pictures. You really are a beautiful woman.
    2668 days ago
    I love this blog post. You look great BTW!
    2669 days ago
    Great post. I haven't had any pictures taken of me since I lost the 90 lbs. I might have someone snap a picture this weekend but I am a little afraid of what it will look like. I FEEL great but I don't really know what I look like anymore.

    2677 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2680 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13838073
    YOU are ADORABLE, no matter what a picture says, Deb!!! And I thought you looked BEAUTIFUL in that polka dot dress! You exude JOY!!! :-)
    That's the only accessory you need and it's 'one size fits all', Baby!!! :-)

    love you,
    2683 days ago
    Great blog. Just great. Do not fear the dress. It is very flattering. You look FUN!
    2684 days ago
    Loved your blog. And you look great!
    You smile is contagious. Keep up the fantastic work.
    2684 days ago
    Truly, you look better now.

    Your waist and bust is more defined.

    Just because you still want to improve doesn't mean you've accomplished a little. %0 lbs. counts.

    If you don't believe me go look at pics of my sis from 50-96 off. 1GodIsMYRock1
    2684 days ago
    Great blog! I love the visuals you created in showing how we are our own worst critics, and how it is possible to turn the hurtful things we say to ourselves around to focus on the positive instead. Keep up the great work and thanks for sharing!
    2684 days ago
  • STACEY1840
    Great post! Way to curb he negative thinking. You're looking great btw! :D
    2684 days ago
    Although I completely get what your saying....when I saw the pics of you in that poka dot dress I thought you looked amazing!!! It's normal to be critical of ourselves and we are sometimes our worst enemy, you did great reassuring yourself and reminding yourself at how far you have come.....and I STILL Think you look amazing in that dress :)
    2685 days ago
    emoticon Great how you "talked back" to the negative voices and turned this all around. My first reaction to your pics was that you looked great! Not just the smile, the dress is trendy and summery and really suits you. That's what all the people at the party saw, the real you. I am glad you saw it too. We all need to be kinder to ourselves.

    2685 days ago

    Comment edited on: 7/24/2013 1:44:22 PM
    Good for you!!!
    My first reaction to your first photos was, "Look at that gorgeous smile!"
    You looked confident and happy, and I'm very very glad that in the end you saw the same thing I did.
    2685 days ago
  • ALAS56
    This could have been written by me! That is exactly the things I say to myself! Exactly!
    Someone once told me that "the hardest place to lose weight is between the ears". How true! It is so hard to change the audio tape in our head!
    I have a pair of size 22 pants I keep to put on when I need to remind myself of how far I have come.
    Loved your post!
    2685 days ago
    You're gorgeous! It's so hard to turn down that negative voice and allow yourself to think positive thoughts about how you look, but you're SO RIGHT. It's clear that you're a more confident, more exuberant, more energetic version of you than in your before pictures. You're making tremendous strides. Don't let the negativity get you down -- just keep at it. :) What a great post. :)
    2685 days ago
  • JODIE1941
    What a great attitude you have! You just inspire me. Keep writing your blogs cause I am going to subscribe to them. Just made me feel better about myself. I have lost 80 lbs but keep gaining and losing 3 to 5 pounds each week. I have a way to go yet (about 120/130 lbs.

    Thanks for the inspiration. emoticon
    2685 days ago
    You have made amazing progress. Thanks for posting this.
    2685 days ago
    Wow. Thank you for a very thought-provoking and a very timely post. I had a somewhat similar reaction to a photo I saw of myself finishing a 5K earlier this month...and I'm essentially at goal.

    I applaud (loudly) your approach to reprogramming your mind to appreciate your photo.

    By the way, my initial impression of the women in the dress was "fun, friendly, and happy". Now I know that she is also very wise. The dress is fabulous, too. It is no wonder that you feel great wearing it.
    2686 days ago
    Love your perspective on LIFE!! You deserve every happiness....
    2686 days ago
    We are our own worst critic. My brain has gone through the same patterns. Congratulations on being in one-derland and thank you for sharing this!

    2686 days ago
    Great blog. I really needed to read this. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2686 days ago
    One of the most inspiring blogs I've read.

    You nailed that inner critic who tells us that what we are doing is not good enough, that focuses and picks on any imperfections.

    Way to go!
    2686 days ago
    Oh Goodie - you beat me to the punch! When I saw your first photo of you in your pretty dress, with all the negative words, my first instinct was to save it and re-do it with Confidence! Happy Smile! Beautiful dancer's posture! Radiant! etc. and then I see you did finally do that for yourself at the end of the blog! Whew!
    I thought I was gonna have to take you DOWN for being so mean to yourself!
    (says the hypocrite who does exactly the same thing to herself - I'm shamed to say!!)
    But just think how cute you will be in a new smaller dress!!
    Keep it up!!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2686 days ago
    Wonderful!! I have this same dialog with myself - every time I look into a mirror. I know I'm over weight. But, for heaven sakes can't my mirror lie to an old friend. I can not weight until I like the person in the mirror. emoticon
    2686 days ago
  • DOXMOM51
    Thanks for the great message, that we can be our own worst enemy. Great job tossing aside the negative and embracing the positive. Love your camping report and you've given me some ideas to really enjoy our next trip without a wt. gain. Keep doing what you're doing. Karen Atlanta Ga emoticon
    2686 days ago
    Great post!. Those are lovely pictures.
    2686 days ago
    This was awesome! YOU ARE AWESOME!!!! Thank you for sharing the slap in the face that most of us need from time to time! LOVED this blog!!!
    2687 days ago
    emoticon for sharing and posting.
    2687 days ago
    Terrific blog, thanks for showing two versions of you, it really brought home what you were saying. Way to go! emoticon
    2687 days ago
    Terrific blog, thanks for showing two versions of you, it really brought home what you were saying. Way to go! emoticon
    2687 days ago
    Great post! Thank you for posting.
    2687 days ago
    This is absolutely one of the best blogs I've ever read! How well you capture that negative voice in all of us and turn it around right before our eyes! You really DO look fabulous! Although my fabulous doesn't exactly match what you have in your mind -- there is absolutely no denying your progress!

    You,Girl - are more successful than you may ever give yourself credit for. But there are witnesses! emoticon emoticon
    2687 days ago
    Love your blog, and really, really love your attitude. It's strange how we are so much more critical of ourselves than we would ever be of other people.

    A while back, I vowed I would never again crop myself out of family photos (and I've kept that promise); but I still loathe seeing myself in photos, and my eye is immediately drawn to all of the negatives.

    Your blog has inspired me to work at more positive self-talk, and to actively search out the positives instead of only noticing the negatives. Thank you!
    2687 days ago
  • DIANA7790
    I am so glad you posted this blog. I have lost weight in the past and always thought I still looked "fat". But my perception of myself was always one that others would contradict to me. "Oh my you look good" others would say and I still saw the girl I was at almost 200 lbs. I guess it's just in our minds and we need to get that mental picture changed. You can feel good just by seeing the clothing sizes go down and the knowledge that you have lost 50 lbs. No goal weight doesn't matter at this point…you are a success just by having started and succeeding at losing even a few pounds no matter the amount.
    2687 days ago
    I understand how you reacted to your pictures. I react to the mirror that way sometimes too but I tell myself that in a couple more weeks those fat arms will be slimmer, those folds at my side and back will have gone down some more, etc.
    I love what you did too!! emoticon It takes a lot to motivate yourself and you did it girl, just emoticon and any pics you look at of yourself will only make you smile. emoticon .
    2687 days ago
  • HFITZ1
    2687 days ago
    Thank you, this really helped me today. I do feel better about myself now that I'm doing something about my weight even though I have only lost 4lbs. It helps the self-esteem just to know that I'm trying. Good point with the pictures!
    2687 days ago
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