What I Have Done Today To Make Me Feel Proud
May 12, 2010
Since there was a small handful of requests, I bought these shoes on Mother's Day.
Last year, after Blogher, I kept seeing pictures of myself crop up on Flickr and Facebook that made me cringe, a little bit. My chin, my face, my arms...everything was a bit rounder and softer, at least compared with the photos from previous years that occasionally popped up out of order, for side-by-side comparisons. I told myself that I was simply not photogenic, and holding on to 10 pounds or so because I was breastfeeding.
By January, when we went to Jamaica, I was most definitely not breastfeeding any more. But the pictures looked worse, not better. I deleted most of them: practically erasing my presence from the greatest family vacation we've ever taken, save for a small handful of pictures that happened to be taken at more flattering angles. Or from far away.
There was no way around it: I'd been slowly but steadily gaining weight since Ezra's birth, instead of the other way around. Not a lot, oh, not really a whole lot. But enough. Enough to make me delete myself from the memory card, to glare at myself in the mirror while I struggled with zippers and pinched extra skin around waistbands and bra straps, to walk around in public in forgiving work-out wear that I certainly didn't work out in, to go from having sex on kitchen counters to under covers with the lights off, getting uptight about OH GOD, don't grab me THERE, it's SQUISHY.
I had an eating disorder in high school -- I starved myself non-stop. I didn't hit 100 pounds until college. I'm five-foot-five. And a half.
I don't want to ever be that skinny again -- photos of myself at a senior-year pool party were a reverse wake-up call, when I saw just how vile my protruding ribs and hip bones were, at least compared to my curvy, healthy friends. Who were smiling and laughing while I mostly looked sort of dazed and miserable.
I didn't look dazed in any of the Jamaica photos, and I was smiling and laughing. But I was still a little bit miserable.
Not like, oppressively so: Most of the time I was able to push my feelings aside, or under a baggy sweater or the aforementioned fake work-out wear. Or under a plate of cheese fries.
Jason noticed, though -- not ever mentioning the actual weight gain but the fact that I never, ever bought clothes for myself anymore.
"Not true!" I'd protest. "I got a couple new dresses for Jamaica!"
"I bought you those," he'd point out, and then he'd say that all those tees and yoga pants from Target didn't count either. And then something like:
"When was the last time you even bought shoes? Your feet haven't changed. You love shoes. I know you get easily wigged out about spending money but seriously, you can buy yourself some shoes, if you want."
The truth was? I didn't want to. I'd just...kind of stopped caring. I watched other bloggers get up and get moving and train for marathons, and instead of feeling inspired, I cheered for them while sinking deeper into the ass-groove on my couch. That pesky 10 pounds of "baby weight" was turning into something closer to 20, and I didn't have the first clue how to reverse course. I was afraid of falling back into disordered thinking about food while totally using that fear as an excuse to do absolutely nothing instead.
Over at MamaPop, BHJ posed a challenge: we'd all set weight-loss goals and do weekly honor-system weigh-ins, for the duration of one season of The Biggest Loser. 13 weeks. We'd be the MamaPopLosers, and it was an awesome idea. I pledged 10 pounds, mostly because I was afraid of completely embarrassing myself if I promised more and failed.
I planned to give up my Coca-Cola habit.. I threw out the remaining Halloween candy. I made some vague noises about less snacking and eating better and exercising.
My progress was slow -- a pound here, a pound there, a big gain in Jamaica, etc.
But I was making progress. I was eating better. Eating less, feeling full sooner. No processed foods, no HFCS or anything hydrogenated or artificial or "diet." (Basically: the way I feed my kids, but didn't realize how often I cheated on those standards myself until I started paying freaking attention.) I caved and picked up some fast food at the drive-thru on one super-rushed crazy day and couldn't even choke half of it down -- it was so gross! Ew! This isn't even food! I drank water. I stopped missing Coke. I hated the way junk food made me feel. I still splurged on nice dinners out with Jason and the occasional REALLY GOOD WORTH-IT DESSERT, but had no problem turning down mediocre crap food eaten out of boredom or convenience. I started wanting to maybe wear some cute clothes. I started wanting to exercise.
And I lost that 10 pounds. I've lost another five since the weigh-ins ended, though I've decided to stop weighing myself and instead focus on getting in really good shape. I've started the Couch to 5K training program (I have never run in my entire life). I can't believe that the small changes I made had such an impact -- small changes that I put off making for God knows how long for God knows what reason. I'm ready to see what else I can do...off the scale, away from Wii Sports, outside in real life.
And so I bought myself some shoes.