Vickie wrote a really great post in response to one of my questions on her blog.
It is rich in revelations for me.
She wrote: "Think of how many times a day we think about fat, negative thoughts about fat. I think positive thoughts, about being my real size, just as many times a day, in tiny ways."
It is ridiculous how many times a day I think about my weight and my body in unhappy ways. I don't remember where I read/heard this, but some woman (famous, I think) said that women think of their bodies/weight as many times a day as men think about sex.
I have always maintained that, if I lost weight and was happy with my body, the amount of space in my brain I'd have available to think positive thoughts could change the world. Okay, maybe not change the world, but certainly influence my little pocket of the world in ways I'm not doing now.
When I was in the low 150s, I had a lot of positive thoughts, like Vickie talks about in her post. My size 8 clothes all fit. I could run for miles and felt invincible. I was lifting weights and felt strong. I looked great in pictures and in the mirror. I blogged about my success and felt like an inspiration.
But I still had those "fat head" thoughts. Sure, I had a lot of happy body thoughts, but I still hated my belly pooch, my saddlebags, and my thighs. Hated them enough that even though I can look back at pictures of myself in late 2007 and 2008 and 2009 and think, "what I wouldn't give to look like that now," back then I felt like I wasn't thin enough, wasn't good enough, needed to do more and be more. Before I could be okay.
Today.... I assume that if/when I get back to size 8s, I'll be more appreciative of my size, no matter what the scale says or where I am in the BMI charts ("normal BMI" for me doesn't happen until 149 pounds, so even at 152-155, I am still "overweight BMI"). But. Will it be enough... next time?
It's a moot point (or moo point, as Joey from Friends would say--I love that), because I don't weigh 152 pounds or wear a size 8. Today I weighed 181.2 pounds and am wearing (loose) size 16 capri's and an XL t-shirt.
I know my insides didn't match my outside in 2007-2009. I guess my insides and my outside match right now. I feel like a 182 pound woman inside. I spent most of my adult life weighing 180+ pounds. From age 26 through age 31 I held steady in the 180s, size 14s. Then I had a baby and another baby, and the scale kept going up and up, until I weighed over 220 pounds when I came home from the hospital with my son in 2005.
Being fat is what I know. Being thin was the anomaly.
Even in high school, I wasn't fat but thought I was. I have a prom picture from my senior year and my waist is t.i.n.y. I remember my prom dress size was 11. 11 was for fat girls. Thin girls wore size 5 or 7. I was close, but never good enough, even then. Especially then.
I keep looking back at 2008-2009--it doesn't help that I've been working with photos from vacation and have also been looking at pictures of myself from those years--and feeling utterly bereft.
Borrowing from Vickie's use of definitions is helpful here: "bereft" = deprived or robbed of the possession or use of something; lacking something needed, wanted, or expected; suffering the death of a loved one.
And I realize, what my therapist told me back at our first meeting, that I am in mourning. I'm not just mourning my dad and all the complexities of our relationship. I'm not just mourning the lack of a nurturing childhood. I'm also mourning the loss of who I was, who I had created myself to be in 2007 and 2008 and 2009.
You don't know what you've got until it's gone. Totally applies to those years, when I still wasn't happy with my weight and my size.
But what if it applies to today, too? What if those fat head thoughts--I'm not thin enough, I'm not good enough, I need to do more and be more before I'm okay--are what hold me back today? And are keeping me unnecessarily unhappy and feeling like I was somehow robbed of a better life that I'd be living if I hadn't regained 30 pounds?
It's the same recording in my head now as it was in the Thin Years. It's just louder now, because I don't have the smaller body and smaller clothing to dampen the roar. Fat amplifies it all, but fat doesn't create the fat-head messages. Those have been there much, much too long to go away without kicking and screaming.
My therapist Julie and I talked about how I need to unhook my self-worth from my size. Clearly, I have no idea how to do that.
The bereft feelings are real; I won't deny them or run from them or ignore them. I also don't want to wallow in the past, and that's what it feels like I'm doing.
Thank goodness I'm going to see her tomorrow. I've got a lot of inside working out to do.