See full blog post here: fatgirlrunn.blogspot.com
At the Biggest Loser RunWalk expo, during Danni Allen's talk, a woman that looked no older than 23 asked a very relevant question. Having already lost 175 lbs with a few more to go, the woman said that she was having issues with body dysmorphia and still seeing herself as her obese self. She asked how Danni dealt with these feelings.
I nodded emphatically as the woman asked the question. Since reaching goal, body dysmorphia is something that I have struggled with as well. The dysmorphia I'm experiencing now is the opposite of what I experienced when I was obese. When I was obese, I would look in the mirror and see photos of myself and not see myself as morbidly obese. I thought I looked fine, even as I would lose my breath tying my shoes.
Now, I look in the mirror at a woman of healthy weight and BMI and still see something with which I'm not happy. It seems absurd, since I know I should be very proud of my accomplishments, and I am, but I still am having trouble letting go.
The demon I'm still facing is very real, and is sitting just a few feet away from me in this room as I write -- it's the scale. As useful as it was during my weight loss, the scale is now my worst critic. But I can't break it off with the scale. I'm still so tied to the numbers on the scale, and it's getting to the point where I'm doing myself more harm than good by stepping on the scale every few days.
This is particularly an issue at the moment because I'm still having a very hard time balancing my food with my half marathon training. Now running upwards of 20 miles a week, I know that I have to be increasing my calorie intake because of the work I'm doing. However, this means that I'm suddenly basically eating everything in sight, which, after losing 90 lbs and exerting such self-control for so long, brings on immense feelings of guilt.
I've gained a few pounds back with my half marathon training since I probably am eating a little too much for my training, and each time I step on the scale, I feel shame. I know that it is all in my head, and it is all totally self-inflicted. I look at the number on the scale, think "oh my god you're such a fat cow right now." Then I look at myself in the mirror, and because I thought it, that is what I see.
I felt it earlier today when I ate way too much of things that I should not have at some friends' party this afternoon. I went into the party thinking I needed to get a handle back on my eating habits during social events, since my choices lately have, well, sucked. Did I eat as much as I would have during my obese days? No. I probably would have helped myself to two more crab rangoons and another piece of birthday cake. But I was still disappointed in myself for not living up to my own promises. As penance, I went to the gym as soon as I got home and ran until the gym closed.
But running should not be a punishment. It didn't even assuage much of my guilt. Sure I burned off a bit of what I ate, but I still am upset with myself that I ate it and that I lost control. Again. I'm mad that keep calling myself a fat cow to the point where I see it in the mirror. I'm upset that I still allow the scale to control me, causing me to lose control over myself.
More than ever, I realize that it is time to put away the scale -- put it out of sight completely. If the number I see is just going to make me upset all day, I need to break off my relationship with the scale. It's gotten to be a toxic relationship and I need to do what makes me happy. I need to learn to love my body, "warts and all" as they say, and not punish it by not only eating bad food, but then later, out of guilt, depriving it and "disciplining" it with workouts.
I need a full body-love attitude makeover. It'll require me to grasp control of my eating habits and rid my pantry of the foods I know I tend to binge on when I'm thinking "I ran 7 miles today, I can eat whatever I want." It'll require me to store the scale out of sight, and find the fun in running again. It'll require me to stop calling myself a fat cow, even when I feel like it. It is not what is actually reflected in the mirror and the self-negativity helps absolutely no one.
I need to stop comparing myself to the women who have lost a ton of weight and have perfectly flat stomachs and not my deflated skin mess of a stomach. It's not fair to myself and it's not productive. I have to stop tying my recent unlucky dating adventures to my looks ("did I wear something that made me look fat on our first date?")
I need to start loving myself again.