My inner fat girl
Thursday, January 20, 2011
There are many weight loss websites and I have signed up for notices from lots of them - mostly I delete the messages and I rarely go to the sites - why bother? We have the best, most comprehensive and amazing site here at sparkpeople, right? But this morning one of the notices was for a woman's blog and its title resonated with me so I clicked over to it and read with total empathy.
The 45 year old woman had lost over 100 lbs and was now sitting at 141. She'd had a stroke at 40 and knew that she had to take control of her health now. She's in great shape - her doctors, trainer and BMI all tell her so - and she feels like she's in great shape except when she looks into the mirror. There she sees the deflated belly, sagging neck and arm skin and it isn't pretty. She reports that her DH is less in love with her and she's unhappy - she described it as her inner fat girl trying to get out.
One reply suggested she was too thin and should regain weight to her set point (an outdated and false notion of ideal weight) - seriously a bad idea IMO. Another recommended plastic surgery ASAP. I'm thinking that, too, is not a great idea at this stage. In fact, I didn't like any of the replies but I'm not signing up to another site for the privilege to respond to her so - here it goes.
When I look into a mirror, I see a fat girl. I am a superfit, marathon runner who strength trains, eats right and wears size 2/4. Every single person I know thinks I look great - so, I do, right?
Oh, I wish it were that simple.
Inside of me is still the damaged person who ate herself through every emotional crisis, every celebration, every moment of insecurity. I have been working with that person for years now - healing the hurt, teaching her how to respond more appropriately to feelings of envy, shame, doubt, sadness, anger and I'm definitely winning the war. I am a better human being inside and out - I am happier than I have every been but, when I look into the mirror, I see a fat girl.
There is a palpable disconnect between my miniature size 2 jeans on the hanger and the moment I go to put them on - it's a bit of disbelief from the fat girl that they will fit. When I look at photos of group outings, the fat girl does not know who that tiny woman talking to her husband is. When I get on the subway, there is a moment of panic before I slide into a sliver of a seat between two larger people - why would I attempt to squeeze into such a small space - oh, I fit. It goes on and on - trying on the wrong sized clothing in a store, borrowing a pair of size 6 shorts from a thin friend and having them fall down over my hips (that happened) - there's never a moment when my insides actually believe my outsides are thin.
I feel the extra skin sagging around my belly whenever I sit down and it attempts to muffin top its way over my belt. I see my sagging arm skin in the mirror as I hold a brave warrior pose. The cellulite is still there on my thighs and so is a lot of sagging skin behind my knees. It's very discouraging and it's fuel for the inner fat girl's fire!
I think the woman on the other website is heading for a regain. I know I've caught myself eyeing up my sagging saddle bags in the mirror with disgust and the inner fat girl thinks - "oh, what's the point?" It's overwhelming to have a poor body image.
The reason I can overcome my inability to see myself as thin despite 100's of pieces of evidence presented daily is because I have been able to develop a sense of myself beyond the physical. My success is spiritual, emotional, mental and metaphysical. The inner fat girl has been molded to understand and love herself in many dimensions - that she can't see her thin person body has become a minor detail. Working on the less visible parts of my health have made it unnecessary for me to have a great body image which is good because I don't think I will ever see myself as thin.
When my inner fat girl sees my lumps and bumps and wants a cookie, the serene part of me goes over to comfort her with a soothing hand and she falls back to sleep while I slip into exercise gear and hit the gym.
To the struggling soul on the other website I'd say - hang in there. You can do this. Keep the faith in yourself. Stay away from mirrors for awhile. And maybe take a long, hard look at your marriage! This part may never pass but don't let what your inner fat girl sees in the mirror become the only thing that defines you!
The outer thin girl can win this thing.