Wednesday, October 31, 2012

My Current Perception of Me is a Lie

     My current perception of me is wrong and it is a very hard thing to admit to.  If fact, it has taken my loving wife to bluntly, but lovingly put things into perspective for me on how I perceive myself.  You see, even though I have lost 122 pounds, and more than 12 inches off of my waist, even though I can see bones I have never seen before, like my clavical, ribs, and other things seen that people take for granted, I still see myself most of the time in only one way.  Fat.

     For some people that might seem hard to believe, but it's true.  I look at myself and I see a person who is still heavy, still has fat, and still isn't at a healthy weight.  I am not totally sure why I see myself like this, but it is a hard image to shake.

     From the time I hit puberty until I started losing my weight four months ago, with the exception of a nine month period  in 1999, I have always been fat.  I was well over 400 pounds in high school and most of my adult life I have been well over 350.  I have worn sizes as large as a 58 pant, 5XLT shirt and size 16 tennis shoe and buying clothing for me was another nightmare in itself.  It is never easy being fat.  People look at you in a certain, mocking way, wondering why you don't get off you fat butt and do something about it.  Others look at you in a pitying sort of way, feeling sorry about the poor slob who obviously is lazy and must not do anything at all in life.  And don't even get me started on trying to date or try to have a social life before I met my loving wife and was married!  That was another story altogether.

    Then earlier this year, my wife convinced me that weight loss surgery was something I needed to look at, which I did.  And in June of this year, I had the procedure done.  And I haven't looked back.

     The results are there and mentally I know they are there and show.  People compliment me all the time on my weight loss and how great I look.  People notice me on the street now and smile and say hi.  But still I look in the mirror and all I can see is fat.

     Yes, I no longer wear the size 54 pants I started off in; instead I am in a size 38 now.  My shirt size has gone from a 4XLT to an XL, as have t-shirts and shorts.  Even my shoe size has gone down to a normal width from the extra wide width I had to have.  You can read my blog and see how I am running four to five times a week, sometimes 3.1 miles, sometimes as much as over six miles at a time, without stopping!  I lift weights, I have stamina I didn't know I possessed, but I do not like the way I look.  The reflection I see is still fat.

     My wife feels I am obsessed on numbers.  We have talked about goal weights, and I have actually put my goal weight here on my blog of 180, but secretly, I want to weigh less.  I think I would like to weigh around 160 or so, but is that a healthy weight, or is that the inner fear of my thinking I am still too fat?  Speaking of weight, I have been in a stall now for two weeks, maintaining the same weight over that period of time.  My secret fear?  Never going below it now.  Staying at 248.  Staying fat.

     I know some of you reading this may not understand and that is okay.  Many of you will not.  I'm not even sure if I understand this.  In fact, I know I don't.  I want to be healthy, not only for myself, but for my family.  But the obsession over my weight now is one that I have to tackle.  My wife said it sounded similar to someone dealing with anorexia.  I simply don't know.  But what I do know is that I don't want to ever be where I was when I started this journey.  I don't ever want to be fat again.

     Maybe that is where the fear lies.  Perhaps that is where my wrong perception lies.  My perception is a lie and mentally I know it.  I think I just have to accept it.  Medically I am no longer classified as morbidly obese, but just obese.  In layman's terms, I am no longer grossly fat, I am just fat.  Eventually I will not be classified as obese/fat, as I have 11 BMI points to go before I am medically considered normal.

      In some peoples minds I am already normal.  I just have to believe it myself.

     It's not going to be easy.


Viviana said...

My dearest friend,

There are those of us who do understand as we, too, struggle from/fight body dismorphic image issues. I know you will think ME nuts but I have struggled with it my entire life and still do.

Eric, 160 isn't healthy for you and I am not sure 180 is either. I hope your lovely wife will kick your butt if you get TOO thin.

We are here for you. I know I also need support to help change the tapes in my head. I need to learn to ACCEPT my form for its function and be appreciative of what it does for me every day. Even if I will never be 110 and model thin.

I love you... Viv

Anonymous said...

Hi Eric,

I just found your blog and I love reading about your story. I too was sleeved in June of this year and have experienced rapid weight loss. I also find comfort in this post of yours because I thought I was the only one having this image issue. I too focus on the problem areas and cannot see how small I am now. I went from a size 16 to a 4 in 5 months. I am 14 pounds from my goal and I still am surprised when people make comments about my skinny self or strangers actually look me in the eye now and smile or strike up a conversation. I think our brains just can't loose the weight image as fast as our bodies lost the fat. There will be a day that there will be a catch up. As many years as we suffered with our extra baggage, that kind of conditioning doesn't flee in a few weeks. Thank you for sharing your story.
Shrinkingturtle from MFP
aka Tara