Last month, June began this series by sharing the challenges of shopping with curves after weight loss. Today, she writes about the challenge of realizing the need for weight loss with curves. Once again, she approaches a loaded subject with sensitivity and thoughtfulness. You can find more of her body-affirming approach in her recent post on body positivity over at Braless in Brasil. Fair warning, however–once you’re on her blog, you’re not going to want to leave!
This is a tough subject for me because there are people out there that have this crazy idea in their head that all overweight/obese individuals are in denial about their weight and it is their mission in life to point it out to them and shame them thin. Not cool. With a few exceptions, doctors are about the only ones who should broach this subject with an obese/overweight individual, and even then I’d say doctors should be better trained in measuring body fat, looking at the individual’s cholesterol/blood pressure, etc., and discussing appropriate weight loss methods (beyond just stop eating as much). Trust me, some random stranger on the street telling you that you’re fat does not help.
What I do want to discuss, though, is my own denial of my weight. During my pregnancy with my daughter I reached my highest weight ever–240 pounds. After that I lost some but regained it quickly and got back up to 225 pounds and probably would have gone all the way back up to 240 pounds if I hadn’t had made some major changes in my life. But it took me a long time to really recognize how large I was. Sure, at 5’6″ I knew 200+ pounds was overweight. I was shopping at Lane Bryant, and my size 16’s were seriously tight on me, but somehow I kept telling myself I wasn’t “that big“.
I have to admit that my curves were somewhat to blame too. I kept telling myself that I carried all my weight in my breasts/butt and so it was OK (looking back at pictures I was definitely carrying a lot of weight in my waist too but it was hard to see at the time).
Apparently that weight didn’t count? I remember even trying to subtract what I guessed the weight of my breasts came to and then recalculating my weight. I was a bit crazy…
Now some may say that it’s not a problem, that I had a beautiful body even at my highest weight. While that may be true, my health was not that great. I had knee and back pain, and I’m prone to getting cysts at higher weights. Add to that that I was really having a hard time keeping up with my toddler and I could feel how that weight and my food choices/lack of exercise were affecting me. When I did start changing my habits, I noticed the difference almost instantaneously. Maybe my body didn’t change overnight, but daily runs and cutting out sugar gave a huge boost to my energy levels and motivation. The more I lost, the better I felt and eventually it dawned on me how much I had been kidding myself at my highest weight.
I had been kidding myself for a long time. I’ve been at least 20+ pounds overweight for the past 8 years. That was even after getting medical problems that improved with weight loss. During that time, though, I didn’t hate the way I looked. As long as I was under 200 pounds I was able to dress in non-Plus-sized clothes simply due to the way I carried my weight. It’s really only now that I’ve lost most of the weight that I can look back and see that my appearance allowed me to ignore the underlying medical issues.
The funny part too is that I never saw myself as my actual size even in pictures. Awhile back I posted a picture of me at about 210 pounds.
I vividly remember seeing that picture of myself at the time and I never thought I looked “that big” in the picture. Looking at it now and comparing it to the image I see looking back in the mirror, I see the difference much more.