Self image is a really funny thing. When I at my largest, I would often catch a glimpse of myself in a full-length mirror (usually while walking through a mall or other public venue, I would never have bought a full-length mirror when I weighed over 300 lbs) and be…surprised. I mean, I knew I was big. I knew I was fat. But the thought that always crossed my mind when I saw myself was “do I really look like that?!”.
I did. That’s what I looked like. I didn’t feel that big in my head. I guess that’s one of the ways a person becomes as big as I did – it’s hard to internalize your weight. The only way to really get a grasp on how you actually look and move about is to film yourself. That’s why it was always so horrifying to see video footage of myself. I was recently reminded of this when I saw a home movie my uncle made from a few Christmases ago. I couldn’t believe my hands and wrists had no separation; I noticed this while I was gesturing on camera. I couldn’t believe the way my whole body MOVED when I was that big. But the worst part was my face. I guess I’m so used to seeing how people look on camera who are thin (movie or tv stars) that I figured the faces I make were funny and quirky. Instead, they were distorted by my fat and they just emphasized the number of chins I had and how my cheeks squeezed my eyes into slits.
This is all a round about way of saying that since I’ve lost weight, I have no idea how I’m perceived. When I walk around, I don’t know what people think when they look at me. Do they think I’m fat? Do they think I’m thin? Are they checking out how big my boobs are or are they focusing in on the way my thighs (still) rub together? Do they notice how my stomach sticks out and how my muffin top seems to be the place where shirts go to cling?
I spent so many years unaware of what my body actually looked like, and that hasn’t changed since my weight dropped. If anything, it’s gotten worse. I say this because I ran into a friend today who I think is pretty average sized. I mentioned my recent clothing shopping where I’d bought a skirt in a size 8 and she mentioned that she wears a size 10. This flabbergasted me! I look at her and then I think about how I feel I look and I feel like I look so much bigger than her. (Does that make sense?)
This whole thing is very confusing. I think I almost liked it better when I was unaware of my body. At least when I was dismissing the physical part of me, I wasn’t so distracted by it.