Monday, April 2, 2012

Mental mind f...udge

I could say the real word instead of Ralphie's substitution but I don't want weirdos to be attracted to this site.

The Mr is doing some project for our anniversary involving pictures.  He brought a bunch of them down and I was irritated that he was doing a secret project in front of my face.  It would be like someone saying "I'm going to do this really awesome thing 3 feet from you but you can't see so pfffft!"  When he wasn't in the room, I looked at the photo albums and pics in boxes he'd been going through and scanning.

My heart broke.  I don't connect with those people in the pictures anymore.  It is very hard for me to now see anything other than how fat we were in almost every picture we took.  The joy is gone.  The moment we were trying to capture is now tainted by how out of control we let ourselves get.  The early pics are fine because we were teenagers and we were still somewhat "normal fat" in appearance but the the rest of them?  All I see are fat cheeks, double/triple chins, a scrunched face trying to exist on the beach ball that was my face for so long and every other flaw imaginable.  The ones that hurt the worst?  The wedding pics.  I barely recognize those kids.  I look at those pictures and think "why the hell didn't you lose the weight!?!  You had a 2 year engagement!!!"  There is no bigger regret than being a fat bride.  Pictures I used to look at that made me smile now make me a little sad.  I'm not even THAT much less than I was then, 40 lbs less but my face is so much thinner and I have collarbones.

I know people are going to think I'm crazy or being melodramatic but until you've been as overweight as we were/are, you can't fully grasp the feelings that go with that when you're reminded that you wasted a good part of your youth being morbidly obese.  I hope that these feelings pass but I have a bad feeling they won't.  I will never lose empathy for the "old us" but it won't make me any less full of regret when I see those memories tarnished by our unhealthy way of life.

Has anyone who has lost weight had these same feelings?  How did/do you handle them?

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23 comments:

  1. I do know how you feel. I still notice my size in old pictures. But I also remember how I felt in those photos--what was going on to make me smile *that* big?--and then I'm okay because now i know that my size doesn't define me now and didn't define me then. That big smile is who I am.

    I hope with all my heart it gets easier for you, because you've had a lot of great adventures.

    The Mr. is devilish, working on your surprise right in front of you. I think I like him even more now. :)

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  2. I have to admit that as I was working on my project and going thru all of our pictures it was eye opening to say the least. I have a hard time accepting that some of those old pics where I thought I looked just fine now reveal that I in fact was a lot more fat than I even realized I was.

    Which makes me wonder if the pics I am taking nowadays will be viewed the same way as I continue to drop weight. It's bitter sweet because I still appreciate the adventures we get to take and I want pictures of them but it is sad when you realize you still had your head in the sand a bit at the time.

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  3. I hope you are able to come to terms with your former fat self. I've never managed to keep off the weight I've gained for long but I have experienced that feeling of self-loathing looking at old photos. I sometimes wonder if part of the reason I keep regaining is the little angry voice that can't always stay quiet.

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  4. I still notice my size in all my pictures BUT (and I am 10 years out in my major weight loss adventure) I have learned to remember the good times that go with it. You have to appreciate everything in life (even when you weren't at your peak) because it helped you to get where you are now and where you are going. Try to remember the joy you were feeling at that moment and instead of just the picture, write down 2 to 3 lines of what you remember about the day itself and photoshop it in. I did and it made a world of difference.

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  5. I just did a photo book for my moms birthday of all the trips we've taken together. (I did not do it in front of her :) She cried when she got it, and she cherishes looking at all the memories. But I will admit it was harder for me to look past the fat(ter) me and not focus just on that. In some of them I looked like I had been blown up with a tire pump and there were a few that were so unflattering...even at my size. But, I did try hard to look beyond that as we remembered the places we'd been and the fun we'd had. I don't want to miss the memories because of my fat. I've missed enough already because of it.

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  6. I spent the weekend with one of my best friends from high school and had some similar feelings seeing the pictures she had up in her house from over the years. Ones from her wedding, ones from before my wedding, ones from college. It was sad to see myself like that and I secretly hated them. But I was so excited because she is currently losing weight and doing it by eating better and working out! I'm so proud of her.

    I hear you on the being a fat bride. I used to hide most of my pictures because I hated how fat I looked. Now it doesn't matter but I can empathize.

    You may have wasted a lot of time being morbidly obese and I can only imagine how hard that was but you are doing something about it now. You can regret but at least you know the rest of your life will be different. Be proud that you are different now and have those reminders of the people you never want to be again. That's the way I see it anyways.

    I'm very proud to call you my friend. Keep up the hard work darlin!

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  7. Yes, I look at my size first and wonder how I got there. After that shock is over, I really look at the photo - did I seem happy? I can always tell where I was at mentally when the photo was taken. I love seeing how much I've changed just by checking my happy-meter and trying to recall the circumstances of the photo. I've been many sizes over the years but as those years go on, I see a wisdom and an acceptance of who I am in those photos. I couldn't have gotten here without having been there; the choices I made along the way have added up to who I am now.

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  8. I truly regret my entire adult life, which I wasted being morbidly obese. I did lose weight before getting married, although I didn't start out too big back then since I was only 19. But RIGHT after tying the knot in 1970, the weight started piling on me. I have pictures of me in a dress I wore when we celebrated our ONE-MONTH anniversary, and you can tell I've already put on weight just since the wedding! How sad is that?

    I can't blame pregnancies for my obesity, I never gained much weight during the nine months and actually probably ended up weighing less than I did at the start, after each delivery. I craved fresh fruit and veggies (which is weird) when I was pregnant and had a lot of morning sickness (all day long) at least in the early months. But I put on lots and lots of weight between pregnancies, I was heavier for each of my three pregnancies than I was for the one before. I was BIG during my 20's, but lost a lot of weight (over 100 lbs.) right before I turned 30. I kept that off for about 5 minutes and spent the next 30 years at 300 lbs. plus.

    My big regret is how huge I was for my two oldest sons' weddings in 2005 and 2006. I wore the same huge billowing black dress to both--it was hard to find something "mother of the groom-ish" in my size, and I figured nobody really cared how I looked anyway. But looking back at those pictures is really sickening--BIG regrets! And I also regret not being able to do as much with my boys while they were growing up as I should have been able to do--I was fairly active until the third son came along, and by the time he started kindergarten, I was 40, and my joints were really feeling the pain of those excess pounds so I hated having to be mobile and spent as much time as possible at home, in my reciner, watching TV. WASTE WASTE WASTE! Those are things I can never get back.

    I really am enjoying time I spend with my grandkids now and take every opportunity to be active with them. I guess it's better late than never. We can't get back those FAT years, so all we can do is look forward to a brighter future. At least you figured it out long before I did--be thankful for that!

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  9. Yes, I have many of those same thoughts and feelings when I look at photos of me at my highest weight, particularly. I did not realize how big I was then, even when I saw the pictures originally. I try to look past the weight and remember the good things that went on without getting stuck in regret about the wasted years.

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  10. Maybe you need to quit looking at how out of control you "were" and see how far you've come. Use them as motivation to continue to move forward. And the best gift of all is that apparently you've both seen the worst of the other and loved each other through it all. What better gift than to realize "OMG you loved me even then?" "Yes, I did and always will". That's the kind of love most people can only dream about. Be blessed.

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  11. Thank you so much for the support and related stories. Sometimes you can feel like the only people going through those emotions as you're working your way toward your ultimate goal. It's nice to know that others understand and that perhaps with time it will all get better!

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  12. I think we can all relate to those feelings when you're on a weight loss journey. I know I see pics of me when I was heavier and hate them. But like so many people have said, when I remember the circumstance behind the pic, it brings back happy memories.

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  13. I have a similar problem different reason... I look at old pictures (even ones where I'm skinny... and there are a lot), and I feel upset because all I can see is how disingenuous I am... smiling into the camera when I was dying inside. Nothing about my life was authentic, or honest. Is it possible that this perhaps a bigger part of why the older pictures of yourself bother you? Because I look at my wedding pictures (tipping toward heavier than I want ot be with really fat arms in my sleeveless dress) and every picture since, and I really enjoy them, depite having to acknowledge that I wish I had weighed less (with the exception of the pictures from last summer where all I could see was illness, unhappiness and a return to disingenuous).

    Once again, dear Mrs. you've touched me deeply and given me some things to think about.

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  14. I understand how you feel. Being a fat bride was the worst for me too. In some ways I would love to get re-married once I am at my goal weight just so I have some pictures that are pretty and skinny not fat. Don't regret the memories they are still memories, but look forward to a lighter future.

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  15. I appreciate the other commenters offering some perspective on this issue. I have so many pictures of happy times but it's hard to see anything in them other than the fat girl. I have a feeling that connecting myself to that person is an important part of this journey, but it's not easy to do. I did have a good life when I was fat, I just didn't think about myself as fat until I was forced to see it in pictures. And then I forced the thought right back out again. Usually by eating something.

    I hope you can find a way to come to terms with your wedding photos. I know it can't be easy. I wasn't at my heaviest when we got married (I was about 30 pounds heavier than I am now), so my pictures aren't as bad as they could be. But I did gain 100 pounds in those first few years of marriage, and those pictures (the few that exist) bring me so much sadness. Let me know if you come up with any ideas on how to reconcile the people in those old photos with the people you've become!

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  16. I'm actually grateful for my 'fat' pictures. It took one of them to wake me up, because I couldn't really see what was in the mirror. Unlike many who are on this journey, I was a skinny kid and only gained what I did over many decades of indolence and inattention. My main regret is that I cheated my children of the fun we could have had in outdoor activities and the opportunity to have had a better example growing up. I see my daughters following in my footsteps and it breaks my heart, but I don't know how to help without making them feel the way I felt when my mother criticized my weight.

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  17. Boy, can I relate to this, especially the wedding pictures. We never actually got a wedding album done and only have the proofs because they were so bad. I'm mortified every time I look at them and it makes me so sad. I couldn't even wear a "normal" dress and had one made and just looked atrocious. There are so few photos of me because of how awful I'd look in them, so it was always me behind the camera. One of my biggest regrets is that there aren't that many pictures of me and Shamrock. But sadly, now that we have Finnegan, I'm STILL not in many photos because I haven't changed that much physically. I have A LOT of regret for how many years I've wasted and the things I continue to miss out on, more out of fear and low self-esteem than anything else.

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  18. I want you to know that although I dont usually feel that way, I support you and the Mr. And the journey you guys are undertaking. Better pictures and wonderful memories ahead. What's important is you are doing it now, together. That is everything.

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  19. Know that feeling well. I'm hoping one day it goes from being sad about what I was to being happy for how far I've come and allowing myself to forgive myself and enjoy the memories captured with those pictures once again. "When we know better...we do better." Sometimes we know, but we don't know that we REALLY know and that it CAN be done. We finally know better and we're doing better. Let's hope those sad thoughts start to fade...

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  20. I completely understand how you feel. There have been times I see old pictures and I just want to cry..and I have. We were at my SIL's house a couple weeks ago and she has a framed photo of me, my husband and the kids, and I just could not believe that was me. I didn't even want to look at it. My husband didn't understand. He said, "But, look how far you've come. You should be proud." I am, but it's hard to know what I did to myself. It's sad that I let so many years go by and did nothing to change, and missed out on things. I want to cry now typing this, because I wonder if I'll feel this way the rest of my life. There are so many emotions that come with weight loss.

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  21. I can totally relate. I cringe when people ask to see my wedding pictures. I even hate showing them to my own children. I feel so sorry for the girl in the wedding gown. :(

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  22. Just had a weekend like that. I know I have gained back weight but I am still 70 pounds less than my highest. You dress nice, you look a certain way in the mirror and you don't think it is so bad. Then you see candid photos...and you just want to die. I am torn between 'damn it I am going to lose this weight' and 'you've never done it before, why bother?'.

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  23. I cry over my wedding pictures. I hate the way I looked and the way I felt. It kills me.

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