Perspective

Fifteen or so years ago when I weighed what I weigh now, I had a completely different outlook on my health and what I actually looked like.

I had at one point weighed about 245-ish and had lost enough weight to get me down in the 190s range.  I worked with my doctor and a nutritionist.  Shortly after my father passed away in 1996, I stopped going to the nutritionist, gave up on my weight loss progress, stopped exercising, and stopped doing yoga.  Obviously, I became depressed in my mourning and I allowed that to derail my health goals.  I bounced around the 200-220 range for a couple of years and in the early 2000s, my weight jumped up to 300-315 range and never came back down.

I will forever regret allowing my health goals to fall my the wayside, but looking back I can see my weight loss progress at that time was ultimately doomed to failure.  Allow me to explain.

It all boils down to perspective.  During that time period, after I had lost about 50 pounds, you could show me pictures of myself before and after the weight loss and I could see no discernible difference.  In my opinion, I looked the same.  All I saw was a fat girl.  Furthermore, the people I had in my life at the time also only saw a fat girl.  Whether they saw a difference between the 245 Colleen and the 195 Colleen was immaterial, to them, I was still fat.  Furthermore, if they did see a difference in my weight, they never mentioned it to me, or never mentioned it in a way that let me know they were happy with the progress that I had made.

I’m not blaming anyone for my inability to stay on track, mind you.  I merely want to point out that I had a serious mind-body disconnect and seriously unhealthy, unproductive relationships with people in my life.

Maybe I have lived alone too long.  Maybe I have developed a healthy dose of skepticism in other people’s opinions.  Maybe years, time, and experience have changed my outlook on life.  Who knows.  But I do know that I have changed.  While I value other people’s opinions, I find that I have stopped letting how I think they see me dictate how I see myself.  I also try to look at my life and behavior more honestly than I have in the past.  I’m not perfect at this, but I do try.

When I look at myself in before/after pictures now, I really see a difference in my weight loss.  Recently, I found a picture that a friend of mine posted on Facebook from her wedding.  The wedding took place in 2003, I think.  I know that I moved back to DC in 2004, so it definitely took place before then.  I was huge in this picture.  I think I was at my maximum weight, which was 315.  I was a mess.  I compared that picture to a pictures that a friend of mine took this weekend, and wow…the difference is staggering! (I am the one in pink.)

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This is a picture a friend of mine took this weekend.

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What a difference, huh?

Maybe I needed to fall that far to really appreciate where I am now.  Who knows, but I sure am glad that I made the decision to change my life.

Do I still look at photos of myself and see that I am still overweight?  Yes, of course I do.  Sometimes, I look at current pictures of myself and all I see is how much work I have to do.  But unlike before, I also see how far I have come.  I feel better.  I know I look better.  And mostly, I don’t care what other people think or what they think they see when they look at me.  I know what I have accomplished.  I know that I will one day get close enough to my goal to make a real difference.  Most importantly, I know that I will never go back!

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12 responses to “Perspective

  1. What I think doesn’t really matter…but I think you look so happy and confident standing there next to your car! You’re POSING! It’s awesome.

  2. I think it’s the healthiest perspective to have and I’m glad you’re there. Toxic friendships/family relationships can pull us down no matter how much we say, “I don’t care what people think.” It’s not about SAYING you don’t care, but actually not caring. Or more importantly, caring more about yourself than you do about what other people think. Bravo on your 102 pounds and your fresh new attitude!

  3. GURL. You radiate confidence in that recent picture. Look out world! Here comes Colleen!

  4. Marcy Schwartzmiller-Weiblinger

    You go girl! You look fantastic! You are truly an inspiration!

  5. wow. it is so good to see you happy, off meds, and having fun.

  6. Wow! What a difference… I actually met you thinner than that first pic, it took me a hot second to figure out which one was you… wait… that seems to be a pattern with the incredibly shrinking woman and I!

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