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