What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
As a result of losing 100 frakkin' pounds, I have today a touch of the ol' body dysmorphia. Just a mild case that doesn't really hurt anybody, where I buy skirts I have to return the next day because I suddenly realize they're 2 sizes too big. I've been this size for like 8 years!
When I first lost weight, I used to have to get up in the middle of class to check myself in the mirror to make sure I hadn't somehow regained it in the hour since I'd last seen myself. I got used to my new body, but like all former fatties (holla if you're out there!), I never really stopped thinking of myself as an obese person.
One day, a few weeks after I started working with Jane, she stopped me in the midst of my daily recounting of my Weight Watchers points and said, "You know, I was thinking...if you never said anything about any of this, I'd just think you were a tall, skinny person." It was like WHOA MIND EXPLOSION.
I had a similar experience about a year ago, when a group of ladies and I with food stuff (not foodstuffs, although those are more delicious) started an online food journal as an extension of our daily gratitude list. It wasn't a place to list each of the three olives we ate each day or anything creepy like that -- more like a general discussion of why we eat in certain ways, how it connects to our feelings and how we affect change (or don't) in our lives. We were all alcoholics, as well as an assorted collection of bingers and restricters and purgers and so on. ("I'm restricting" and "I'm in PAIN" are common responses to "How are you?" in my circle.)
Anyway, we didn't last that long at it, but one day we ended up having a discussion in which we mentioned our weights and it turned out to be really empowering, because if I thought my friend's body was beautiful and she weighed the same (or more) than me, then how was my body disgusting?
See to me, everyone else's body was "normal" and mine was somehow "not normal." But when we broke it down to numbers, I realized that the difference between my body and theirs had been in my mind. WE ALL HAD NORMAL BODIES.
I think that's the aim of this new site I stumbled upon today. The My Body Gallery project is "attempting to build a collection of photos that will help more women see themselves more clearly." You can upload a picture of your body, then search for women with your same height/weight, measurements or clothing sizes, look at her, then think, "By gosh, I'm gorgeous just like she is!"
Of course, there's always the potential for a database like this to turn quickly icky if used obsessively or in the name of body scrutiny and policing. So maybe for now you'd just like to try out my new body acceptance strategy of TELLING EVERYONE HOW MUCH YOU WEIGH ALL THE TIME.
Even if it doesn't make you feel good in comparison, it will probably feel good to just put it out there all like, "WHAT?" At least that's what I'm hoping -- when I stepped on the scale this morning to take the photo and saw that I am currently at the top of my weight range, I seriously considered Photoshopping it. (I am complicated on this issue.)
But I didn't! Because its just a number, gawd. I'm Emily, I'm 5'10, I weigh 166 lbs, and EVERYTHING'S AWESOME. Now you go! (Or don 't, it's just a theory. But do.)