As I lose weight, there are a lot of great rewards. I have more energy, I feel less afraid of food because I have a solid knowledge base to navigate murky waters, I actually crave being active, and I feel more confident about the way I look. Today marks a huge milestone for me. When I weighed myself this morning, I finally saw that I've surpassed the 90 lbs lost mark.
It feels amazing. I did a celebratory dance and then I looked in the mirror. I was naked so I didn't have any way to hide the scars of this journey and the toll it's taken on my body. I'm sort of like a deflated balloon. There are rivers of stretch marks flowing down around the sides of my breasts, my underarms, and my belly. My breasts have been so heavy for so long that they are now a lot smaller and veritably hanging off of my pectoral muscles in a visible way. There are bumpy and oddly shaped places all over my body where fat has come off in weird ways. My inner thighs are sagging and hanging to create these little "bags" of flesh next to my knees that I can't seem to get rid of. Even my armpits sag when I hold out my arms like an airplane. I'm so damn proud of the work I've put in, but underneath my clothes and the numbers I can pin on the wall with a gold star, a very different story is told- one of years of abuse and physical lethargy.
I constantly struggle with making sense the highs of being elated by my physical progress and all the things I can do in the gym that I couldn't do before and the lows of what I see in the mirror at home. Despite all that hard work, I can still see the old Anne just hanging off of me. It's not like some dream where suddenly you get the body you always wanted. Parts of your past... well, they hang around, so to speak.
I have the best boyfriend in the world and I can tell him anything. This weekend, I sort of broke down in front of him. I might be finding success, but along with it, I'm constantly starring in the face of not "being done yet" and the fear that even once I've lost the weight I need to in order to be healthy, I'll only have this broken, scarred body to show for it is ever present. It keys right into the self image issues I've suffered with all my life which is so heartbreaking because one of the reasons I wanted to embark on this journey was to improve that. It makes me feel really alone because even though people are congratulating me and saying I look great, they don't know what I'm hiding underneath it all. It makes me want to punish myself, as awful as that is, because I did this to myself and I've put myself in this situation. When I punish myself, it usually means that I'll stop eating as much as I should. I revealed to him that for the past few weeks I've been consuming between 750 and 950 calories a day and not the 1200 I'm supposed to. It was really hard to admit, but I needed someone in my life to hold me accountable for doing this the RIGHT way.
That conversation was the first time I've ever let my baggage show so completely to another person and I'm so glad I did it because he talked me through all the things that I could actively do to make myself feel better and get back on track. Obviously it's important to focus on positive actions like continuing to work out and making sure I'm eating all the things I'm supposed to on my program, but we actually made a plan of things I was going to do the next day. The first one was to add at least one of the missing foods from my diet. I was convinced that if I could do that for the next few days, I could start adding back in the others without being so afraid of gaining weight. He also reminded me that my battle scars might not change and if they did, it would be in the long run so I should focus on eliminating anything else that was looming over me and making me feel bad about myself. For me, this meant getting my creative life in order and more specifically, finishing my web series (which has been delayed for reasons out of my control until very recently), finding more auditions to go to, and making sure that I am writing new entries for my blog. All of that at once is really intimidating so I started with a plan to go through all the footage the next morning and email a whole batch of potential editors so we can get the ball rolling. Lastly, my boyfriend found a great article for me to read about Julia Kozerski, a photographer who weighed 338 lbs and then lost half of her body weight in a year and chronicled it with photographs of her confronting her progress in a series called Half. It was a great read and it really made me feel less alone and also like I shouldn't punish myself for having these negative feelings because clearly other people do as well.
When it comes right down to it, I am attempting to lose half of my body weight. There are bound to be wonderful celebrations and disappointing repercussions, but the most important thing of all is my health. I want to know that I won't be physically limited by things I could have controlled and I want to be certain that when I go to the doctor, I won't face increased risks just because I couldn't get my act together. The rest of this will fall into place in time, but I won't stop until I'm healthy both physically and mentally.