Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Forever Fat. At Least On The Inside

One thing has remained constant throughout this journey. I am still struggling with the Amy on the outside versus the Amy on the inside.

In the name of full disclosure and honesty...which has always been one of my goals with this blog (along with trying to get you to laugh and spit things on your computer screen)...I am going to relay the following stories for you. I am not looking for compliments, or seeking validation. I just know that some of you can relate. And that's what you are here for. So here are a couple of separate events that form into one thought.

The other night we went out to a bar on the beach. I was wearing jeans, a tshirt, and flip flops. We walked in, and within 5 minutes, a lady walked up to me and touched my arm. She said, "I know you don't know me, but I just wanted to tell you that I think you are the most gorgeous woman I have ever met."

I hugged her of course, told her thank you, offered to be her new best friend, and secretly wondered just how drunk was she.

And it made me feel good. But...I just don't see it. Shrinking Mommy is going to yell at me for looking in the mirror, but when I look in the mirror...most of the times I see a girl with a bad complexion, straw hair, leather skin, bat wings, and bad feet. Yes. Sometimes I am cute. I have a big smile and usually look like a pretty happy girl. People like that. And admittedly, sometimes I feel hot and sassy. But...it just depends.

But that isn't the only compliment I have gotten that takes me aback. I have had several people ask me if I am a body builder. A new hire at work the other day was sitting in Orientation and I heard her whispering to another employee..."Wow...she must workout. I am going to ask her what she does".

I don't feel like when you look at me you can tell I work out.

I went into the shop I have my pants tailored at, and this man was standing at the counter and he was talking about how he was getting ready to have the lapband. I said "I've had the lapband"! And the man behind the counter came out, looked at my ass and said "You don't look like you've ever been fat. Even your tookus is nice". hahah...

But I do feel like you can tell that I was once fat. And not that there is anything wrong with that. But I don't feel like I look fit or "normal".

Yesterday as I was leaving work in my car, a large group of our male clients were walking across the road so I had to wait. As they passed my car, many of them stared. You know what my first thought was? That someone had drew a dirty figure in the dust on my hood. Like...a dust penis? And that's what they were staring at. Then I realized...they were looking at me.

And that brings me to the Biggest Loser. I am thinking that maybe I can't watch it anymore. I get so annoyed with it's message and with the false claims and hope that it spews. It makes it seem like all it takes to lose weight is working out and dieting. And that if you WANT it bad enough, and work hard enough...if you are DISCIPLINED enough and have enough WILLPOWER...then you can lose weight. And keep it off. It's that simple.

But it's not that simple. It's the rare person that it works for.

Heather is one of those rare ones. She is not one of those people that can eat whatever and never gain weight. She has worked very hard, for a very long time...to maintain her physique. It's not easy for her...yet she has done it (and might I say very well). So for her, it's hard to understand why people just can't do it too. And it's hard for me to put into words why we can't. I believe it is more than willpower and want. I think for some of us, its chemical, mental, emotional, genetic, environment...so many factors.

And for me I know...without a doubt...I would have never have lost this much weight and for sure...I would not have been able to keep it off...without the band.

Because I will tell you what. There are many times that I want to just go to McDonalds and order whatever I want and eat until I am sick. But I can't. Thanks to the band.

It's funny to me, because even at my biggest, people would say things about fat people while I was in their company...as if I wasn't fat. And to their credit, I think they forgot I was fat. But I can't tell you how many times I heard "I don't know why they just don't push away from the table"...or something along those lines. I wanted to say "YOO HOOOOO! I am here! I am one of those people".

And so last night when Heather said something about discipline, I wanted to say "Hey! I am that fat person. I am the person who "lacked discipline" and had to get weight loss surgery." But she doesn't see me as that unhealthy fat person. She sees me as beautiful and strong. But on the inside I am still the fat girl.

So who am I? Because I still feel weak on the inside. But I am not the same. It's the strangest place to be...in this limbo.

I told her that it's hard to live in a house with 3 other women, all thin. I am heavier than them by 40-60 pounds. I eat less and workout a lot...but I am still fat compared to them. And they didn't need surgery to be thin!

Oh what a dangerous place this land of comparison! I know it's not good.

So I will end on what I do know.

I know that I may not weigh 120 pounds. But I weigh 168.5. And that's a lot less than 19 months ago.

I know that I am happier and healthier than ever before. I workout. I am strong. My body does things for me that I didn't ever believe it could.

I know that I needed help. And it's okay. Because the lapband changed my life...in more ways than I could have ever imagined or hoped for.

I know that I am free. Perhaps not free of all my demons (the chubby ones who like cheetos and chocolate)...but I am free.

I know that I comparing myself with others usually does no good. And that I should focus on comparing myself with....MYSELF.

Amen.

37 comments:

  1. Do you know how comforting it is to hear you are still the same on the inside? I am so worried that I won't be the same person once the weight comes off, and I kind of like me. I don't think it will ever be easy to accept compliments but you should at least get used to them because you look amazing.

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  2. Good for you. And I can soooo relate to the part about people making comments about fat people in front of you. Sometimes I wonder what goes on in their minds because like you said, "hello, I am FAT!" :)

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  3. Awesome post!

    You are right, I think, to say you should not be comparing yourself with others.

    And I agree, it's the rare person that can do it with willpower and discipline alone.

    I have loved watching you and learning from you. Sometimes the best way to realize we have made progress is to realize that help was needed. And more than most, you have thoroughly embraced and loved the help the band has given you. What an inspiration!

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  4. I hate Biggest Loser. I just got done commenting on another blog about how much I hate it. It gives the world the wrong idea about what the real issues are and what it's like to be overweight. And, I think they treat those people like garbage for ratings - which sucks. Anywho, I totally agree that it's not only about willpower, but I think it's got to do with genetics and all that stuff too. Just like some people are prone to depression, some people are prone to imperfections in their brain that lead to overeating. For people who've never experienced it, it would be hard to understand - just like it's hard for me to understand people who want to cut themselves to inflict physical pain to cut out the emotional pain.

    But, for some reason, when it's over-eating it's not a real "disorder" to most...it's viewed as laziness, etc. Not everyone feels like that, but a lot of people do.

    It's hard not to do comparisons...really hard. As a newbie who is just starting out I keep wondering if I'll get to the level of success of people like yourself! I'm ANXIOUS to find out if I do...*le sigh*...

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  5. You ARE the most beautiful woman I've never met. :) You need your own TV show- I mean it!
    Maybe you could take over for Oprah's timeslot?

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  6. This made me cry. I wish you could see what we all see, but I understand all of your feelings they are valid. This is tough shit. It's not easy even with a band. There is a reason we are/were overweight. It's not easy to just lose an 'identity' we have created over the years. It's like having a body transplant - our minds are still fat but our bodies are getting thinner. It's SO STRANGE! You wrote this post very well. I get it.

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  7. I think you are more different on the inside than you're willing to admit right now.

    There really isn't anything stopping you right now from being who you were. You know as well as the next bandster that if you wanted to eat 3000 calories of cheetos and ice cream today, you could - band or not. And then you could do it again tomorrow and really start to put the pounds back on. I think you have more will-power and self-control than you are letting yourself believe because you wouldn't have come this far without it.

    You needed the lapband to figure out how to be this person you've become...but you put in the work. You took off what you put in. And you're keeping it off because you continue to put in the effort...just like Heather puts the effort into her body.

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  8. Great post Amy. I so relate to this. I feel like I want SO hard to not identify as fat anymore... But it's part of who I feel like I am, whether we can see it or not.

    Sometimes I feel SO disconnected to what the rest of the world sees of me. I don't see fat, I just don't see... good. It's hard.

    Thanks for sharing, loves.

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  9. I feel the same way, somedays it is very hard to see how far Ive come and give me that credit, I wish I knew that someday I will be 100% comfortable with me, but I dont think forever thin people even feel that way - sadly. I wish we as people, as women, as a society didnt implant it into our heads that we should always try to be thinner or should want to be hotter, always strive for more, that in so many ways is good, but it also leaves you never feeling good enough and having been overweight your entire life only makes that feeling even worse. I love reading your blog, because it makes me feel normal or at least that someone is in the same boat as me. I cannot wait to meet you in real life in 3 days!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  10. Beautifully put Amy, you have your finger on the pulse of the fat girl inside us all. Keep breaking ground and we'll keep learning from you and following behind. You inspire me.

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  11. Seriously, get out of my head!! I can relate to every.single.word of this post. This weird limbo place is so strange and I'm not even at goal. I can't imagine what it will be like when I am. But I just don't see what other people seem to see, I see the overweight girl. I just keep hoping my head catches up eventually.

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  12. Steph said it best... "word". You are speaking what so many of us are thinking right now... thanks. see you in about 48 hours.

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  13. Well said (especially the dust penis part...LOL)and something that we will all need to address so we don't slip back into old habits

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  14. i'm not going to yell at you... i am going to hug and kiss you. and maybe shove my tongue down your throat. (ooops. that is the red wine talking. ok, i am not even drinking water, much less wine...)

    i don't know if any of us will get past being the fat girl. i wish there was a magic cure for this...

    My therapist talks to me a lot about the comparison thing. it will kill us.

    your post made me sad -- because it is true and as much as i want to trust the process of weight loss...i don't trust my mind...

    have a great weekend.

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  15. I love this post.

    I started out at 327 also. Now I'm 60 pounds lighter at 265. I'm not sure who or what I look like. People at work say I look "better." But I'm not sure what I look like. This is all confusing, isn't it?

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  16. I do relate. I feel like I am not a totally fat person anymore, but I am way fatter than my friends and acquaintances (all of them) and I always will be. Comparison is not good.

    And no one who has not been where we have can really understand why we can't "just eat less and exercise more" If it was that easy there would be no WW, Jenny Craig, etc. I don't have to tell you. You get it, of course!

    Can't wait to see your hot 168.5 self!

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  17. Great post... and, great replies. It's amazing how we all think alike. However, when we were at our heaviest, we thought we were the only ones who felt the way we felt.
    Brooke Shields was on Ellen today. They were talking about beauty. About how pretty Brooke was as a child, and about how pretty her daughters are. She pointed out how she doesn't like the fact that people tell them all the time how pretty they are. She wants them to know that "beauty"/outward appearance isn't the most important thing. Many things (how you act, treat people, matters of the heart, etc) make you beautiful. I think it was a great point b/c our society does place so much value on beauty. And, let's face it, society values skinny people!
    I love this blogging community b/c we value people where they are :)

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  18. Oh, Amy. I think we all feel the same way, at least I do and I'm no where near goal. I still don't see the weight Ive lost and when my husband tells me I look hot, I think he's a liar. We are our own worst critic. I can assure you thought that we are nothing if not honest and if you looked like ass we would tell you!!!

    I think you are beautiful fatty or not, it will take time to get used to the new look. You have worked damn hard for it. Heathers feelings are that of a lot of people in our lives. We can't change what they think but we can make them think about it more. If it truly was that easy, wouldn't everyone do it?

    Can't wait to see you in person!

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  19. Amy, you have done it again... made me think, laugh, cry, and luckily i wasn't drinking anything. I am glad someone said something about the biggest loser... it gives alot of false hopes to alot of desperate people, people like me. And now that I see them hocking their meal plans, there are no redeeming qualities left...If we had all that free time and someone cooking all the right things and portions for us and watching everything we eat... we would all lose weight and keeping it off is the hard part... I couldn't which is why i got the band, now when i screw up and get back on the horse, I am not starting at zero. *Maria*

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  20. Great post. You touched on so many things that I feel.

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  21. amen!! I can so relate..can wait to feel your guns in Chi town :)

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  22. This post is amazing. I cannot wait to give you a squeeze in real life. Love you, girl.

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  23. I have lost 72 lbs and still look at pictures and think is that really me.. Hmmm. I still self defeating thoughts. I still think that that cute outfit will never fit and try it on and it does fit. So yeah.. I know the mental part will take work..

    So you are right on key...

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  24. My husband does the same thing as Heather. He is so supporative of me and the things I do, but in the past, after I gained back the 46 pounds I'd previously lost and was down on myself, he told me that if I wanted it bad enough I'd do it again. I almost filed for divorce (not really). then a couple weeks ago when I asked him what his true feelings are on my impending surgery were he said that "the old fashioned part of me thinks you should watch what you eat and exercise and do it that way, but I see how unhappy you are so I support you". Again, I contacted an attorney (again, just kidding). He is 5'9" and weighs 185 pounds, and constantly brings junk food in the house, when he puts on 100 pounds he can tell me to just really want it and work it off. Anyway, I understand what you are going through. I should also mention that he does love me how I am and compliments me all the time. I always roll my eyes when he does, and make a smartalic remark. My therapist says I should smile and say thanks, even if I don't see it in myself. I am trying this. But you really are gorgeous, so you should know that!

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  25. Thank you so much for this post. It put into words how I feel. You pretty much rock my socks. Just thought you should know! :)

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  26. WOW--I can't believe I didn't read this yesterday. You nailed it! yup I think MANY of us feel similarly.

    I think I have changed subtly on the inside and more dramatically on the outside but most of the time I feel fat still.

    What is funny is now that people are nicer to me, look me in the eye, say hello, hold doors for me etc. It is changing me in little bits because I am starting to believe that there is more kindness in the world. it is too bad that kindness does not get shown to you when you are fat.

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  27. I absolutely love you. It is so nice knowing that there is someone out there who gets it completely and can articulate so compassionately.

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  28. Your post truly hits home. I still have a long way to go, but I struggle with many of the same issues and thoughts.

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  29. What a great post. There's just so much to it and people who have not struggled with it will never be able to truly "get" it. I believe your limbo will continue to evolve and you will see things closer to the way the rest of the world sees them - but maybe never the same and that will be just fine!

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  30. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am getting banded a week from today and I really needed to read this. I have been second-guessing my decision and thinking "oh, maybe I should just try weight watchers again and get some more willpower." But, it's simply not that easy. And I don't want to wait another 5-10 years trying and failing to lose or keep the weight off. I am ready to start my new life.

    You are truly an inspiration.

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  31. Love this post Amy can totally relate. I am slowly begining to not feel morbidly obese in the brain but its a long hard road. I still feel solidarity with my so called "fat friends" even though I'm sure some people think I'm taking the piss and others believe I have no right to comment because I cheated with a band. I still go for size 18 and XL in the shops and cant beleive when they are too big cause I still feel 110kgs. Sometimes I stand on the scales to convince myself that there is no way I am a size 18 or 20 at 78kgs (170pds) what will it take to stop thinking like a fat person?? I dont think anything. Once an alcoholic always an alcoholic and once a fat person always a fat person (even if its just in the brain). I guess we just have to cherish those moments when we feel beautiful, sassy and strong and hope that one day they appear more often than the fat moments. If it means anything to you I only see you as the girl I see in the pics from the last 6 months and I almost cant believe you were ever fat or the girl i see in the before pictures - shes still beautiful you she just doesnt feel as happy and lively as the girl we see now. Anyhow - get used to being awesome Amy!

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  32. Gawd, I just love you! You are so amazing!!!

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  33. You are so great in sharing you thoughts to us! Thanks for sharing!

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