Monday, March 22, 2010

3 Things I've Realized (Again) Lately

Some things I've realized, not necessarily for the first time.

1) As I lose weight, I am getting closer and closer to the way I thought I looked all along. So while everyone else is coming up to me and saying I look great, I am looking in the mirror trying to find the difference. I guess I have reverse dysmorphic disorder. When I catch an unmodified glimpse of myself in a mirror or a photograph of me, it has always been difficult for me to accept that ugliness was me - visually, but intellectually it registered and I would know it though I didn't always see it. When I look at myself in my vanity mirror, I always looked better. And I guess that's largely because I do look 500% better from the front than from any other angle. But now I'm seeing photographs of myself and though I still don't look like the way I see myself in my head, I'm getting closer (although I knew I was fat because the scale and everything told me so, in my head I was - well, I'm guessing 180 pounds). Sometimes, then, suddenly something will seem like an entirely different person, and I get weirded out like "Was that what I was supposed to look like all along? Because that's not me." Most specifically, today I pushed up my chin fat and saw almost no jawline. Freaky. Suffice to say I have no idea what I really look like. There's always been this ideal image of myself in my head and I don't know when I formed it - and yet I knew I was obese and there were signs of it all around me. So when I would confess to people that I felt like the celebrities I looked most similar to were Alicia Silverstone when she was younger and had chubbier cheeks, and Kate Winslet in Titanic, they would look at me like I was demented. (Now, no, I don't look like them, but I don't look like ANYONE on television as far as I've ever known, but these were the ones that I'd look like and realize that my sense of what I looked like seemed mirrored back to me from them.)

So yesterday no fewer than 3 people came up to me to directly say that I looked great and relate their own histories with the struggle against weight. I wonder if that will ever stop, because I'm trying to be nice but I'm not really comfortable directly discussing it, even accepting unmasked compliments makes me a little queasy. And then they always ask me about my exercising, and say I must have plenty more energy, to which I can only shake my head and say 'no, it's not so much on the exercising and I never really had an energy problem but I sure don't have much energy now.'

So, continuing this first thing that I've realized is that though my visual comprehension of what I looked like is dysmorphic - my body can feel the difference. My body can feel the slightest change in how much fat is covering my sternum or my deltoids, how much fat is jutting out into my arms from the sides of my torso. I can feel it with my hands and my skin, my sense of touch is "in touch" with my size. It's just that the visual is not very well connected.

But I guess the good news is that I am getting closer to what I always thought I looked like.

2) The other thing is that I'm probably not ever going to be able to just eat however comes naturally to me if I want to maintain my weight. I guess it's good to know about myself as I feel my food desires change and watch myself sometimes succomb as though I were completely helpless to do anything about it. It doesn't take more than a couple of days of being "off" to turn my system completely around again. When I'm in maintenance mode, I probably will do that, and put on a little weight here and there and now and again, and then take it back off again. It's hard to explain - it's not something I FEEL, it's just that I observe my behavior and I realize that I'm more or less likely to care about that voice who says "Well, if they're going to bring a plate of brownies in here you might as well have one, even though you know one will lead to two or three." People who talk about self-control and "just don't eat it" aren't fully aware of this, and I can't explain it to them - it's not about need or desire, it's about the likelihood that you'll do something even though you know you shouldn't. It's not even about WANTING a BROWNIE all the time. It's about the fact that the brownie is there. But yesterday evening there were free catered sandwiches and a bowl full of chocolate candy and some cookies and I walked by all of it. There's something odd - and I don't think I've ever heard it accurately described - when it comes to succombing to temptation.

Which brings me to (3)

3) There really is something to this low-glycemic thing. Since I've been back on it, the naughty thoughts have been so easy to pass on. No cheats, no missing it. I'll go into a convenience store for a soda and hear the devil on my right shoulder whisper into my ear - "A chocolate bar would be good, or two for variety." And I just say No and walk on by. Now I'm not for sure that I wouldn't be just as good on the regular ediets diet instead of the low-glycemic plan, since the transition to low-glycemic was partnered with a renewed determination - but it does seem like I had claimed to be more determined in previous days and then thought "1 Reese's cup won't kill me." But it does seem like it makes a difference... In a way it kind of turns the whole experience of eating into something blander - not that the food is blander at all, sometimes I'm thrilled to be eating it - but there just aren't the ups and downs, you just stay at this steady level. I've never taken antidepressants but I've had it explained that you're made to feel sort of comparably numb - well, here you might be able to apply that idea to the level-ness of living on a glycemically balanced diet.

1 comment:

cmoursler said...

sugar in highly processed foods does a number on your insulin levels, causing them to rise and fall dramatically and once you eat crap, you crave crap...
that take it or leave it attitude..
it's what naturally thin people have ALL THE TIME..
which is why they don't understand the overeating thing...or the inability to say no.
Would you,if you never felt it?
I am glad you are getting closer to the image of you you have in your mind.
Oh, and I have already come to the conclusion that I will always have to watch it.
I have no idea what normal looks like, and I can't pretend I do.