Identity Crisis

Back in July, my friend jibbi posted a thing to her tumblr that struck a chord with me.

toofattorun.co.uk

Even though I’m not a runner (high-impact activities may exacerbate my spinal condition), one of my first thoughts about the the “Too Fat To Run” website/campaign was that I’d look either insulting or ironic in a Too Fat To Run t-shirt, because I’m no longer obese.

Finally, finally, I look at myself and I look at others and I feel normal.

Usually.

I still have my moments (and there are many of them) of being frustrated about that paunchy upper belly, or the lower abdominal fat that seriously does run in my family, or my upper-arm batwings or my thighs or any of a number of body shape indignities. On the other hand, I also have my moments in the Fitness Center when I look at myself in the mirror and see definition in my shoulders and biceps, and I realize that the borderline obese lady on the other side of the classroom is in a completely different world than I am right now. Still, I don’t feel like I’m in the same league as the instructor, or the ultra-skinny-minnies who also frequent the fitness classes.

I’m in-between.

I no longer identify as a “fat person,” as I have my entire life. That’s a sea change right there. That’s a huge win. It’s not the numbers on the scale that made that mental flip happen — although, I can’t lie, it does feel good to be within the “normal” weight range for my height. It’s not the tags on my clothes, either — although, again, it feels good to be in the lowest size I’ve ever comfortably been as an adult. (I think I sausaged myself into some size 12 jeans in high school, but we didn’t have a term for “muffin top” back then.)

So, what was it? When did this mental flip happen?

I can’t put my finger on it, any more than I can identify the exact moment when I deconverted from religion. I just know that, one day, it occurred to me that I was seeing things from the other side.

Granted, I still have bad days — sometimes several in a row. I still have moments of frumpiness. Overall, though, in the grand scheme of things, I no longer look at myself in the mirror in the morning and see a big fat fatty, fatty boombalatty. Instead, I see a middle-aged mom who’s healthier now than she was in her supposed prime.

TIL that one box of angel food cake mix makes a metric ass-ton of cupcakes. Plus a small loaf; not sure how I’ll get the cake out of that.

Whew. An hour later, and that bad boy is assembled and ready for birthday shenanigans. #bigwheel #toddlermom http://t.co/EHyWIcFtfG

BwLEGX_IIAEbomi

Did a yoga workout for 45 mins and felt alright. Man, this lower back. Not pain, just discomfort. bit.ly/1C6Ps5a

Two years ago today, I donated 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love (my 4th donation) and started rocking the bangs. flic.kr/p/dF459x

Not sure if it’s my old pal Spondy or my bulging disc, but something in my lower back is not happy lately. #spondylolisthesis #couldbeworse

August Weigh-In

At today’s Weight Watchers At Work meeting, I experienced a huge Non-Scale Victory (NSV) that gave me warm fuzzies.

During the meeting, we were instructed to write down something positive about someone else in the room — some way that they’d inspired you, or maybe they’d shared a tip that you found helpful, that sort of thing. Without being prompted to share what we’d written, one member pointed me out, along with the woman who sits beside me, as inspirations to others due to our weight-loss success and our constant tracking.

See, my meeting-neighbor and I have frequently shared with the members how we track daily and graph different variables over time, so we can see what works and what doesn’t. I guess I hadn’t realized what an impression we’re making on others in the meeting… but here we are.

It feels good to be someone’s inspiration.

Other August NSVs:

  • Successfully ate less-processed food for two days a week for about two weeks.
  • Went to the 6th floor at work to hit the salad bar, and saw that they also had chicken alfredo in the steamer trays. Passed it up in favor of sticking to my less-processed food plan.
  • Passed on leftover blueberry pie when prompted by my boss. And that was some damn good pie.
  • Tried on my Senior Prom dress from 20 years ago, and discovered that I’m at least one size — if not two sizes — smaller than I was back then.
  • Received another comment from my chiropractor about how much weight I’ve lost.
  • Sheryl commented in passing on how skinny my arms are getting.
  • Got a comment from the director of the fitness center at work that I’m getting smaller and smaller!

At first, I thought I’d call my two focus days Unprocessed Food days, until I realized that eating completely unprocessed food would make those days more of Raw Food days than just not eating pre-packaged food, which was the original intent. So, on my more-aptly-named Less-Processed Food days, I’ve been eating completely unprocessed foods like fruits and vegetables; but also moderately processed foods like pouch tuna, maple syrup, cocoa powder, and coffee; and a few very processed foods like low-calorie bread, instant grits, fat-free salad dressing, PB2, and Splenda. The main rule, though, is no pre-packaged snacks or frozen meals.

Where it really helps me is in keeping me away from convenience foods, especially in the evening. It’s so easy to grab a Fiber One cookie or brownie, and another one, and then maybe a Skinny Cow ice cream candy bar — and before I know it, I’ve eaten another meal’s worth of Points without even thinking. When I have to consciously think about what I’m going to eat — perhaps actually mix up a serving of chocolate syrup to go with my banana — it forces me to slow down and think about what I’m going to eat.

Where it also helps — and what makes it challenging to stick to, for me — is the need for meal planning. The days when I started throwing my hands up and saying sayonara to the Less-Processed Food days were the ones when I would fail to plan what was for dinner that night, or for lunch and snacks at work the next day. It’s the old adage: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

I want to continue at least one Less-Processed Food Day per week. It makes me feel good, physically and mentally. I like knowing that I can stick to something a little more regimented, and I just feel physically better when I eat “clean.”

Baby steps. My next weight mini-goal is barely two pounds away.