This past weekend, I took a new photo to mark my weight loss progress. So far, I have lost 161 pounds, and I was wearing a new outfit, so I thought it was a great time for a photo! I’ve put it next to a “before” photo just to show the differences in the two. In the before photo, taken in October 2009, I was wearing an outfit in a size 36. In my newest photo, my dress is a size 18, and my jacket is a 14/16! Ahhhh!!! That means, from my largest, at a size 36, I have now come down 9 dress sizes to an 18. That, my friends, feels pretty amazing!
As I was pulling out my before photo file today, I ended up looking through several albums I have stored online, and came to the realization that I don’t have a whole lot of “before” photos to choose from. For almost every event, be it birthdays, Christmas, vacations, etc., there are only one or two photos of me, which I call the token “yes, mom was there” photos, and in those, I almost always either have my children standing in front of me, or they’re head-and-shoulders-only shots.
I mentioned in a previous post that being extremely overweight causes a lot of emotional baggage, in various ways. I believe this is a great example of that fact. At my highest weight, I did my best to always be the one behind the camera. I have, literally, thousands of photos of my children, but only a handful that include me. And then, I used to go through and delete many of the photos I was actually in (from when someone else would grab my camera) from off the camera before even uploading them to the computer. I didn’t want to leave a photographic trail of myself for anyone to look back on and remember what I looked like.
You see, at my largest size, I struggled in two ways with being unseen. First, I often felt overlooked, with my accomplishments and abilities often being ignored or passed by because of being so overweight. At the same time, however, when you’re really big, the last thing you want is for anyone or anything to draw unnecessary attention to you. So, you do your best to stay in the background, even though you’re longing to be part of whatever is going on. So, both literally and figuratively, you’re out of the picture and going through an emotional tug-of-war over it.
As the weight continues to come off, I’m working through these issues. I’m no longer afraid to have my picture taken, and I am learning to not be afraid of stepping out anymore. A few years from now, when I look back through photos, I believe my albums will be filled with pictures that show me having the time of my life!