Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The harsh harsh truth

I got a new digital camera over the holidays, and last night I was compelled to strip down and take naked pictures of myself... It's not good. Not good at all.

If I didn't have other flatmates I would print them and put them on the fridge, but let's face it I order in more then I cook, so that wouldn't do much good anyways.

They are in fact traumatizing. I don't have a full length mirror so I guess I really wasn't prepared. But, in my opinion, pictures are harsher then a mirror, and the pics I took didn't lie. I look terrible naked.

Rolls and puckered skin and stretch marks and more rolls. My breasts looked pretty awesome though, so I'm thankful they take up so much room.

And I really want think that I am not simply giving into the whole worlds fat can't be beautiful attitude. But the fact is that these pictures were not beautiful to me. They repulsed me. I wouldn't want to bed or date or marry someone in this body. And if I have no esteem or appreciation for my own body, then can I really expect someone else to find beauty in it?

This blog is not about weight loss, and I am not about to say that these pictures inspired me to shut my mouth to fattening food and start walking 3 miles a day because that would probably be a lie, but I couldn't make this post funny for you all because there was nothing funny about the pictures. I am 25 years old and my body shouldn't look like it does. There would be tears running down your computer screen right now if this post could convey the way I feel about my body.

And a surprise from an angle I don't normally see ... it turns out that I may also be in possession of the worlds fattest back. Lucky me.


Anonymous said...

I wouldn't ever tell anyone they should lose weight, and I'm not telling you that. You're an adult and can make your own decisions. But when you sound so terribly unhappy, it's hard to read it and not try to offer advice.

I think you've got two choices:
1. lose weight
2. learn to feel good as you are.

A good case can be made for either option. I seriously think you should talk to a therapist of some type - not necessarily a weight-loss counselor - about your issues with food and with your body. That person could help you evaluate the situation and make a choice about whether to go with #1 or #2. Or maybe even a combination of both, which is not impossible.

One reason I refused to even try to lose weight for most of my life is that if I did, it implied that something was wrong with me and I was required to change it to please other people. I resented that idea so much I'd rather be fat than crumble to "societal pressure." Unfortunately it was cutting off my nose to spite my own face: I wasn't happy being so fat, and being defiantly fat made my whole identity about my body size and being controlled by other people. It was just the mirror image of what I thought I was avoiding.

You don't have to be a skinny anorectic skeleton. But you don't have to overdo it in the other direction, either; that's letting the stupid stereotypes other people have invented control you just as surely. I think you need to be in control of this.

Anonymous said...

I am totally with anonymous. S/he said exactly what I was going to say, but much more articulately.

You're not happy in this body. Deciding to make a change doesn't mean you're 'giving in" to society or some shit. It means you decided to do something to make yourself happier than you are right now.

dani said...

You know what? I wasn't giving into society when I had my DS. I was 29 years old, my body HURT, and it literally is ruined by what I did to it. All the "fat positive" people out there can tout how it is possible to be healthy and fat, and I will call bullshit on them EVERY TIME. I know how it feels to be fat. I know how it feels to carry literally an extra person on your body. It is NOT something that is normal, nor "ok".

I know it is hard to look at yourself and really see what you look like. I was in denial for years. I look at those pictures and think WHY DIDN'T PEOPLE TELL ME. You're 25. You're young enough to make a chance and reclaim your body. The longer you wait, the more damage you do. The amount of plastic surgery I need, just to deal with the rashes I am getting from the extra skin I have, is frightening. I wish I had the courage at 25 to have had my surgery.

kateysmith said...

not many people can say they are happy with their naked body, regardless of how thin they are.

Have you seen that commercial where the girl says, "I will lose weight by eating naked in front of a mirror." That definitly rings true for many.

Ducky said...

I too took naked pictures of myself when I finally got a digital camera. It really shot my confidence out of the water. But, you know, I kinda like the way I look in the mirror...but I hate photos of myself.

Princess said...

Sigh - I have been there with you. I am easily 50 pounds overweight, I have seen naked pics of myself, I have cried over them. I am sorry you are hurting. I also know I continue to be overweight even after I have seen these images. Every morning I wake and say "today I will treat myself right" and then the "right" becomes one treat after another!

I have no answers for you, I think in life we do it till we can't do it anymore.

Try not to be so hard on yourself. I can clearly see how beautiful you are just by reading here every day.


floradoragirl37 said...

I don't know. I may be attacked by some people for saying this, but this web entry sounds almost like a cry for help.
I feel sad that you are going through this. It almost sounds like you want help, but maybe feel overwhelmed by the thought of losing weight.
I am not suggesting that you go on a diet, as that almost certainly can cause the opposite effect, but what about talking to a dietician? I can really feel your words in this post and I wish there was something I could suggest to help.
Sometimes people need to hit rock bottom before they are ready to make a change. I really hope that you do something to help yourself. I only mean this in the kindest way, of course. You deserve to feel good about yourself.
You just don't sound very happy about the state of your body. If being overweight makes you feel that bad, you are the only one who can make that change.
Please take care.

Dolley said...

{{HUGS}} first and foremost, because you need them.

You have a lot of well-meaning people posting here, and I'm one of them, too. But the suggestion I'm going to make is that whatever you decide, you may wish to find a therapist to work with, because:

1. Just because you lose weight (if you should choose to do so, and then manage to do so) is no guarantee you will like what you see when you have lost the weight. At a size 18, I didn't like the way I looked in the mirror. At a size 4, I didn't like the way I looked in the mirror. Somewhere in the middle, I can't look at myself in the mirror. Which brings us to:

2. Learn to love yourself as you are. It's really good advice, and possibly the most difficult goal you could set for yourself. If you find the answer to that one, please post it for the rest of us. None of us should cry when we look in the mirror.

Anonymous said...

well, you have decided that you dont love the way you look (most of us dont) -- so if i were you, i'd use this as a spark to ignite a motivation within yourself to make things better. take baby steps. do one healthy thing a week. walk more. cut back alcohol. it all adds up. i also highly recommend weight watchers because of the group support. being in a room with a bunch of fat people is a real motivator for me, because they KNOW the drill - they KNOW how to lose weight - they KNOW what its like to be fat -- i feel very comforted at these weekly meetings. good luck.

Christi Nielsen said...

I have never liked the way I look in a mirror, even at size 4. Now I look in the mirror and berate myself for ever hating my smaller self.

Anonymous said...

Yeah--these posts pretty much say it all, and I was blown away by many of them, especially Princess' comment that we do it until we can't do it any more. That describes my life in a number of ways, and probably everyone's life.

I too am sorry you're suffering. I'd say I feel your pain, except that that phrase ought to be banned from public discourse, so I'll just repeat that I know the suffering is profound. Yes, health is important, yes, this may be a sign that it's time to fight the good fight with weight (or may not), yes, we kind of do it to ourselves in all kinds of ways...but, too, it really highlights a lot about our culture that we can suffer like this ABOUT something like this. I wish it weren't so. I know it is so. Whatever you do with or about this, you know we wish you well.


PastaQueen said...

I must be a freak because right now I weigh about 250 pounds and I really love the way I look. Ouch! Ow! Stop throwing rocks at me! Of course the only reason I'm so happy at 250 is because I've lost over 100 pounds this year, so I have a different perspective than most people. But honestly, I check myself out in the mirror constantly these days and while there's still stuff I want to change, it's looking good! Ow! Stop smacking me!

I know people keep telling you to learn to love yourself, but I don't think that's something you can just sit around and wish for. I think you have to actually do things that make you proud of yourself, be it losing weight or working on some other goal in your life or career.

Laura Bora from Bufadora said...

I had my best friend take pictures of me in a bikini at Target over the summer.

Of course, I was wondering why the HELL Target had size 22/24 bikinis, but whatever. I got a frontal, two sides, and a back view. I might be a contender for "world's fattest back" award. Do I get a tiara and roses?

Anonymous #1 has nailed one of my major hurdles to weight loss: that FUCK YOU IF YOU DON'T LIKE ME AS I AM thing when I did not like me as I was.

I've crumpled in despair over my size more times than I can count, so I feel where you are coming from. Being fat can really suck.

anji said...

Hey there... I totally know how you feel. I've been there, done that. What i did one day, is I took a naked picture of myself, and painted it. Rolls and all. But, it made me understand my body and I felt a bit better afterwards. It was who I was at that time. I'm probably going to do it again soon (I am heavier now than when I first did that by about 30 pounds...)

But, i know what you mean by back fat! We all think that fat just kinda goes on our legs and stomachs but - it also goes on our back too, and I have the back rolls. Not fun, I tell you. But - it's also the first place I noticed getting thinner.

I hope you read these messages and I hope that you know that there are people out here rooting for you. I am by no means even close to being perfect with my advice but, I hope you know you're in my thoughts and that ALL SMALL CHANGES you make in your life with regards to weight, will make a difference. I've simply stopped eating out since December 4, for the most part (still once or twice but not as often as before) and I lost 20 pounds JUST from that.

I have faith in you :)


Dolley said...

"I think you have to actually do things that make you proud of yourself, be it losing weight or working on some other goal in your life or career."

It's not bad advice, Pastaqueen, in and of itself. What's the next step if you HAVE lost weight and/or worked like a nice little obsessive compulsive on other goals in life or career? The problem for a lot of folks here is not that they haven't lost weight - many of them have - and it's not that they're not successful in other aspects of their lives, because many of them(us) are. The problem arises when it's not enough to undo the damage.

The Fat Girl said...

The second-to-last paragraph is very, very powerful.

I have had a lot of therapy to get me to the place that I am in self-esteem bell curve, and I am counting my blessings right now.

Anonymous said...

Not hating yourself isn't a bad thing. I wouldn't call myself "fat positive" and more than I am for "thin positive" but I am for "fat acceptance". I'm about 100 lbs overweight...pretty darn fat. And there are times I feel like I'm gross, but as someone else said...I think if I were thin I'd feel the same way. Everyone has things they don't like about their body.

I'm sorry Dani was so sad, but not everyone who is fat is so miserable.

It was only when I began to accept being fat as part of who I was I really began to live life. Not beating myself up about my appearence and being paranoid about others perceptions of me. Being brave enough to go to the gym and not care. It was then I finally had friends and a life.

I don't think I'm great the way I look, but I've ended up not really caring much either. Beauty is too important in this society I feel. I say, just do what you love, be active and screw what other people think. This is easier said than done, but if you can do it, it makes life a whole lot sweeter.

I realize that it's an individual choice people have to make for themselves, but for yourself you should do as the first poster said.

Anonymous said...

Well. Diets are one thing, but diets alone are a pain, and don't work, at least not permanently, unless you are prepared to sacrifice your life on their altar every day.

I did, for four years, living a more-or-less eating-disordered lifestyle as a size 2, after a lifetime of 200 pounds, healthy size 16. I couldn't keep it up, you know? I've regained forty pounds, and I'm MUCH healthier, feel better. Look not so hot anymore I suppose, but there it is.

But I exercise now, which is more than I did in my previous 200 pound incarnation, and 150 pounds or not, I can run 10K, and lift big heavy weights, so that's good.

Instead of starting with punishing yourself with the food, personally, I would start with exercising. Join a gym, preferably as a tag team, and go forth boldly with level stares at the gym bunnies the size of your leg. There will be other heavy women there, maybe only a few, trying to hide behind the elliptical -- smile at 'em. And don't just do cardio. Move some weight. Not only does increased muscle mass burn more fat all day long than a session on the treadmill, but it is fun to move heavy things, and to know that it translates into strong bones, and easy carrying of groceries, and being the only woman in your office who can easily heave the water bottle into the cooler.

Don't want to join a gym? Then walk. Ride a bike. Take a belly dancing class. Lift cans and jugs of orange juice in your living room.

You can lose weight, if you want. But in the meantime, you should live in your body -- not just tolerate it, inhabit it. Maybe one day it will be worth it to make the various sacrifices for the reward of losing weight -- and yeah, there are sacrifices, and yeah, in our culture losing weight is a reward, really a pretty big reward. But if you don't -- a lifetime is a long time to spend in a prison of flesh.

Check -- iron -- for workout ideas, including very basic ones, if you like. No, I am not Mistress Krista.


Steph said...

It really is true.. you can self-loathe at 250 lbs and you can self-loathe at 150 lbs. Heck, I've never been there (except when I was 12 years old).. but I bet you can even self-loathe at 100 lbs.

You are so much more then your physical self... so so much more than any crappy digital photo. Your body is simply your vehicle for moving through the world. Want to upgrade from an Audi to a sleeker model? It will take some work, but you could do it within a year if you care to. Regardless, the driver will remain the same.

Your body, rolls and all, can do some pretty amazing shit. Heck, it could make a whole new person if you wanted it to. Please forgive it for not being society's idea of "perfect".

Mindy said...

I am going to agree with pastaqueen. Everyone will tell you to learn to love yourself. But It just may take a little something to be proud of first. I'm nearly 100 lb. overweight, and I can preach the big is beautiful all day if you want, but all of us Big Girls know that when your taking your clothes off in front of your man at 260 lbs. You might not feel all that sexy. I've been married for 2 1/2 years, and I've gained 100 lbs. or so since we've met. I tend to wonder if he wishes I had my old body back, b/c I know that I wish I did.
If your own body repulses you, then don't you think that you owe it to yourself to do something about it?
I should really practice what I preach!!!!!

dani said...

The only reason I was sad when I weighed 310 pounds was that physically, I hurt. It was difficult to breathe, when I was laying down, I felt as if I was being crushed. The human body is *not* meant to be 100+ pounds over weight. You might feel great now, but in a few years, that weight will catch up with you if you aren't regularly active. You can easily be a healthy 200 pounds. But that is the key, healthy. Most people who are overweight aren't remotely healthy!

The Fat Girl said...

But you can self-loathe at any weight.

Granted, my perspective on weighing 260 may be a little different than mindy's because not so very long ago I weighed sixty pounds more. But I also grew up, as I imagine most of us did, with tiny-waisted, beautiful friends who found things to hate about themselves, or, more seriously, became profoundly self-loathing. I was in residential treatment for an eating disorder, and as one of three fat people, I had not a moment of doubt that every one of the women I met there hated her body every bit as much as I hated mine. What I mean is that self-loathing is not attached to one's weight. I feel better about myself than I did when I was sixty pounds heavier, but I think that has more to do with the care I have learned to take of myself than with the rather paltry three sizes I dropped.

The poster above me fails to note that most people aren't remotely healthy. We drive cars (well, those of us who don't live in New York do, I hear) and eat processed food. We drink, we smoke, we sniff, and we're pretty anxious to boot. Nevertheless, we have to learn to live with ourselves, mind and body both. I found Tai Chi helpful for a sense of embodiment before I had to quit for lack of time. I find good sex very helpful. I find dressing myself well helpful, and keeping to-do lists for a sense of mental calm, and, of course, I see a nutritionist and a therapist and a psychopharmacologist as necessary follow-ups to my treatment, and they help me keep on track. But what I mean is that there are things you can do to make yourself happier with yourself and in yourself that aren't weight loss, and regardless of whether or not you intend to try weight loss in conjunction, I recommend them, because weight loss doesn't fix self-esteem, really.

And, after all, my boyfriend doesn't seem to mind how I look naked.

Anonymous said...

I've seen too many friends try to "shock" themselves into starting a weight loss routine by looking at themselves naked . . . it doesn't work. Even at a size 4, I feel repulsed when I see myself without clothing. And when I feel repulsed, I feel depressed and hopeless and that's not the right attitude one should have when trying to start a healthier lifestyle. So do something healthy that makes you feel good, because if you're enjoying yourself instead of making yourself miserable, you'll stick to it.

Anonymous said...

So true. I actually found the only way I could keep myself exercising regularly was buying cute workout clothes. They made me happy, I kept working out, I felt better, and then I really felt better about myself when I both looked much better and could scamper up four flights of stairs without breaking a sweat.

But EVERYONE as moments of self-loathing. I'm a size four now -- after about a year of serious exercise and WW -- and I am still not wild about my back fat. It's a dual-pronged process: getting fit makes you feel better about being in your body, but you also have to forgive yourself for not being perfect, because NO ONE feels perfect, and that will make you feel better about being in your body too.

Jen said...

Hi there, I don't think I can add much more to what's been said (I didn't read quite all the comments) but I just had to add that please, don't put pictures of yourself on the fridge in hopes of eating less when you see a body you don't like. You can't be motivated out of shame or self loathing. You'll hate yourself more and eat more probably. Even if it does motivate you to lose weight it won't help you like yourself any better or promote you to finding a way to love yourself. Losing weight because you want to feel better, because you deserve to be happy with yourself and knowing you are worthy of a healthy happy life are the best motivations. *hugs*

EatingAin'tBad said...

I don't think I can add much more except that I wish I could send you the gift of peace. Your post just makes me so sad b/c I know what it's like to feel that self-hatred. If I could, I would take it away for you. I've been obese and I've been anorexic, and the self hatred doesn't go away. The only thing that changes is that society seems to like you more when you're thin - but not the really important people in your life. When I was anorexic, my real friends knew that I was in just as much pain as when I'd been fat. And after I got better, I ended up obese again.
Please go talk to someone who specializes in weight issues. I think the first poster was correct except that I would add that you need to stop hating yourself in order to be free to CHOOSE to lose weight. It sounds like where you are now, you're not free to make choices about your body b/c of how much pain you're in. If you can get someone to help you through that pain, then maybe you'll be in a better place to recognize you are the magical person you are - at any size. Once you've traded in some of the hate for love, then you can make decisions about your body.
Please be well.

Glib Gurl said...

I feel for you, hon. I agree with much of what has already been said - this is not about you buying into society's definition of how you must look . . . this is about learning to love yourself and, as part of that, taking care of yourself. We are on this journey together . . . every step of the way. (((hugs)))

Anonymous said...

I'm a guy, and I have a wall sized mirror that I look into when I get out of the shower. I've gained quite a bit since I stopped going to the gym but still eating massive quantities. So I look at myself and yeah, I'm fat. So, big freakin' deal. I always act confident, because I feel confident. Yeah, I've been called fat, but I'm ok with it, so they that tease can just go suck. I like to eat a lot, and I enjoy eating, and I'm not going to have someone else ruin my day, someone who obviously has to make themself feel better by calling names.
Anyway, i've been following your blog every now & then, and I've more than sensed your uncomfortableness with yourself and your bod, usually veiled behind jokes. Too bad. Life's too short to feel bad about yourself. Good luck with finding out what you want.

Regina said...

Forget dieting. Been skinny almost my whole life but still hated myself, hated myself, until I'd been through lots of therapy. Find the therapy that works for you. Size does NOT always determine how you feel about yourself. Work on the self-esteem first.

Work on the self-esteem first. Until that's in place, try to keep in mind how many people love you. We all support you.

dieteer said...

You can self-loathe for being overweight at any weight. That said, the more overweight you are, the more rational your self-loathing.

I'd been morbidly obese all my life until I decided to do something about it. Then I did it--or rather I'm doing it. Unfortunately, I didn't discover any kind of weight loss silver bullet which I can offer. Even more unfortunately, I *can* tell you that all those active people who talk up the energy, self-esteem, and lifestyle perks of exercise and appropriate diet are absolutely right. I've simply never felt or looked better. I can do things physically that I couldn't do just a month or two ago.

I've somehow stumbled upon some sort of inner peace or realization of my own mortality that makes it easy for me to remember all the worthwhile things in life that are a chore when one is morbidly obese. That's all it takes for me to turn away from nutritionally-sparse calorie-dense foods despite my lifelong love affair with them.

I hope you get to where you want to go, and I wish you happiness.

Anonymous said...

I am a 19 year old girl living on the beach in California and going to college. I play varsity lacrosse for at least two hours a day seven days a week and can run a mile in under 6 minutes and thirty seconds. I still can't bring myself to even dare to think that my body looks good. I'd rather be voluptuous and curvy like you than see all my ribs and muscles sticking out everywhere. Be thankful for what you have! You have boobs! God how I'd LOVE to drop food on my boobs when i eat. Food actually falls in the gap between my thighs, now that's a pain. Who gets food stains on their ass?? Or how about sitting in one place for too long, my boney butt actually gets bruised sometimes, no joke. I'm not saying that either one of us is in a better or worse situation, all I'm saying is that we both have some work to do in the acceptance department.

Fugly said...

hey liked ur been thru same stuff..worse still coz am like a yoyo out pretty regularly..but i can really binge sumtimes and otherwise i watch wat I eat.And u know wat i realised after all these years...fat is not nice..fat is not beautiful.It's just sumthin fat people tell each other for consolation.I am 19..and very honestly ..I've never been out on a date...the last time sum1 was attracted 2 me was 3 yrs ago...and am not very sure of tht too..the point is..that there's like a fat world and a thin world..ans sadly thin people don't consider us normal.If ur still okay with tht..I admire u..seriously..but if ur not..there's no point wallowing in self pity and blame the world for being so insensitive..coz dude they're not gonna chase for our fat ass!

violet_yoshi said...

I felt the same way, but after a few times of going to Weight Watchers and it making me feel more miserable than I usually am. More so because I was starving myself, vs the weight thing.

I realized I just have to accept that I'll never be thin. That I should think about all the pressure that I don't have to deal with, from not being thin. Like having to stay in fashion, be popular, ect. Oh and makeup too, I'm really not good at makeup. I just wear Lip Smackers, honestly.

If someone cares about you, they'll care about you at any size. If they don't, then they really care more about themselves, than they care about you. You have to also realize they may just not have the capicity to care about anyone without thinking about how it'll affect them, and their social standing, first. Consider how pathetic and pointless that is.