positive body image

Too Fat for Photos

Recently I posted a link to an article on my Facebook pageSO YOU’RE FEELING TOO FAT TO BE PHOTOGRAPHED . . . I wanted to share it here for you guys to read, too. I really loved this article and could relate to so much! I’m sure many of you can, too.

“In our warped minds pictures become frozen mirrors that we can stare at as we pick apart our features over and over again. I know girl. I know.”

This was me for a really long time. Probably most of my life. I ducked for cover whenever someone brought out a camera at a party or event. If I was forced into participating in the picture I was the one that hid in the very back behind the group of people so that I could hide my body. I was just a floating head in the background.

oldme

My other move was to not have body shots taken. A lot of pictures were from the chest up. Not that that really hid the fact that I was fat, but somehow it was better for me.

sab

Another trick: wear baggy clothes or big jackets/sweaters and to hold purses and bags and stuff in front of my body. Not foolin’ anyone!

chicago3

As I was losing 100 pounds I started to get better about allowing photos to be taken of me. It was slow. It’s not like I lost 20, 30 or 40 pounds and immediately was like “yeah! I’m ok with pictures now!” I was still reluctant. But I’m glad I did get some photos because I get to look back now and see the transformation I made. I didn’t notice the weight loss as I was smack-dab in the middle of it. I couldn’t tell I was losing weight (other than having to buy new clothes in smaller sizes) until it was a drastic change. Looking at yourself in the mirror every day, you don’t see the changes.

bridesmaid

The above photo was taken the day I weighed in at 50 pounds lighter–the day of my brother’s wedding. I was SO glad I reached that first goal before his wedding and that I was able to enjoy the day and not feel self-conscious about my body and not enjoy being in the photographs. It wasn’t about me and how I felt about my fat. It was a day for my brother and his wife to celebrate and I’m glad I’m in those photos. No matter what size I am.

“…always waiting for this elusive moment where I would be thin enough (pretty enough) to have such a permanent record of me. Because, you know, HEAVEN FORBID there be any proof that I look the way I actually look.”

That above quote from the article was TOTALLY me. Not only was I waiting to be thin enough for photos to be ok, I was waiting to be thin enough TO BE HAPPY. “I’ll be happy when I lose 50 pounds.” Why can’t I be happy now??

LisaEireneBeforeAndAfter

I’m also happy I have some photos of my heavy days (even if it’s not many) because sometimes I forget that was ever me. I see old pictures and I don’t recognize that person, I can’t relate and it doesn’t feel like I’m looking at myself. But I’m glad I have them because I can look back and think “that was that amazing trip to Chicago I took with my best friend!” I’m not thinking “that was the trip I took when I was 250 pounds.”

I think many of us have been there. But have you ever stopped to think, isn’t this a moment that I would like to remember someday? Even if it’s not my ideal body weight, wouldn’t I rather look back years to come and remember this moment? Christmas with family? Especially if family memories have passed away. Am I going to look at the photo and think “God I look fat in this photo!” or am I going to look at the photo and think “I really miss Grandpa. I’m so glad we got to spend that last Christmas together”??

Your children want pictures with their mom.

Your husband wants pictures with his beautiful wife.

Your mom and dad want pictures of the happy, successful, amazing woman they raised (ok, and more pictures of the grandkids while you’re at it)

So you’re feeling too fat to be photographed? . . . Ok. But you’re the only one who notices. The rest of us are too caught up in loving you.

Now that I’m pregnant and obviously going to be gaining weight, I’m trying not to focus on that. I’m growing a human. It’s not like I’m bingeing on pizza and ice cream like I did when I was 250 pounds. That was a different beast altogether. I’m trying to focus on my body as a healthy vessel for the baby, not criticize the weight gain or pick apart pictures of me that may not be the most flattering. It’s important to me to have PHOTOS of this magical time in my life. I want to look back years from now and think happy thoughts, not negative thoughts about weight gain. I’m trying to change my perspective.

What about you? Are you hiding from the camera or embracing life as it is in the moment?

Importance of Feeling Good

When you’re trying to lose weight it’s easy to get stuck in a rut in a lot of ways. One of those ways is taking care of your appearance. When I was losing 100 pounds I was definitely in a rut because I couldn’t really afford new clothes. I’d buy some new clothes but then I’d lose weight so quickly that often times I didn’t get a chance to wear my new clothes before they were too big. Some outfits even had tags on them still! Check out this old post about the topic: Losing Weight and Shopping.

One of the things I regretted was how much money I spent on new clothes I never got to wear. If I could go back and tell my younger self I would have advised myself to buy clothes at thrift stores to save money. Despite that, there was one thing about that whole experience that I think is important: when you’re losing weight it’s important to dress for your body type.

When you’re losing weight it’s easy to get frumpy. Clothes become ill-fitting and baggy. When I was at my heaviest I already wore clothes that were bigger because I thought it hid my size. In reality it just made me look even bigger. As I lost the pounds the clothes got baggier and looked terrible! I had workout clothes that were literally falling off my body because they were too big. It doesn’t motivate you or maybe you feel good when you feel like you’re walking around in clothes that are falling off.

I think it’s really important to reward your weight loss efforts with non-food rewards. Shopping for new clothes is a good one. You’re not sabotaging your successes by “treating” yourself to a hot fudge sundae. Instead, you’re rewarding your successes by buying a new outfit at your new weight to make yourself FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF.

Buying New Clothes at Your Current Weight

You don’t have to buy a whole new wardrobe at every weight you get down to. That would be expensive and ridiculous. But so many times I bought clothes that were too BIG for me OR too small, hoping that “one day this will fit.” Don’t do that. Just buy a few interchangeable outfits that fit well and look stylish. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy. Sometimes just some fitted black pants and a few colorful shirts is all you need to boost your self-esteem.

Since I put on about 13 pounds in the last year I found that a lot of my clothes weren’t fitting properly anymore. Sure I hadn’t gained a TON of weight but it was enough to make my clothes look odd. Pants were too tight. This caused a muffin top and my legs looked like they were busting out of my jeans. Fun times. Shirts were tighter, a little bit shorter around the waist. It was demoralizing. It made me feel BIGGER than I actually was.

It’s really important to pay attention to your body shape and buy clothes that are flattering for your shape. I found this chart that was really interesting too:

table

When I first got back from Hawaii and realized I’d gained some weight, I went through my closet to get rid of stuff I  knew I’d never ever fit into again. I kept the stuff that I knew I’d be able to wear again and then I bought a few pairs of pants and a few shirts in a larger size. Sure it wasn’t what I wanted–I hated having to buy clothes in one size up, but feeling comfortable in your clothes makes a huge psychological difference.

ladies-dresses

Recently Michael’s mom and stepdad gave me a generous gift card to Kohl’s for my birthday. I went out and bought some new shirts and even some new underwear and a bra. Not that I needed to buy a bigger size, they were all generally the same size I’d been wearing but I felt so much better about myself with some new clothes. They were cute clothes, they fit well, they were flattering for my current body shape and it just MADE ME HAPPIER.

Haircut

This is another thing you can do while losing weight. A new hairstyle! It’s something easy to do and can make a world of difference. A new hairstyle can change the shape of your face, make you look nicer and in turn make you FEEL better about yourself.

Like I said in a previous post, I’d let my hair get really long and hadn’t taken care of it. I felt super frumpy. I hated my hair. My clothes weren’t fitting right. It made me feel bummed out about my weight. I didn’t need to wallow anymore. A few new outfits and new hairstyle made a humongous difference for me!

Getting Your Nails Done

Going to a salon to get a mani/pedi can get expensive but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself at home. I know that when I do my nails in colors I like I feel feminine and pretty. Again, it’s all psychological. Boost your mood in ways that don’t include food and you’ll be successful!

Accessories

I love earrings and necklaces. I have a large collection that I’ve accrued over the years. I have my favorites that I wear all the time and then once in awhile I re-discover something I had that I’d forgotten about and it’s like wearing something new!

Again, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Go to thrift stores, antique stores, consignment shops. You can find some really neat, unique jewelry if you keep an eye out.

Celebrate Progress

I definitely recommend that people trying to lose weight take progress pictures! I wish I had taken more. I was not comfortable being in front of a camera when I was bigger and I regret not taking more photos of myself as I lost the weight. I have pictures of when I was over 250 pounds and then I have some pictures from my brother’s wedding when I weighed 200 pounds. Then there were more taken as I got closer to my goal weight.

LisaEireneBeforeAndAfter

But I think it is a positive, uplifting ritual to take progress pictures. Sometimes when you are looking in the mirror you can’t see the progress you are making. Photos will show you that!

Take Care of Yourself

The point of doing all of this stuff is to make yourself look attractive to yourself. Wear things that you like and think positive thoughts when you look at yourself in the mirror. Try practicing positive self-talk and tell yourself something you like about your appearance. So often we get stuck in a rut where we tell ourselves “I’m so fat” and “I hate my stomach rolls” and “Why can’t I lose this flab in my arms?” and it becomes a broken record in our mind. Before you know it, all you do is talk shit about yourself and that brings down your mood and self-esteem. I know, I’ve been there many times.

I am trying to silence that negative voice in my head that’s always pointing out my flaws instead of celebrating my victories…

Losing weight is hard and it’s a drag sometimes and sometimes it TAKES FOREVER. Anything you can do to boost your mood and take the focus OFF your weight and the number on the scale is a good thing for making progress!

What are some of your favorite things to do to make yourself feel good about your body?