Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Numbers Don't Lie: A Tale of True Perspective

I have always considered myself a confident person.  Even at my heaviest, I never had feelings of self-loathing.  I never hated myself.  I didn't like what I saw in the mirror the past few years, but I also knew that my outsides didn't match my insides.  I loved myself on the inside and when I finally came to terms with what I had allowed to happen to my body, it was like an ah-ha moment.  I knew something had to change before I lost myself completely.  That was the beginning of my Lap-Band journey.

Fast forward to six-months post-op.  Right here, right now.  I've lost 69 lbs, and 28 1/2 inches.  I feel good and people tell me constantly that I look fantastic.  I'm seeing some changes in the mirror, but they've been slow and minor compared to what others are seeing.  I started thinking to myself recently, "Could it be that my self-image is so damaged that I can't see all the progress I've made to the extent that others can see it?  Is it possible that I have such low self-esteem that I can't yet give myself credit for the huge changes in my physical appearance?"  I've always prided myself on being confident.  Could it be that I was kidding myself into thinking that those years of obesity didn't foster a degree of self-loathing?

I have never weighed myself until I got banded, so I have no clue what I've weighed for the past decade or more.  So last week I called my OB/GYN and asked them to mail me a copy of my weight records.  I've been seeing them regularly since I was 18 years old and they have the best records of my weight for the past 11 years.

I received the records in the mail today and I'd be lying if I said my stomach didn't get butterflies as I opened that envelope.  What I saw on those six pages has totally changed everything.  I have had what I would call a defining moment in this journey.  I know I'm long-winded and I guarantee that this post will not be short, but if you'd like, I'd love for you to continue with me as I tell you what I discovered tonight...  (I promise there will be photos)

There are seven recorded weights on the records that the doctor sent me:

Starting first almost 11 years ago in November 1999 when I was 18 years old and in my freshman year of college.  The recorded weight that day was 226 lbs.

The next weight was recorded a little over a year later in February 2001 just two months after my breast reduction and four months before my wedding.  My weight on that day was 236 lbs.  I was 19 years old.

After that, there was a big gap where I got pregnant (on my honeymoon, oops lol) and saw a different doctor through that pregnancy.  If I remember correctly, I gained less than 30 lbs with that pregnancy and lost most of it quickly.  But I don't have any official records of the time.  I'll have to really do some digging to find them as the doctor from that time is no longer practicing.

The next recorded weight was in February 2004.  I was 23 years old and weighed in at 253 lbs.
My weight stayed the same through the end of 2005.

In January 2007, my weighed had jumped to 280 lbs.  One year later, 285.  A year after that, in 2009, 291 lbs.

And lastly, my pre-op weight in June 2010... a whopping 297.7 lbs.  I was 29 years old.

I know none of you give a crap about all those numbers.  But I wanted to put them out there because I discovered something amazing when I read them.  I discovered that I was totally underestimating my progress.  I was totally underestimating all my hard work.  I was TOTALLY underestimating myself.

Today, on December 22nd, 2010 and 6 1/2 months post-op, I have undone ELEVEN YEARS of weight gain.  I am exactly one pound from what I weighed when I was 18 years old.  I weigh almost 10 lbs. LESS than I did when I got married in 2001 at the young age of 20.

Those two facts took my breath away.  I was shaking I was so excited.  My heart was racing, my palms were sweating, and I had to fight back the tears.  If you had asked me, I would have laughed at the idea that I currently weigh less than I did at my wedding.  I would laugh if you had told me that I could fit into my wedding gown today with no trouble.  I would have DIED LAUGHING if you had told me that I weigh right now what I weighed when I was a teenager.

Because when I look in the mirror right now, I do not see this girl...

I don't even see this girl...

I still see this girl most of the time...

And that fact, that I cannot see myself for how I truly appear, breaks my heart.  Sure, my body is different than it was the last time I weighed 227 lbs.  But I've had two c-sections; given birth to two beautiful boys.  I've aged 11 years, going from my teens to almost-30.  My body may be proportionally different than it was when I was 18 years old, but the numbers don't lie.  And hopefully with that realization, I will begin to see myself as I truly am at this point.  I'll hopefully begin to see myself as this girl...

I have a long way to go, but I had absolutely no idea how far I'd come....


  1. Great post!! This is something I struggle with too. I think it's so important to stop and take stock of the progress you've made, congratulations!!!

  2. Great post! I have a hard time recognizing my progress too. I've lost 30 pounds in 6 months. That's pretty good, considering I'd probalby normally gain that in a year. But then I think about how far I have yet to go and get discouraged. Perhaps, like you, I should consider that I've now undone 6 years worth of weight gains since my current weight is where I was in 2004. Congrats on your progress so far, you're doing awesome!

  3. It IS the hardest to see the changes in ourselves. You need to print those two pictures and put them side by side somewhere you can see them frequently. HUGE changes there!

  4. You are beautiful at ANY size! I love this post!