Sometimes it’s hard to really see the progress within yourself in a weight loss journey. You notice small changes, but you don’t always recognize how you’re changing in the grand scheme of things.
When you look at this side-by-side comparison picture of me, it’s obvious I’ve lost a significant amount of weight (119 pounds as of today). But this picture does not reflect the other ways I’m changing and evolving as a human soul.
As I’ve discussed in multiple posts on my blog, the most difficult part of the weight loss surgery journey for me has been my emotional evolution. Sorting out my self-image and the relationship between my long-held beliefs about body can be very confusing. I don’t always know if I’ll recognize the person looking back at me in the mirror. Sometimes I’m larger than I’m expecting, other times I just don’t look like me. I hadn’t been morbidly obese my whole life, and on my “skinny days” I see a very young Nicole staring back at me.
Not that youth is a bad thing! It’s fun to ask people how old they think I am. Lately, it’s usually 25-27 years old. Most people are surprised when I tell them I’m 32 and I have a 12 year old daughter.
I feel like I can look more youthful with my “new body.” I’m dressing in more age-appropriate clothing (since I’m not limited by juvenile “youth plus” or the mature fashions in the women’s department (that I shouldn’t have to wear for a few decades). Before surgery, I was wearing 28/30 size jeans. Now I’m in size 18 jeans, and even smaller in stretchy activewear. In the picture I’m wearing here, I’m in a 14/16 yoga pant and a men’s large jacket. I’m starting to pick around and try on fashions in XXL and XL sizes in the “regular” women’s department, instead of being limited to the plus size racks.
As I’ve dropped weight and I’m dressing more my style, I am getting a lot of attention on my appearance. After years of feeling like I was either ignored or shunned for being morbidly obese, it’s fun to be closer to average-size. I’ve been blessed with great features (especially my hair and eyes), so even at my highest weight I got compliments. But now I get them every day, and from people who probably would never have talked to me before. I’ve noticed men being more gentlemanly, flirtatious and chivalrous, and women warm up to me in conversation more quickly. I’m enjoying the barriers that are diminishing in my social life.
As much as I’m lapping up the attention, I’m also conflicted at times by it. The compliments I’m getting about my body are exciting, but I’m noticing people are more complimentary in general. I get kind comments on my professional talents and more praise on the projects I accomplish. I feel like I’m working as hard as I ever was, but I get more attention for it. The horrible assumption that “fat = lazy” has become more prevalent as I drop pounds and I’m suddenly not considered lazy anymore. Surgery didn’t magically make me a go-getter…I’ve always been one.
I’ve had some fun non-scale victories lately, and one of them is having the confidence to be fun and playful on camera. I went to an event this week hosted by KSL 5 Television, and was able to tour and goof off in the studio. I took a lot of pictures with my friends, and I wasn’t always concerned about the angle I was standing at, or if the way my head was tilted gave me a double chin.
I was given the opportunity to be interviewed on a segment about children and online safety on KSL yesterday. Had I not lost the weight, I would have let the opportunity pass by. But with my increased confidence with my weight loss, I accepted in a heartbeat. I was excited to be on camera, and my worries about the segment were limited to what I’d look best in on camera. If you’d like to watch the segment, here it is:
Last week, my family returned from a 8 days in England and Ireland. I was able to fully enjoy the trip, including the days where we walked around the city for 10 hours. I’ll be writing a post about my experiences in London this weekend.