Seeing What You Must See: How to Face Reality and Get Started

Mirrors at the Beauty Salon

Does this ever happen to you? You are walking in the mall – either by yourself or with a friend and you catch sight of yourself in a mirror? Are you ever surprised and find yourself wondering,

Who is that and how did I get like this?”

Like many women, I avoided the mirror, especially when I was obese. I could look at myself without really seeing what I looked like. I could put on makeup, do my hair, brush my teeth, and not pay attention to what the mirror was showing me.

That ability is both a blessing and a curse.

During the years I struggled with my weight, I avoided having my picture taken. I tried my best to be the one behind the camera, and I still do! The difference is that now, although I don’t love having my picture taken, I don’t get all weird about it. Back then, John would practically have to beg me, “Let me take a picture of you with the kids.”

Diane with Three Kids

I would reluctantly agree, knowing that I would hate it. And when I picked it up from the photo shop, of course I did hate it, and often times threw the picture away.

I didn’t really want to see how big I had become.

I wasn’t living in fantasy land. I knew that I was wearing the biggest size Lane Bryant sold. I understood that finding undergarments was really difficult. I acknowledged my wedding rings no longer fit.

Intellectually, I knew all of those things, but I tried to avoid thinking seriously about any of it. Because if I ever allowed myself to dwell on how I looked I knew I would get depressed! And if I got depressed I would eat more and more.

There are a few times where I vividly remember having to face the reality of my size while looking in the mirror. One time is when I was getting my hair cut. I sat down in the chair and the hair stylist shook out the cape and put it around me. It floated up like a parachute, and settled over my body. I remember looking in the mirror at the expanse of the black cape and thinking, “How did I become like this? I don’t even recognize myself anymore.”

I didn’t even want to get my hair cut anymore. I wanted to get up and go home. The entire time she was chatting and cutting my hair, all I could think about was how tiny my head looked on top of that cape. When she finally finished and I had paid her, I went to the car and cried. How had I gotten to this point that even getting my hair cut felt embarrassing?

Facing the reality of not only my size, but also my unhealthy lifestyle was hard. My final moment of truth was on the doctor’s scale. Up until that moment all I did was get upset about how I looked and felt.

On that day I finally looked in the mirror and said, “I’m not going to live like this anymore.”

I eventually lost over 150 pounds, regained my positive attitude about myself, and changed my life forever.

Question: Did you find it hard to accept your size and how you felt physically before you started on the path to healthy living? Diane

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