An old friend comes to call

February 10, 2013

Finding my Weigh. A blog by Lexi Alvesteffer.

Feb. 10, 2013

So I’ve mentioned in previous blogs how I feel that I have a healthy amount of self-confidence for someone who started this journey 100 pounds overweight because I’m confident in who I am as a person and because I simply didn’t look in the mirror after getting dressed every day.

Last night was the first time my husband and I went out with friends since my surgery and while getting ready, I got a slap in the face courtesy of my own neuroses. Without much thought, I put on one of the “go-to” outfits I have for a social night out and looked in the mirror. My first thought? “UGH! I do not look like I’ve lost 15 pounds in 2 weeks!”

I stood there scrutinizing myself and up popped this voice, way in the back of my brain. I could hear her murmuring something quietly so I listened more closely and realized, it’s Teenaged Lexi; cowering quietly in the back of the classroom, trying hard not to be noticed so that she won’t hear a “moo” from across the room or catch a whisper of “who let the beached whale into class?” uttered elsewhere.

She’s who I’ll call The Fat Girl (in my head). She’s me at my most miserable- without many friends, zero confidence in her body or otherwise; believing everything the bullies have said to her since the third grade, even though she’s not obese, just curvier than most. The Fat Girl has always been in my head; even through college when I had lots more friends, lots more confidence and lots more fun. She’s great for breaking down my resolve and mentally taking me back to that place when I felt my self-worth depended on what others thought of me, especially my appearance. I haven’t heard her much these last few years because I’ve been so busy being happy with my life and confident in who I am, that her whispers got drown out by the good stuff. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when she resurfaced now that I’m pursuing weight loss again.

As I looked in the mirror at my go-to outfit, The Fat Girl listed about a dozen things that were wrong with it. I tried another top, one that I’ve worn out before too but didn’t feel as confident in because it was a little on the snug side pre-op. This one seemed to diminish some of the flaws The Fat Girl saw with the other shirt so I stayed with it. But as I walked around the house gathering my purse, phone, etc. to get ready to leave, The Fat Girl said “You look huge in this outfit. You look heavier than before surgery!” After registering her statement I thought: What the hell is up with these feelings? Shouldn’t I feel good that I’ve lost 15 pounds and walk proudly out the door and into my new social life? Apparently not.

As I waited for my husband to finish getting ready and for the babysitter to arrive, I got grumpy. “You’re not allowed to feel confident. You look fat and you shouldn’t go anywhere,” the fat girl nagged me. But I ignored her, got my dressy winter coat out of the closet and put it on, only to find that I’m swimming in it. That’s a good sign, I thought, and noticed that this realization quieted The Fat Girl a bit.

In the car, I texted a good friend who had bariatric surgery a few years back and told her what I was feeling. She told me that my brain wasn’t getting the message that I was losing weight yet and that it’d take time to catch up. She also said that even after a few years and over 200 pounds lost, her mind still sometimes tricks her into feeling bad about her body again. Some of my confidence reappeared when we arrived to meet our friends and I could just feel that my clothes were looser. I got another boost when a couple friends mentioned how I looked like I was losing weight already. Not that I’ve ever been one for compliments but The Fat Girl in my head has a hard time arguing with other people. All in all, we had a good time, and I know that this process will get easier as the weight comes off. But I also know that it’s going to take a lot to convince The Fat Girl that she can relax now, I’ve got this and I don’t need her insecurities to dictate how I feel anymore.

And so, I add another battle to the list in this war with myself…


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