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Posted on Aug 10, 2011 in Dear Diary | 29 comments

Reflection

First, and foremost:

Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you. You have no idea how much your kind words of support and encouragement in response to my bare all (literally!) progress pics page mean to me. You guys really are the best, and I am so grateful to have your continued enthusiasm and support as I continue this journey (and hello? So wouldn’t have made it this far without you!)

Secondly, you shall observe:

A little Mulan love, please? I promise that this will be relevant…ish. Yesterday was a big day of self-reflection for me, for obvious reasons. Celebrating my blogiversary was (is?) a really exciting thing, and a milestone I’m thrilled to achieve, but I spent most of the day freaking out about the other page that went up in conjunction and didn’t really get to enjoy it.

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Guess it really is a good thing we had a preemptive family celebration on Sunday, eh?

I mean, it’s understandable, right? I did post pictures of myself at my most vulnerable. I was 246 lbs, forcing myself to take a photo of myself in a bikini for posterity. You probably can’t tell in the picture itself, but I was bawling mere moments before taking it. And probably for several hours after.

Don’t get me wrong! I am glad I took the photos, and have this physical record of the changes that I’ve made over the past year. Even though I know I look different — I see pictures, and I do hear what people say, sometimes it’s still hard to see. Living in my body, seeing myself in the mirror every day, it’s not as easy for me to accept that I don’t look like that anymore. That I’m not really even that person anymore. But I have changed. I am changed.

Chillin
December 2009

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The family with my cousin Christine this past Saturday

Logically, I know this: I see the numbers on the scale and I am cognizant of the fact that they are lower than they used to be. This is a fact.

Mentally, I know this: I feel the fit of my pants. I witness the piles of clothes stacking up outside my bedroom door that are too big to wear. I see the number on the tag and I realize it is lower than it used to be. These are facts.

But emotionally? It’s still hard to really see myself. As I am. All that I am. Here, now. To see my new reflection: as the girl I’ve always been inside, hiding behind the wall and under the fat.

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Oh, Caribbean cruise… so wise. I think I need to go back. Stat.

See? I told you it’d end up being relevant, hehe. You gotta have a little faith in me, folks — I always bring it full circle!

So yes, Mulan is obviously my favorite Disney princess because, uh, duh? She’s A…wesome. C’mon, what did you think I was gonna say? Bahaha.

Okay, seriously. Disney movies will always be loved and adored because they remind us of the things we most want to see in ourselves. The ability to stand up for what’s right. To stand up for ourselves. For good to always, always conquer evil.

So taking a tip from my homegirl from my homeland (well, half of it anyway), I’m going to try harder to really see myself. As vain as that may sound, heh.

Before I let you go, can we please just acknowledge that the best song in that movie is obviously this one:

As you’ve gone along in your weight loss or fitness journey, have you ever found it hard to accept or recognize the progress you’ve made for yourself?

Don’t worry if you have, Mister. I’ll make a man out of you.

29 Comments

  1. You look so awesome, and it’s been such a joy to read about your journeys. Continue to feel and be proud of all your hard work!! 😀

  2. I’ve been struggling with this exact same thing. Sometimes it is so hard for the mind to catch up to the body.

    I was trying to find before/after pictures for my Anytime Fitness intro post and I kept thinking, “These pictures look exactly the same, no one is going to think one is before and one is after.” Logically, I know they must look different. I mean, in one photo I was wearing a size 24 and in the other a 14. But emotionally, I am still a size 24. It’s a hard hurdle to overcome. I still find myself walking into a room and assuming that people are thinking I’m the “fat” girl when in all honesty, I’m the “average-sized” girl now. I hope my mind catches up soon, because it is exhausting.

    • Oh my gosh, thank you! I feel like people say “I feel your pain” or other such similar statements all the time, but this REALLY is an “I feel your pain” moment! Literally yesterday morning I went to the gym (shocking, I know) and I did the super awkward locker room changing balancing act because I was still so ashamed/embarrassed/human about my body. Even though mentally I know that I’m not the same size I used to be, that I’m wearing the same size as probably a lot of other women in the room, it’s still so hard not to try to shy away and not draw attention to myself as “the fat girl.” When you figure out how to mentally catch up to your progress, let me know.

      <3

  3. You have made me want to watch Mulan now! Can we watch it?? 🙂

  4. Not only do I think you are awesome – it totally made my day that you posted about Mulan. Best disney movie ever!

    • Right? For me it goes:

      1. Mulan
      2. The Little Mermaid
      3. Anything Pixar
      4. Everything else.

      I <3 Disneyyyyyy

  5. Hey Gretchen, I love your blog and how honest you are (loved yesterday’s post btw!)!
    I’ve maintained a 40+ lb loss for over a year now, yet I still suffer occasionally from the ‘fat girl’ mentality (and I’m a decade older than you!). I’ve been in therapy for 4 yrs and it’s only in the past yr that things came into focus: I now recognize that if I don’t get my sweat on for 2 days, I get angry at myself and the negative thoughts start to invade. However, once I get my groove on in pilates or step pump or run or put on a yoga dvd, I feel so powerful and proud of myself – I still look the same but my emotions/mental attitude shifts and I can see/appreciate how fit and how much smaller I am :))
    I try to remember daily what my therapist says: if everything you perceive and accept is negative (including self-doubts), then it will crowd out all the positive things in life because we can only hold onto so much at a time.
    Sorry for the long comment – but as you can clearly see, you are not alone! Cheers! 🙂
    P.S. Your haircut is smoking hot and sassy!

    • Hi Jennifer — no, THANK YOU for the long comment! It’s comforting to know that nobody really is immune to this, although obviously I don’t want to feel this way forever! I guess this is just another strong reason why I need to really get my exercise schedule on. I have also heard that people who regularly exercise regularly generally tend to have a more realistic self-image than those who don’t, since they have to be more familiar with their bodies. Guess I can’t escape the logic…!

  6. Oh how I love Disney! and I think this is very normal. You are so used to seeing yourself as one way, and feeling that way, and accepting that you are that way. So when you make a dramtic change, like lose 50+ pounds, it’s hard to accept that you are smaller. I think the hardest part for me was accepting that I deserved it, that I worked hard, that I looked good. I was so used to being bigger and having people treat me like I was, it was really hard to have men compliment me and people tell me how good I looked at an incredible size 4. I never felt that small and it was VERY hard for me to get used to. Now, as I struggle to lose these last 20 pounds, I feel your pain and I completely understand it. I just hope I don’t take for granted how I feel and how I look then liked I used to.

  7. I’m right there with you. No matter what my size, there are lots of days where I feel like the biggest girl in the room…even if I am not. But there are those days where I feel like the most beautiful girl in the room too…and I relish those. I try to do things for myself so I always feel awesome, I think as women though we go through those hormonal phases that sometimes get in the way of our awesomeness and that can make it hard.

    • You’re so right. Sometimes I do feel proud and beautiful and, dare I say it, slim and everything is sunshine and rainbows and kittens (okay, not kittens. Puppies. :)) But then as soon as the next day (even the same day, let’s be honest!) I can be feeling self-conscious and fat and down in the dumps again. Oh, to be a crazy woman… hahaha

      • Better to be a crazy woman… hahaha

  8. I hear you girl. Even when I was at my lowest, having lost 135 pounds, I would still suck it in to weave through crowds, not acknowledging that I didn’t have to do that anymore. I would even look in the mirror and think, this isn’t enough. Meanwhile, I’d drop kick a biatch to be that small now and gladly live there forever!

    It takes time and experience to accept that we are smaller, to see ourselves as everyone else does. Just keep appreciating your hard work and eventually the mental part will catch up!

    xoxo

    • Isn’t that so funny? We really never are enough for ourselves. I remember thinking the exact same thing back when I was totally normal, maybe even on the slimmer side (okay, note that we have to go as far back as high school for this to be true, but I digress), I always was thinking I was so big and so fat and wahhwahhwahhhhh. Of course now I want to kick my teenage self in the head for thinking that way!

  9. I heard a song the other day – ‘Feeding a Hungry Heart’ by K. T. Oslin. Could not find a same on YouTube, but it IS on I-tunes. Speaks powerfully to all of us ‘Big Kids’ and formers. Mind and body do indeed have to eventually reconcile! That is why I am so proud of the way you have undertaken this journey!

  10. If I may…
    There is one internal change that can be seen from you, and that is your smile. Your smile now just exhudes this confidence and happiness that wasn’t as visible before. It’s contagious (in the good way)! It may not be much, but I think maybe your head and your body and closing the gap a little more each day. Your smile says it all!

  11. The mental side of things is definitely the hardest for me, and something that I still struggle with at goal. You’re still the same person on the inside looking out, so its tough to accept that so much has changed and that other people see you as a completely different person.

    • I was hoping you’d chime in, since I know you’ve touched on this before. Hopefully it’s not completely impossible to reconcile your “two halves” so to speak.

  12. Mulan is the best Disney movie! Such a great female role model as well 🙂 Your journey is quite amazing if I say so myself! Keep up the great posts!

  13. Oy … getting the “you” in your head to catch up with your physical self is such a challenge. Interestingly, I’ve been at this for about a year, too, going from 250 to about 211 (my scale and I are having a mutiny at the moment) during that time. The journey is long, and the self-discover amazing and fun … but in my head, I am still the fat girl. Here’s what I tell myself: When I’m ready, replacing “fat” with “fit” is just a one-letter edit. Can-do!

    Well done, Gretchen. I’m glad I’ve been able to follow your progress, because it puts a bit of concreteness (is that a word?) to my own.

    • I like that attitude. And thank you! It is always so much easier to know that there are others starting in pretty much the exact same place as you, isn’t it?

  14. I think there’s something to be said for the fact that people that lose weight always feel a bit like their old selves. And I’m talking from experience here.

    Because even though when I look at older pictures I don’t recognize myself (and don’t want to go back), I don’t always recognize the smaller version of me either.

    But I still think I look good! 😉

  15. Hey Gretchen – while I failed to acknowledge that awesomeness that were your pics.. I’m doing it now! I find it very admirable and inspiring that you so genuinely shared yourself the way you did there… thank you!

  16. Gretchen, I can totally relate. I’ve lost 82 pounds and (although I’d like to lose about 20 more) I’m at a healthy weight and size. Yet, just last night I looked in the mirror and thought, “I still look like a large, overweight person. I don’t even look that different from when I started…do I?”

    Pictures are a great way to remind yourself how far you’ve come, and I know you’ll continue to be thankful for your blog as a real live record of how you’ve grown (er, shrunk) 🙂 Keep at it girl, and know that you.are.awesome…no matter what you may think you see in the mirror on a given day.

    Thanks for sharing so much of yourself here! It’s good to know I’m not alone.

    • I think I need to post like a life-size cut out of one of my heaviest weight bikini pics next to my mirror just to constantly remind me. Except, you know, not. Cause nobody wants to see that. Hahahahaha. 😀

  17. Hi Gretchen! This is my first time commenting, and I just absolutely had to. You are gorgeous! And awesomely Mulan-style brave for posting bikini pictures!!! I was once 252, and posted that on my old Tumblr (colormehappygrrl.tumblr.com if you’re curious) but I was not as brave as you are in a bikini! I’m so inspired and impressed.
    I am down to 171, and while I know I have made progress, I still find myself feeling like the fat girl. I still say little prayers (and I’m not religious) before I get into airplane or rollercoaster seats (please let me fit, please please please).
    Anyway, you are awesome and beautiful.
    Lauren

    • Thank you for taking the time to comment, Lauren! I did just check your Tumblr out and dang! That is amazing, and you look fantastic! I guess that the old saying that old habits are hard to break applies to how we think about ourselves too. When you’ve spent most of your life thinking that you’re fat, worrying you won’t be able to squeeze your butt into a roller coaster seat (umm, yeah. I’ve definitely had to wedge myself in there before) it’s hard to just let it all go. Shedding the mentality seems harder than shedding the pounds sometimes!

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