Let's talk body image. I hear a lot of people say that they don't recognize themselves anymore. They don't know who the person in the mirror is. There is a point where this happens for a large percentage of the population, especially since we lose weight so quickly.
Yes, while there are bouts of body image and body dysmorphia occurring, I've found that for most people struggling with this, it will go away because it is your body adjusting to drastic weight loss. In other words, you need to adjust to seeing yourself smaller. Give it time. Others will still struggle and may have a legitimate anxiety condition.
However, I think it's important to start seeing yourself with new eyes. Have you looked at your before and after picture together? Have you recognized how far you have come? Are you beginning to love the new you? Or are you still hating on yourself and your body? Can you show love to the person who has done all of this work (you!)?
Still, no matter how far out you are, you'll have good days and bad days. you'll have days where you feel you look fat, and days where you are pleased at your appearance.
At 5 years out, I still have good days and bad days.. And then I realized after using affirmations, and working through a protocol toward self-love, I noticed some changes and they were automatic.
I started to compliment the person in the mirror and beyond seeing her, I was really loving her.
Here's a poem that I've written upon waking up one morning and recognizing the changes that I saw in the mirror. This is what this work is all about.
I hope you enjoy it.. <3
Today I woke up walked past the mirror as I usually do. I looked at the girl in the mirror and I stared at all I could see. Her legs all jiggly and filled with cellulite and the indentations that didn’t look like what I expected her to be. Yet, something about her made me smile. "She’s beautiful", I thought to myself.
Despite the jiggle and the wiggle and the extra skin, I noticed the gap she has in her thighs. I noticed how much smaller her legs are. I noticed how much thinner her waist is, and I noticed, how perfectly imperfect her waist has become compared to where she was before and the proportion to her hips was so blissfully feminine.
"How far we’ve come," I thought to myself.
While the typical reaction might be to hate her or disparage her for all the bumps and the indentations in her skin, but today I loved her for what I saw..
Today I saw the thigh gap. I saw the hard work that she put in to lose the fat, and the skin is a result of that. So instead of hating the skin, I thanked it for showing me the evidence of my work.
Today I saw the ease of the movement where one day long ago it was hard. Today I thanked this body for how easy it moves.
Today I thanked this waist and thighs for carrying me where I need to go.
Today I saw her belly button that represented life and her hips that carried her child many years ago..
Today I blessed the saggy arms that swing with skin, because that means there is less of me today than ever before.
Today I thanked my body for all that it does to get me through each and every day despite what I had put it through for many many years.
I cried today when I looked at her because I saw beauty that I hadn’t before.
See, the focus has changed from shaming and blaming to looking for reasons to doubt..
I see the pain it took for me to get this far.
I see the girl who just wanted to be loved and used food to cope…
I see the girl who has grown and turned from food to allowing herself to love herself.
I see the girl whose beauty has been there all along but failed to notice because we were so focused on hating and shaming to see anything else…
I see the girl whose love for others has grown into a love for self…
I see the girl with the hanging skin who got there from looking within…
See while the surgery changes your stomach, the mirror doesn’t lie, or hide the external wounds and we still can cry.
The mirror however, shows us what we want to see, and we can hate the girl who has tried so hard, or we can love her for all she’s been through and her continued efforts to soldier on this post-op path.
I see how small she has become and despite the skin, those are just battle scars of the war within. So, while she’s not perfect, I love her so much for carrying on despite the difficult days that we know we all have. I love her for all she is, shar-pei legs and all.
She keeps going and I’m so grateful for that skin and all the imperfections the mirror reveals, because without her determination, she wouldn’t have gotten to where she is now.
I never saw her before as I saw her today. Something new was revealed to me as I stared at her in the mirror. I saw her soul. I saw her efforts. I saw her love for me. So I will love her too.
I love her because she keeps trying, no matter what.
I love her because she’s come so far.
I love her because she’s beautiful just as she is.
I love her because she’s never given up on me.
I love her because she is me.
Love yourself... as you are.
Perfectly imperfect. Just as I am.