If you've been following my weight loss series for Momtastic, you know that I'm about six weeks into a program designed to get me healthy — and ultimately lose about 50 pounds. I've been documenting my progress on Momtastic each week in an effort to stay on track.
When I started this journey, my editor asked me to take a "before" shot for my first post. I set up my tripod, adjusted the timer, and ran to my spot on the wall. I hoped to get a good picture the first time. I knew the “before” pictures of weight loss posts needn’t be perfect. In fact, the worse they are the better to show the transformation.
But when I sat down to look through the dozen photos I’d snapped, something in me snapped.
I didn’t like being a “before”.
While having this photo is a fantastic way to stay motivated, it was so hard to publish it for the world to see. Every other photo I post has been strategically posed, dressed, and positioned to hide my flaws and enhance my positives. They are edited to hide the dark spots around my eyes, to smudge the lumps under my clothes, and to brighten a somewhat tea-stained smile. After all, don’t we always show our best self in public? And what can be more public than a website?
This photo made me look, really look, at the woman in the mirror.
I realized I hadn’t seen myself in a while. I focus on one area, studiously avoiding problem spots. I put my make- up on, avoiding the roundness of my face. I check my outfit in the bathroom mirror, never really seeing myself full length. Some would say this is healthy. Kjersten Gruys avoided mirrors for a year and felt amazing. She wrote of the freedom not seeing her image gave her, but sometimes I think we all need to take a good hard look in the mirror.
After looking at my pictures, I did just that.
I stripped down and took a look at my body, noting the changes my mind had refused to acknowledge. I looked at myself at different angles, seeing the flaws in the glaring light, but also seeing that the situation wasn’t as bad as I’d let myself believe. My legs are still muscled; my skin is still fairly smooth. I wasn’t, as I’d secretly thought, a total loss.
How could I have let myself believe that in the first place? A total loss?
Obviously my views of myself need to change. Thankfully, that’s part of the program.
I also had to confront the fact that even though I tried to “keep it real” on social media, I was as guilty as anyone of papering over the flaws. As if a smooth coat of wallpaper would prevent anyone from seeing the holes and dents in my life.
It was scary, posting a picture for all to see. But, I think, it was the first step in really making changes in my life.