What We Look Like in Our Own Minds

My image of myself in my mind is still of a normal, healthy looking woman, not the overweight woman that is the reality.

The other day I spent some time with a woman I haven't known for very long. She's the friend of a friend and a lovely person. She's also, unlike me, a petite little number, a result of her being on a diet for years - she won't mind me writing this and making an example of her, I'm sure, she knows I admire her steely determination with regards to dieting. We were having a conversation about how our children look like us, and as her lovely boy has her petite features, I mention this to her and she disagrees completely. She couldn't see where her son got these petite features at all, in fact, she thought herself to be rather roundish. We all laughed and told her she was completely wrong, of course, and that was that.

On the way home, it got me thinking, though. Because I do what she does, only backwards. In the past five-six years, my weight has gone in the opposite direction from hers, and I have gained considerable amounts of weight for various reasons. Where she has committed to a long term and healthy diet, I have undergone IVF treatment, been pregnant with twins and then eaten too much and exercised too little. Her image of herself is still what she used to look like (she was never overweight, only perhaps slightly rounder than she is now), so when others see a petite woman, she does not. My image of myself in my mind is still of a normal, healthy looking woman, not the overweight woman that is the reality.

This comparison between the two of us led me to form a sort of theory on why overweight people let themselves get overweight and obese. I think it is simply because we don't REALLY SEE our real size. And taking it even further, I think the same theory could be formed for most of the vices people have - we know that something could be better, but we make excuses and we suppress these thoughts because making changes and doing the right thing all the time is just too damn hard.

On the 1 January this year, I began my New Year's Resolution, which is to lose weight. As I wanted to document my progress (which as I write these words on the 19 January, is 10 kg's - WooHoo), I took my camera and got undressed in front of my full length mirror to take the 'Before'-pictures. I was stunned with what I saw in the mirror! How did I let myself get so overweight? How had I not truly LOOKED at myself until that moment? I had simply avoided full length mirrors, dressed in dark colors, covered myself up and worn clothes made for larger women to disguise their figure. I had lied to myself over and over and over.

It was years since I'd had a compliment that wasn't "You Wear It So Well" or "You Dress Really Well" or (my favorite but, of course, least objective) "Mummy, You're So Beautiful." While I stood in front of that mirror and saw the true and very sorry state of affairs for the first time, I hit rock bottom! I cried... and then I vowed to NEVER look back, to NEVER let myself get that way again and to stick to this diet and lose 40 kg's this year.

So how come this very personal experience is worthy of sharing, you might ask. Well, if my sharing my rock bottom experience can get someone else to start being honest with themselves and also step up in front of that mirror to have a REAL look, then it's definitely worth sharing and being honest.

Whether your problem or vice is weight, smoking, drinking, cheating, fear, gambling, jealousy, overspending, not being the best parent you can be, not living up to your potential or whatever else it might be, take a good, long and hard look and REALLY SEE YOURSELF! You, too, might suddenly have reality hit you and that might be just the push you need to get healthy or better or to change what's wrong in your life.