I once walked into my hair salon for an appointment, dressed in slim dress slacks and sky-high heels, and my stylist told me I looked like a super model walking in. I once walked across the floor of a casino and a friend told me later that he’d seen me from a distance and thought I was Gwyneth Paltrow. Those were good days – it felt good to hear things like that. Those were the days when I most vehemently believed I would never go back to being overweight.
This morning, I spent a full minute tugging and adjusting the top of my pants and the bottom of my shirt in the bathroom mirror at work, trying desperately to mask or camouflage my ballooning body. I never wanted to be here again. In my arrogance, I never thought it was possible. It’s really convenient to tout the idea of focusing on health and dismissing calorie-counting; it’s really enticing to shirk off the responsibility of making a concentrated effort to lose weight. All that I wrote two months ago wasn’t written from a place of acceptance or celebration or joy. It was written from a place of fatigue, a place of debilitating depression, a place of cowardly surrender.
I never wanted to be here again, but here I am. Most of my clothes are too tight (except for the larger stretch pants I practically live in), I am popping Pepcid like Smarties to combat near-constant acid reflux, I have plantar fasciitis in my left foot and my tailbone throbs from sitting with the extra weight. I never again wanted to be picking out clothes based on what best hides by body – clothes that made me feel dumpy. I never again wanted to wish I could be invisible most of the waking hours of my day. I never again wanted to feel subjugated by food and my addiction to it. I never again wanted to be the big girl with the pretty face. I never again wanted to try to figure out how to take pictures of myself, stretching my neck to hide my chin, adjusting angles and layering on the filters, all to look less like myself. I never again wanted to feel tired and cranky, lazy and uninspired. I never again wanted to be ashamed of myself.
I want to be proud of myself again. I want to pick out clothes that accentuate my body, show off all my hard work – clothes that made me feel confident. I want to be in control of my eating, seeing food as the fuel it is and nothing more. I want that feeling of fighting and sweating and sacrificing all week then getting that compliment – the one that comes without the insulting qualifications (for a fat girl, you’re kind of cute). I want my energy and my drive back, my focus and determination. I want to eat healthy and work out like it’s my damned job. I want to respond to invitations the phrase, “sure… right after I go to the gym.”
I can’t stay here. I can’t go back any further than I already have. Somehow, whatever it takes, I have to fight this woman I fought so hard to escape before. She’s breathing down my neck, she’s picking out my clothes and feeding me ice cream and dragging me to the couch and telling me how disgusting I am every god damned morning in the mirror. I have to find myself again.