I’m coming to the conclusion that I just will never love my body. No matter how far I have come or how far I will go, the fact is, my body image is ingrained in my brain as much as I know 2 plus 2 equals 4. Sadly, it’s not a good body image, and it seems in some ways it’s gotten worse since I’ve lost weight. I managed to get away with being heavy for many years. Either I was in denial, or I was just living my life and feeling happy with the way I was living it—my career, my friends, my marriage, and yes, even my sex life. I was confident, had lots of good social skills and friends, and my career was pretty good; I was complimented often on my work, promoted regularly, and given more responsibility as the years went on. I knew my husband wasn’t happy with my weight, but as I have mentioned many times, we just didn’t talk about it and I never doubted his love for me.
As the years went on, so did more weight. As my weight ballooned, I couldn’t deny any more that it was affecting my life, but I still managed to be happy even though I tried every possible diet out there—never with any success.
Interesting to note, though, that during the last 10 years of my obese days, I did not own a full-length mirror. I just realized this the other day. I guess I never wanted to see just how bad my weight really was, probably because I felt it was a hopeless cause.
Now I do own several full-length mirrors, and for the most part it’s been fine and even fun. I mean, I’ve lost 85 lbs, I’m not officially overweight, I can wear normal clothes, and I should be so proud and happy, right?
Well at the moment I’m not that happy. I was for the first couple of years. But right now, I not only don’t feel thin, I feel really fat, old, wrinkly, unattractive, and I don’t feel very good about myself in general. It’s been coming on for a few months now. For the first two years after I lost all the weight, I felt like a small person and I even felt a little bit pretty at times. I felt petite, I felt feminine and desirable. Now I just feel like crap, and the insecurities that come along with that can really mess with my mind.
My husband and I took a very fun dance course (Lindy Hop!) last weekend. There were probably about 20 people there. It was held in a rec center that is used for dance classes and there were floor-to-ceiling mirrors all along one wall so you could see how you were doing. I actually wasn’t so bad at learning the steps, but when I looked in the mirror and compared myself with all the other women in the class, all I could see was an old, flabby woman. Not someone who has worked so hard to finally be normal weight or someone who should be proud of being able to learn a new dance at 61 years of age. Even though I did love taking the lessons, looking at myself in that mirror for three hours next to all the young thin women was very humbling and a bit depressing.
I realize this is a very different post from me—if I look back on the 60 or 70 posts I have written, they have all been positive, inspirational, exciting, and sometimes sexy! All of that has been genuine and sincere, and I feel guilty complaining even now because I have a dream life. But just for tonight I am having a little pity party for myself. I go to the gym 3–5 times a week. I eat 1200 calories a day and fewer than that twice a week. I ride my bike to get around (I don’t own a car). I walk 50,000+ steps each week. I eat one-third of what anyone else eats when we have company or go out to dinner. And I can’t seem to lose one fucking pound!!
My husband is my best friend and the love of my life, but he often says the wrong things when I talk about how hard I try when it comes to my weight. When I was really heavy he never said anything, even when I managed on the rare occasion to lose 5–10 lbs and was so proud of myself and was looking for encouragement to continue. The other day I told him that I was at the gym on the rowing machine and had been rowing for about 10 minutes when a young person got on the machine next to me. We both fell into a rhythm of rowing together (same settings). After only six minutes the other person stopped and was soaking with sweat. Me? No sweat, nothing, not even a drip, and I had been rowing longer. In fact, I rarely if ever sweat. I found this fascinating, came home, and Googled “why don’t I sweat?” I learned that people who are unable to sweat have glands that don’t function properly so they don’t burn calories efficiently. Wow. That was validation that indeed, I do work at it, but my body doesn’t have functioning sweat glands. I wasn’t happy about it, but at least it made me feel like less of a failure. My husband’s comment? “The other person must have had the machine on a harder setting.” I know he didn’t say that to make me feel bad, he’d never want to hurt my feelings intentionally. But he has often made me feel like I must not be doing something right, when all I really want is some empathy that, “Yeah, you got dealt a crappy hand of cards. I know how hard you try, and I’m so proud of you for what you are doing.”
Am I perfect? Not at all. But sometimes I’m sick and tired of it all. After all I have been through, I just want to have a nice body and feel desirable, but at age 61 it’s finally hit me, it’s not going to happen. No matter how much I lose, no matter how much plastic surgery I have, I need to buck up and face the fact that a nice firm body is not in the cards for me. That ship sailed a long, long time ago. Come to think of it, that ship never came into my harbor, not ever, not even for a one tiny moment in my life.
I know, I should be so happy that I am healthy, I am at a normal weight, and I have a great life. And you know what? Since I reached my goal weight in September 2012, I have been happy and grateful 364 days a year. I am healthier and stronger now than I have been since I was in my 30s. I am more flexible; I can now sit Indian-style and I can sit on my heels with my knees bent. I can row for 30 minutes and then get on the treadmill for another 30 minutes (and not break a sweat… HAH!). I can do weights and I can ride my bike for 40–50 miles in a day. I can have a lot more fun having sex than I used to.
But at the end of the day, I take off my clothes and I still see a big stomach and flabby, wrinkly skin, and when I get some of that removed in April I will get to look at a big ugly scar for a year or two or more. And I didn’t do this to myself! If I smoked for 40 years and got lung cancer I would have a hard time denying my own responsibility. But I wasn’t a binge eater, I didn’t have an eating disorder, I didn’t sit in front of the TV every night and snack (in fact, I’ve never been a night eater!), or go to fast food places, or eat gallons of ice cream or even potato chips! I wasn’t perfect, but I wasn’t horrible. And sometimes I get pissed at all the tall beautiful slender women who are eating so much more than I ever did, even when I was fat.
Sorry, but it just pisses me off and makes me sad.
Just for tonight.
I’ll be better in the morning.
Writing this helps… I know many of you can completely relate to how I feel. Thank you for listening.
Queen of Crop
BrendaFebruary 12, 2015
Your right your pass comments have always been positive which sometimes has made me feel like “what is wrong with me” I wrote to you two years ago when I was thinking of surgery. I live in Cincinnati Ohio. I had the surgery and this month am two years post op. Unlike you sex is good for me but honestly it is not on my top 3 list. My husband is much more sensual and into sex than me. I always told myself if I lost weight I would feel better about sex. NO DID NOT HAPPEN. I still see that person who is older and has a body not firm. I feel good about about my weight loss but I guess something a friend said to me one time sums it up. She said I bet you feel like your hot stuff now that you have lost weight and I said “I have lost weight I haven’t gotten any younger” I think for me that sums it up I do feel better that I can do more than ever and that I have loads of energy but lets face it my body is never going to look like a young persons body and I have to face that. I also have the same problem as you I don’t sweat. I can sit in a sauna and not sweat. My husband says I’m odd. I have always been that way all my life. I also forgot to mention I am 62. My husband is 59. I am sorry you are having a down day but I have to say also I’m glad I’m not the only one that feels this way.
queenofcropFebruary 12, 2015
HI Brenda! Oh yes, of course I remember you!!! Thank you for continuing to read my blog, be supportive and it is nice to know you are not alone when these weird feelings hit or that you also have the no-sweat thing happening. It feels a bit surreal sometimes to realize I am in my 60’s, especially when, like you, I feel so energetic! But happy to hear your surgery went well….has it really been two years. Time is flying. Anyway, I’m feeling much better today. Sorry to hear that your sex life didn’t take off, and it’s not that uncommon that the men are more interested than women…I think in addition to not having the no-sweat gene, I got an extra dose of the male sex-drive gene! Good to hear from you and thanks for writing.
LisaFebruary 12, 2015
queenofcropFebruary 12, 2015
Thank you Lisa….I can feel it!!!
DanaFebruary 12, 2015
The last two posts from you (a couple of weeks ago, and this one) have really resonated with me. I went through that ‘honeymoon’ phase after my weight loss of how great I looked, how confident I felt, etc. I’ll be three years out this May and over the last year have put back on 10 pounds. My surgeon said that for many, that is normal. I can eat and drink anything I want, and I don’t pay as much attention as I did in the beginning, drinking wine and sometimes I indulge in high-fat foods. Unlike in the beginning though, if I really follow the plan – get in 80 grams of protein, keep the calories at 1,000-1,200, the weight does not come off. It is depressing. At 54 years of age, I’m post menopausal, and don’t like to look at my body undressed. I have the loose skin, the sagging ta-ta’s, and a little bit of the ‘turkey neck.’ But, I still feel really good about what I accomplished. My husband is very supportive and loves me unconditionally. My weight never bothered him. He was just worried that my weight would bring on health issues that I could not recover from, and they were starting to mount up. After a weight loss of 90 pounds, all my health issues are gone. My cholesterol is great. I’m still slightly overweight but I can wear normal, pretty clothes. I need to make sure that I don’t gain any more.
I have a great life. I own my own business, and love what I do. I travel with my husband and we have a warm, loving and fun life together. I just hate to look at my body, and I really need to get over that!
Just know that your feelings are normal. You’re an intelligent, strong woman. Have your pity party – you deserve that. Watch a funny movie and move on 🙂
queenofcropFebruary 12, 2015
Hi Dana….thanks for such a nice thoughtful reply. I did have my party and now I’m OK! I will say that having my breasts reduced and resized was one of the best decisions I made. The thought of having those dreadful deflated (mismatched) breasts would have driven me mad! And maybe I will feel the same way on my next surgery. We just have to keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep reminding ourselves how much better off we are now. I so appreciate all the good words from everyone.
MaryFebruary 12, 2015
I wonder if that’s a pretty normal reaction along the way. I am 14 months out. For most of the first year, I would look in the mirror and be so happy and excited with what I saw. Now, even though I am still losing, all I see are the bulges and the sagging thighs.
I laughed so hard at what your husband said about the other person having the machine on a higher setting. My husband would totally say that too, and then be all surprised when I got offended. Hang in there. 🙂
queenofcropFebruary 12, 2015
MEN!!!! (And yes, I think it is normal….).
CarlaMay 23, 2015
Since this post is a couple months old and I’m hopeful you’re feeling better, I’m gonna give a different type of supportive comment.
PoppyCock!!!! You have accomplished SO MUCH. And you were/are an inspiration to me and so many others. No one is perfect, but there is always more we can do. I don’t subscribe to your comments about having faulty sweat glands. Perhaps you just need to do something different because now your body is accustomed to your current lifestyle. Check out these vids of women who are older than you. Try something different, like weight training, and see what it can do for you.
I am happy to know that you’re still maintaining, though. Because I’ve fallen off the wagon (for a number of reasons)…but I have come to realize that it’s not the final stamp for me. And I want to encourage you that even at 61 years old, there is more weight/body image success waiting for you too!
Hang in there, kiddo! 😉
Annette Larkins (70 years old): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd5bmcd90HI
Ernestine Shepard (77 years old) : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O_01VlQzN7s
queenofcropMay 24, 2015
Hi Carla! Thank you for the comment, the links and good to hear from you again! Sorry to hear you are struggling with our life long challenge, but I’m sure you will get back on track again. Hope you are living the life you always imagined. And yes, I feel great and am living a total dream life!!!!