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How can you lose 200 pounds and still feel fat?
I don’t know. That’s a question I still ask myself. Why, when I lost all that weight, do I still look in the mirror and see that same sad, overweight woman? I know … I lost a lot of weight, more than half my body weight. Still, every day I look in my closet for clothes that will hide me, camouflage me, help me feel better about myself.
Maybe I should just start at the beginning so you can understand my plight.
Hi … my name is Sherri, and I have always fought with my weight. I think I came out of the womb a size 16. I come from a family where everyone is overweight, yet my father made me feel like if I wasn’t pretty and thin, then I was less of a person, not deserving of love.
All my life I felt judged, but you have to remember that the judging was happening in a house full of overweight people. It wasn’t just me; I have two sisters and my parents—both of whom were overweight by the time I was born. With that said, I have been on a diet as far back as I can remember. My mother told me early on that cakes and sweets were my enemy. It wasn’t until I was in my mid-twenties that I had ever even tasted a candy bar. I couldn’t eat those things; no one would love me.
But guess what, somebody did … well actually a lot of somebodies, but I finally found the right somebody. That one who made me smile, the one I wanted to be with every day, even when I had the flu, and he loved me back. He loved me, with all my flaws and imperfections. He actually saw me – the person, the soul, the being inside the shell. I had it all.
We got married, and a few years later we had a beautiful little boy. Still, with all that love surrounding me I couldn’t help but focus on how overweight I was, and how fat I felt.
I had nightmares that one day my amazing husband was going to wake up and really see me, then realize he had made a mistake. That the woman he married was way more flawed than he thought. I would wake up in the morning crying and tell my husband my fears, and he would reassure me that it was just a dream. Inside, though, I felt like it was a reality. Some people hold their problems on the inside, when you’re overweight you get to flaunt your problems on your outside and to the world. It’s horrible, and I was unhappy more days than happy. Still, my amazing husband stood by me, encouraged me … even as I kept gaining weight after the baby was born.
Then a few years later I fell. I mean literally, I fell trying to pull my toddler son out of a sudden lightning storm in Texas. I missed the top step on a flight of stairs, and in that instance, I changed my life forever. I broke many bones, but I also contracted a horrible rare disease called CRPS. That disease caused my brain to think the bones I had broken were still broken and unset, that my limbs were randomly on fire and so many more horrible pain-related things I can’t begin to write them all down. I found myself a new mom, now wheelchair bound, in a town without any friends or relatives. It was horrible. The terrible body image I already had increased. Now stuck in a wheelchair and desperately trying to take care of my son, I ate to ease the pain. It was a very tough time. My husband, still my rock, helped us all through it while I tried my best to get back on my feet, but the damage was already done. I now felt like I was as round as I was tall, and I am pretty damn tall.
So fast forward six years. I was finally out of the wheelchair, but still dealing with CRPS and we had just relocated to Florida. While getting settled into the tourist capital of the world, I received a call from my Mom. My sister was in the hospital and wasn’t doing well. My oldest sister was not blessed with great health. Unfortunately, she took after my dad. She had been diagnosed with diabetes, and it was taking a toll on her. When I heard the news, it hit me really hard. I knew I needed to do something now, or I was going to be next.
I wanted to change; I wanted to eat healthily and be healthy. I wanted to grow old with my husband and watch my son grow up.
Not knowing where to start I did what everyone does when they need to find out something … I Googled it. I researched diets and found out all about Low Carb dieting. I had tried Atkins before but had given it up like every other diet I‘d tried. This time, though I found a book on Amazon called Fat to Skinny, and something about it called to me. It screamed YOU CAN DO THIS. So I bought the book and started my journey.
On April 1st, 2009, I cleaned out my cabinets of all things loaded with carbs, which was basically everything and started from scratch. I’m not going to lie to you; it was tough. I had to give up all those carb-loaded foods, which I loved, but I did it. A year and a half later – I had lost 200 pounds and was a whole new me. I was smaller, blonder and told I even looked younger. I took pictures … lots of pictures. I was featured in the Fat to Skinny book and website, but still, I felt fat. I never started out to be model thin; that just isn’t me, but I did want to feel comfortable in my skin, and I still wasn’t there yet.
It’s been five years since I lost all my weight and I still don’t feel comfortable in my own skin; I still feel fat. I still feel like that girl who is stuck in a size 32 and could only shop at one store. I still feel like that woman they snickered at in line at the grocery store.
The one they told would be “so pretty” if she just lost weight. Well, I lost the weight, and the haters that were mean to me before are sweet to me now. And that right there bothers me more than anything. Let me tell you, if you were mean to me when I was heavy and are nice to me now because I’m thin, I have no time for you. If you couldn’t see my worth when I was heavy, why should losing weight change that?
I guess that may be my problem too – I don’t see my worth.
I still fear my husband may wake up one morning and realize this woman he thought he loved so much is way too much of a problem and walk away from me, or more likely run. I don’t know how all these years he’s even put up with me. I am such a pain. I thought I was unhappy because I was heavy. I thought losing weight would make everything perfect. Guess what? It didn’t. I still feel like that undeserving ugly girl who is hiding behind makeup and clothes to try to put a pretty face on for the world so she will be loved.
We shouldn’t have to be pretty to be loved. We shouldn’t have to be thin to be loved. We shouldn’t have to be anything, but exactly who we are to be accepted and loved – especially by ourselves.
I try to keep telling myself that. I try to look in the mirror and see what others see; I just don’t.
I’m trying, though, and I will keep trying until I can see her.