Think Yourself Thin and Other Motivational Hoo-Ha
I am delusional when it comes to my body. I started to write that I have body dysmorphia, but when I looked up the term to make sure that’s what I meant, and well, it didn’t mean what I thought it meant.
See, the problem is that in my head I’m very tall and thin. When I picture myself in my clothes, I’m very svelte. There is nary a lump or a bulge in site. My arms are toned, my legs thin. I’m almost always tan. I walk around most days feeling pretty darn confident. So, what’s the problem you ask? The problem occurs when my mental image clashes with reality. I’ll be going along thinking I’m looking gooood and then I’ll happen upon a photo of myself. Or I’ll see myself in a store mirror. And reality will come crashing back down.
Another thing that warps my brain is this: though I haven’t decided whether it’s a blessing or a curse, people often tell me that I don’t look like I weigh as much as I do. I mean, sure, it’s wonderful that people think I weigh less than I do, but it also makes it very hard to get motivated to do anything about my weight. Oh, you think I look like I’m wearing size 8 jeans when in actuality I’m wearing a 12? Well, gee, pass the chips and guacamole!
I’m not really sure how I ended up with such a skewed body image. When I was in fourth and fifth grade, a friend’s mother used to constantly ask me if I was gaining weight. And if that doesn’t sabotage a pubescent girl’s self image then nothing will. In high school I worked at a grocery store where a skeevy older stock “boy” eyed me up and down and then informed me that he “loved a girl with thick calves.” Dude. That is not a compliment.
I my mental adjustment happened when I quit weighing myself. I have never owned a scale, but used to check my weight regularly whenever I had the chance. It’s really quite astonishing how that little (or not so little) number can change how I feel about myself. It wasn’t until I joined Weight Watchers last year that I weighed myself with any regularity. I was constantly weighing myself, though I considered my WW scale to be “The One True Scale.” But that little experiment made me realize how much variation can there can be between scales. And even then whether I was up or down could completely derail my day.
So, I don’t weigh myself. And I probably won’t. I’ll just keep on envisioning the thin me. And as I progress along this journey it is my goal to have the reality and the fantasy merge. In the meantime, might I suggest that you throw your scale away, too. It’s amazing what it can do for your self-esteem.