As I've shared before, there are few extant photographs of me from about my late 20s to current days. This happens to coincide, unsurprisingly, with when I started to gain a great deal of weight and keep it on for, oh, about 29 years. Also as repeated often, when cameras come out, fat people disappear. We run into the next room, dive behind sofas, pretend to hear a car alarm going off. If all that fails, we make sure we're in the back row, behind others, as in the photo here. Photographic images and obesity don't get along. Hence, those around me were fair warned that I was never - ever - to be exposed to seeing photos of myself. There were times it was inevitable snaps would be taken and I'd be in them, but if they ever passed in front of my field of vision there would be a distinct, almost immediate and very negative result. Not for them, but for me. Just seeing myself could trigger a depressive episode. No joke. One instance, in particular, left me sitting in nearly the same position, head slightly hanging, stare fixed and unfocused, for three days. The level to which the human mind can pretend that the reality is not real and then be stunned into stupor when confronted with objective proof otherwise is stunning.
We can lie to ourselves, hold two contradictory thoughts in our minds at the same time - namely, 'I'm really fat but if I don't see a reflection of myself I'm not that fat' - and compartmentalize the issue. "I'll deal with this. On Monday. Yeh, that's the ticket. Monday, for sure!"
And we cry. A lot.
Mirrors in our houses get gradually higher and higher so as to only show us from the bridge of our noses up. (This is easier for 5'1" tall me. Must be a challenge for tall folks) We pull out the magic Fat Pillows when sitting because that works, right? That pillow really hides 100 pounds of body fat so well.
And we cry.
So what happens when things change? How do we see ourselves when the weight comes off? Who are we if not the fat person who dreads going to social functions for fear of flimsy lawn chairs at the barbecue or, worse, all those phones with their super sharp cameras being whipped out by everyone. And what if someone decides to post photos on Facebook or Instagram? Awful! These are some of the things overweight people think about.
What does happen, really, when that changes?
I can write only for myself, but it is a wondrous change. Not overnight, of course, It takes a while to get used to being in a smaller body. To not knocking over things - or fearing doing so - with a big stomach or giant tuchus whilst turning. But maybe the most dramatic thing I've experienced in regards to self-image, literal self images as in images of myself, is seeing them no longer triggers a tailspin. Now I just marvel at the person in the few photos taken of me that I've seen. It's not that I don't recognize myself in them. I just can't relate to that person. I feel badly for her. Fake smiles and sad eyes. Mortification that those around probably can't even imagine. But there she is. Photographic proof that a person can live in a body for decades, simultaneously be steeped in the knowledge of that and making every effort to prevent evidence from being memorialized in photos.
The human psyche is fascinating. And weird. And vexing, to say the least.
If you're a before, a during, a "getting ready to be different" or an "I'll never be able to change", take some photos of yourself. Hide them away, password protect and encrypt them if need be. But know that you can change. You can emerge from that body that has taunted you.
Just know that this is doable. If I, the person who was close to needing medications to deal with seeing a single photo of myself can now plaster 'before' photos on this platform, on YouTube and other social media, you can get past this. I promise. It's so doable.
And so worth it.
Of course, now's there the issue of being quite a bit older and having to reckon with photos that show wrinkles, white hair and a nose that seems to be getting larger But that's a topic for another day....
Disclaimer: I’ve been fortunate to have had the time and resources to research the ketogenic diet, also known as LCHF (low carb/high fat). The information I share is based solely on my understanding of that research. We are all responsible for our own choices, including what we put in our mouths and there’s no substitute for each of us checking things out ourselves. And I’m not a medical professional in any way. Go Keto With Casey is not a medical site. “Duh,” you might say. But best to make it clear to all. I welcome questions, comments and even civil criticism. I’m still learning. So, if you have something to add, go for it. Links in this post and all others may direct you to amazon.com, where I will receive a small amount of the purchase price of any items you buy through my affiliate links. Thanks!