It took me a while to actually look my body in the mirror once it changed. It was easy to hide from myself during the winter because I was always covered up and barely liked to expose my skin even long enough to get dressed. Plus it’s just too cold in the mornigns to take your time changing.
But now that it’s too hot to cover myself from head to toe all the time, I have to face what I really look like for the first time in many months. I think seeing my arms in the mirror with just a T-shirt on was the first indicator to me that I had lost more weight than I thought. The first time I noticed it was back in January, and I felt so uncomfortable with the stringy way my arms looked that I made it a point after that to hide them even more. I started to feel self-conscious about rolling my sleeves up at work because I didn’t want to draw attention to how skeletal they looked.
And this is them now: (kinda hard to get a clear picture when you get your younger sibling to take it, but you get the point)
The bruising is still pretty bad on my uper arm from where they coulnd’t get the IV in. That really hurt. Don’t know how long that’s gonna last because it just keeps spreading and deepening in color as it heals. I think they really wrecked my veins trying to tap that one. And no wonder, with how thin I am and how dehydrated I was that day.
I’m basically starting at ground zero with my weight. I don’t even know how I functioned with so little muscle and fat. All my muscles atrophied so bad that they can barely sustain normal functions. And I couldn’t stand for very long without my stomach hurting before getting on a pain medication, so my legs shrank away too from laying in bed all the time. Now I have to go through the process of regaining weight just to reach a regular size. I’ve gained about 10 pounds since I got out of the hospital, and I celebrate every bit of progress. It’s important to appreciate the small changes to my size because I know I’m not going to gain it all back and look exactly how I want to overnight.
Growing up, I never really had a bad self-image or problems with how my body looked. I think I just tried to appreciate what I had and not worry about it too much. I was fortunate to have an average weight and height and everything else. I mean, I didn’t like how pale I was because of the jokes people made about how I would blind them when I wore a bathing suit, but that didn’t sink in too much. Then after graduating I had an emotionally abusive partner that would tell me what he wanted me to look like and that he wished I had more weight to me and was darker skinned and tougher and more aggressive or whatever. So, my view of my weight started to become an issue at that point. I was getting less comfortable with how I looked because I couldn’t gain weight like he wanted me to or be what he had in mind.
Fast forward to present day and my year of health issues that made it very difficult to eat (which I talk about in my post about getting diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease), and the weight started dropping at an alarming rate. Prior to checking myself into the ER and actually getting some help, I was starting to drop below 100lbs. And since I’m about 5′ 5”, that puts my BMI in the 16’s.
This has been really difficult for me to handle because I was in denial about my size for a long time. I think just using weight as an indicator of health is not enough, especially as you get used to seeing the number you are. I remember last year when I started losing weight that I really didn’t want to get below 115. Like that seemed like an extreme amount of weight to lose, and I was already uncomfortable with being around 115. I would track my weight weekly and notice it gradually reduce over time while I was actively trying to keep it steady and even gain.
Then around the holidays it started to drop below 110, and I was seriously scared at that point. Everyone around me was able to indulge in the sweets and treats that our bodies crave in the winter to keep us alive and give us energy to endure the cold. But everything I ate just hurt me in some way. When I had a lot of inflammation in my bladder from a bad UTI, I had to avoid triggers like spicy or greasy foods, alcohol, and artificial sugar, which was the hardest one. Try being surrounded by homemade cookies and candy and other Christmas specialties and having to deny yourself all of it or suffer the pain that eating it will induce. What a horrible time for my mental health.
I’m actually going to discuss the effects that not being able to eat good food had on my Mental Health in another post, because there’s a lot that I’ve discovered about myself in regards to how much food means to me. I know now that without the ability to appreciate food, my life is not worth living. It’s a comfort thing because I grew up learning how to cook and bake.
Now that I’ve faced the reality of the body I have now, I can focus my energy on gaining some healthy weight back. I try not to get discouraged with the fact that I’ve lost most of my chest and butt, and just try to find some humor in it. It’s just a blow to my vanity, and there are worse things than being flat-chested. The hard part to handle is that I went from a pretty average C cup to an A…
But I’m taking this as an opportunity to get into exercising and really learn about the nutrition that will go into putting on some healthy weight. It’s gonna take a lot of patience and perserverance to start slowly building back up to where I want to be and to feel good about myself again. Here’s to baby steps 🙂