From Where I Sit
Volume 20 Issue 11 2012-03-16
There’s nothing like losing 44 pounds to get a girl thinking seriously about her changing body. Because this has been a slow process of losing a pound and a half or so each week, the changes have snuck up on me.
I have the energy and stamina to play ball hockey with my two and half year old grandson, or play tractors while sitting cross-legged on the floor. I can comfortably cross my legs. The sciatica that’s plagued me for years is all but a memory. My posture is better and my acid reflux is gone, gone, gone. It feels like I’ve done my organs a huge favour. My flat feet thank me. My doctor congratulated me.
On the emotional side, my confidence is soaring. I want to accept invitations out. I’m looking forward to my niece’s destination wedding next February.
Part of improved self-confidence is knowing that I have more choices and some stylish clothes in my wardrobe. Some are pieces that will transition as the weight loss continues. Others are old favourites that fit better now. No pulling or gaping. No vice-like grip.
Aside from the smaller portions, more frequent meals, and increased activity, there has been a change in mindset. Eating off smaller plates and bowls. Eating more slowly. Cutting myself some slack and silencing the inner critic. Celebrating the victories, the milestones, the better choices. As Jenny says, “Progress, not perfection.”
I’ve had to acknowledge that getting and staying healthy takes effort and mindfulness—not fanaticism, but mindfulness. For a year or two I’ve had a vision board covered with images and words. The pictures show healthy-weight women wearing great clothes or exercising or being pampered. Some of the phrases include these nuggets of wisdom: “It’s better to have a body in shape than to obsess about the shape of your body”; “No ifs, ands, or buts”; “Your body is talking, are you listening?”; and “Small steps, great strides.” But of course, words without action mean nothing. Dammit.
I take time to prep veggie snacks for a day in the city. I study menus and read labels to make healthier choices in tough situations. It’s not impossible to eat out, but it does slow the losing process.
What’s been great fun is rereading some of my Trinny and Susannah (of What Not to Wear fame) books. The one that speaks to me right now is The Body Shape Bible. In it these fashion mavens have identified 12 different body shapes. They spell out and illustrate (with real women) the worst possible things each shape could wear. We are then shown the best core items for minimizing flaws and accentuating the positives.
Another gem I stumbled upon is Sam Saboura’s Real Style. It, too, focuses on real women with real bodies. Building a wardrobe from the ground up is a challenge and I’m grateful for the help from these books. Maybe it’ll prevent a few buying mistakes, from where I sit.
Hazel Anaka's first novel is Lucky Dog. Visit her website for more information or follow her on Twitter @anakawrites.