Sunday, August 10, 2014

Talk to the Hand

Forgive me, it has been a few weeks since my last post, but I have been very busy with projects and freelance and family - all my kids were home! Despite this flurry of activity, I have continued to keep track of everything I eat and I diligently take time to include pictures of my meals. Most of my friends and family have become accustomed to me taking pictures of my food before I eat it.

Shown in the photos above is a family favorite meal of the Fruit & Veggie Plate, usually consumed while watching a movie (it was ParaNorman this time.) On the left is the beautiful display my kids set up for us all to enjoy. On the right is my serving size portion. It is a delicious meal even in reasonable servings.

As a result of my persistence, I have thousands of images of food. It could appear a little obsessive to the untrained eye. I do not deny a certain compulsion that has almost replaced my desire to overeat... almost.

My desire or craving to eat has led to the unmanageable size of my stomach. The circumference of my stomach measures (after losing 29 pounds since November of 2013) 57 inches. I am only 64 inches tall. I am close to being a perfect circle... or maybe an imperfect circle.

I dress to hide my stomach, but it makes little difference, the amount of fabric I use to cover my girth. Being the photographer has kept me out of the pictures... another form of invisibility. I also fill my schedule with work and projects that need my attention, thus keeping me from having to hide in the middle of a gathering, party or event.

Day 1 - Serving Size Summer
However, everyone sees me as I am. They see my stomach too.

There have been occasions in which the person I am talking to, stares at my stomach. We are in a conversation and then all of a sudden the focus shifts and instead of looking me in the eye, they are looking at the part of me that creates such angst in me that I could sob uncontrollably at the inevitability of someone touching my stomach. It is all I can do not to put my hand over their focal point, but talking to the hand wouldn't make me more comfortable, it would only make my companion less... or maybe spark the idea that I was carrying a baby. (That vessel has sailed).

I wrote about this fear in my blog Art In The Life It is a long post, but it does go into depth about my fears of people finding out I am fat.

I am very self-conscious of my stomach. So when I think about how to love myself, I think in terms of "despite my stomach," as opposed to "I love my whole body, including my stomach."  I am working on changing this Stinkin' Thinkin.'

I was looking at children's illustrations on Pinterest
and I had to laugh when I saw this Jana Christy art.
Last year, I discovered a lump in my lower abdomen. I thought I had a tumor caused by carrying my cell phone in my sweatshirt pocket. It turned out to be a hernia that had been there a few years. It needed repair, so I had it repaired.

I was nervous... yes my weight, my stomach, my health. I was very worried. While being prepped for surgery, the nurses, anesthesiologist and my doctor were so positive and upbeat, telling jokes and making me laugh that I began to relax.

One nurse had the job of pushing my weight and the bed into the operating room. I mentioned that she had to do all the work. She said it was easy... motorized beds and all. I remember feeling relieved that she didn't have to push all the weight by herself.

After she brought me in and parked me next to the anesthesiologist, he informed me of what was going to happen. The last thing I remember before falling asleep was my lovely nurse looking directly into my eyes and saying "we will take good care of you."

Because of this experience, I don't hate my stomach and I rather love that little crescent-shaped scar by my bellybutton. It sits proudly above and to the left of my vertical c-section scar which allowed my son to come safely into the world. This c-section scar runs down and crosses over my horizontal hysterectomy scar that saved me from a uterus that had grown so full of fibroids that it was seven times its normal size. This scar points off towards my appendectomy scar that has decorated my abdomen since I was six.

I am learning to love all my parts. It is not always easy because I have not been very fair to myself. I have spent most of my adult life on a diet and when those diets failed, I replayed hateful thoughts in my head, punishing myself for failing.

I have finally stumbled upon something that works for me. Control. Remember, I said in an earlier post, "I am either in control or out. On a diet or gaining." There is no middle ground. Knowing this about myself is important for finding a food plan that will allow me to eat and feel satisfied, while having the added benefit of losing weight.

Measuring out my serving sizes has been good for me. I am almost halfway through this experiment and I am thinking ahead about how I can carry on and roll right on through Christmas... and the New Year and so on.

I am down 15 pounds since June 21, 2014. That's good for me!

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