I was an expert at looking in the mirror without really seeing what I looked like. I had developed the uncanny ability to brush my teeth, blow dry my hair, and occasionally put on makeup without really looking at myself. I could walk by the dining room mirror 50 times in one day without noticing how I actually looked.
This ability affected into the way I dressed as well. Because I tried never to really look at myself, I stopped paying very close attention to what I wore. Instead of dressing in the most flattering clothes I could find for my 300 pound body, I wore ugly jumpers, old pants and shirts designed football players.
Looking back, I realize that I was in denial of my new, bigger appearance. As the pounds came on, first slowly and then quickly, I tried to ignore what was standing in front of me. And for the most part, I succeeded. I really could wear that ugly floral jumper and not see how bad I looked in it. I could stop wearing my contacts and put on my out-of-date glasses every morning without thinking about the image I was projecting to other people.
But every time I did that, a little part of me wilted. Even though I tried not to look at myself, there were times when I caught glimpses of what I had become. Times I saw myself from the side in a department store mirror, or family pictures that came in the mail, or even the occasional time where I stopped and looked at what I had become.
Those little moments of really seeing myself made me angry. I was mad at myself for failing to take care of myself. I was mad that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't seem to make any progress on losing upwards of 100 pounds, but most of all I was mad that I had let myself go.
I never wanted to be one of those women who always looked tired and unkempt, but that's what had happened. I looked nice when I went to church, or on outings; but on a daily basis, I looked pretty sad. In fact, I had one homemade dress that I had spilled bleach on when I was cleaning the bathroom one day. Instead of throwing it away, I continued to wear it day after day after day. John even told me to toss it but I insisted, "No one looks at me anyway."
Even though I had stopped looking at myself, I still knew that things needed to change. I saw myself internally as I really was, even though I tried to avoid acknowledging where I was externally. That internal acknowledgement of my secret goal to lose weight helped me eventually succeed. Even though on the outside I had given up and stopped really looking at myself, on the inside I never truly stopped looking for the fit me.
If you haven't really looked at yourself lately - take a minute to really examine your appearance, your food choices and your lifestyle. It's never too late to change and embrace a new you.