The Stranger in the Mirror

Bathroom Scale

The evilest of creatures. Bathroom Scale (Photo credit: -Paul H-)

Have you ever woken up to see a really large, awful number staring at you? Mine is a blue monster, glowing up at me from below.

The monster grows larger sometimes, and it’s damn hard to shrink it.

I never used to struggle with weight. But sometime in my late teens at an all-you-can-eat college cafeteria, something happened.

Gone was my metabolism. Whatever had kept me rather svelte during high school vanished with a poof into three jeans sizes in college. In the past eight years, I’ve bounced back and forth between a size four and a size ten, the latter of which may not seem that large. But somewhere in the middle of last night’s Midnight Baking Spree, I looked down and had the horrible feeling that I was pregnant.

I sucked in my stomach as far as it would go — and it wasn’t far.

I’m not pregnant. The bulge isn’t in my stomach (or rather, uterus). It’s on my stomach. I’m wearing a suit I can’t take off.

Many people struggle with weight loss, especially in America where one in three-ish (I’m assuming this hasn’t changed) people are overweight. And judging by the blue monster, I’m one of them. By about fifteen pounds.

People here also tend to assess this issue on a comparative basis. Which is to say, if I wear a smaller pants size than someone, I therefore have nothing to worry about. I disagree.

Here’s what I’ve noticed since putting on 25 pounds in the last year (two pounds a month since my wedding):

  • I’m sluggish
  • I eat when I’m not hungry
  • I get out of breath faster
  • My knees hurt
  • My mentality has shifted
  • I feel resentful if I try to cut out foods
  • And every single day, I tell myself tomorrow is going to be different.

I know I don’t look like it, but I feel like this:

English: The front end of a Hippopotamus

I actually often feel more like the back end. English: The front end of a Hippopotamus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Part of it is stress, but if I keep blaming external stimuli for my body becoming something I don’t want it to be, nothing will ever change. It’s something that is completely within my control — I’ve just been neglecting to do the right thing.

I look what my frame is wearing, and it’s not something I’m comfortable in. I can’t decorate it the way I want to, and it makes moving around awkward. It makes me embarrassed to go swimming (which is one of my favourite things to do), and while at five foot ten the pounds don’t show up as distinctly on me as they do on someone several inches shorter, they’re still there. And I know that when I moved here to Maryland, I was happy and healthy and almost forty pounds lighter.

Forty pounds.

If you struggle with weight, think of how much stands between you and your goal. Now go find something that weighs that much. A sack of flour, or a bag of bulk rice. A box of lemons or a few gallons of milk. Pick it up. Carry it around for a little while.

That’s what your body is hauling around.

My body is hauling around a forty pound sack of rice. Every day. Everywhere I go. Up stairs and across streets. Into my bed and the shower and everywhere in between. Forty pounds of extra stress on my bones, my joints, and my cartilage.

So today, gentle viewers, I’m vowing to change it. It’ll take some time, but I am going to get this weight off. I am going to put down the sack of rice once and for all. I’m going to say goodbye to the stranger in the mirror.

Besides, it’s tough to survive the zombie apocalypse when you have to carry a sack of rice around.

Do you struggle with weight issues? If you’re not in America, do you find it easy to maintain weight? If you are in America, what do you feel holds you back from making the choices you need to go from obese or overweight to “healthy?”



About Emmie Mears

Saving the world from brooding, one self-actualized vampire at a time.

Posted on November 3, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Good blog Emmie, though keep in mind, you still look incredible, so don’t be too hard on yourself. I have experienced the exact same feelings. When I topped out at 350, I couldn’t fit into a booth in most restaurants. I was out of breath quickly. I too looked like I was pregnant. Finding a shirt that covered my huge belly was a challenge. The final straw for me was over the summer, we took the kids tubing on the river. The water was low in lots of area due to the drought. I got stuck on a rock in my tube and was trying to push my way out. Some college kids came drifting up and started going “LOOK OUT! WE GOT A BEACHED WHALE OVER HERE! HAHAHAHA!” Not a fun thing to hear in front of your kids.

    After that, it was like someone flipped a switch. I’ve tried various exercises until someone took me to some MMA classes, now I’ve started the Fat to Fighter thing. Last time I weighed a few weeks ago, I was 319, but down almost 5% body fat since those people made the whale comments. I still have a long long ways to go though. However, I’m getting over the flu now so I’m sure I’ve dropped a few more pounds here.

    There is a girl in our class who was trying to encourage me and she’s like “you don’t look that heavy” She probably weighs 110 lbs soaking wet. I told her to imagine taking two more of herself and strapping them to her back….that’s what life is like for me daily. Carrying 1 medium sized or 2 small people around. My goal weight is around 240-250 as I feel that would be a good fighting weight.

    I would say find something you enjoy, I know you been running, but if you’d rather walk or ride a bike then do that, if you make it “work” then it’s hard to stick to. THat’s what I have found.

    You know I’m around anytime you need any encouragement or anything 🙂

    • Wow, yeah. Kids are cruel, and having your family witness stuff like that is really painful. I had a hard time when someone at work told me he had seen me running and watched me run my laps — and proceeded to describe how I was running and how out of breath I was. I stopped running outside after that.

      I love dancing, and I love to swim, but we live above other people, so I can’t bounce on their heads too much. Our pool is closed for the winter now as well. I really need to get running again.

  2. I get what you’re saying Emmie, I was always tiny as a teen, but three children have had a different effect! I’m not large, just bigger than I was, and that means something to me even if it doesn’t to anyone else. I’m careful with what I eat, and it’s all good. Unfortunately age has made me heavier, and to some degree I can deal with it, but losing a bit of extra weight will help with that sluggish feeling and general unfitness!

    • I’m not “large” either, but I am officially in the “overweight” category. With all the stress I’ve been under this year, I’ve really had a hard time getting myself sorted out. Part of it is that my husband and I can only buy groceries in small spurts because of our finances, which makes it hard to really plan meals. Though it’s not an excuse — we tend to buy the cheaper things that aren’t good for us when we could manage eating healthier with a little forethought.

  3. Hey Emmie, good post! As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder (usually manifesting in cycles of bingeing and starving) I understand how difficult it can be to develop and then to maintain a healthy relationship with food. I have sometimes felt like I didn’t even control my own body and mind because I literally was helpless to stop myself from shoveling junk into my face. I know that I’ve hurt my metabolism and my health by yo-yo-ing the way that I have, and I’ve had to do a lot of behavior modification, meditation, and positive thinking to get to where I am today, and even then I regress to old behaviors when I’m stressed or upset.

    It’s a hard process, but I know that you’re strong enough to do it. If you even need to talk or want motivation of any kind from someone who has struggled with her own relationship with food, feel free to get in touch! ❤

  4. I’m with you, sweet lady. We’re the same height and struggle with the same thing. You keep trying and I will too. *big hugs*


      We should have another phone date soon. And also, yay for being tall! 🙂 I hated it for years, but now I love it for many reasons. Reaching things is near the top of that list.

  5. Artificial sweeteners and the constant hunger cycle:

    Take back your life and eat REAL food!

    Okay, I’m now officially off my soap box.

  6. I was 25 pounds overweight for about three years. I tried to stick with something but it never worked. Then a friend of mine told me that her aunt is a nutritionist. She sent me a food schedule: what to eat every day.
    I eat healthy food and I have lost 23 pounds in almost four months. In the beginning, I used to remain hungry but now I’m full after every meal. I feel better and eat healthier and I can practically feel my body thanking me.
    I know how you feel, and I’m here if you need me. Try to talk to a doctor and see what’s best for you.
    What helped me was/is my family doing the diet with me.

    • My husband and I are both wanting to get healthier, and we also finally have health insurance. So I think I am going to go to the doctor to see if she can shed some light on my miserable metabolism. (If I eat more than 1400 calories per day, I gain weight at a rate of about a pound a week.)

      I struggle because I KNOW I feel better, healthier, more energetic, etc. when I’m making the right choices, but it somehow isn’t the motivation I need. I really appreciate your comment, and it definitely reminded me of what can be done when you make a commitment to it.

  7. Right with you sister. I have been BUSTING MY ASS for the past 3 or 4 months…really putting in the effort, but my waist has hardly shrunk at all, and part of the reason for that is I have no willpower with food. Well, next to none. I LOVE to eat and I am ABSOLUTELY MISERABLE if I’m hungry. Can’t sleep if I’m hungry, but if I snack too late, I’ll wake up multiple times a night feeling famished, and have to eat a snack. Thus by the time I get up in the AM on these particular days, I’ve already consumed bet 300-700 calories sometimes. Yesterday I decided to try out Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. WHile I don’t know if I’ll do it everyday like you’re supposed to, I may mix it in with my normal workout. Check it out on Youtube and see what you think.

    I also like Tiffany Rothe workouts, which usually come in 10 min increments, so you can mix and match them and do as many or as few a day as you want.

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