“Tina, we need to discuss your attire.”
When those words first came out, my heart sunk a bit. It was one of those uncomfortable conversations that are necessary, but tough to endure. It was if to say, “We appreciate your hard work, but you’re embarrassing yourself with your appearance.”
This exchange was inevitable, I suppose. I could only put it off for so long; after all, I lost almost 150 pounds over the past two or three years. Yes, 150 POUNDS. That’s more than the weight of a two-month old horse (average = 100 pounds). Technically, I lost a horse and a half. As the chubbiness melted away from my hips, arms and face, it was natural that the clothes I wore would literally fall off me. Such as the sagging pants that I had to pull up every time I took two steps, ripping the hem of each pants leg from stepping on them. My underwear, my blouses, even my shoes were all too big and hid the new, slimmer me that was buried underneath all that ill-fitting material. This is the kind of success that all dieters dream about, I know. And I can’t lie to you; it was difficult. It’s still difficult, as my journey continues until I reach my ultimate goal. I refused to take the bariatric surgery route. There were many tears of frustration, changes in lifestyle, drops of sweat and blood, aches of muscles, discoloration of bruises and cuts, and many hours of exercise and sacrifice that brought me to this point.
Yet, there is another side of this kind of weight loss that people seldom discuss…the embrace of certain changes. I suppose that’s why I was so hesitant to purchase new apparel…the fear of change. I’ve been queen-sized my entire life. And throughout my life, I tried every diet and weight loss scheme you can imagine. Nothing ever worked and I eventually gave up with a big “whatever” attitude. It took a discussion with my doctor (after my parents passed away within 1 ½ years of each other) to make me finally make up my mind and say, “This is IT.” So the journey began…
I have a powerful, wonderful, support system. This pertains to everyone from family, my Assassin (my nickname for my personal trainer), my fellow gym “rats,” friends, co-workers, you name it. My doctor couldn’t be happier. Now that I’m doing it, I still continued to have trouble embracing the new Tina that was emerging. Why?
Perhaps I’m trying to maintain my humility. There have been too many times when I achieved some level of success with this diet dance, only to find myself stumbling and taking two steps back with disappointment. It was to the point that I wouldn’t allow anyone to take my picture. Plus, it’s challenging to purchase clothes for queen-sizes. Most of those clothes are too expensive; and those I can afford, are a bit dowdy and drab. It’s almost as if fashionistas are only supposed to be supremely-thin waifs that could surf on Graham crackers. So I kept the same clothes and let them dangle a bit. Hang. I hid and disguised myself, until I was ready to emerge into my ideal image of the woman I’ve been working to become during the past two or three years. I guess that day was sooner than I anticipated.
All of that brought me to that “you need some new clothes now” type of conversation. You’re not selling yourself, I was told. You’re worth more than you let the world know. You only have one chance to make a first impression. It was hard for me to hear; but I understood and accepted full responsibility for my lack of attention to myself. I never paid attention to myself. Yet, since I’m changing so much, it’s time that I did. Just as I took note of that hard-hitting dialogue with my doctor, I took note of this one.
Within a week, I threw away some clothes, and I actually bought two new outfits. IN A REGULAR STORE. Those of you who lost weight know the struggle of going to get clothes in a regular store. I actually bought myself a pair of pants and a couple of sweaters. That’s not much for anyone else. For ME, it’s a giant leap for all of queen-sized kind. There are many things that I need to do, that I want to do, all to reflect the transformation that I’m going through, both inside and outside. You have to understand, weight loss such as mine is not just physical change; it’s mental. Emotional. It’s a total alteration in lifestyle for which you have to prepare yourself. It’s more demanding than people realize, unless you’re actually going through a similar situation.
My ultimate goal is to get a complete makeover, if I find the right stylist. I want to change my hair, my nails, everything. I will even allow my photograph taken by a professional photographer. Change is frightening, but essential for success in anything. I have to accept that…even if it’s in baby steps.