Body Image: A CDH1 Perspective (Part 2)
As the pounds fell off, I noticed that my attitudes and overall life satisfaction did not shed with the pounds. I guess I now have the unique perspective of realizing “ideal” body size and body weight truly don't matter.
I just celebrated my one year TGversary, or one year living without a stomach. In that time, my body has changed tremendously. When I wrote about body image previously, I still had my stomach, and I was wondering how my own self image might change as my body inevitably would.
I just went back and re-read my pre TG post. Read it here if you want to too. I wrote that I was worried I would be one of the only individuals without a stomach to NOT loose weight. That goes to show how deep these superficial body image ideals are engrained in me. I, of course, did loose weight. A lot of weight. More weight than expected actually. As the pounds fell off, I noticed that my attitudes and overall life satisfaction did not shed with the pounds. I guess I now have the unique perspective of realizing “ideal” body size and body weight truly don't matter.
For the first time since I was a teenager, I am skinny, yet the way I look at and critique myself has not changed. I now fit into the mold that society has engrained in women. So, for all of you out there who think you will suddenly start loving everything about yourself if you can just shed those unwanted pounds? I am here to tell you, it isn't true. If only I could have gained insight into this sooner, maybe I could have stopped taking up precious brain space worrying so much about my outward appearance! Long story short, try and learn to love yourself the way you are right now, because even if you hit that "goal weight," you will still find flaws to worry about. Try and stop thinking, "in 6 months, after I loose this weight, everything will be different," because it likely won't. You may fit into smaller pants, but you will feel the same. Trust me, I have been there (oh wait, I am still right there even though I now fit into those tiny pants).
I now have the illusive "thigh gap" which I honestly always thought was a joke. I can wear all the trendy fashions, if I choose to spend a ridiculous amount on clothes. I fit into extra small tops and size 2 or 4 bottoms. I am SKINNY. Then why do I still find fault in my body? Why instead of focusing on my weight, has my mind effortlessly transitioned to critiquing other bits. Like my scars, feeling like my foobs are too big now, or that my stretch marks are more noticeable, or that my skin feels saggy in some places now that I've lost a bunch of weight, or that my muscle tone is completely gone. Get the picture? Now, I don't worry about loosing weight, but I do worry that I might loose too much weight, or about all the things I've already listed here.
Images (Left to Right): 12 months post op weight 119lbs, scar update - fading every day, officially lost my butt someplace (if you find it, let me know)
What I am trying to say, is despite my size, I still have a long way to go to love everything about myself. And, being skinny now doesn't make that any easier. Also, paying for an entirely new wardrobe isn't fun. I was just talking to a stomachless friend about when you loose this much weight really quickly, you have to replace EVERYTHING, from your underwear, to your jackets, snowpants, sleepwear, and even some shoes! I found some of the high boots I used to wear, are now so loose in the calves, that they just slide down and look all floppy. It isn't like I can just make do with what I have, I went from size 10/12 and M/L to size 2/4 and XS. I literally had to replace everything, and it was quite spendy.
Don't get me wrong, I am happy with what I see in the mirror most days which is a change for me, even though I still don't recognize myself or truly understand how seriously tiny I am now. I guess it takes the mind longer to catch up to this rapid weight loss. I still feel like a chubby girl and I am still shocked when I see my non-chubby appearance looking back at me. So, even though the inner me has not changed and I still have lots of insecurities, I am grateful to be here. I am also grateful I am now considered a "healthy" weight in medical terms, because having a normal BMI further reduces my risk of a breast cancer recurrence. That, along with all the other risk reducing measures I am continuing to take should help me live a long life. We also know for sure, that stomach cancer will not take me out. Because no stomach = no stomach cancer!!
As always, reach out with questions or comments, make sure to subscribe, and I look forward to continuing to share my unique existence with all of you.