Today I spent some time with the gorgeous Louise from Emotive Images. She’s working on a photography project involving a bunch of women who have made life-changing decisions which I am an excited, proud and slightly nervous participant in. Today was my turn to spend some time at the studio for our initial interview.
Those of you who know me well know that I like to talk. You also know that I rarely talk about myself, at least not in that revealing, let-the-world-know-what-I’m-thinking-or-feeling way. So today was an interesting experience, one involving much reflection in the car on the way home. I have a feeling that the reflection is going to continue for a long time as well.
Without giving too much away (you will all see the results of the project, I promise!) Louise asked me to find something about myself to use as the theme for our photo shoot. I was initially thinking very literally, and visualising something around my cars, my family, the fact that I now run and cycle (I’m a freaking triathlete, for goodness’ sake!), that sort of thing. But as we talked and Louise got deeper into the me that I thought I successfully hid under my exterior (did I mention she’s got a degree in Psychology???) I realised that wouldn’t give an insight into the person I was, nor the person I am now. It’s what I do, it’s not who I am.
Who I am now is someone who is a weird conflicting blend of confidence and uncertainty. I feel better physically than I ever have. I can do things I never dreamt possible for myself, and I am no longer embarrassed to be seen in public. But inside I feel like the biggest person in the room, because that’s who I’ve grown up as. I have been overweight and then obese all of my adult life. I have fluctuated between mildly and seriously overweight, but I have never before been at a healthy body fat level or weight.
My problem at the moment is that I don’t know what I look like. The talk on the 12WBT forums among those of us who have a smaller amount to lose, and those who are just starting, is around goal weights. Others talk about the weight they felt comfortable in their own skin, or the weight they were at a size 8/10/12/whatever as being their goal. Or a level of body fat when they could function at their optimum level. I’ve never been there. I’ve never been at a healthy BMI, or a “normal” size. What is normal anyway? I have absolutely no frame of reference for what I will look like when I get to where I’m going, and consequently I don’t know where I’m going! To top it off my biological parents have not been in my life since I was 4, so I can’t look at the gene pool either.
All the self-help gurus and experts say if you don’t have a goal to aim towards you won’t know when you get there. Well I honestly don’t know what my body shape goal is, but I’m pretty sure I will know when I get there. At least I hope I will. I’m working on the theory that with healthy diet and exercise I’m currently still losing weight, so I hope my body will tell me when it gets closer and start slowing down. And who knows, that could be very soon! As of yesterday I officially have only 1.3kg to lose to get to a healthy BMI. That’s exciting! I’m also in the healthy body fat range (admittedly at the upper end). So I’m getting to the point where I have to decide what to do next. Until now my focus has been on losing weight, I think now it’s time to start to try and find out who I really am. Not what I do, not who I love, but about me.
Oh, and the photo shoot. You all want to know what my theme is, don’t you? You’ll just have to wait…