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Photo Confusion & Smaller than My Bestie

CurvyMermaid

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I recently returned from a trip to visit one of my nearest and dearest friends on the west coast.  Due to the remote location she lives, I don't often get to see her and certainly not in the 6 months post-surgery.  Once I landed in Seattle it was a 9 hour drive to her home and I was BEAT when I got there.  We have Marco Polo'd frequently since surgery (a great video message app) so she knew generally what I looked like but she still said she was shocked at my smaller body.  Just like my mom, when she hugged me, she exclaimed about getting her arms around me.  I knew she was excited and happy for me.

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What followed next was five days of shenanigans just like we had together back in college.  We saw dinosaurs (1st picture on left), beautiful turquoise water with chocolate brown sands (middle picture) and every morning I was greeted with a gorgeous view of the ocean (far right picture).  When I saw the picture my friend took in the dinosaur park, it took me a hot minute to realize it was me in the photo.  I still feel dissociated from my body size at this point and am surprised/confused when I see myself in the mirror....or in photos others have taken.  Lately I've not been shying away from photos as much and I'm okay with what I see right now - as long as you can't see the arm flaps and belly rolls! :)  But really, my self-respect in regards to my appearance has started to come back and while I'm not a crazy selfie taker - that will just never be me - I don't shy away from being in photos with my friends and family.  It's like there is a record of me in life now.  Has anyone else been the subject of more photos now that they are losing weight?  For those that are still waiting for surgery, do you avoid the camera as much as I did? (Pretty much like you don't exist at any family and friend gatherings)

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My friend and I took a few mini road trips while I was in town and we always tended to do our deepest talks during these road trips - enjoying the sights, the fresh air and hikes through the redwoods.  Before we left the first time I had asked to borrow an extra sweatshirt (this weight loss means I get MUCH chillier than I expect) and she jokingly said we might be the same size now - something that had never been true for the 14 years of our friendship.  I laughed and said, most likely not so give me something that was big on her.  I put the sweatshirt on and it did indeed fit big.  And then, during a trip at the end of my visit, we spoke openly about our weights.  My 100#+ weight loss and my current weight versus her current weight and it turns out I am 12# lighter than her now.  It's an odd feeling to have that shift in the friend dynamic.  In this case, it was not at all a negative behavior towards me but my dear, sweet friend was notably down on herself after that exchange.  I have no doubt that she was/is still excited for my losses and life change but rather than be inspired to make her own, she seemed so saddened that she is at the size she is - which has been relatively stable for the entirety of time that I have known her.  I feel bitter sweet about my visit.  I love this friend and miss her most terribly.  The milestone of 'Smaller Than My Bestie" was not a milestone I had anticipated and I can't quite decide if it was a good one or a bad one.  Has the friend dynamic for anyone else changed with weight loss?

 



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Congratulations, Curvy. You worked hard to get where you are. Maybe your friend will end up being motivated by you. You have done great and maybe it is time to focus on yourself for a bit ;)

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I’m glad you had a fun trip. I love the west coast beaches in the winter.

 Your friend is undoubtedly experiencing some conflicting feelings right now, and that, in turn, presents some conflict for you. I’ve had a similar situation with some of my very good friends in the past few months - they’re all very supportive, but some are pretty down in themselves about their own bodies. I’m an unfortunate yardstick for some of them. It gets ok with time, once your weight isn’t such a primary focus or shock anymore. Ultimately, we are usually either inspired or depressed by others’ successes, and it’s hard to control our reactions. I know I’ve been on the other end of this equation more than once! 

Congrats on your success and be prepared for a whole lot more body dysmorphia.

 

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The trip sounds like it was great curvy mermaid. As for the smaller than my Bestie, it would be pretty common. My Bestie is certainly down on herself right now but she takes medications renowned for having weight gain as a side effect. It wouldn't matter if I'd lost weight or not, she would still be bummed by her weight. My closest sister has huge problems with my weightloss. She has actually admitted how jealous she is. In her case she's gone from easily the smallest to much, much bigger than I am. She had a lapband surgery about three years ago and has lost zero weight. In fact she's gained a few pounds in the last few months. Having seen my success she now wants a revision to bypass because she thinks that's the answer. In her case it isn't though as she never changed food choices. I also doubt she'd qualify by BMI requirements. It makes for a tough dynamic in our case because we actually spend a lot of time together. BUT.....it's her problem to deal with, it's not my problem. There is no way that I'll be letting anyone else's issues with my weightloss derail either my head or my eating strategy. If we accept that we are the reason our weight was so high that we needed surgery, then it stands to reason we need to keep focus for our own journey regardless of how that makes others feel about themselves.

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@CurvyMermaid

Curvy sounds great. Just great. 

My old best friend from college lives in San Francisco - she is so happy for me she jumps up and down when we are together now. No change in friend dynamic, but she has no body image issues despite looking like a somewhat over-ripe pear. She is a fifth degree black belt and the body issues do not seem to be her deal. In contrast my beloved younger sister has sounded a bit defensive and she and her husband have been telling me about how much they are going to the gym. But I think that phase has passed now with some time... now I think the "new normal" is settling in. 

 

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My body dysmorphia usually swung the other way (thinking I was smaller than I was) @Jen581791.  I think I realize I'm smaller now - and get excited about fitting in smaller spaces/clothes - but it still completely catches me by surprise when I see myself in a mirror or photos.  Ultimately I can't control other people's responses to my losses and how they use me as a yardstick (a good turn of phrase), I can only control my responses and continue to celebrate these great changes.  Perhaps as both you and BB say, a new normal will set in and/or I'll just get used to it!

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@Aussie H  ahhhh the family dynamic! Ain't it grand!  :) 

7 hours ago, Aussie H said:

If we accept that we are the reason our weight was so high that we needed surgery, then it stands to reason we need to keep focus for our own journey regardless of how that makes others feel about themselves.

You speak the truth wise one!  As I said in response to @Readytobeme 's comment, I like to help others but in this case she needs to decide for herself that she is ready for a change rather than have me try to do something to convince her.  I certainly know no one could have convinced me to have surgery before I was ready!  While I am quick to say that I wish I would have had the surgery 15 years ago, I was not ready and I needed to live those 15 years as I was to become the person I am now (which I am pretty darn happy with!).

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I can totally identify with you and not wanting to be in pictures before.  Now I don't mind so much being in family photos ..  Congratulations on all your accomplishments so far .

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10 hours ago, CurvyMermaid said:

Thanks @Readytobeme - you hit the nail on the head with that comment as I tend to focus on how I can help others and rarely take a moment to celebrate my victories.

Funny thing is that when I saw my psychologist for my eval, we were talking about how much of a caretaker of others I am. She said that she sees a lot of this in the obese / overweight population. Made perfect sense to me that she would. We tend to care for everyone but ourselves.

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