I didn’t keep the photos. You know the photos I’m talking about. Those pictures of me at my heaviest weight or close to it at least. Those pictures I’m supposed to be able to take out and look at to see how far I’ve come and feel proud.
I didn’t keep them. I took pleasure in throwing them away. Not because I don’t feel proud of my weight loss, but because it makes me unhappy to see where I was. I know all the advice about how the journey is what matters, but that journey was long and arduous and painful. I’m not sure how helpful it is to dwell on it. At least, it’s not helpful to me.
I don’t need reminders. I did keep the fat clothes for a while, too long really. I had them in my closet, at times pulling them out to try them on and see the difference. I wanted to revel in the fact that they were now so ridiculously big on me. I did do that typical thing of standing in my old jeans which were so big on me it seemed I could fit another small person in there with me. I never actually tested that hypothesis so it’s hard to know just how big they were.
Then I found myself giving some of those clothes away figuring they were still perfectly usable for other people who were still big. But I didn’t give them all away. I kept some jeans, pants, sweaters, and t-shirts in the back of my closet…just in case.
Every fat and formerly fat person knows that just because you’ve lost weight once doesn’t mean you won’t regain it. And the nightmare scenario, you might gain even more.
It happened to me. I lost a lot of weight in my early 20s when I lived in L.A. At that time, I made an all out effort to be physically fit and eat a good diet. Back in those days we didn’t use annoying terms like “clean” to describe food and diet. I even became a vegetarian eating only dairy and eggs. But I gave up my beloved sushi which was probably the hardest part.
I was under nobody’s supervision. I made choices based on the USDA recommendations and bits and pieces of what I had read in articles and books. Looking back, I see that I still ate way too much sugar and not enough good fat, but what I did worked. I saw the weight come off. Yes, I plateaued. I hate to break it to you if you’ve never experienced one, but plateaus are a fact of weight loss, and they sometimes are the thing that makes you simply give up. They can last days or weeks or even months.
One thing I did keep for a long time were my notebooks. Pages and pages listing all that I ate every day of every week and how many calories all that food totaled. Sometimes I counted fat grams, but always calories.
In the end, calories matter the most. I know all about good fat vs. bad fat and sugar and protein and whole food vs. processed, but what matters most is how much you eat. That is the long and short of it or rather the thin and the fat of it. I always try to push that reality away from me, because I like to eat. I love to eat. I think about food a lot. Way too much for a normal person. I think about it as if I haven’t had it in a few days. Even when I have “fasted” I haven’t done it for 24 hours so food is not something that is scarce for me.
But as much as I wish eating all the whole food I wanted was just fine, I know it’s not. I know that, because I’ve tried it. If I really am going to lose weight, I’m going to do it by eating less, a lot less. So when I get determined enough, that’s what I do. And I have pages and pages of proof. Or at least I did. Last year I threw them out.
Just like the photos I don’t need those pages of calorie counts. I remember the deprivation. I remember the hunger pangs. I remember the clothes. I remember what I looked like. I just don’t like to remember. Don’t get me wrong. I was happy a lot of the time I was fat. I had great friends and a husband who never once told me I was overweight. He always said I was normal. I wish every fat person could have a partner that never tells them they’re fat.
I don’t want to forget those friends or those happy times. And I haven’t. I know I was there. I just don’t like being reminded of what I looked like. So I didn’t keep the photos. And I don’t regret throwing them out.