It's a very natural thing to want to post the most flattering pictures possible. It's not just me. A recent survey found for every selfie posted to social media, thirteen pictures were snapped to get just the right one.
I've shared many flattering photos throughout my weight loss journey. In fact, I've gone out of my way to make sure only flattering current photos are shared. The only exception to this indulgence has been "before" photos--those can be unflattering all day long. In fact, the more unflattering the better.
During my relapse/regain period, especially when the regain crossed the 100lb mark, I would take photo happy family members aside and seriously request they not post my pictures and if they did, "please don't tag me." I was ashamed. The flattering pictures were no longer coming easy and I wasn't sure they ever would again.
It's easy to post the most favorable photos...
After posting this picture yesterday, the compliments came a plenty. I sincerely appreciate it very much! I've worked very hard for the results I've experienced. I look at this picture and I'm proud about how far I've come physically. I'm even more proud of how far I've come mentally and emotionally.
You see, this "flattering pictures only" thing hasn't been exclusive to this blog or facebook. It's been a lifelong thing that goes far beyond pictures.
My wonderful ex-wife of 21 years didn't see me without a shirt on until a year into our relationship. I've had a few girlfriends since my divorce who never once saw me without a shirt on, ever. It was off limits. No amount of "I love you and it doesn't matter to me" worked against my defenses.
I lost weight. A lot of weight. In the beginning, I was just hoping for the best. It didn't take long for me to figure out that after more than two decades as a five hundred pound man, the damage done to my skin couldn't be lost like fat.
I proudly referred to the stretch marks and loose skin as my "battle scars." But still--I wasn't going to show you, ever. Apparently, I wasn't that proud.
The most convenient thing about not revealing is the declaration of boundaries and appropriateness. By golly, I don't need to show anyone my stretch marks and loose skin for as long as I live. That's private! Perfect!! There isn't a person I've come across who would argue to the contrary. And seriously, there's nothing wrong with that stance.
I requested a good friend take some pictures of me tonight, battle scars and all. Her question: "So, why are you doing this?"
Because it's important to show all sides of this road. Because this is reality. Because we can lose enormous amounts of weight and we can share some incredibly flattering pictures and still, no matter how much weight we lose, we can still not like the body underneath our clothes. We can still feel like we're somehow being dishonest with everyone because we hide what's underneath.
And here we are at a juncture. A turning point where we decide to continue hating our bodies forever, regardless of weight--at our heaviest or at our lowest weight, or we decide to lovingly embrace ourselves and be free.
I gotta go with love on this one. The personal growth I've experienced in the last year has liberated me in monumental ways, far beyond the physical.
I love me, stretch marks, loose skin and all. I'm truly blessed and grateful for this entire experience.
If you've ever looked at one of my 'before & now' side by side photos and thought, wow--what an amazing transformation, thank you. Now you know, the biggest transformation isn't the physical.
The biggest transformation is the mental and emotional shifts in perspective, dissolving self-hatred and nurturing self-love.
The Beautiful Truth:
Batwings, stretch marks galore, an abdomen apron of loose skin, a damaged lower extremity lymphatic system that will always mean swelling and discoloration in my lower right leg and less issues with the left, but still some swelling.
It's me! And I love me. I'm happy and I'm free.
Will I get skin removal surgery someday? I might. If I do, it'll only happen after four or five years of solid maintenance. And it'll be for practical reasons, not an attempt to somehow love and accept my body.
I'm already there.
Wow. That felt damn good.
Seems appropriate to let the Tweets handle telling the story of Sunday. It was a very good day!
My Tweets Today:
I slept until I didn't want to sleep. Needed that. Good late morning! Dark roast w/SF hazelnut (1tblspn) 2cups=60cal pic.twitter.com/GZGS8a8aNp— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 7, 2015
Brunch in the pan! This is going to be delicious! pic.twitter.com/TfKjQ4DLlX— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 7, 2015
BIG brunch. 4 whts/1 whl, 5.2oz sirloin tip, 1 slice provolone, red pepper, 5.8oz orange, strawberries (187g). 598cal pic.twitter.com/TxQsfqc7bM— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 7, 2015
43g whole natural almonds & medium banana. 4 cups water (should last through workout) #wateraccountability 355 cal. pic.twitter.com/uQjsi56QVu— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 7, 2015
Weights and elliptical start now! pic.twitter.com/ef693gL23I— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 7, 2015
Workout ✔️ #endorphinrelease #naturalhigh 4 cup bottle refill. It might take a while to finish, but then #watergoal pic.twitter.com/y28SDsoAjy— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 7, 2015
Fingerling potatoes, sliced, with squash, red onions & green beans... #dinnersidedish pic.twitter.com/HOgSYZcaGJ— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 8, 2015
Evening cup of coffee w/the usual. SF hazelnut creamer (1tblspn per cup). 2 cups (one now, one after dinner) 60 cal. pic.twitter.com/dlo8TH1KEI— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 8, 2015
Grlld drumsticks w/skin, asparagus, fingerling pot. (5.3oz), squash, onion, grn beans w/O.O.spray (36cal). 522 cal. pic.twitter.com/yxuhNXe2sx— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 8, 2015
7.5oz fresh cut pineapple. #lastfoodofday Intentionally measured exactly the amount needed to nail cal. goal. 105 cal pic.twitter.com/A3mIHfkxoQ— Sean Anderson (@SeanAAnderson) June 8, 2015
Thank you for reading and your continued support,