Sunday, May 16, 2010

Look How Skinny I Am. Not.

Okay, so the title may seem a little misleading, but it's not. Just follow me on this one, okay?

So, on Mother's Day I'm with the whole family (the moms, my kids, my grandkids, everyone) and with everyone there and all dressed up, we start taking pictures. You know, pictures of each of the moms with their kids to commemorate the day. Soooooo, of course my mother-in-law takes a picture of me with my mom. I look it over, and my first thought? "Oh-my-god! I look so fat!!" and I proceed immediately to delete it. Then I sigh with relief. Boy, that was close. God forbid should anyone see me looking fat, right? Because that is so not how I really look.

Now here's the problem with that: generally speaking, I'm a good looking woman. I am aware of this and have never had a problem with my self image as far as that goes. However, I have greatly tended to have my own image of what I think I look like to others. In fact there have been many times when I have gotten myself all dressed up (or made up), and I'm pretty sure that I look fabulous based on my waist-up reflection in the mirror. Then, quite unexpectedly someone takes a picture of me and shows it to me, or I find myself looking at a full-length reflection, and I get taken aback by the image I see. Because in that moment I see that I have over 80 pounds to lose, and to me it's as obvious as it must be to others. And for that instant I feel my confidence waver and I doubt myself. So I quickly delete the picture and put on my friendliest smile as I say to the offending would-be photographer, "That was a bad angle." Nervous laugh, then: "Here, take it again, but this time from above and slightly back...Oh! And try to just get me from the waist up, okay?" Big smile. "Thanks so much."

So now I search through my massive photo library for pictures to accurately chronicle my journey of redefining my body, I find that I've pretty much been mildly overweight for years. Certainly nowhere near 80 pounds! Except that it's not true. I'm quite the master at taking great pictures that accentuate the best of me and hide the worst of me. After all, I've been close to this size for more than a decade, so I've had plenty of practice. As an artist I understand how to use angles and shadows to my advantage, so I know to take the pictures or videos from slightly above, so it creates the illusion of a thinner face. It helps that I'm one of those people that is "morbidly obese" in a balanced way.

Here's an example.
This is the picture I've been using for my profile. My husband took it from above while we were just hanging out on our bed right after we'd moved into our home and set up the bed. The camera was to the side and he grabbed it and clicked away. We looked at the pictures and were thrilled to see that the angles were just right to make us both look young, tan and healthy. Perfect.

Well, we were under 40, and tan, but I was actually the same as I weigh now (about 210 and only 5.4"). But you can't really tell by the picture (which is the point I'm trying to make).

All I'm saying is that I have deleted nearly every unflattering, "fat" picture of me because I chose to deny that the picture was an accurate rendering of what I looked like thereby making it nearly impossible for me to properly chronicle my journey visually. But I've come to realize that contrary to popular belief: deleting fat pictures, or avoiding full length mirrors does not actually make one skinny. Damn. And it had all seemed so easy before.

Well, I am trying to restrain myself from deleting these pictures in the future. It takes a bit of getting used to because decades of ninja-like deleting skills have to be neglected, and no one likes to look less than their best, if possible. But I did take some good before pictures this time. So I will have some pictures.

In the meantime, you'll have to settle for how skinny I look in my pictures and videos now, and just imagine that I'm shrinking even more on my diet journey ;-)


Anja said...

There's one other trick to looking skinny: hide behind your darling children in the photos. The effect is trifold: (1) they cover whatever body parts of yours that you need them to, (2) it makes you look like a model citizen who adores children and (3) it deflects attention from you. No one will ever suspect you're actually using them as human shields.

WorthyQueen said...

That's brilliant, Anja!

I actually used that method just a few years ago for our family holiday photo shoot. The only problem is that nearly all of my kids are now taller than me. But hopefully others will learn from these valuable tips!