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Confessions of a Fat Girl

targetweight On March 6th I had finally lost 50 lbs.  It took me a while to lose the last 1-2 lbs to get there, which feels silly I mean it’s ONLY 1-2 lbs.  It seemed to go on forever though as I had reached that dreaded plateau everyone told me was coming.  Since then I’ve been teeter tottering back and forth within a range of 5 lbs.  Some weeks I’m down 5 lbs, and other weeks I’m up.  I know it has to do with the fact that everyone always reaches a plateau at some point and a change in routine is in order, but also my incredibly wonky hormones which have me in a constant flux of water weight.   Regardless, it’s not a constant downward shift.

I know my body is still changing because I feel the difference in my clothes.  I go to the shops and try on clothes 2-3 sizes smaller than what I used to wear and they fit.  Things I tried on just a few months ago are looser now and clothes I already owned have slowly gone from ‘can get away with it’ to ‘too big and sloppy’.  So I know that changes are still happening.  I just can’t help but feel discouraged though…

When I look in the mirror, I see the same old me.  I don’t see anything different than I saw a year ago, and that frustrates me.  When I go out shopping or to crowded places I get warm and sweaty, just the same as I did back then and I feel like those 50 lbs has made no difference.  When I get on my bike, within a few minutes my thighs still burn like hell, I pant and my face goes beet red.  The little baby like rolls are still on my thighs staring up at me every time I have to pee.  Almost all of the things I hated about my body and my weight are still there, after almost a year and losing 50 lbs… so for the first time since beginning this journey I’m starting to get frustrated and lose patience with it.

It’s so hard to find motivation at times like this.  Sure there is the motivation of being thin, but I’m not like a lot of other women.  Many have been thin all their lives, gain weight and then long for their former bodies. I have no memories of that to keep me strong.  I’ve been heavy my entire life, so I don’t have any thoughts of a fabulous and thin body to keep me going.  I have no idea what it’s like to be thin, to go up flights of stairs without getting out of breath, to be able to cross my legs or shop in stores that don’t carry plus sizes, to never have to worry if my butt is going to fit properly into the tiny little chairs on outdoor patios.

I’ve never felt comfortable enough or confident enough in myself to just post any photo of me that is taken, not care who tags me on Facebook, for example, when posting photos they’ve taken of me when I was out somewhere with them.  I’ve always tried to post the photos that hide my weight the best, never having the confidence or feeling of freedom that comes with being thin, to just let people see me for what I am.

It’s frustrating to have lost 50 lbs and still be heavier than a lot of my friends who are also overweight.  It’s frustrating to have lost 50 lbs and still be heavier than friends were before they lost weight, when they considered themselves to be huge.  It’s frustrating to have lost 50 lbs and wear a size that friends pull off the rack and still call them massive.  It’s frustrating to be the heaviest person in my circle of friends and family and listen to them say they know what it’s like when they don’t.  To hear people talk about how hard it is for them when they started out 50-100lbs lighter than me even when they started.  It’s frustrating to sit with friends I consider to be thin and have them talk about how disgustingly fat they are, how they can only fit into sizes that are 5 sizes smaller than what I’m wearing now.  Am I over sensitive?  Are they insensitive? I don’t know… all I know is it’s frustrating and it hurts sometimes.  I also know that it’s all relative and that a woman who is 400 lbs may read my story and think that I don’t realize how good I have it, but I can only speak from the place I am in at the moment.

Still… the hardest part, again, has been not seeing the difference for myself.  Looking in the mirror and seeing the same face staring back at me day after day.  It’s like I want to look in the mirror one day and see another person.  To suddenly have this thin, beautiful woman looking back at me.  Yet there I am, just me.

Last night I was talking to my husband about it.  We were looking at photos people took of us at the portrait evening on Saturday, and surprisingly I didn’t hate every photo that was taken of me.  Not in the way I used to anyway.   In the past I would have been scared of people putting them on Facebook for all my friends to see, or looked at them and been disgusted with myself.  I didn’t feel that though and for the first time I noticed a change… not in how I looked but how I felt.

I was telling this to my husband and he told me to pull up a photo of myself from before I started trying to lose weight this time, so I did… and for the first time since this whole thing began, I was able to look at myself and see a difference.

50 lb Difference

In the photo on the left I am smiling, but I am quite possibly the unhappiest I have ever been.  My mother in law had asked for some close up photos of our faces because she wanted to do a painting of us together.  At that time I was not taking any photos of myself at all, ever.  I hated the way I looked, I felt fat, bloated and so incredibly ugly.  I took a few photos of my husband and he was happy with them, yet no matter how many photos we took of me, the more I hated them.  My hair was in a weird place then too, growing out from my disastrous decision to cut my hair short, so it was always in a mixture of clips and headbands.  Ugh, I just hated everything about myself at that time.

The photo on the right was taken this past Saturday by one of the men in my photo club.  When he asked if I wanted to pose I wasn’t as hesitant as I might have been before, I was not dreading the photos as much either.  I don’t even hate the photo. In fact, I quite like it.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to say that about any photo of myself.

When I look at those photos I can see the difference.  I know it’s there… yet when I look in the mirror, it’s not.  It’s a really bizarre experience to have your brain so warped that you can see one thing in a photo but another in a mirror.  So I am going to look at these photos every time I feel like giving up or like nothing has changed in my life… because there are changes, they just may not be as quick or drastic as I might like them to be at this stage.

I am tired of being ashamed of myself.  I have spent years hiding who I really am and how I really feel about things.  Somehow thinking that if I don’t say it that people won’t realize just how fat and out of control I had become.  That if I didn’t go out or see people as much that they wouldn’t know how unhappy I was or how difficult things had become.  Things that to them are just day to day life, but for me were strenuous, painful and often embarrassing.

I’m tired of numbers ruling my life… pounds, kilos, sizes… constantly in fear of people knowing the truth about me and what they will think of me.  If current friends will know the truth and somehow feel differently about me, if old flames or bitchy former friends will visit and get some sort of sick satisfaction from knowing my truth in numbers.  I don’t want to live like that anymore.

I want to be open and take ownership of who I am.  To accept that this body is mine and even though it’s not what I’d like it to be at the moment I have the power to change it.  To love myself in spite of the things that may not be what I want them to be at the moment.

So in the words of Diana Ross – I’m Comin’ Out!

My name is Tammy, not Breigh.  Yes, Breigh is my middle name in real life but it’s also an online persona I had created over the years.  A mask to hide behind and someone to be when I didn’t want to be me, I don’t want to be that person anymore, she wasn’t real and I don’t need her.

I was 308 lbs (139.7 kilos) in that photo on the left, I was wearing a size 58 (Euro sizes, I think it’s a 28 Canadian) and have never hated myself more in my life.  There was nothing I could do or anyone could say to make me feel anything other that fat and ugly.  When I got on the scale, for the first time in almost a year, and saw that I had gotten over 300 lbs, I cried… and I didn’t stop for a long time.

Today I weigh 255 lbs, I wear a size 52-54 (Canadian 22-24) and I’m frustrated, but I’m happier.  I don’t live in constant paranoia that people are laughing at me behind my back and while a lot of things are still difficult, I take pleasure in being able to wear smaller sizes and that I feel a little bit more comfortable in my body.  Sometimes, on a really really good day when I wear something that makes me feel good or bother to put some makeup on, I even feel sort of pretty for a moment.

I want to keep going with this, I want to see how I feel with another 20lbs gone, to lose another 50 lbs and be able to say I’ve lost 100!  I want things to be easier for me, to enjoy life without all the issues of being a fat girl nagging me in the back of my mind and stopping me from getting out there and living my life.  I want one day, to be able to walk into a shop and know that I can buy anything I want because they will have it in a size that fits me.

I just want to be happy with me.  I’m getting there…

About Tammy

A Canadian living in France with her Dutch hubby after 17 years in the Netherlands. A total TV and movie junkie who is never not knitting. She also enjoys other crafts, nail art, cuddling her dogs and general geekery. Otherwise just working on getting by and making a life for herself in her 'new' country.

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  1. Wow, Tammy, what a story. I am proud of you, and I can honestly say I know where you’re coming from. Unfortunately, right now I’m not working on myself. But our starting weight is exactly (down to the .7) the same. I hope you get to a place where you feel really good about you, because god knows you deserve it. The pictures are amazing in seeing the difference. You are definitely looking good girl!

    • Wow, it’s kind of cool that we have the same starting weight. Now I know there’s someone who also knows how it feels! Although, I think you are probably taller than me,I have all that weight packed onto a 5’3 frame :P

  2. Hey Tammy! It’s Jen from photoclub… aka the other Canadian. :-P

    I know how you feel. I started my weight loss journey when I was 297.6 pounds… that was 5 years ago now. Since then I have lost and been down to 197.8 pounds (at my lowest) and am now back up to 235. :-(

    I know the struggles. I know it’s hard. And what’s worse… I know exactly how you feel when you look in a mirror. I don’t see the change. I see it in photos, I see it in reactions of other people, but I still don’t see it.

    I wish I could tell you that one day you’re going to see it, but I think when you’re overweight you deal with something so much bigger (pun not intended) than just the weight.

    Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that you are so not alone, there are other people doing it too (I’m back on track again) and if you ever want to chat or talk to someone I am more than willing to talk!!! You have me on facebook, but I’m also not far from Rotterdam! :-) Keep going… you’re doing a great job so far!

    • I had no idea you had lost that much weight, way to go!! How did you do it? Hey anytime you are in Rotterdam I’d love to get together :) Hopefully I’ll also see you at a photo club thing soon too!

      • It’s not something that comes up in normal conversation! :-) But if you’re ever bored and look on facebook at photos of me there are some from ages ago at my heaviest. I see those and see the change… but then don’t see it in the mirror!

        We should get together sometime. I’m in Gouda, so it’s only 20 mins by train away for me from central station in Rotterdam. I hope to come back to photo club too! Unfortunately I have Dutch lessons on Tuesdays so I have to choose between the two… and Dutch lessons normally win because I have to go. :-(

  3. Monica Van Maanen

    You look like a much younger you. Way to go!

    • Well thanks! :) There’s an additional motivation then, looking younger! Although I do have to do something about those grey hairs sticking up in the front. They don’t help with the looking young thing ;)

  4. wow, that is quite a story. Powerful and brutally honest.
    Its been a long journey but I am sure you are going to get where you want to be in the end! You look lovely in the picture taken on saturday and I can see a big difference in yourself from last xmas to now. Good luck and summer is here so its always easier to keep your spirits up!!

    • Thanks Laila :) I hope you are right! Usually I spend the summers hiding inside away from the heat and humidity, attached to my fan.haha Maybe I’ll need to make more trips to the pool or something :)

  5. Before I read about the picture on the right I was sure it was an old photo and that you were going to say you wish you looked the way you used to. Then I read what you had written. Wow! You look so much younger, Your face shape has changed quite dramatically infact. You look fantastic! Tammy you should be so proud of yourself.

    A few months ago you wouldn’t even entertain getting on that bike and now you are going for long bike rides! That’s progress girl.

    I know you may not want any fitness advice from me but I will give it and you can ignore it if you want. The following two tips are what has gained results with my clients of all shapes and sizes.

    1. Lower your intake of anything that contains flour. I can explain why if you wish.
    2. Take up some weights. This speeds up the metabolism, guaranteed. (Don’t worry, you will not look like Arnold Swarzenwotsit). After the age of 30 we start to lose muscle. This results in us gaining fat as we are also loosing the ability to burn calories.
    A small set of dumbbells would be great. I could show you loads of different things to do with them.

    Ok that’s it.
    Don’t give up girl!

    • The flour thing, does that mean carbs? I know a lot of people have told me to cut back on those if I can, which I probably could. Lord knows I love my pasta and potatoes! Although, there’s no flour in potatoes!haha

      I am going to get a set of dumbells at some point. For the last few months I haven’t been able to do any real upper body exercise because I hurt my shoulder, but the physiotherapy is really helping. So I should be good to go soon! If I get them I’ll definitely take you up on the offer to show me how to use them.

      Thanks Paule, obviously out of everyone I know you are the one I want to be like most. You are so fit and healthy… I’m envious to the extreme!

      Oh, and you guys are still taking me wakeboarding when I’m fit enough! haha

  6. Please ignore spelling errors in previous post, haha:)

  7. You are amazing. This post made me cry. And what a difference in the portraits… I think your eyes have gained a pound… they are so much bigger.

    Keep up your incredible journey. And please, start selling your writing… isn’t there an English language newspaper you could write for out there?
    .-= Michele´s last blog ..Proud Mama =-.

    • Hehe my eyes, you know all I see when I look at the photo on the right (and most photos) is that my right eye is always more open than the left. I dunno if I have a lazy eye or what! :P Thanks though!

      As for the writing, I have no idea. A lot of people have told me that but it’s not something I’ve ever looked into. I don’t really write about any one thing and it’s always just what I’m feeling at the time. Not sure how I’d do if someone told me I had to write about something in particular.

  8. You look younger on the picture which is on the right :) Concerning the breath, sweating, … Thinner people do sweat and do have problems with breathing, because thin does not imply fit. The fact that you do some activity – ride a bike for instance, is wonderful so don’t be discouraged by being red or sth. Just do it in proper amount so you don’t hurt yourself.
    It is amazing how determined and patient you have been. Good luck in future!
    How’s your sweet tortoise by the way?

    • Sherman is doing great :) He’s getting big and seems to ALWAYS be hungry. He’s such a little piglet.
      I know thinner people get sweaty and warm etc too but I think it’s different when you are heavy. If I go into a shop and I’m sweaty and hot, I keep thinking everyone is looking at me and just seeing a fat sweaty pig. Then I just get anxious and sweat more! haha

  9. What a great post! I love the honesty.

  10. Maybe you can take photos of yourself along the way — not for publishing, just for yourself, so you can track your progress in pictures?

    You see your face every day, so you wouldn’t notice the difference except by comparing photos. But I could see the difference in your face from photos last year, even before you started writing about weight loss — it was that noticeable!

    (And call me biased but a good photo can make lots of difference, too!)
    .-= Gail at Large´s last blog ..The Right Side Of The Tracks =-.

    • I really should start taking photos like from the front, side etc. I so wish I’d thought to do it from the very beginning. I’d probably feel a lot better and see the difference better then. I’ll have to start now. Can put my new tripod to good use :P

  11. You should be so proud of yourself! 50lbs is a fantastic achievement and you look gorgeous in your portrait! I know it’s hard to feel stuck on that plateau. I think I’ve taken up permanent residence on mine. But you’ve been such an inspiration to me and I’m sure many others as well. Don’t give up now that you’ve come so far. You’re a beautiful woman and you have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of EVER!
    .-= Alison´s last blog ..Visiting Kew Gardens – London, England =-.

    • haha I’m starting to think I’m a permanent resident on mine too! With about 100 lbs more left to go, that can’t be good :P I’m not going to give up but I do think I’ll completely lose my mind if the scale doesn’t budge soon.

  12. I think we tend not to see differences in things we see every day – and that is most likely the reason why you seem to still look the same when you look in the mirror. To someone who does not see you every day though the difference between those two pictures is stunning. Girl, you can be so proud of what you managed to lose already, so don’t give up on that success just now. There will always be phases of frustration – but try to push through those while keeping your eyes on the “final goal”.

    Oh, and just a little info that might give you a grin or two… It was you who inspired me to join the WW. The way you wrote about your weight and weight loss (or the lack thereof) and how you had finally found a concept that worked for you made me go “hhmm”. Having recognized myself and my former tries to lose weight in a lot of your posts, I thought I give it a try – and it does work for me too. It made me realize how much I hated counting calories all day long – and how I hated to deny myself just about everything – counting points (and the whole approach of the progeam) made things way easier for me. So thanks for that. :)

    • Hey that’s awesome! It’s really nice to hear that the things I write can help other people. Sometimes it just feels like I’m whining but I know how much I appreciate it when other people write honestly about their lives and all I get out of it so often.

      Weight Watchers is still tracking but it’s so much more simple than all the rest. Plus, the way I figure it is that WW has outlived all the other fad diets that have come and gone, there’s gotta be a reason for that. :)

  13. Tammy,

    That’s a great post. I know from experience (I lost 100 lb but have gained back 25 lb) that it’s incredibly difficult to love yourself, and the changes that you go through as you get to each stage of weight loss are as much of a challenge as losing the weight. You are lucky you can recognise yourself as ‘you’ even though you’ve lost the weight. I sort of lost myself for a while.

    Personally, I realised that it’s not for nothing that I gained that weight in the first place and often it’s harder to be without the weight that it is to be with it, even though I hated myself and still hate being heavier than everyone else.

    I hate the fact now that I walk with a limp and sometimes with crutches, and I fear that perhaps someone will think that the reason I am disabled is because I’m ‘big’. Back when I was bigger (like you a size 58, and now I’m a 46) I didn’t have this disability and sometimes I’m really resentful that I can’t walk properly now and I put in all that effort to lose weight! I also have horrors of ending up being a big girl on a scooter!

    Good luck with the weight loss, you seem to have found your own magic switch that changes your motivation, and that’s the hardest thing to do!

    You look much more content in your new photo!

    • I’m sorry to hear that you are having such a rough time of it at the moment. You are right, after all that hard work you deserve to be running around without a care in the world. What does it FEEL like though, to lose 100 lbs? Did it feel amazing to walk into a shop and try on regular sized clothes? I can’t wait for that day…

  14. I know how you feel, believe me. I was exactly where you are now several years ago. It is frustrating when you hit a so called plateau. I too had to realize at some point that not losing the actual weight but being happier was the big win.

    I think you have done an awesome job and I just know you are going to continue to do so. But still, in the mean time, do not forget to be proud of yourself and enjoy the wonderful woman that you are (cos you are!)

    * smooch *
    .-= DutchBitch´s last blog ..First one down… =-.

    • Thanks DB and good on you for getting out there and running! WOW :D What a lovely area you have to run in too, I wish I lived there… it’d be great to be able to go biking through the tulip fields!

  15. Wow- once again I find myself having things in common with you– the whole ‘no pictures of me’ thing– but you are doing something about it!! CONGRATS on this 50 lbs!! Here’s to the next 50– and dammit you’re an inspitation!! I wish you all the BEST and myself a swift kick in the butt to do the same!!!

    • It’s never easy to start. It’s a daunting task to try to lose weight and I don’t think it’s ever easy for anyone. I just try to tell myself something my best friend told me from a quote once. Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels! haha
      As for the photos, yeah… it’s always been a touchy area with me. I’m trying to take the attitude of screw it, it’s me and if people don’t like it they can FO! We’ll see how that works for the next little while.
      Thanks for visiting :)

  16. My dear friend… you look fantastic. To be honest with you, I never saw you as a “fat girl” when we were younger because you were always smaller than me and your legs were thinner (I always wanted thinner legs). I’ve been staring at this screen trying to think of the best way to phrase what I want to say but I’m just going to say it. If I can be grateful for anything these past few weeks, it is that it has forced me to reassess my priorities. So much time wasted on frivolous things! Time trying to work and wish myself into thinness, time wasted on comparing myself to others, time wasted putting myself down and feeling depressed because I couldn’t work myself into some twisted self appointed vision of the me I thought I was supposed to be. I don’t want to waste any more time. My priorities now are to get healthy, to love my friends and family and to soak up every moment of joy and beauty that I can in my Maker’s creation. Never see yourself in terms of how others see you or in terms of what the world says you should be. Nobody can ever measure up to those standards. Nobody ever does. Take care of yourself for you! Be healthy for you! Never be ashamed of who you are. Time is too precious and you never want to see that time as having been frivolously spent.

    • Oh if you could only see my legs now. That’s one of the things I kick myself about all the time because back when I was still living in Canada I was big but my legs still had a decent shape, I ended up getting so big that my legs got really tree trunk like and my thighs got ROLLS. I had major cankles too haha Well I still do I guess.
      You are so right about all the things you said though, life is definitely too short to worry about what other people think. A lesson I’ve been trying to teach myself for some time now. Slowly but surely, I’ll get there :) xoxo

  17. Great job losing 50 lbs! The difference in those two pictures is HUGE. You look younger, healthier and happier.

    You should take the bathing suit (or naked!) pictures for yourself now so that when you have another victory you’ll have proof that there is a big change in your body and not just your face.


  18. I used to be a person who was extremely shy, I never new what to say to anyone, it got to the point where I was actually scared of social situations and I would avoid meeting new people. I had convinced myself that I was never going to have a girlfriend and I was going to become a lonely old man. The more I focused on those feelings and emotions the worse I got. I knew I needed to change something and so I started the very long process of changing things in my life.

    I started studying self-help books, I started pushing myself to go out and meet people, I took up improv to boost my confidence (and quickly became addicted).

    The main thing I discovered during this whole great journey I went on is when people think back to how something made them feel they are reminded of those feelings and so start to feel them again. But if they focus on what you are arming for and what it could feel like then they already start to experience those emotions in at least some small measure. The more they experience the more they and more they start to feel it (it’s actually proven that the more you experience an emotion the more your brain becomes wired for that emotion).

    It turned my life around and made me a confident person. I got a promotion at work, I became addicted to improv, I met great friends and best of all I met my girlfriend.

    Anyway, this has probably gone a little off topic but I hope that sharing my situation and how I solved it with you help you with how you feel about yours.
    .-= Invader_Stu´s last blog ..The Koninginnedag Guide =-.

  19. Tammy both of those photos of you are beautiful..However the one on the right shows more of a sparkle. I know all to well what you are dealing with and I still need to get to that point where I am ready to do it myself. I am so proud of you..I really really am..it’s a hard thing to do..to lose the weight and figure out what triggers what and why we do what we do. You are doing it though and you are learning alot about yourself aswell. I love your eyes!!
    .-= Sonya´s last blog ..Lemon Poppyseed Shortbread =-.


    Man, I get behind on my blog reading and you throw this out there! How do you feel now after coming clean on your blog?? I have found it empowering even thought I haven’t given as much detail in the numbers as you have.

    Your post expresses my fears and frustrations completely. I am so thankful you put it out there so I know I am not the only one thinking these same thoughts. Now how do we get ourselves to stop thinking them??? :)

    Now… I am also behind on the returning of emails…
    .-= Kara´s last blog ..Quadding Fun! =-.

  21. Congrats on your achievement, Tammy!! You look COMPLETELY different! I won’t be able to make it to the Images meeting tomorrow (but should be able in June) but I’m sure if I saw you I would have to look twice to recognize you. You do look beautiful! Keep up the good work! It’s very inspirational.
    .-= Agnès´s last blog ..World Press Photo 2010 | 23 April- 20 June Amsterdam =-.

  22. AMAZING! You look fabulous.

    And you know what? I can never tell what I look like when I look in the mirror either.

    Keep it up, perseverance is the little things you do every day that add up to the difference!

  23. I think you did great. Numbers, pounds, kilo whatever are just numbers. It’s funny how “traumatic” it can feel to be over 200 pounds, over 300 pounds or whatever. A lot of people who consider themselves on the “fat” side (me included!) don’t want to say how much they weight (and again, me included!) – after all, this is kind of silly because I think your bone structure, whether your figure is balanced or not etc. mean much more than just numbers.

    All that to say, keep on working toward a goal you feel comfortable with. I can relate to the portrait pictures thing, I hated when I gained weight a few years ago (viva North America and junk food!) and trust me, these are not pictures I kept on my computer. I know I’m never going to be 100 pounds and I’m totally okay with that. Give yourself credit for the achievement!

  24. I am a Southern American, 37 years old and weigh 350+ pounds. You are my new hero! I love this site. keep up the good work!

  25. Felt like I was reading my own bio. I’ve been big all of my life. I weighed 11 pounds, 12 ounces when I was born. Think I had some slim years between 3 and 5 but don’t remember any of it. Puberty hit me hard. I’m 310 pounds. It’s hard to feel pretty and feminine. Hard to love myself, but I’m getting there.

    You go, girl! Keep it up!

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