Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Beginning at 16

Five years ago, I had a closet full of size 16s. Although I didn’t have a scale then, I suspect I was about 160 pounds. Standing only 5-foot, 2-inches, I was more than chunky. Sometimes, I had to buy 1X. At that size, I needed a little extra fabric when I sat down.

Funny. I never really saw myself as that big. But, unfortunately, photographs don't lie. In fact, I suspect that family photographers secretly work for the diet industry.

My husband took a photo of our son Evan and me the day he entered kindergarten. That morning, we walked hand-in-hand down the sidewalk to the school, the crisp September light virtually igniting Evan’s blond head as he shouldered his Thomas-the-Tank-Engine backpack. Needless to say, it was I and not Evan who wept like a baby when he pushed his way into the swarm of milling children on the playground that day without so much as a wave or a backward glance.

When we got our photos back (still using film!), I impatiently tore open the pack, eager to relive that poignant mother-and-son moment on the sidewalk.

But when I got to the photo, I felt sick. The warm feelings I had anticipated turned sour. In the photo, my backside blotted out everything - almost literally it seemed to me. It was all I could see. How can that possibly be me? I thought in disbelief. I tore up the photo, as if it were that easy to destroy a memory.

Although the photo is gone, I'm going to go looking for that negative. If I find it, I'll post the picture here. Weight loss success stories always start in humiliation, but - thankfully! - end in elation. That's the story I want to tell to you.

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