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There is nothing like a picture to knock you off of your pedestal.

Why do pictures look so different from a reflection in the mirror? Before I left the house, I thought my shirt had a slimming effect. My hair was full and framed my face so well. Then I saw the photo that was taken of me and my friends (I’m the fat one on the right) and my heart just sunk. It’s still very obvious – I need to lose more weight.

After I woke up, I weighed myself and saw the lowest number yet, albeit only by .2 pounds, so that was a great way to start my day. I proceeded to eat a couple of pieces of low-cal peanut butter toast before heading off to Step Class, where I burned over 600 calories! Then I went home, cleaned up and made a really tasty lunch: grilled chicken breasts, fried potatoes, instant gravy and corn. I was able to eat a lot of food for very few calories. Then I had to run my daughter to a birthday party and go shopping at WalMart.

There were not many groceries to put away so I had enough time to watch a movie before going to a party to celebrate the end of breast cancer treatments. It was a relaxing afternoon but it was pretty hard to sit in my lazy chair and NOT get snacks from the kitchen. I almost made popcorn but since I was watching an HBO movie, there were no commercials and I did not want to miss anything so I passed on the snacks. I faithfully had my water bottle, though and drank plenty of it, along with playing on my phone during slow parts.

Since both girls were gone, my husband and I decided to go to supper. We settled on Ruby Tuesday, which turned out to be a great choice, since they had all of the calories listed next to each menu item, making it easy for me to pick the right option. I was actually a little too full after supper, but I had enough calories left for one light beer. Looking back, I wish I would have stuck to the plan.

When we arrived at the party, there was food everywhere: chips, dip, chocolate, scotch-a-roos, pretzels and an open bar. I only had one light drink – a cider – but I could not stop snacking on the food. Do you know how long it’s been since I had a scotch-a-roo? I LOVE those things! My family actually renamed them after my uncle, calling them Byron Bars instead, so they have been a staple at all of our family gatherings. It was at that precise moment – when I was already feeling guilty for eating too much – when we took the photo.

It was so shocking to see that I am still the big girl in the group. None of them even noticed, or at least didn’t mention, that I had lost weight. They were thrilled to see me, so I did not feel slighted, but obviously, they were not overly surprised by the difference in appearance. I didn’t get worked up, though, because the night was about my friend, Nora, who had just finished her cancer treatments, so there was no reason to focus on anyone else. Seeing myself in that photo was enough to make me want to yell and scream. How can I still look so fat after all of these months of hard work?

So what did I do? I kept eating, of course! I ate a few more pieces of chocolate and then when we got home, I dug into my husband’s cookie stash and angrily ate about 6 mini cookies before going to bed in a huff. It was just so disappointing. It made me want to quit. My mind was repeating all of those terrible messages that I used to say to myself: “you will never look skinny. What is wrong with you? Look how hard you’ve worked and you’re still not even half-way there! When people see you, they only sit a fat girl. They must feel sorry for you.” I could go on and on, but I don’t imagine that is good for me. Somehow, I need to leave this pitty party.

The only option was to go to bed and try not to think about it. Tomorrow is a new day and I know that I can turn things around again. I will track each calorie and take a nice long walk. There is no reason to give up hope just yet. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the weeks and months ahead of me, I need to focus on one day at a time. I never have been good at that, though. Who can be patient in this day and age with immediate gratification from all of our electronic devices, fast food and Amazon deliveries? I also need to think about how far I’ve come and how at the beginning of this journey, I couldn’t imagine losing even 30 pounds and now here I am!

It just occurred to me that my friend Nora, who just finished the cancer treatments, would be so annoyed by my shallow desires to lose weight. I bet she is just thankful to be alive and done with chemo. She wants to stick around to watch her kids graduate, get married, have grandchildren, and I am worried about losing a few pounds? I am not going through cancer, so how can I be anything but grateful? See what I mean? I am always looking at the big picture.

Somehow, I need to make room in my brain to allow myself to have dreams and goals and not worry about how other people would feel about them. It’s probably – ok, it is exactly – the same thinking I should have about that photo. My true friends and family do not see a fat lady. They see a beautiful, loving woman that would do anything to support them. They see a goof-ball who loves to laugh and sing about the amazing things that life has to offer. If I don’t see the same person, then maybe I just need to close my eyes and imagine how they lovingly see me. I suppose it’s exactly how I see them – as irreplaceable treasures.

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