I know I have promised Before and After pictures before and I know I have failed to deliver.
There are reasons for that.
First of all, my husband is kind of bad at thinking about taking pictures of anything, much less me. I was always the one behind the camera and I was too embarrassed to ask him to purposefully take a picture of me. So we have hundreds of pictures of him. Him with the kids. Him on the couch. Him in the car. Him at the birthday party. And I was okay with that. Who'd want a picture of "all this" anyway?
There were a few pictures of me, but I would go through our computer and delete them. They were so embarrassing. The woman in the pictures was not the woman I pictured myself to be, the woman I saw in the mirror. I knew I was fat, but that fat? It was painful to look the reality in the face. My face. My big, fat face.
So I did my best to erase the evidence. By deleting almost all the proof of where I began on my journey.
And even when I did begin my weight loss journey, I superstitiously forewent the traditional "before" snapshot. I had so many "before" pictures marking so many beginnings of failed attempts at weight loss. I was so sure that this most recent weight loss attempt was just going to be One. More. Failure. Why would I want to capture that?
Then, I did start to lose weight. But being a single married mom, my only available photographers were wiggly and short. I would pose for my willing photographers only to be rewarded with fuzzy pictures of my legs and feet. Or the ceiling.
So...There just aren't many pictures of this journey.
Which is sad. Because I do so love a good Before and After side-by-side.
My husband and I went to the post office today to apply for passports. Part of that process involves pictures, of which they gave us a copy. When I got home I happened to be going through my wallet. Where I found one of the most hideous pictures of me--my Nevada driver's license--taken at one of my heaviest times.
So, here is my Before and After:
Pretty horrible and amazing all at the same time, eh?
It's funny/not funny how this can simultaneously fill me with pride and shame. I can't help but run through a range of thoughts.
How did I ever let myself get that bad? Look how gross I am. I have a whole extra face around my face. No makeup. Sweaty. Gross. I really let myself go in so many ways. How could I not see that as I looked in the mirror every day? No wonder I never wanted to leave my house. No wonder I was so embarrassed to be around people. How could I not get control of myself?
How grateful I am that I finally did take control! I really am pretty, aren't I? Look how far I've come. Look at what all that sweat and pain brought about. I only have ONE chin now! And cheek bones! I have cheek bones! Why did it take me so long to figure this out? I hope that my kids will be proud of me and only get embarrassed because of the things I do instead of the way I look. Dang! My husband is lucky! I can't wait to go on a trip now! We'll meet new people! I can fit comfortably in an air plane seat!
And these are only thoughts about my face. Imagine if my whole body had been in the picture.
My advice to anyone out there...TAKE PICTURES!!! No matter what point in your journey you are at...TAKE PICTURES!! Even if you're sitting on the couch, just thinking about losing a few (hundred) pounds. TAKE A PICTURE OF YOURSELF! And then DON'T DELETE IT! No matter how disgusted you are. No matter how badly you don't want your children to remember you like that. No matter how sure you are that "it's not that bad". TAKE PICTURES!
Trust me on this one.
And then go and make your "Before" an "After".