I saw a photo of myself at a networking event, and my first thought was THIS IS NOT GOOD.
I look enormous. And I was confused, because I don’t *feel* enormous, and I don’t see myself that way when I look in the mirror.
I was genuinely confused: my brain was having a proper “does not compute” moment.
I asked the South African if the person in this photo was what I really look like.
It’s not a trap!
It wasn’t a trap, and I told him it was a genuine question, because I couldn’t match up the person in the photograph to the person I see in the mirror.
The South African looked slightly terrified. The last time we spoke about my weight, we had our biggest fight EVER; silent treatment and all. If you know me, you’ll know that I don’t use the silent treatment, like, EVER.
But this time I was so hurt, angry and upset that I knew I wouldn’t be able to have a constructive conversation that didn’t end in another fight. So this time I chose to say nothing, apart from to share that I wasn’t ready to talk about anything.
So I could understand my South African’s hesitation when I asked him a direct question about my weight. We both know I’ve put on a fair old amount this year. We spoke about my tendancy to stress eat, and to hoard “bad” foods in my office so I can binge eat in “secret”.
We spoke about things that we can do together to get our eating back on a better track for both of us.
I say better track for us here, because I don’t stand for dieting. I’m learning about intuitive eating instead, and about intermittent fasting (which I know many people see as just another form of diet. I would see it that way too, if it hadn’t been recommended by the amazing Dr M. as a way get back in control of my blood sugar levels, and my insulin resistance).
So after this discussion with the SA, we have a vague plan in place, which includes me taking up swimming again.
But he hadn’t answered my direct question of “do I really look like that?”
If in doubt, ask someone you’re not sleeping with.
I can understand why – I think he wanted to avoid that huge argument as well. So, I turned to my BFF. I sent her a screenshot of this photo, and asked her if that’s what I really look like.
Her answer was no, I really don’t. I was kind of slouched over, and it was a terrible angle. That was really all I needed to hear.
The fact that she used her cat, Floof, as an example of bad camera angles was just the cherry on the delicious cake, really.
My concern was less about how big I look in this photo, but more about how I can’t see that person when I look in the mirror.
I guess I was mostly looking for reassurance that I’m not delusional. Other than that, it’s just a photo. Whatcha gonna do, hey?
I’m actually really proud of myself that I could approach this from a place of curiousity, rather than self-judgement. I didn’t look at this photo and think, “Jaysus, I must starve myself immediately – I don’t deserve food.”
Instead, I thought to ask the people around me for an answer. I didn’t panic. I didn’t take this photo as fact. I questioned this image – is it really me? And does it matter if it is?
Rather than worrying about how many people will look at that photo and think “good lord, she’s a bit of a Heffalump,” I’ll focus on the praise I received for my talk at this particular meeting.
I’ll focus on the conversation I had about branding for my new business.
I’ll focus on my networking friend calling me later that afternoon to ask me a social media “how to”.
I’ll focus on the wonderful feeling of validation that I get from doing these talks, that “hey, I actually kind of know what I’m talking about here” feeling.
So much better than spending energy worrying over the camera angle.