So You Do Have Eyes, After All!

Now in other news, I was a kilo down on the Wednesday Weigh In. And RPM is still Hell on Wheels. I wish I could have pedalled into a pool last night, it was so stinking hot in the room. How do those Tour de France guys scoot all over the Pyrenees? I am beetroot and spluttering after three dinky little songs. RPM is a lot like running in that I want to weeeeeep about 20 minutes into it because everything huuuurts, Mummy! Can I have an icecream?

I always feel I’ll never make it. But of course must ride on, coz you’re in a room full of people and you don’t want to be known as the Wimpy McWimpyson who skulked out halfway. I am sure all this sweat and suffering must be good for me.

Thanks for your kick ass comments on the magazine story and photos! You guys rule the school. And yes Beckie dear, I am paying attention to what you guys are trying to tell me. Same goes for my mother’s hilarious text message: U R 1 FOXY LADY!!!.

I am really excited by the whole thing – and immensely grateful to Erin and the groovy publisher for the opportunity. Last entry I was just trying to convey how wacky and surreal it’s been, and how exposed I felt. Donna commented, "I bet you never imagined this when you started your journey!". That just about hits the nail on the head. As I wrote in Tales From The Scale, losing weight and transforming your body is like being a mad professor tinkering away in a lab on a top secret project. It’s a very private process and you don’t want people looking until you’re done.

This also goes for the writing – it’s felt like I’ve been doing that in secret too, even though there’s lots of you reading it feels rather cosy and unthreatening 🙂 After four and half years of the mad professor, suddenly there’s my big red mug in a very public magazine.  Initially I wanted to throw a blanket over my head and scream, "Look away! I’m not ready yet! Nothing to see here!".

And of course being a few pages away from Kate bloody Moss means you can’t help compare and contrast. My brain went into hypercriticism mode. For example, there was a photo of ten Grazia readers who’d won a contest to attend a party with David Coulthard and other Formula 1 stars. They were all tanned and slender and wearing those Sexy Little Dresses that folk with stomach rolls and jelly arms can only dream about. What was I doing in the same publication as these glamazons?

I had the same insecurities at the photo shoot. The photographer and makeup artist were both really friendly and nice. But for the whole three hours of the shoot all I could do was think, "You could staple these two chicks together and I would still be wider." They do lots of different photo shoots so they were asking me what MY story was about, and I found myself feeling really embarrassed to say it was about My Inspirational Weight Loss.

This whole experience has forced me to confront my self-perceptions. It seems despite losing a generous stack of weight, I still like to cling to a big greasy bucket full of Fat Girl beliefs.

Examples:

  • I am immediately inferior to anyone in the room smaller than me
  • Any success I have is undeserved
  • People don’t really notice anything I do or say because my fat makes me invisible
  • My opinion and thoughts wouldn’t really count anyway
  • No matter how much weight I lose I will still look like A Big Girl to most people
  • I shouldn’t celebrate my weight loss success. People will just think, "Well why’d you get so fat in the first place?"
  • If I was to celebrate my achievements, people would think I was full of myself, therefore wouldn’t like me anymore… therefore it’s a better idea to be mediocre!

That last reason is why I have kept Dietgirl secret for so long and not even mentioned Tales From The Scale on my other blog. I worry they’ll think I’m a twat when they discover I’ve had this whole other Secret Internet Life for years and/or they’ll think I am a raging egomaniac.

I’m beginning to realise now that all of the above is pure bullshit. It’s like I am saying, "Here folks! Let me save you the energy of making assumptions about me, I’ve already done it for you!". Nobody thinks this shit about me. It is quite arrogant of me to assume that my intelligent friends and readers would think that way. It’s only me who thinks this rubbish and it is bloody ridiculous. I need to stop looking at the world through the eyes of the Fat Girl. There is so many things in life more important than fretting about fat, and I deep down I know this. But letting go means losing my favourite excuse and leaving my comfort zone. If you don’t try, you can’t fail.

I think I’m mostly talking about writing here. I’d half hoped the book wouldn’t be published in the UK then hoping the Grazia story would be pulled so nobody would notice me. I wanted to stay secret as Dietgirl: invisible and anonymous with friendly, sympathetic readers. If the Outside World™ paid any attention then there’d be the risk that someone might think I’m shithouse. But the real world is a scary place and if you sit around worrying what people think and don’t take some risks, you won’t get anywhere. I’ve managed to get over my Fat Girl Fears in terms of romance and travelling and running and RPM – so now I need to decide if I want to do that with the writing. It’s the last real chunk of my life where I am still holding myself back. So now it’s time to apply that fearlessness and determination to the thing that actually means more to me than anything else.

The thing that struck me the most about the women at my photo shoot was how comfortable and relaxed they seemed in their own skin. The makeup artist was so relaxed as she dabbed away at my mug, knowing exactly what colour she wanted to use and how to fix my hair. The photographer loped casually around the room, arranging the lighting and peering through viewfinders. So natural, so at ease. What was their secret? Where do I get me some of that? But then yesterday some of you commented how happy and relaxed I looked in the photo. At first I scoffed and snorted at the screen. But then I realised you guys were right. This may just be the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever written, but I am scared to admit I feel happy and more confident now. At first I felt like I was looking at a stranger in that picture, but that is really me these days. It doesn’t make you a flaming egofreak to like yourself. It just makes you someone getting on with things and living your life. I really wish I had realised this years ago.

CRIKEY! Holy navel gazing Batman. I realise how ridiculous this all may sound. Apologies, but I had to write my way through all these crazy thoughts. It’s taken five hours of deleting and rewriting this waffle today to finally figure out why I’ve been freaking out. Cheers again for being so patient and cool.

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22 thoughts on “So You Do Have Eyes, After All!

  1. Nothing at all ridiculous here, Dietgirl! Your openness is a great inspiration to me both as a writer and a Fat Girl on my own lard-busting journey. I have already realized it’s not about the lard at all; it’s about finding out who I am and freeing myself to be comfortable in my own skin. You have a knack for putting that in words with gut-busting honesty served up with a generous dollop of humor. Thanks!

  2. Go For It Diet Girl! It seems your capable of doing anything you put your mind to.
    Rock on!
    Vicky

  3. You are even more beautiful than your writing, which I didn’t think was possible before seeing you in all your glossy glory. Thanks so much for scanning the article for your American stalkers, um, I mean, readers and supporters like me!

  4. I didn’t get around to commenting on the last entry, so I’m going to say it here: Congratulations! Again! Plus you look great in the magazine. Wierd coincidence that I just got my hair cut short and have accidentally ended up with your ‘do. Stalking by accident?

    I’m so impressed that you are letting yourself be confident, it’s difficult, I’m going through some of it myself. I’ve been in this town for over 3 years, but my group of friends is still relatively new to me, and I keep finding myself thinking nonsense like “they don’t REALLY want me here, I’m the awkward geeky large girl they just put up with because…um…” It’s yet more of that inner journey isn’t it? Never mind the physical focus of what to eat and how to train, re-training the inside of your head can get pretty sticky sometimes.

    I bet SC is bursting with pride. Go look at your reflection in his eyes any time you need a reminder of how talented, smart and beautiful you are.

  5. Ahhh so glad to hear you’re going to let go of your fears and not hold back with your writing!! Your honesty and openness (and wit and humour!) will get you far with that. Can’t wait to see what you do with it! Hell, you could just take all the DG archives from Day One and you’ve got one hell of a great and inspiring book right there!

  6. Thanks so much for scanning and posting the article. You are fabulous and beautiful and a hell of alot more interestng than Paris Hilton and the likes! I read the Tales book and wished I could place a face with all the wonderful stories you all shared in the book. It’s great to see you, I think I’ll re-read the book now.

    Good luck in your writing, I always enjoy reading what you write here.

    – One of your many anonymous fans (from Detroit Michigan, USA)

  7. Listen, I would pay good money to read just about anything you care to write. Don’t get me wrong, I’m delighted to get it for free online, but if it came between two covers with your name on the front one, hell yeah, I’d buy it.
    Also, I have to say, this website was instrumental in the change in my head that made me start losing weight.
    Because? You are so relentlessly awesome.
    So, thanks.
    S

  8. Your list of fat girl beliefs must have been ripped from my journal! I know they are what is keeping me from losing more than I have so far and I am working hard to knock them down, it sure helps to hear from someone else how invalid they are. And the article is really wonderful too 🙂

  9. You look far hotter than that scrawny runt, Kate Moss. The photos are great and I love that top.

    I sure identify with your Fat Girl beliefs. In a way I think (for me anyway) it is underestimating other people. I mean, I’d never think anyone was inferior or less entitled to their opinion because of the way they looked yet I expect other people to treat me like that. Weird, huh?

    Anyway, congratulations.

  10. Hello there,
    I find you incredibly fascinating and hilarious. I’m 16 and quite a lot overweight, but have recently found the strength to get rid of my inner fat girl. It’s happening, but it’s hard, and this blog makes it so much easier to say no to the sweets and good-bye to the weight.
    Thanks. 🙂

  11. Oh. Shit.

    I read your post. Clicked – Comments. Read comments before I posted my own.

    I got to the one above mine. Emma. I burst into tears.

    Shauna. This 16 yr old was inspired by you. This 16 yr old could very easily be the child that you and I and half your readers were a few years ago. At the beginning of our ‘fat girl’ journey.

    I’m still sobbing so bare with me. There is a point, I’m sure of it!

    Getting away from our own stories and struggles (remembering you aren’t responsible for another persons life)…. I have to ask this.

    If you could turn your inner thoughts around at this very point… what would you say, as a healthy woman, to this young girl who is just starting to lose her inner fat girl?

    What wisdom would you impart on her?

    List them, in your head, or on paper. The words you would say to build and cherish and assist this young girl.

    Done it yet?

    When you have finished, read them back to yourself. And believe each word. Because THAT is your true self. Not the manifested inner fat girl. I think it’s time she either moves out, or starts paying rent don’t you?
    ________________

    *paging Dr Beck.. Dr Beck, there is a phone call for you*

  12. WoW – You are really a superstar!

    Here’s another crazy Fat Girl belief to add to the list:
    I can only date big men because I will crush any man of normal size.

  13. My web connection was crappy last week – I managed to read the entry but couldn’t download the jpegs till today. I spent all weekend dying to see the photos! Shauny, you’re so gorgeous. (And I want your haircut.)

    (I just lurk, but I think you’re fabulous.)

  14. Navel-gaze away, babe.

    And write. Definitely. I’m curious to know what; I’ve got a novel sitting in my brain trying to ooze its way out, and lord knows I could use company, ya know? ::hugs::

  15. Well I know you seem to not like the attention….but last week I emailed a US magazine that I like called “SELF” about you and you inspirational story! I gave them links to your blogs and a link to Amazon to see “tales from the scales”…they emailed me back today saying they thought there was something there and that they (the emailing/checking girly) was going to forward it on to one of the editors….sorry if you didn’t want me to do that….I didn’t know until this post that you were somewhat unhappy about the attention… (We are all so happy for you!)….but I know many people who would be greatly thankful for an article with your amazing story in it….or even better a monthly column written by you! Good luck, there are so many of us out here who are very proud of you…. (See I am like a gloating mother or something (spreading the word))! So if you hear from SELF they are for real and it is my fault!
    ~Loretta

  16. You’re amazing! I just found your blog today. I started mine in January, and had been feeling kinda blah on my latest plateu – but you’ve given me fresh inspiration. If you don’t mind, can I put a link to your blog on mine?

  17. As you get older, the most wonderful thing happens. You don’t care what other people think of you. It’s an amazing feeling.

    Now, everytime you feel the need to self criticise or feel that people are thinking badly of you I want you to remember this…

    Think not of what other’s think of you but only of what YOU think of other’s.

    NJ

  18. Now, I extremely love this post. No, not for all the Fat Girl insecurities – I have them too. No, not for the happiness that you feel now – although I am happy for you. The reason I extremely love this post is this: I have finally found someone else who refers to “Mc” things the way I do. You said Wimpy McWimpyson and I say that sort of crap all the time. Blair asked me the other day why I insist on saying things like that all the time. I must be nuts. I call Phoebe (our newest sproglet) Schnizel McSchniz. Why? I have absolutely no idea.
    Thanks for making me feel that I am not the only Speaky McSpeakyman out there!!