So much for the body positivity in my comment to Angie's Pat on the Back post... Monday at work our multidisciplinary team took photos for our hospital news account and when I saw the photo I went to a pretty bad place. "I look enormous!" "All that recent work I've been doing on eating healthier, cooking at home, and biking to work everyday has had no effect!" "You have let yourself go!" "You have no idea how to dress yourself."
I was standing at an extremely unflattering angle and my clothing choices that day were not quite right, this I can clearly see from the photo. It may be the all time worst photo I have ever seen of myself. (Friends have verified that it is indeed horrible.) I know that I look better in person and that I often look awkward in photos. I also know that it doesn't really matter at all what size I am, as long as I am healthy, but that message doesn't easily pass through to my brain's judgment center. I moped all afternoon and cringed when I saw my colleagues sharing the post all over social media.
When I started this job three years ago I was severely underweight and not at all healthy. The previous year had been spent as a patient at this hospital where I work, undergoing cancer treatment. I lost 15 kg over that year, and my hair as well. Over time I slowly reached a healthy weight - my lifetime goal weight, in fact, and my hair finally hit my shoulders. Then treatment side effects and complications led to severe illness, including ICU admission, and months of recovery. I had to stop exercising. I gained weight (hello hospital lobby bakery!)
My conscious brain is constantly telling me that I am amazing. I am doing great. I am back to biking. I am cooking the foods that I know my damaged system can tolerate. I am making excellent choices for my health and happiness. I am shopping for clothes I LOVE and are truly me and am building capsules. My inner critic is shrieking, however. HOW can one photo cause me to throw all that positive thinking out the window? And on a lighter note, any advice on how to strike a flattering pose?