Being Different to Be Like Everyone Else

The other day at my therapist’s office, I was talking about this post I wrote, in which a polo shirt became a symbol of finally being just like everyone else.

Somehow the conversation turned to my upcoming trip to Kansas City to grade AP exams, being out of my element and having to learn to get some measure of control in an eating environment I have little control over with regard to food choice, portion size, and frequency of feeding.  I mentioned that I planned to take a small food scale and quarter-cup measuring cup in an attempt to better control what I ate each day.  I also mentioned I was a little uneasy about this because it would look odd to others.  Even though I’m now built differently than others on the inside, I want so much to look like everyone else on the outside, right down to my eating behaviors.  I want to fit in.  I want to be like everyone else.

But even though I’m looking more and more like everyone else, I’m still not the same as everyone else.

I’m missing 75% of my stomach.  I’m restricted by my anatomy from eating a full plate of food.  I leave food behind.  A LOT.  I count every protein and carb gram.  I take 2 multivitamins and 2 calcium supplements daily.  I take a magnesium supplement 3 times a week.  I take an iron supplement 4 times a week and a B12 supplement once a week.  I count every calorie that passes my lips.  I’m learning to run again after not being able to do it for 21 years.

I’m not just like everyone else.

I’m pretty sure I never will be.  While you’re probably thinking, Why would you want to be?, understand that for the better part of my 41 years, I looked so drastically different than everyone else that my desire to be like everyone else burns fiercely.  Now that I have the opportunity to do just that, the times when I’m not like everyone else jars me a little bit.  It’s like seeing the 440 pound version of me in my mind’s eye and thinking that I’m still her.

Because in my mind, I still am.  My brain is having a tough time catching up to the physical me I see on a daily basis.

Then the conversation turned to how much I hated the sameness of my eating.  If you look at my food journal in My Fitness Pal, week after week, it’s the same group of things that I tend to eat, over and over:  grilled chicken breast, baked boneless skinless chicken thighs, green beans, ham, pinto beans, ham and eggs, grilled fish of nearly every kind, salad, sirloin steak, turkey breast…the list goes on and on.

I hate this. 

I hate the fact that I eat the same damn things ALL THE DAMN TIME.

Before I had surgery, I couldn’t bear to eat the same food for more than two meals in a row.  Now?  It’s not an uncommon thing for me to eat the same exact thing at different meals for a week straight.  This bothers me tremendously, because while I thrive on routine in other aspects of my life, eating is one of those things where routine is bad for me.  Why?

When I am eating the same things consistently, I get bored with my eating.

When I get bored with my eating, I eat things that aren’t conducive to my weight loss.

When I eat things that aren’t conducive to my weight loss, I sabotage my own progress.

When I sabotage my own progress, I get frustrated with myself.

This is starting to sound like a DirectTV commercial, isn’t it?

I wish that I could be happy eating the same thing day in and day out, like my husband.  But I can’t, and I’m not.  It really is a difficult thing for me to stick to the sameness of my eating plan.  But here’s the thing:

It works.

And that’s what drives me crazy:  the fact that it works, and that it works well.  It has worked really well for the past 10 months to get me where I am now.  And I’m hoping that it will work until I get to my goal.  But it’s tough to stay the course–it’s like I said Sunday, self-discipline is tough.

Then I reflect on things like this, that happened today:

I was at Old Navy, buying a pair of compression workout capris because it is now too warm for my fleece warmup pants.  After my experience running on the dreadmill in shorts Monday and watching my sad, saggy thighs jiggle as I did so, I decided never again would I run in shorts.  I’m not good with how my legs look in exercise shorts–I haven’t reached that level of comfort with how my body looks in the wake of all these pounds gone, and don’t know that I ever will.  It is something I have to work on.

Anyway…I saw this shirt on my way out and decided to buy it.  I’m building my t-shirt collection for the summer and decided I needed a team shirt to rep my hometown ball club.

Note that it is a women’s XL.

Not a plus-sized shirt.  Not a men’s shirt.  A regular sized women’s shirt.

I am pretty positive that I have never worn regular women’s sizes in my entire life.  EVER. 

To quote Vice-President Joe Biden, this is a big fuckin’ deal.

I’ve never been able to shop for clothes in regular women’s sizes.  EVER.  The fact that I could go into Old Navy, buy a pair of workout pants AND a t-shirt that weren’t plus-sized is HUGE for me.

In this way, I am becoming like everyone else.

I just have to be different than everyone else to do it.

6 responses to “Being Different to Be Like Everyone Else

  1. So many things you write apply to me too. In fact I hadn’t even thought of Old Navy as a place to purchase clothes. I still have trouble realizing that I don’t have to go to Catherine’s for clothes any longer.

    • I’m slowly figuring out that I can go to places that aren’t Lane Bryant or Avenue to buy clothes. And even when I do go to other stores, I have a hard time figuring out what size to try on because I always want to pick the bigger size. I have a tough time believing that I am actually as small as I am now.

  2. My new favorite store is Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor LOFT. All of my clothes seems to come from those two places! EVERY time I walk into those two stores, I feel as though I’m going to get the looks from the sales associates – “Why is she here, she can’t fit into anything from this store!” I always think nothing will fit me and then I walk out having spent tons of money lol…. when will we get over this?!?!?

    • I haven’t tried shopping in either of those places–I’m still a little too big for either of them just yet. My favorite place is Talbots Woman, but I’m inching down to be able to shop on the straight-sized part of the store now, hooray! I also love Lands End and Ralph Lauren. Sometimes I get the same feeling you get–“certainly she can’t fit into our clothes!”–but I have to convince myself that I really CAN wear those things now.

  3. Welcome to Kansas City! 🙂

    • Thanks! I’ve been to town several times before–we have gone to KC for the past 7 years to grade exams. I skipped last year since I was doing all my pre-op testing and prep during the time I’d normally be working.

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