I am a work in progress.

About a year ago, I exposed myself. As in undressed, and in my bra and panties. I allowed you to see what, in the past, only Carlos has seen. And then an entire year had passed.

I thought I grew.
I thought I appreciated more.
I thought I was more comfortable.

I recently received an email from my friend, Michelle at Eating Journey. Michelle, if you don’t know, is the originator of the whole Exposed movement. She dreamed up the concept of posting ones body, vulnerable and all, in appreciation for what our bodies do, not what they look like. Michelle’s email shared a whole year of bloggers exposing themselves, standing proud and declaring love for our body. Michelle also asked us to celebrate the year anniversary of the Exposed movement by doing a reflection post.

As I began to prepare for the post, I grabbed my camera and stripped down to the bare essentials. I took a couple of test pictures of my extra skin, just because I was curious. I have to admit, I expected to see progress. I mean, come on – an entire year has passed. True, my weight has stayed the same…I have maintained my 150lb weight, a 90lb weight loss for over a year. But a whole year has passed; a year of working out, a year of running my butt off, a year of fighting this journey — I expected to see some results.

Extra arm skin...

Pullin' up the belly skin.

I took the arm skin picture and the belly skin picture and then took the belly skin picture from another angle. I was on my hands & knees with my belly skin hangin’ down and I snapped a photo. I was speechless. I almost started crying. Although I was alone, I was so embarrassed. What started as my intent to take pictures of my flaws and be proud turned into a moment of utter brokenness. I have come so far in my journey and yet here I was, staring at something no amount of weight lifting or cardio could fix.

For so long, I’ve hidden it from you, my readers. I’ve pretended it didn’t exist. I’ve worn just the right outfit which hides my imperfection. I’ve stood at just the right angle to make sure the picture captures me well. Outside of the post a year ago, I have not acknowledged my physical imperfections. Sure, I’ve talked about the “extra skin” but I’ve made an intent not to photograph it. And while I don’t think it is beneficial to concentrate on ones flaws, I do think it is appropriate to be honest with ourselves. I am 1,000% sure that by hiding my flaws from you, I was hiding them from myself.

I thought if I didn’t show you,
I didn’t have to acknowledge it myself.

I had no intention of sharing that photo with you. I sent it to a friend and told her she was the only one who was going to see it. And then…right there, amidst all the negative, self-criticism I was dishing out, it dawned on me.

I still ran 10 miles.


My physical appearance has no effect on what my body can do. I have 10-15lbs of extra skin on my body but that doesn’t stop me from running 10 miles. As I sat there wallowing in self-pity, a flash of hope appeared. I felt a sense of tingle surround me, a soft nudge telling me I need to be proud. Be proud of who I am, as much mentally as I am physically.

I initially fought the “be proud” thought, there was no way I could show the picture – but then, it dawned on me. If I didn’t show the picture, I would be writing a bunch of words that had no meaning.

My imperfections are my imperfections.
I own them. They are mine to declare.
My imperfections contribute to who I am.
My physical imperfections do not take away from who I am.
I can still run 10 miles.

I am not perfect.

I am a work in progress.

I am not perfect ~ I am a work in progress.


I will not let my skin take away from what I can accomplish. I will not hide behind the skin and give it the benefit of taking away my proudness. I will not be afraid to stand up and say, my body is amazing.

Updated to add: I’ve gotten a few emails about being scared to lose weight because of the extra skin. Please hear me when I say I am so much happier now with my body than I was before. I love getting dressed in the morning. I would rather hide 10-15lbs of extra skin than 100lbs of fat. Also, as it relates to being in a relationship, I met Carlos a month after I started working out – he has seen me at my largest and at my smallest. I am speaking for him when I say my body is more attractive now that it is healthier and more fit (extra skin and all) compared to when I was 100lbs overweight.

On a side note, I’ll update later this afternoon about the winner from last weeks giveaway as well as some other housekeeping notes.


Comments

  1. We have the same stomach, and I sit here, in tears, feeling the exact same. The tight shirts or compression shorts that hid the tummy skin so well in all my “update” posts. Except, they will have to operate on my stomach, and so much of it will probably go away as a result (so I’m told). And while I hate it OHSOMUCH, I don’t know how I feel about having to have much-needed stomach-repairing surgery and have them do that as a result.

    I congratulate you for all that you’ve accomplished! I only just began running a few weeks ago, and I’m up to 3 miles and no intention of stopping. 🙂 I love what you said about the skin not deterring you from what your body can do – YES! I want to scream that with a celebratory fist bump!

  2. Thank you so much for your bravery. I want to pass along the same ideas to my daughter. Thank you for sharing!

  3. You are truely an inspiration and you have all of my admiration. I could not have done this. No one I know could have done this. You are a beautiful person inside and out and never forget how far you have come to get to this point.

  4. First time visiting and I am in awe of your bravery and so very proud. YOU RAN TEN MILES? Truly awesome, awesome, awesome.

  5. There is no shame in having surgery to remove the extra skin after losing so much weight. Weight to go! I exposed myself too a few months ago but but slightly different reasons.

  6. I came across your website prior to your mom passing away, and check in periodically to see how you are. I am not one to comment, but I really am proud of you and inspired by you! Your post brought tears to my eyes, because you are beautiful and I am so glad you are confident in yourself. Thanks!

  7. Thank you for revealing something so difficult. You are truly helping the rest of us in this struggle find the ability to look at our successes and not our imperfections. You are a true inspiration, and I’m really enjoying catching up on you and the rest of the “Prior Fat Girls” blogs.

  8. I don’t usually comment on here, but, having lost 65lbs in the past 18 months, I just wanted to reassure you that my stomach looks exactly the same. I hate it. But the only time I ever notice it is when I’m doing planks or press-ups in my underwear (not very often!). And as you say, its much easier to hide with good clothing than all the extra weight we previously had.
    Well done for being brave – very inspirational, and congratulations on the 10 miles! 🙂

  9. thank you again Jenn. I just posted a horrific picture of myself and cried. I love you blog. You are a real inspiration. I can do this, no matter how many times I stop and start. I just have to keep restarting and not just stop.

    You rock! Skin and all.
    T

  10. Hey Jen,
    I don’t comment often. I know that look, it’s still me even after plastics at the right angle. I also can tell you that there is not 10-15 extra pounds of skin on you. It weighs much less than you would think. That was one of the biggest disappointment for me after surgery, I expected a huge loss, in fact, it was a mere 3 pounds and maybe another after my thighs were done. What it did do was change the way clothes fit and where fat shows back up if I put on a pound. Those pictures are hard to share but glad you did. I’ve never “exposed” but have similar on my blog. It is what it is. Glad you’ve made peace with it.

  11. Dianne Foy says:

    Just wanted to say “good on ya” Jen! I’ve been having a bit of a down sort of spell with my body lately. I realise it’s been because I’ve been doing Pilates and Body Balance and getting more up-close and personal with my saggy tummy with its stretch marks than I do normally in gym classes. I guess we all have our expectations that we’ll love our bods when we lose the weight, but there’s definitely some adjustment to do in getting there!

  12. wow. That’s all I can say. I cried so much when I read this because I, too, am dealing with this after a 140 lb. weight loss.

    It has bothered me so much to the point where I was thinking about weight loss surgery. However, I’ve decided to hold off just in case I have children in the next few years or so.

    I still feel unattractive in front of my boyfriend and in front of mirrors…but you’re right. I’ve ran a half marathon. I’m healthy. I’m off my medications for blood pressure and cholesterol. I’m a “normal” (what’s that?) size. I’m happy and healthy. And, I FEEL so much better about myself now than when I did with the extra weight. It was totally worth it.

    I will think of it as my “battle scars”.

    Thanks for having a wonderful site and for keeping it real with all your readers!

    • Jessica.. I love your “battle scars” statement. That is a wonderful way to think of it.. I too am sitting here crying ( I was thinking I was an idiot for doing so, until I read your post ), now I realize it is all the emotions of each persons hard work and frustration. Good luck in your continued journey! Ours is a lifetime “work in progress” but with an eventual “lifetime achievement award” of being healthy and happy !!!!

  13. Jen, I happened upon your site because I was searching “work in progress”. I have lost 185 pounds in 2 years, but have gained back almost 50 pounds. The minute I read about your “skin” issues, I identified. But unlike you, my similar issues have partly caused me to backslide. After reading just the little that I read above, I will be starting reviewing your blog beginning from day one. As I was reading this entry, I immediatedly thought “OMG, THIS IS HOW I FEEL!!!”. Thank you for the help that you don’t realize that you have given me! I am rooting for your success and beginning again on mine!

Trackbacks

  1. […] on Twitter, you may have seen a lot of tweets lately with #exposed in them. The first one I saw was Prior Fat Girl‘s. I was on a school bus full of very noisy 1st graders when I read her post. It was a good […]

  2. […] fact, I see the power in Ex Hot Girl‘s and Prior Fat Girl’s honesty, so I’m going to roll with it. Besides, it’s humorous to me now – the […]

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