“You’re doing great,” the receptionist said as she recorded my weight and pasted the sticker recording my progress for that week in my pocket guide.

“Thanks,” I said and smiled.

“You’re doing so great. Do you recognize yourself?”

I paused, unsure of what she was asking and how to respond.

“Yeah,” I said tentatively, but wasn’t sure.

I slipped my shoes back on, grabbed my purse and took a seat. As I thought about the receptionists question some more, I realized she asked a different question. At first, I heard, “do you recognize your weight loss progress with small rewards?” Then I reinterpreted it as, “do you recognize the changes in habits — both eating and exercise — since January?”

That was not her question. She asked, “do you recognize yourself… when you look in the mirror?”

“Yes,” I thought to myself. Of course. When I see my face, I still look like Cindy. I don’t even feel that I look much different unless I look at photos. And even then, I see more differences in my clearer skin complexion, or the great tan I had over the summer. Unlike my padrino José, I don’t think my nose looks more prominent or that my face is more “afilada.”

Other people think differently. A few weeks ago, Papá Chepe told me he confused me for my sister, Lori, when he first saw me. Other family members say I look more like my mom (as a 20-year old bride) or cousin Sandy.

Part of me takes the comments as a compliment, another indicator of my progress. But there’s a nagging critic that says, “they don’t recognize you without all the extra weight, that’s why they compare you to your thinner sister, cousin and mom. They’re like the bouncer who didn’t believe you were the girl on your driver’s license.”

I’m still me. I know I am.


6 thoughts on “Recognition

  1. César says:

    Habits and appearance can be changed but a person’s personality, what makes them who they are can’t be changed. It’s exciting watching your progress. And I root for you.

    I think it’s human for loved ones to not know how to identify you, so its easy to liken you to someone who you appear to look like. It’s also natural for one to begin to pick out the aspects (‘afilado’, ‘mas delgado’, blah blah) of what now makes you you.

    For a long time after I lost my weight, people would say I looked like my brothers but my family still called me cachetón, gordo, even though I wasn’t.

    I don’t know, it’s funny. It’s just a simple change of habits but it causes a wave of changes and affects others too.

    I like to say postively. 🙂

  2. Synonymous says:

    we are our habits and practices.

    we are the behaviors and actions we perform in our everyday lives.

    if you have changed your habits, then you have changed your behaviors, and you have changed your self, on all levels of mind-body experience. physically, intellectually, ethically.

    the static image that we recognize as our “self” is really like an echo or an afterimage, because our self is actually always something that is contingent and in flux.

    that’s a good thing. it means that we have the ability to change and grow and respond dynamically and adaptively to situations.

    what “makes us who we are” MUST be changing always, if we desire any kind of growth. In fact, it IS always changing, whether we like it or not. Most of us just get freaked out tho and expend all our energy clinging to the echo out of fear of change.

    thats why the real trick is to develop habits and practices that allow you to see yourself ‘new’ every time you look in the mirror, to experience a kind of non-recognition so that you can continue fully experiencing within the dynamic stream of process, growth, possibility, and transformation.

    if you always see the same old thing, then you will likely feel the same old thing, and you will not take full advantage of growth opportunities.

    …or something like that.

  3. That was a vulnerable scene you described. I don’t think I could ever have done it. My complements to you. You are courageous. The fact that you can confront yourself this way speaks volumes. Keep moving forward, keep looking back and reflecting (but don’t loose heart). Just listen. Listen to your spirit, listen to your longing, listen to the person you were before you had eyes, ears, mouth, or hands. That is you (who ever that will be).

    I sound like myself talking to my daughter. She would laugh at what I said and do what she was going to do any way. I trust that you will do that too.

    I’m proud of YOU, not your weight.

  4. frank says:

    I wonder if people realize the inner meanings of the comments spoken to someone who has lost weight
    You look great now (did I look terrible before).
    Now you’ll find more dates (was I a loser before)
    Remember when you were fat (you know you’re talking to me).

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