Now that I am finally the size I was meant to be (and was, for what were previously the healthiest years of my adult life), I thought it would be interesting to compare my “dummies”. I haven’t been the same size as my Duct Tape Dummy for a long time, but it was still a shock to see the difference between the two:
Miss Bedelia, the My Double dress form, is set at my actual height. My unnamed Duct Tape Dummy is higher, but it’s still possible to compare the shapes. You can see that they are essentially the same; the DTD is just, well, thickened everywhere.
There are only ten to twelve pounds difference between those two dummies, but on someone as relatively small as I am, that’s a big difference. It’s probably closer to an extra 20 or 30 pounds on someone with a larger frame and larger bones than I have. Here’s the back view:
When I was a young girl, I took one semester of classes at a very good dancer’s school in San Francisco. (Childhood wasn’t so competitive then; they’d let anyone in.) All I remember from that course was my report card, in which the instructor had written something like “Noile must learn to pull in her derrière”.
I had to laugh when I saw these dummies side by side — it’s not so obvious in the well-padded DTD, but, oh, yes, there is that derrière! Though my upper body posture has improved in the last few years, I’ve clearly still got some work to do when it comes to tucking in that backside:
Can we say “swayback”?? Yikes!
Fitting the My Double dummy took two of us; it’s virtually impossible to do it alone. (We’ve done it twice, now.) Mr. Noile pinched, pushed, and pulled very patiently, and then we unsnapped it and sprung me from the carapace.
Mr. Noile was impressed when we were done: “The amazing thing”, he said, “is that it looks just like you!”. He’s right; it really does. Or rather, it would if I were made of wire mesh.
When I reassembled Miss Bedelia on her stand, I checked the waist against my own measurement, and quickly realized that she was about two inches larger all around than my own body.
That made sense. You can’t really press the wire sufficiently into skin in order to replicate a body perfectly. However, you can get the basic shape, so all I did was evenly pinch out the extra inches where shaping was not an issue (mostly, that is, in the sides). I checked every measurement carefully against my own as I worked, and soon Miss Bedelia was ready to go.
(Yes, the weight loss was deliberate, and very slow, over many months. I decided that I didn’t want to age with the burden of additional weight damaging my joints, affecting my coordination, and limiting my ability to be active and flexible.
Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, it requires constant attention, and a complete review of what “portion size” means to those of us who live in the abundant USA. But it is worth it. It’s also worth doing it very slowly. Unless you change habits, no “diet” will prevent weight from returning.
No “diet” here, by the way. Just eating reasonably healthy food, recording everything I ate — accountability makes a huge difference — and controlling portion sizes without fail. I used the budget plan — so many calories a day to “spend”, and nothing eaten after that total was reached — three meals and a small snack, and no eating after 7 PM. If I stayed up too late and wanted a snack, I reminded myself that I’d have another chance to “spend” calories tomorrow. This is the lifetime plan, not the get-skinny-for-the-next-event plan.
The trick was finding out what worked best for me, long-term, not trying to adapt to someone else’s idea of what you might find satisfying. The difficult part for me was identifying which tastes I love; I had a hard time, at first, learning what I enjoyed tasting, since I used to eat without paying much attention. Then I gradually began slipping these new, enjoyable, flavors into my diet, and training myself to notice and enjoy them.
Oh, also critical for me: identifying non-food rewards. If over-eating is how you get through the day, it makes a big difference if you replace detrimental choices with other interests or diversions. Just eliminating bad food choices usually isn’t enough, long-term, for people like me who, for instance, tend to think of sugar as the food of the deities. It’s really important to replace bad choices with good ones; just trying to eliminate the bad choices/habits usually doesn’t work too well for humans.
By the way, a fascinating book about related issues is “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. It’s a great read for anyone who wonders why habits are so hard to break. However, I think the oft-mentioned Target anecdote — it’s about a teen pregnancy — is probably apocryphal. Just my opinion.)