Monday, September 22, 2008

The Glow is Gone

Is there such thing as post-wedding depression? Because if so, I think I have it, bad.

My friend Kelly told me that she suffered a low period after she got married a couple years ago, and not to be surprised if I went through something similar. The way she described it, though, it was much more a withdrawal from all the attention, the family, the friends, essentially having all the people in your little world focused on you and your special union as a couple.

For me, it´s ending up being much more superficial, though I realize that it´s not productive or even possible to play the "Whose depression is worse/more legitimate?" game. I´m feeling like quite the ugly duckling these days, down from a high point of fitness and natural glow in the weeks surrounding our wedding. I´ve gained weight thanks to the honeymoon and 10 days of unrestrained eating on this European trip, and I´ve not been disciplined with working out. The weight has been creeping up on me, but now I´ve reached that point where there is no pretending it´s not happening, and I must take a good look in the mirror and get on track again. Also, my hair is in this supremely awkward phase and has no shine, and I´m feeling like none of my clothes are fashionable or fit properly. Basically, I´ve got a case of the woman-blues.

The other day we were showing our professional wedding photos (finally got them!) to the equivalent of my Italian godparents, a very nice couple in their 40´s. When they opened the first album, they were like, "Who is this woman?". Ummmmm...it was me. Thus ensued a torturous discussion (for me) about how I don´t look anything like myself in the wedding photos and, concurrently, how the person in the photos looks so incredibly beautiful, thin, etc. They decided that it must have been the makeup (pointing out the sculpted cheeks that made me look much slimmer than in person), and that we had hired a fabulous photographer.

In my mind, the conclusion was that I obviously look fat and dumpy in real life, the "confirmation" I´d been dreading after weeks of having that exact thought going through my mind. I know they weren´t trying to be offensive, and that large parts of the world´s population must be pardoned for their unsolicited not-necessarily-positive commentary about one´s physical appearance (i.e. Brazilians, Mozambicans, Italians, etc.) because we all have different definitions of what is insensitive, but still, all I could hear was the fact that I have let myself go, or that I was artifically pretty at the wedding.

I recognize that most of this is a commentary on my mental state and self image, but that´s the part that really sucks. If it were just some insensitive people commenting, I could blow them off and continue with my happy life. The problem is that this perception is self-fabricated, and I don´t know how to make it go away.

I bought some beautiful Hugo Boss black high heels today. That helped somewhat. But I am in search of a longer-term solution, and unfortunately those don´t come with the swipe of a Visa.

10 comments:

Lacithecat said...

Ali,

There is hardly a person more beautiful than you. Smile ... shine or no shine and plus or minus a few curves.

But I know how you feel slightly. I have never been so fat as I was in Mozambique (granted eat chips every meal did not help. Smile). I felt dreadful, looked dreadful and nothing anyone said (exception being Jenny's comment about my curves when I was falling out of my bathing suit) was going to make me feel any better.

There is though a bit of a 'Teufelskreis' where you don't exercise, eat a lot and then it just weighs you done in every form. Those damn endorphens! Need to get them moving!

And I don't think you looked any more stunning in your wedding pictures than usual. Its just because you are stunning everyday.

((hug))

Take care of yourself,

Stef

Jo Ann v., a writer on the D-List said...

I know how hard it can be. Mas dá a volta por cima :-) Eu acho você linda e com um sorriso nota mil. Apenas acho que a sua self-confidence de vez em quando deserta :-)

Beijos grandes !!

Lacithecat said...

Gosh I just re-read my last post. Boy could I sound any more cheesy?

Smile ..

Whatever - you get the idea! Viel Spass!

--jenna said...

why can't there be post-wedding blues? you just threw the party of your life, put together people from what, five continents?, in the same house together...had a wedding fit for a fairytale...traveled all over the world after...

nothing in "real life" is going to compare. not that it would be sustainable anyhow!

you are beautiful, and if you gained weight on your honeymoon, so what??? it's all about spoiling yourselves!

so i beg you, i implore, i plead: don't beat yourself up, querida! enjoy your italian holiday, enjoy the pasta...when you go home, you can always return to the gym, to those fantastic-sounding dance classes...

um abraço enorme!!!!

Jesse Mendez said...

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I have an art blog and it is here in sunny San Diego, I am creating conceptual art pieces as well as my own personal journals and funny sections. I have friends from all over the world. How about it?
If you comment on my blog I will on yours. Take care and see you soon? Jesse

Monkey McWearingChaps said...

My sister went through the post wedding blues too.

There is nothing I can say to you that you haven't already said to me. We share many of the same issues. I understand, believe me. I both lose and gain weight pretty fast.

I have gone back to working out-but I am letting go of the weight issue and focusing on how wonderful it makes me feel to have sore muscles. How much better I sleep when I eat right. And that's pretty much the heart of it-physical activity and accomplishment just make me feel better. I am willing to bet that it makes most people feel better.

All that said-there is a time for indulgence and if so, honeymoons and vacations are the time for it.

By the way-I thought you looked stunning (and I'll agree with your godparents) in your photos because

a) You looked incredibly happy

b) Your personal sense of style was on display. In the marvelous dress, rehearsal dress...shoes.

I know I'm just a girl (and disordered on/off at that) but I wasn't noticing your figure. Really, truly. I was noticing your hair and your dress and just how in love you looked.

I've come to realise that my weight may fluctuate (and probably always will slightly, depending on how much time I have to put into fitness) but only I choose to look sad and/or frumpy and uncomfortable with myself.

I truly hope you feel better soon.

much love,

monkey

Southern Goddess said...

Ali, I can't add anything here that has not already be written. Ditto, Jenna and everyone else, word for word. Except, to write that I have been there, married almost 10 years now, and this too will pass. It is normal, and you are a beautiful woman inside and out, and have married an equally beautiful man. SG

Mike Hu said...

What you're experiencing is "bloat," a condition, that if allowed to persist, becomes one's self-image, rather than in realizing the processes that create that condition -- and also dissipate it.

Even world-class athletes often experience this bloating -- and none more so than champion bodybuilders who as soon as they can after a top competition, immediately binge-eat and drink, and quickly put on 25-50 lbs.

Of course, people persistently in this condition are regarded as "fat" ratherr than simply bloated -- which reinforces the notion that this condition is permanent rather than immediately alterable.

What you have to do is create movement at the extremities of the body to create the pumping effect of alternating full contractions and relaxations, just as the heart does in performing this automatic function to pump the blood/fluids out to the extremities.

However, the heart has little effect on pumping blood from the extremities back to the heart -- and so fluids tend to accumulate in the tissues of the extremities at the head (face), hands and feet -- and when that circulation is poor, toxins accumulate in the tissues -- demanding that they retain more water to dilute those toxins.

That is the most misunderstood part of effective exercise that can literally transform one immediately and instantly -- rather than that off-putting notion that one has to increase the heart rate, burning of energy (calories), sweat, suffer, and all those barriers to optimal functioning and health.

I see people of 60, 70, 80 immediately reduce their bloat and regain that flush in their face and spark in their eye just in doing 360 degree head turns. The extremities are not just stubs on the human body, but are the critical points at which to condition movement -- and NOT at the major muscles that nature designed and intended to provide stability and support at the extremities.

Because the fitness/physical education went off on such a dead-end in their thinking on exercise, they've made "exercise," fitness and conditioning useless and inaccessible to most -- rather than logically, instantly accessible, practical, and self-evident.

Their theories and conjectures "work" -- because nobody actually does them to find out that they don't. They just think they have to try harder to make it work -- and not that the paradigm is hopelessly flawed.

Ali la Loca said...

~Lacithecat - This was such a beautiful thing to read in the middle of a funk. Thank you. And no need to write comment #2 - sometimes what you perceive to be cheesy is exactly what I need to hear!

~Jo Ann - Sem dúvida...mas sempre mais fácil dar a volta por cima quando a gente está em casa, onde tem como controlar um pouco a comida, o exercício, etc. Férias são sempre um pouco difíceis para mim por causa disso. Beijos!

~Jenna - Obrigada, amiga. I wish I were in Rio so we could go take a walk together and have some sucos.

~Monkey - I feel like this is the exact comment I would have written had you featured this post instead of vice-versa. I know you get it, which makes me feel a bit less blah. And though superficial, I'm glad you liked my dress choices. I loved them, extra curves or not. :)

~Southern Goddess - Thank you! Like they say, this too will pass. Nice to have it acknowledged as "normal", though!

~Mike Hu - You always have such interesting information on exercise. Thank you for the physical/technical feedback. I am starting Pilates again this week, which I am confident will help my mood and my body.

La Framéricaine said...

I must say that Mr. Hu is the very first person that I have ever read or heard who acknowledges what I have found to be true--it is "bloat" and it is quite important and interesting. It was the only visible symptom that my dear husband had before his near fatal heart attack. I can tell in myself very clearly when I am systemically bloated--not just the stereotypical abdominal bloat--and it takes some calming down time, some return to a regular routine time, and then you look and feel much better. You have to admit, you went all out for that huge, long, get married and honeymooned party and normal life is a let down from that. But, it will all even out and new highs will come, perhaps more frequently and less high, but come they will.

Enjoy your return to "home" and your sweet daily married existence. I've had 20 years with my husband and wouldn't trade a day of it.

Be well,