Recently, I've started to look at myself in long mirrors more and more. It started with using them to take my full-length outfits photos after my operation, which helped me to start embracing my body a lot more and being more positive about it,
However, it has taken other people pointing out how my body is changing to get me to really start to look at myself in the mirror and start thinking about what I like about my body and how amazing it is for going through everything it has.
I've had a lot of people tell my that my face has changed, which I've noticed in photos but not really in real life. Others have said how much slimmer I am now, which I knew was the case as my old clothes hang off me, but I've been more focused on the numbers on the scale going down rather than what that means for my body beyond dress size.
Because I see myself every day, I don't really notice the changes as much. Yes, I do notice when I can do my belt up tighter or when an outfit fits differently, but sometimes it takes other people - usually those who haven't seen me for a while - to tell me how different I look to get me to start looking for the changes.
This has been a big part in changing how I view mirrors. Rather than hiding away from them or carefully angling myself so I don't see too much of my body in them, I've caught myself looking at my body in them much more. In fact, I've actually left the long mirror in our house next to the shower, even when I'm not taking outfit photos.
This small thing means that I have actually started looking for ways my body has changed over the last six months. I've also started celebrating it rather than looking at myself and only seeing things I don't like. Whether I'm wearing my PJs, am dressed up or am just about to step into the shower, I stop and look at what is happening with my body so fully appreciate how far I've come and what an amazing thing it is.
I think this is a much better way to see my weight loss than counting down pounds when I weigh myself because it is the real result of the hard work I'm putting in. The fact that my hips have smoothed down to be rounded rather than have a pointy look to them, that my bum doesn't quite stick out as much and that my back doesn't have a fold partway down it is all down to the big decision I made last year and the things I've struggled with since then.
Even the fact that I'm left with a fold of skin on my stomach is okay with me now because it shows how much my stomach has shrunk. Yes, a perfectly flat stomach may be preferable, but paying attention to my body in the mirror has meant that I've come to terms with the fact that this isn't going to be the case.
Looking at the reality of what my body is now means that I understand better what it will be when I achieve my ultimate weight loss goal. I know that I'm going to have loose skin in places, that my bum and hips are never going to be as small as I previously thought I wanted them to be and that my boobs are going to shrink and feel a bit empty in the future compared to the H cup at my largest. I'm okay with all of this.
The reason I'm okay with it is because I've put my body through a hell of a lot a lot already and it is wonderfully resilient. I can see the scars and stretch marks it has already and that it has started to heal, as well as how well it is coping with losing weight - even if it does scream at me for chocolate on occasion.
Paying closer to attention to my body, really looking at how different it looks rather than just glancing at myself to see if my outfit looks okay, has made me happier with it at this moment. This ultimately means that I can stay happy with it no matter what it goes through, which I think is a really positive place to be and a healthy way to think.
I actually wish I had done this sooner. I wish that before I'd had my operation, I had really looked at myself in the mirror and said goodbye to the body I had then. Not only might this have made me appreciate what I had gone through before that point, it would mean that I was better able to judge how my body has changed already.
I'm not going to make this mistake again. I now want to see and celebrate every little change, even if it might not be one that want, because my body is amazing and it has taken years of me avoiding mirrors to finally see that.