01/22/2013 11:45 am ET

All The Weight I Didn't Lose

Everyone knows this trick: You hold the camera above your face, stretch your neck and shoot. I take my own picture this way. You see my heart-shaped face, my cutely assertive chin, and my dark brown eyes. Sometimes I peer insouciantly over the rims of my glasses. You don’t see the double chin or the pudgy roundness of my face. You don’t see my body, apart from the cleavage I occasionally throw in. Pictures make me thinner than I am, or will ever likely be. That angle slices away more pounds than my surgeons, and that’s saying a lot.

I am the “after” side of surgery, having lost more than 250 pounds. No one gets this, at least not without an explanation, because I still weigh over 200 pounds, and the weight loss fable is supposed to end when you’re thin, not when you’re merely “an average fat American.” I still wonder if I should get more surgery. I have so many pieces of clothing that fit, but that I reject because they cling in one place wrong. That particular place is my right thigh and calf, which are obviously larger than the left. (I call it my freak leg.) Doctors have no real explanation, but the general theory is that a fall I suffered when I weighed 600 pounds actually broke off a chunk of fat in my calf. That place just above my knee seems swollen, and is the reason I can’t wear skirts anywhere close to above the knee. If jeans stick to the freak leg, I toss them into the back of the closet and try another pair.

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