I've been doing the yo-yo thing, now I'm up but I'm going to go down for GOOD this time. I know I'm mad at myself for getting off track, and it's true that my clothes don't fit right as I gain weight mostly in my belly and upper half - and keep my long thin legs.
BUT I was at a public bathroom the other day, there was a full length mirror and I thought, I don't look as BAD as I think I do. Ok, I was disguising my tummy with a blazer so my legs stood out... It's true though I really want to lose 20 lbs, but 10-15 would be ok too if I could make it stick.
I'm just wondering about our culture of always dieting and doing self improvement, does that make it so we are NEVER happy with ourselves AS WE ARE? I read in a book on HAPPINESS that oen of the keys is to quit thinking of life as a self improvement process...
I'm always on this diet or that, reading books on codependency, decluttering, becoming younger, fashion, make-overs, etc. But looking in the mirror you know what, I look OK! Sure I'm not the tall thin blonde girl I was in college, or naturally in my 20s. I won't get back to that no matter what I do.
How about a day of just plain being happy with ourselves for once? Do we have to be thin to be happy? Or can we just try to start now - and quit totally obsessing about all of the things we "have" to do before we are happy with ourselves, our house, our spouse, etc....
11-20-2007, 07:01 AM
I know I will never be truly satisfied with myself. I'm not technically overweight at the moment, I'm at the high end of a normal bmi. Even at my all-time lowest weight of 123 lbs, I still felt like I needed to lose more.
The culture is designed to keep us from being satisfied. If we were all satisfied, we wouldn't buy clothes and cars and diet books and diamonds all the time, so the ever-present advertisers have to make sure our self-esteem always needs a boost.
Also, advertisers aside, I don't think humans are meant to be satisfied. I think it's in our nature to always want what we don't have.
11-20-2007, 07:23 AM
Well, I can see I've come a long way, and I know I still have some to go. But I haven't been a person who is chronically unsatisfied (and interestingly, I'm also not much of a "consumer"). (Except for food... but you know what I mean. ;) )
I agree with jellydisney that it seems to be a part of being human to be unsatisfied. Buddhists call this dukkha--the "unsatisfactoriness" of life. And much of Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies has to do with how to deal with this dissatisfaction--in ways other than, for example, eating to try to feel better.
That book had a good point, Horsey--life doesn't have to be a self-improvement process. At the same time, accepting oneself doesn't mean never making any effort. So, I guess it's a matter of finding a path free from extremes.
11-20-2007, 07:32 AM
What a wonderful way to start my day :). Thanks for the words of motivation. And you are right on the money. I, too, tend to be in a constant state of self-improvement attempts. I love the idea of taking a day just to celebrate "me" as I am right now. Ironically, that might facilitate self-improvement (lol).
Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
11-20-2007, 08:08 AM
Horsey - I think your right on the money with this. I think I will always feel fat and overweight even if I was ever back at a normal weight. The years of yo-yoing have taken their toll on my vision of my self and the actual self. For example when I was actually a normal weight in my teens I percieved myself as grossly overweight. This also works the other way too though, when I was at my all time high of 252 I was in serious denial and wouldnt let my conscious comprehend what was in the mirror.
I wish that I was more like a man and didnt have all these emotional issues and the pressure that females have such a skill to putting on ourselves. We put so much pressure on ourselves to look like the celebrities etc etc which is just crazy. We all seem to forget the magic of the airbrush... anyway just wanted to say thanks for the thought provoking entry.
I actually saw an exercise on this programme about loving yourself naked or something where the woman had to draw her outline on a sheet of paper on what she thought her body was like, she then had to lie in it and he drew around her.. she had drew herself so much bigger than she really was. I thought that was interesting in showing how we percieve ourselves.
11-20-2007, 11:01 AM
I really want to contribute to this thread... Striving is one of the roots of our eternal suffering... Yes it is important to keep "engaged" and set intensions and to be motivated, but it is also critical to bask in the joy of our perfection in this moment... Once realization of our flawlessness penatrates the veil of illusion (i.e- need to have a perfect body, clothes, car, house, bank acct) this incesscent need to transform into someone that in reality we already are falls away.
Just try something (you have nothing to lose and everything to gain)... When you look in the mirror see yourself as God would see you. Would She judge you? Would She speak negatively to you? Would She think you were less than? We all know the answers to the questions... Suspend all thoughts of the ego and allow the truth to step forward and tell the real story... That you are the manifestation of ultimate beauty and love.
11-20-2007, 11:09 AM
I think it's important to stop the negative thoughts in our heads, until I did some readings I had no clue how bad I really was. I mean waking up, looking in the mirror saying to myself, gosh I can't stand this hair color, if only I could lose the 15 lbs for once, I sure am a loser that I can stay disciplined, wish this feature were different, etc... sets the tone for a bad day. It's not just my looks, I do this with work. Gosh I'm behind, but then again always behind, I can't seem to stay organized, blah, blah, blah. Could we all benefit from learning the process of "thought stopping"? Picking those negative thoughts and "stopping" them dead in their tracks. According to the "experts" we are to then replace those negative thoughts with positive ones... anyone have some good affirmations that we could replace the negative talk about our bodies with?
11-20-2007, 11:12 AM
I am the opisite - I see myself as smaller than I am now that I am loosing but before I started loosing yes I thought I looked twice my size
11-20-2007, 11:37 AM
I think that this is true for everyone, regardless of how affected by advertisements they are, or how good their self esteem is. The fact is, our eyes and brains are used to seeing us in a certain way - a certain body that is, in fact, larger than we are now, and that pattern of what we look like is then stored in the vision centers of our brain. There are so many different constructs in psychology that show the brain essentially "skimming over" what it sees and filling in the blanks to create whole images (this is why most optical illusions work). Our brains are excellent at recognizing new patterns and filling in the details to save time and effort. Of course, sometimes they fill in incorrectly, which is what happens if you've had a major change in body shape.
Think of your brain, having established the pattern that is your body for a long time. It sees your features, your rough outline, and says "bingo - thats me", and then fills in the blanks from previously stored images of you to create your final image of yourself. If you've spent years and years being heavy, your mental image gets filled in as heavier than you are. Likewise, many people who gained weight later in life look in the mirror and see themselves THINNER than they are...it takes a photograph to really show them what they look like.
It can take a long time to reset the pattern stored in your brain - what I've typically heard is that it takes a year or more. And that is, while irritating, perfectly normal. I have lost 133 lbs - I look in the mirror and see a body that is about halfway between where I am and where I used to be - my brain still hasn't caught up. But it is slowly changing. Except in cases of disorders (like Body Dysmorphic Disorder, in which you consistently see your body as a different size than it actually is for a prolonged period of time), your brain will catch up with you eventually.
11-20-2007, 11:48 AM
This is such an interesting thread. I have lost almost 50 lbs and for the first 35 - 40 of them I really didn't see much of a difference in the mirror, infact the only way I knew I was actually getting smaller was that my clothes didn't fit anymore. I have finally reached a point where, I think, I'm seeing the real me. And I'm very happy with the way I look now. My original goal was 150 but I am 181 now and I wear a size 12, I don't want to get too small and have it be way too hard to keep up with it, so i changed my goal to 160. I figure that should put me around a size 10 and I'd be MORE than happy with that, I'm actually fine with 12 but we'll see how it goes.
11-20-2007, 12:48 PM
When I got fat, it took me a LONG time to admit that I really, truly was overweight and looked just plain chunky. Every time I saw myself, I felt like I was looking into one of those crazy carnival mirrors, because the person I saw in the mirror was not the same (or even close) to the person I envisioned.
Now, the person I see in the mirror is pretty much identical to the person in my head, but I just can't believe it. I will sometimes look in the mirror and strike poses... not (only;)) because I'm incredibly vain, but because I can't believe the person looking back is actually ME. After a year and a half of being a chunky chick, it's strange to know that I finally obliterated my heifer ****. (Now, now, I DO realize that I was not huge, but I was very, very uncomfortable with myself, absolutely miserable, and unquestionably less healthy.)
When I see pictures, I am surprised, because I have this silly idea that I could still stand to lose a few more pounds. I may wear smaller sizes now, but I do not think I am "thin" or "slim" by any stretch of the imagination. I still call my girlfriend a skinny mini, even though we wear close to the same size (she is a tiny bit smaller, but we can definitely wear each other's clothes comfortably). I can't even imagine for ONE SECOND that I am even CLOSE to as small as she is.
I think that it is especially tough for people who have been overweight for a good portion of their lives to see how far they've really come, because as mandalinn said, our brains fill in the idea of what we look like with images from the past.
11-20-2007, 01:18 PM
Jellydisney, I just hate how I buy diamonds all the time! :lol:.
Seriously, though, this is such an interesting topic. I have been really thin naturally and really fat. When I look at myself now, sometimes I look fat and sometimes I look thin. I guess Amanda's post could explain why I see myself both ways. I frequently wonder what I really look like.
11-20-2007, 02:57 PM
I often have fat (bad) and thin (good) days. A lot has to do about my clothing selection. Some outfits flatter, others do the opposite. But beyond that, sometimes I feel really good about myself and where I'm at and other times I feel so far from where I want to be and fearful I'll never get there.
Sorry I'm not much help, but I do comiserate.
11-20-2007, 03:10 PM
I hate how I look in the mirror and if I see every little "bump" or inperfection that no one else notices. I recently checked a book out from the library called "No Fat Chicks" -- how big business profits by making women hate their bodies and how to fight back. I havent started reading it yet because I am reading Eat to Live. But It should be interesting.
11-20-2007, 04:11 PM
Shane....sometimes your comments kill me!!! lol. I love the not (only) because i'm incredibaly vain!!! Lol!!!! too funny!! Maybe you should try that thing where your girl friend lays on a peice of paper and you outline her and then you lay on top of it and she outlines you and see how close in size you two are. That sounds like an interesting thing to try out!!!
I have days where i feel good about my size and i have days where i feel like i have a long way to go....espcially naked in the mirror!! I know i want to lose a few more inches. My real goal is to look good in a two peice. I want to be rid of my back fat and my tummy. But to answer the question....i have fat days and i have skinny days. I guess sometimes it depends on what i wear. And i still don't like alot of my pics. I feel like i am too wide....and dont get me started on my huge arms!!!!
11-20-2007, 08:25 PM
In perspective, I USED to be the tall thin girl that could eat anything, made it to my early 30s that way. I was spoiled, had a very good run, without having to exercise or watch what I ate.
So my problem is actually that I still half see myself as being the tall thin girl, then reality hits and I see a picture of myself - that's the worst - and who's that fat girl? I never thought I'd be even a little overweight, I always wondered why people didn't "just lose the weight"...
I've wrestled with life's issues - deaths in family, rough marriage, you name it. The articles say stress is hard especially on women, fat comes from stress. Stress of not feeling good about oneself can't help can it? I'm just trying to create a sense of calm through books, tapes, yoga, meditation and going back to church again. According to the Happiness book, happy people have some level of spirituality - the way I grew up in church it was what was "inside" that mattered, and the outside didn't. But in our society?
It's true what someone said, there are thin days and fat days. Clothes make a huge difference. I used to wear anything, I could wear a gunny sack so they say and still look thin in the good old days. No longer. Last night I went through my closet and threw out three bags for the Goodwill, I decided anything that makes me feel fat or frumpy simply goes. I've always liked fashion but now I know I can't wear a lot of the trends and things for skinny people - things that you see in magazines. I bought a bunch of fashion books with ideas - and I'm sticking to them.
Is it like a "bad hair day"? A "fat day"? On the fat days usually I'm wearing frumpy clothes that don't fit my figure right. I don't do my hair and makeup, not to obsess, but anyone feels better a little put together. I'm noticing as I get older even the right colors make me feel better. As for being naked, perhaps I need to just admit the skinny me isn't going to happen unless I'm completely obsessive, I don't like getting older, who does when it comes to looks? Think about the movie stars who's lives depend on their looks? We all know that at age 40 on, most female actresses are toast... and I'm right at "that age."
Sometimes I think I wasted my skinny figure... I wasn't that into fashion, I'm more worried about it now - because I have to be to feel good, right colors, cuts in clothes, blazers, good fitting jeans/trousers, etc. I don't know. I'm just wanting to find some inner peace because this is an endless mission - to look "just right" and "wait" until it happens to feel good about myself again. Maybe it won't happen, maybe I'll settle at looking ok, and really my tall, somewhat not perfect figure, is ok even now if I look around me - rather then at all of the fashion magazines that I love, or on tv.
I've traveled the world, I run a small company, I have a little boy, I love to read, etc, etc... in a way looks/heath/diet are important, but not so important that I have to way up everyday going yuck, weight, if only I'd lose it, blah, blah, blah... I'm going to continue to exercise/lose weight for health, for my little boy, so I have more energy, and yes so I look a little better, but perfection, I'm going to quit that idea. I'll settle at being an interesting, ok looking person - and I'll let the movie stars and fashion models throw fits at getting older and not as perfect.
11-20-2007, 08:27 PM
No Fat Chicks... the book? Of course industries are getting rich off of us obsessing about losing. At any given time over half of women I've read are on diets. We are always obsessing, buying the latest books - the fad diets so we can yo yo get again. We buy diet pills, food for weight loss, just think of the multi billion dollar industry it is? And most magazines, what one doesn't have DIET on the cover for women? I thought that one day at the grocery store, every single magazing "lose weight now" etc.... and we buy into it.
11-20-2007, 11:00 PM
actually, sometimes, I catch myself thinking I am smaller than I really am. I've told myself I "carry my weight" well. Then I will look at photo's and catch myself in the mirror with some bulge hanging out and think "Oh My God" what have I done to my body!
11-21-2007, 09:48 AM
BornToFly, too funny, I was the same way at my HW - I thought I carried my weight well ( and was told so by others! ) but seeing the pictures of myself at that weight said it all :o People often believed I was 10-20 pounds less than I really was and most were shocked to find out how much I really weighed at the time...
so, perhaps you are the same way and you DO carry it well... but when you see yourself in a still shot, it can be really hard facing that reality :hug:
11-21-2007, 09:56 AM
For years I've called seeing myself as I was, not how I am, Body Lag. Amanda's explanation makes a lot of sense to me.
As I began to put on a LOT of weight, my brain wasn't keeping up. I wasn't seeing myself as nearly big as I actually was. Have you ever looked at a picture, and dismissed it because something must be wrong with the angle or the camera or something, that can't be how you actually look? I have.
Well, a whole bunch of pictures taken at one event told me exactly how I looked, and set me on the path of losing 90 lbs over the past two years. At some point in my journey my actual weight was probably even with my body image, but who knows when that was? Weight loss in my body image has been slower than actual pounds lost, but it's still gradually drifting down, now probably within 20 pounds of my current weight.
My hope is to maintain my weight loss long-term, and I think my body image will eventually be close to my real size. As I get older, and put on a few wrinkles and all, I won't mind not adding them to the body image, LOL.
11-21-2007, 10:20 AM
I always see myself as bigger than I am. I probably always will. It's been so long, I don't even remember what I was like when I was skinny. Horsey, like you, I took for granted my "skinny years"...the times where I didn't have to exercise and I could eat whatever I wanted. Now I'm paying for it. I wish I could love my body the way it is, but I cannot. But I doubt when I lose my weight that I will be happy, there will always be something that will cause me unhappiness...whether it be the fact that I've got a little gray in my hair or that I don't like my nose, I will find something.
I look back at my wedding pictures (I got married in 2005) and I was at the same weight I am now (actually, I am 20 lbs lighter) and I see that I was fat but not as fat as I usually see myself. I tell myself it was because my dress was form-fitting and tight. I don't know if that is the truth or I really don't look as bad as I feel I look.
Like Shane and BornToFly, people are always surprised at how much I weigh (those that I tell, not many people). That makes me feel good.
11-21-2007, 12:56 PM
I know that I see myself fatter than I really am. I don't think that my mind has quite caught up with how much weight I've lost.
For example, I'll see a pair of pants or shirt and think, "there's no way that's going to fit." then I'll put it on and it does. Or, I'll take my measurements, then have to take them again because I don't believe the tape measure.
I hate it because sometimes I'll look in the mirror and think that I see myself how I really am... but then I get naked to take a shower and I see how fat I *still* am.
11-21-2007, 03:59 PM
People are surprised at what I weight too, but then again I'm a master at disguising my middle, where all of this fat is. But those pictures, true, sometimes I'll think - well all the time lately - wrong camera angle, why wasn't I sitting straight and we all know the camera adds 10 lbs right? But it's not just being fat it's my expressions, my face, I'm not "spirited" like I used to be in pictures, I sort of look like I'm grumbling which I likely am - I can't stand my picture being taken.
How about the strategy of putting a "fat" picture on the fridge? I know someone that did this with her husband, both in fat shots and together they lost weight. Everytime they opened the fridge there they were in reality... kept them from eating, and kept the incentive up. It was cool to watch them lose weight. She especially went from frumpy to quite cute. Yet I'm not sure I'd really want to see pictures every day, it's enough to look in the mirror and try to find just the right clothes - thank goodness it's fall/winter, blazers, sweaters and fitted shirts do wonders for tummies.
Good thing higher waisted jeans are "in" again, they are like gurdles for fat tummies.
11-26-2007, 08:09 AM
I enjoyed reading this original post because it is very much the truth. Even when I was very thin I still constantly obsessed over my weight. It actually took me a very long time to be comfortable with my body (only after which I had surger and gained some weight). As someone else in this thread mentioned-I will never be completely happy with myself until I feel good about my body. It's just a necessary key to my happiness.
11-27-2007, 02:19 AM
I don't think it's "right" that one can't feel good about their bodies until they are at their ideal weights. I'm "trying" NOT to think so destructively at least. I dress in clothes that I feel good in, and not frumpy in even at home. That helps. And I'm cutting some of the negative talk, especially in the am - NOT a good idea to start the day looking in the mirror going ugh, a little flab here, I don't like myself, etc.
LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO NOT LIKE YOURSELF.
11-27-2007, 06:54 AM
Chickies... we all have these bodies that are a miracle. They may not look the way we "want" them to look--but that's often just because we believe in advertisements! Meanwhile we have these marvelous bodies... we can breathe, talk, get around, smile, do things, help others... So it's not a good habit to focus all the time on what's NOT right...
I was not happy with how much fat I was carrying on my beautiful body... I wanted to change that... and so I did. But I never "hated" my body. Self-hate just doesn't get anyone very far.
See it as it is... be honest... do what you can... Don't hate!
11-27-2007, 07:23 AM
Advertisements are so misleading, too!
As some of you know, I've done some modeling in the past, including a shoot for Tommy Hilfiger. During this shoot, they put duct tape under my ribs to make me stand up straight and tall, not to mention caking my face with more layers of makeup every few minutes and taking a blow dryer to my head to make my hair look "carefree"
One of the male models I was working with had some pretty nice abs. HOWEVER, his best shot was one of him sitting in a hunched over position, causing his stomach to slightly overlap. Instead of leaving it this way, his stomach got airbrushed to look like his 4-6 pack was perfectly intact.
They also instruct the models to lean and pose in certain ways to look "thinner." Leaning back and to an angle can both cause this desired effect, as well as leaning forward a specific way and lying on your stomach with the camera focusing mostly on your face (your face looks prominent and the rest of your body fades into the background).
And of course, most models suck it in and/or flex for pictures. I had a friend who did modeling for Victoria's Secret. She had a nice body, yes, but a little bit of tummy fat. No big deal, she held it in and photographed beautifully. BUT because her smile was slightly crooked (her teeth were not awful, just imperfect), they completely airbrushed her teeth to make them look like veneers.
Don't even get me started on celebrities. They get wrapped in all sorts of different ways to look good in those dresses, get COLON CLEANSING just to lose a few pounds, and have all the time in the world to do "detox" (a trendy form of starvation using things like strange lemonade and cabbage soup) and work out for hours on end because they can.
SO, the next time you see an advertisement, remember that these people are just ordinary humans who photograph well. In person, a majority of them are no hotter than the rest of us. ;)
11-27-2007, 07:33 AM
Me? I often feel thin and beautiful until I am reminded by a pair of pants I want that I can't fit into... or a poorly placed mirror and a bad angle with bad lighting... lol. It's something akin to forgetting you feel unattractive. Then it is straight into a depression, perhaps it's because I am not in touch with reality, or perhaps I am just a fit person in a fat body just waiting to get out.
11-27-2007, 02:23 PM
I think as a whole, our society is waaaay overobsessed with being thin. I on the other hand am not obsessed with being thin. Im obsessed with being healthy! As you can see from my ticker I am seriously overweight and the weight i am aiming for isnt considered in the healthy weight range for me. I am approx 308 and Im aiming to be approx 200. Im a tall girl with a large frame whether im thin or not (Im 5'8") so I know that trying to get down to the 130s or 140s isnt an option for me.
Ok I know Im rambling buuut I doooooo think I look huge! I dont know if i think i look bigger then I am because nobody believes I weigh as much as I do but i feel like a beached whale!
11-27-2007, 03:36 PM
I think some people want to be way to thin. I also think it is a problem with those of us that have been over weight for a long period of time. When we lose weight we don't see what others see and want to be way to thin. I have seen a few here at the site that want to be to thin. You have a good outlook at what is good and healthy for you. When I started I had at least 78lbs to lose. I felt like a seal on dry land hugggge and not able to get around. I would see myself floating around the pool as a whale. I do understand feeling big. You just take one day at a time. If there is any advice I can give please ask. Don't be afraid to give advice, all of us need it from time to time. Let us know how you are doing. Posting all the time really helps me keep on track.
I have no desire to look like the woman on tv. I looked great before I put on this weight and I never looked like them. I personally think 99% of them need a trip to Mc Donald's lol.
11-27-2007, 03:58 PM
Anyone else addicted to the fashion and style magazines like I am? I've always been, I like fashion. But as I get a little older, and since I haven't been tall/thin in years it bugs me more. I used to be able to wear anything and feel so thin. I tried to get that back a few years ago, actually I think I got a bit too thin - my clothes were hanging on me. Sure I could wear the cute Sevens jeans but at what price? Working out two hours a day, not eating enough... movie stars have time to do this, they have trainers, they have nannies for their kids, real people can't devote this sort of time to exercise, and if we do at what price? What do we give up? When I was getting too thin I wasn't concentrating on other parts of my life - friendships, family, you name it. Life is about balance. How about a balanced body, not super thin, but healthy so that we have energy. Yes life's too short to not like our bodies but we can be comfortable and enjoy our best traits. Fashion magazines and books does give me some knowledge - there's all sorts of ways with clothes to make oneself feel better every day even with some extra weight. Recently I cleaned out my closet and dumped anything that I didn't feel "really" good in. Every day I'm trying to be a little classier in dress and how I react to others. Class isn't about being a size 0, size 2, size 6, whatever, it's about being happy, caring about others, loving God and not being so self absorbed.