100 lb. Club - Self Image Issues/Shaky Confidence




SarahFairhope
04-30-2012, 10:00 AM
On Saturday, I had my fourth riding lesson. I had a tough time going around the back wall of the area where the mirror was (its used to ensure you are properly positioned on the horse, etc). Straight on, I felt I looked like me, but on the side I could see my thighs, hips, butt, back - totally out of proportion and nearly unrecognizable as myself. Ive been so used to wearing clothes "just so" and knowing how to sit/stand so that I don't look as big as I am - there is NO HIDING anything on the horse. I'm usually such a confident person, but experience of seeing my body in this way has colored my interactions with others since...

Even riding my horse back from the area to the barn, in my mind, I kept thinking that everyone around was wondering who the fat girl was on the horse - "what the **** is SHE doing here."

Later in the day, I took my son grocery shopping. He had a snack with him - he offered it to an older guy (80s-90s) who said, "ohh, no thanks. I dont want to get fat like ... well I dont want to say anything about mommy." And walked away. :mad: :(

I feel so uncomfortable feeling like suddenly I'm living in a glass house. Did anyone else feel like this in the beginning? Any suggestions on better things to say in my head to keep up a more positive outlook? :?:


Purplefirefly
04-30-2012, 10:12 AM
I am going through the same thing. Every time I look in a mirror I think "who the **** is that?" It is not like looking at ME anymore. I am using that as motivation to get going and actually DO IT this time. I want to look like myself again. That is my ultimate goal.

That guy in the store was just a jerk. Pat yourself on the back for doing something about it and keep going. The horrible thing is he was basically telling your son that if he eats a snake he will get fat, which is not a good message for a kid. There are tons of idiots in the world though, so we have to have thick skin and just keep on going.

Amy23
04-30-2012, 10:29 AM
I definitely have felt that way. It's completely normal to feel self-conscious like this, and even more so when people make comments like that, but the reality is, most people are too busy getting on with their lives to think much about people they don't know.

I worked in aged care for a while, incidentally, and comments like the one you received were a common, everyday occurrence for me. Some of the older ladies and gentleman would often make snide comments about me to each other, knowing full well that I could hear them. Eg: 'Ooh, she's a big girl isn't she?' Tbh, he could have said the same thing to a woman even slightly overweight.

You're doing fantastically. You're here, and you're making all the right choices!


guamvixen
04-30-2012, 10:32 AM
Hi there! it's been a while since I"ve commented on a post, but this one hit home to me. My whole journey was full of insecurity. Each time I was at the gym, I would feel like people were saying "let's see how long that fat chick lasts" When I'd go running, I'd feel people driving by, or seeing were thinking "haha, look at that jiggly ball of fat" etc etc. It's tough. And now, even though I'm at goal, I still hear stuff. But this time it's more about my thinness. Just Friday, I stopped at Sonic for a bag of ice (I LOVE Sonic ice) and I overheard two ladies who just got done ordering super sized dinners say to each other "haha, how much do you want to bet that ice is her dinner?" I kindly replied "with all do respect ladies, if this was my dinner, I'd be 6 ft under. And coming from someone who used to weigh 250 lbs, you probably shouldn't have super-sized your meal. I hope that's dinner AND breakfast for you two" Then I left. Eventually, you just don't care.

I did notice that as I was on my journey, I wasn't ever really critized. People aren't mean to over-weights when they are trying to do something about it. At least in my experience. I hear more snide comments now than I did then. Chin up, it's all in your head. And if anyone is mean to you, you will get stronger with time and realize that it doesn't matter what others think. The important thing is...you are DOING SOMETHING about it. And that's the only focus you need to have. Other people's opinions don't matter. Only yours. :) Best of luck!

Amy23
04-30-2012, 10:37 AM
I overheard two ladies who just got done ordering super sized dinners say to each other "haha, how much do you want to bet that ice is her dinner?" I kindly replied "with all do respect ladies, if this was my dinner, I'd be 6 ft under. And coming from someone who used to weigh 250 lbs, you probably shouldn't have super-sized your meal. I hope that's dinner AND breakfast for you two" Then I left. Eventually, you just don't care.

Lol. I bet that shut them right up!

cathi888
04-30-2012, 11:26 AM
I want to say congratulations on taking riding lessons. I am a horse rider and have never stopped because of my size. Riding is the only thing that kept me from going completely under. I am very strong for a fat girl. I have strong legs from riding and a strong core from riding and good posture from riding.

Oh, yeah, and I also have strong arms from lifting hay bales.

toastedsmoke
04-30-2012, 02:58 PM
It's tough, I know but the self-image and self-confidence issues don't automatically go away with weight. Unless you love yourself and fix those issues first, they'll always find a way to hurt you no matter how successful you are on this journey. I was reading earlier today, someone said "you can't hate yourself thin." I think shame/despise and whole lot of other negatives can be substituted for hate there.

If you don't love yourself, no matter your size, and realize you're just as worthy of a space on this planet as anyone else no matter how you look, these issues will continue. I, who would have killed to be 199 lbs, now nitpick about my body, my looks, my hair, my clothes what must people think of me etc. You'll always be too something for somebody. As guamvixen said, you just have to get to a point where you don't care what other people think. And where you give yourself the props and respect you deserve for taking yourself in hand and making the changes to achieve your goals.

SarahFairhope
04-30-2012, 04:42 PM
First, thank you so much all of the thoughtful replies. Its so nice to know I'm not alone in dealing with some of these things. Really.

I think there are just a couple issue coming up, and reading the replies helped me identify them. I think the biggest part is realizing that I've had a huge disconnect between "me" and my body. And being in the area and suddenly truly "seeing" this weight on my body was like suddenly being there naked. I now have to take that information and incorporate it into the reality of being me.

I think while that process was/is still "fresh" the random comments of an older guy (probably with dementia and certainly with a lack of a filter) just suddenly hit sharply.

I just need to get comfortable with a body in transition, so that I will be comfortable again being around others - however inappropriate they may be.

Arctic Mama
04-30-2012, 05:10 PM
I so hear you on the body/mind disconnect. I think that is honestly how I got so heavy - for so long I knew I was fat, but I didn't realize what I looked like in reality; the picture of myself in my head influenced what I saw in the mirror and it wasn't until pictures of LOSING weight that I truly 'saw' how I looked before. It wasn't 'me' in the mirror, my brain substituted things around.

And quite honestly, on the way down it has been the other way around. My brain is lagging, still seeing an obese woman or all the blubber and flaws, instead of reality (which is a heavy but perfectly normal and very attractive lady!). So much of why this weight loss journey has been a constant, three and a half year effort for me, is because my brain and habits needed the work, not my body. My body is a result of how I am thinking and what I am doing, not the item directly affected by my efforts. I can't change my body without surgery, but I can change where my brain is going and what I am doing and consuming, and my body will respond accordingly.

Does that make any sense?

There is definitely some confidence that can come with losing weight, but I find they are less associated than we might be lead to believe by either our own preconceptions or the portrayal of others. This has been a big revelation for me, being on a weight loss forum. At my heaviest weight I still thought I was capable, valuable, beautiful, and very desirable. And I was! My accomplishments and personality weren't diminished by obesity, and they haven't been enhanced by weight loss. I am still me.

To that end, confidence needs to be obtained by evaluating yourself critically on the qualities that really matter, not the genetic lottery or habits! 110 or 410 pounds, if you hate yourself, feel worthless, or so uncomfortable in your skin that you want to be anybody but you (rather than just improving some things about yourself and habits), the likelihood of regaining the weight or maintaining a bevy of emotional issues is very, very high. And similarly, I think successful weight loss is dictated very much by the adjustments in our perspectives on ourselves and habits. Losing weight is just that - a reshaping of your body through reduction of the contents and size of adipocytes. It improves your health and fitness in many cases, and can make one more conventionally sized, but that's really about the extent of it. Everything outside that very superficial and physical realm is something that has to be worked on by itself.

The good news with that? Because value and confidence are NOT directly linked to your body mass, you can make vast improvements in how you feel about yourself and how you interact with those around you, even when the scale isn't moving. That is actually a very, very good thing. We can grow and progress in so much even if our calories are high or we ate the cake. We can be beautiful, valuable, and VERY confident while rocking a size 24. It is not a moral failing to be fat, we aren't bad, weak, or lazy just by virtue of our size. And being a tiny waif doesn't make one confident, kind, smart, or even necessarily beautiful. These things are determined by who we are, what we do, and how we treat others. And you can obtain them at ANY size.

There are definite benefits to being smaller in size and healthier in habits, I have seen dozens and very much enjoyed losing weight and will continue to do so. But it isn't a magic bullet or a cure all. And we benefit greatly from keeping that in perspective and not ascribing more value to weight and reducing than it deserves. Similarly, my biggest victories in this journey have not been related to the scale, but in revelations on how I think about myself and look at the world.


This is a huge issue in the weight loss community, and one that is played out here all the time.

To use an analogy, think of weight loss as a tent. The poles and structure are your habits, and they dictate the strength and shape of the tent. The ground beneath you is who you are, and it is unchanged and independent of the habit changes - it isn't improved or diminished by the thing above it. And the shell of the tent is our physical appearance. It is what everyone sees and the final product, but it is nothing without the strength and firmament underneath, no matter what appearances may suggest.

TiffNeedsChange
04-30-2012, 06:57 PM
*hugs*I have the same "me" that I see and "real me "etc that I did not allow myself to see for years. Since finding this site when I decided to lose weight I become more and more aware of what I actually look like and i don't like what I see. I went to the gym yesterday and it hit me how far away I am from "normalcy" and it kills me that I look like this (and feel sluggish/out of shape/in pain). Very awesome that you made this post, good to know we aren't alone. @guamvixen thanks for sharing your story, I wish people knew how to filter themselves, you look amazing!!
We can do this, and eventually we will love our bodies again.

SmallSteps
05-01-2012, 12:21 AM
It's tough, I know but the self-image and self-confidence issues don't automatically go away with weight. Unless you love yourself and fix those issues first, they'll always find a way to hurt you no matter how successful you are on this journey.

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt

I totally agree with toastedsmoke and the other ladies here. Don't pay any mind to small minded people that are so insecure with themselves that they feel they have to hurt you. They are not worth your time!! You are doing awesome Sarah keep up the great work!

iwillsparkle
05-01-2012, 12:38 AM
I feel so much better after reading this! I have lost over 150 pounds in the last two years and I have had such a hard time with self esteem issues lately. I have a lot of sagging skin on my arms (think major bat wings!) and the top of my legs. I had a gastric sleeve surgery done so I lost the majority of the weight in a year and a half. I have since slowed down but continue to work out six days a week and watch what I eat. It seems lately though I have been very focused on how I see myself and I have been really mean to me! I think I have to be careful to remind myself of how truly sick I was. I was on three blood pressure medicines, a diabetic and so swollen that I had to do my job in house shoes for two years because regular shoes would not fit at the end of my day. I have to remember that although the weight loss is a great benefit to my appearance the importance lies in my health. Thank you so much for these posts. You have really truly made my day! Hang in there!

missunderstood28
05-01-2012, 12:48 AM
There are definite benefits to being smaller in size and healthier in habits, I have seen dozens and very much enjoyed losing weight and will continue to do so. But it isn't a magic bullet or a cure all. And we benefit greatly from keeping that in perspective and not ascribing more value to weight and reducing than it deserves. Similarly, my biggest victories in this journey have not been related to the scale, but in revelations on how I think about myself and look at the world.


AMEN sister!!

lilywinsit
05-01-2012, 04:01 AM
I can relate to most of the comments and situations stated here! I have had such poor self esteem for most of my life, starting as a heavy 12 year old. Best response for me was to use gentle humour and turn it back at them to cover the hurt or pain I was feeling from their comments.

Like my mother said many times "don't let them see your hurt, wait until you get home to cry"... guess I have done this most of my life.

Goddess Jessica
05-01-2012, 12:57 PM
Any suggestions on better things to say in my head to keep up a more positive outlook? :?:

You've got to learn how to positive self-talk. I promise you will feel like a total dork when you first start to do it but you have to fake it until the self-confidence comes. What the world doesn't tell you is that confidence is a PRACTICE, not something you're born with.

Here's what I do when a negative thought comes into my head:

1) Recognize the negative thought. "Wow, I am really self-conscious seeing myself in that reflection. I feel like everyone can see every fold and bulge. That makes me really uncomfortable." Notice how it is an observation of the feelings, NOT reinforcement of the feelings (in other words, not saying, "Wow, I am so fat.").

2) Flip the negative thought to a more realistic one. Try to observe the situation as a whole. "Although I look different than the other people doing this activity, I am not letting the way I look stop me from enjoying this activity. That takes a lot of courage. Many people would let that stop them from doing this. I am making positive changes in my life and this is one of them."

3) I take one more step, it's extreme but I love it and it helps me not even get to the negative thought next time. I find a mantra that goes with the activity that I am doing. I think of heroes that would also not look good doing what I am doing. People sweat! People jiggle! People smell!
If I was horseback riding (which kudos to you for doing because it scares the pants off of me), I would chant:
"I am Khaleesi. Mother of Dragons. Dothraki Queen."
When I run on the treadmill, I chant:
"I am Xena, Warrior Princess."
When I do yoga, I think:
"Strength does not come without practice."

Be kind to yourself. You're the only you that you've got!

SarahFairhope
05-01-2012, 05:04 PM
If I was horseback riding (which kudos to you for doing because it scares the pants off of me), I would chant:
"I am Khaleesi. Mother of Dragons. Dothraki Queen."


You are woman after my own heart.

:cp::cp::cp:

Done and done. Best advice ever.

SarahFairhope
05-01-2012, 05:05 PM
To use an analogy, think of weight loss as a tent. The poles and structure are your habits, and they dictate the strength and shape of the tent. The ground beneath you is who you are, and it is unchanged and independent of the habit changes - it isn't improved or diminished by the thing above it. And the shell of the tent is our physical appearance. It is what everyone sees and the final product, but it is nothing without the strength and firmament underneath, no matter what appearances may suggest.

This is soo helpful. THANK YOU!

Arctic Mama
05-01-2012, 06:09 PM
You're welcome. I'm surprised my bad analogy made any sense at all - pure luck!

SweetScrumptious
05-01-2012, 10:11 PM
My really true dream in life is to own and ride horses. I'm still a VERY GREEN beginner; I've put school and such before beginning this goal. Now that I've been out of school for a couple of years, I've been putting off learning to ride because I feel that I would look like a blob on a horse :(. I want to feel good and confident! But I'm also sad in the fact that I haven't started my dream yet and I'm nearing 25. I bit the bullet and signed up for a beginner's clinic in a couple of weekends. Yes, I will prob look like a blob but I think my happiness of riding a horse will outweigh my blobiness. If I like the instructor enough, I may chose him to begin beginner's lessons (which I have made one of my weight loss goals... I get a "gift" for every 10 lbs lost and I chose lessons as one). I eventually may want to take up barrel racing! But in order to achieve all of this, I need to get past the mental block of my image.

Be happy you are doing what you love and that you took the courage to get on a horse!

dragonwoman64
05-02-2012, 01:27 PM
I've been struggling for a while, so I was very grateful to read this thread, thanks to posters!