Weight Loss Support - The more weight I lose, the more conscious I am about how I look?

05-03-2012, 09:49 AM
It's really strange. Before I started losing weight seriously, I never gave it much thought. I imagined I'd be so happy once I got to the weight I am now!

Only I'm not really. I'm happy to have lost the weight I've lost, but all I see is the long road ahead of me. I look in the mirror and I feel bigger than ever. It's almost like I'm finally seeing what I couldn't see before.

Nobody outside my family notices I've lost weight and that makes me feel so much worse. I ran into two people in the past week who haven't seen me for a while, and neither said anything. Sometimes it feels like it's going to take forever before I am finally comfortable with how I look.

How long did it take before you started feeling like you really liked what you saw in the mirror?

Steve Troutman
05-03-2012, 09:56 AM
I've been helping people lose weight for years and all I can say is the mind and its perceptions lag. Big time. Even those folks who lose 100+ lbs and look better than the vast majority of the population still look in the mirror and see things with their "fat minds." That's one more than a few of my clients have called it.

It is a lot of hard work. Actually losing weight is pretty easy. It's the whole maintenance thing that's tough for most. It's worth it, I assure you. Focus less on the struggles and more on the benefits. What will reaching your goals mean to you? To your family? What will you be able to do and wear that you currently can't?

How our minds work... you need to interrupt the patterned thinking pretty frequently or it'll get the best of you.

Hang in there!

05-03-2012, 10:14 AM
I am always a little surprised when I see my reflection in a store, or mall, for instance, and realize it's me.

05-03-2012, 10:21 AM
Yes, this happened to me, too.

I've said that before I lost weight, I lived from the neck up and was oblivious to the rest of my body. It's a form of denial. Nearly the whole thing was a zone of shame, so I didn't look at it very often or picture myself moving about in my environment. My self-image was outdated and blurry, which is why photographs were always such an unpleasant shock. And, most important, I thought it would always be that way, that the fat was immovable as a mountain, and could not be changed by any of my efforts. I was helplessly squashed under the mountain.

Part of this process was taking a good, hard look at myself and really SEEING what was there. The other part was losing my sense of helplessness. Once I realized that I could change -- that I could climb or chip away at the mountain -- I finally acknowledged how much work needed to be done. Before, there hadn't been any work there. So of course it was overwhelming.

I think my feelings of perpetual dissatisfaction are what keeps me going. Complacency and denial are my enemies, not desire to change the status quo.

Where I run into problems is the self-talk that I engage in about changing myself. It's okay to be dissatisfied, it's not okay to be hypercritical of myself and to be cruel to myself. I define "cruel" as saying things to myself that only the meanest of mean spoiled 14-year-old girls would say about another girl. I don't know why I have instant access to that critical, condescending voice, but I do know that it is the opposite of kind and encouraging and empowering. And that's really how I ought to talk to myself about my ongoing body and health project.

05-03-2012, 10:22 AM
One of the things I learned during my whole weight loss process is that it's a giant mental game. The physical part is easy—exercising and eating right are simple enough—but our mind is our worst enemy when it comes to this stuff.

I too wasn't very critical of my body until I started losing weight. I remember thinking "ok, if I could lose 40lbs then I would be happy." Well I lose 40lbs and I still wasn't happy. I got to 140lbs and I STILL wasn't happy. I'm still not even completely happy now because there's such a huge disconnect between my actual body and how I see myself sometimes that there are times where I just can't process what I look like right now. I still feel like my "old" self but I must admit that with each passing day I'm getting better at feeling like the "new" me.

Others might have noticed your loss but not said anything at this stage of the game. It wasn't until recently that some people finally mentioned my losses and even then they didn't say anything about weight loss, just that I "look fantastic." Some people just don't know what to say...my supervisor first interviewed me just after I started my weight loss journey last year and when I saw him recently he said nothing! He—and others—sometimes just don't know what to say.

The best tool on this journey was the ability for me to take pictures and hanging on to some old clothes. You don't see the difference sometimes until the pictures are in front of you or until you try something on that was once too tight to find that it fits or is loose. I threw on some clothes recently that were once tight and they literally fell off me. It was shocking.

So relax, take pictures, try on clothes. Hopefully you will feel better...and even if nobody ever says anything to you, YOU will start seeing your progress :)

05-03-2012, 10:45 AM
I am always a little surprised when I see my reflection in a store, or mall, for instance, and realize it's me.

ME TOO. It's the weirdest thing ever. And then once I do realize it's me, I end up spending, like, ten minutes admiring myself. :rofl:

05-03-2012, 12:49 PM
There is another side of this too - when you gain weight and you look in the mirror and don't see it, because you still see yourself at that weight you've got set in your brain. This delusion enabled me to gain 30lb in the last 4-5 months (seriously). Your brain is lazy, it likes to fill in gaps with memory so it doesn't have to process *everything* *every time* you look at something. You look at a car, you vaguely process round black things and your brain fills in the details that enable you to recognize them as tires. Same goes with your body - you look in the mirror, your brain knows its you so it just processes what its used to processing. It can take a LONG time for your brain to catch up to the physical changes in your body but it WILL happen.

05-03-2012, 01:35 PM
I remember reading here that the first 30 or even 50 looked like the last 10... I was probably at about -50 when people really started noticing (now people don't recognize me!).

It is a head game and for me it's been a huge opportunity to face my demons and personal growth. As much as losing the weight, my focus was to not ever do this again. I've yoyoed for years and it just has to end. It's hard and there are times when I get totally freaked out and frustrated. Create a supportive support system (starting with right here! omg what would I have ever done without 3FC! I've whined here countless times). I'm not the same person I was 8 months ago. The weight loss didn't 'make' me happy, but all the things I've done around it have. I had to focus on the path and some healthy habits like yoga and cycling or I would have gone stark raving mad!

Good luck on your journey friend. You'll get there!

Yes and take pictures! And buy a smaller size of any clothing any chance you get! I became a sale shopping queen :)

05-03-2012, 01:38 PM
I can say that for ME, I feel "heavier" now than before I lost any weight... Oddly enough, I'm so focused on losing, that I beat myself up a LOT more now.

The discussion to stay positive is a tough one, because we're our own harshest critics...

Hang in there,

05-03-2012, 02:08 PM
We're own worse enemies right? I can look in the mirror and see the same person, yet can fit into a size smaller pair of shorts. Then you look to your family/friends for support and they don't recognize or acknowledge the changes in you. so is it progress or not?

I'm just learning that in the end, this isn't about anyone but yourself. I truly don't think that people intentionally don't say anything to be hurtful. Some say nothing maybe because they would be embarrassed to admit that you were overweight in the first place. Some people just have a hard time giving compliments... I find this to be true of many people. Then others want to show you as much encouragement as possible, but those are few and far between.

At the end of the day, this is about you. Do what ever you need to do to track your progress, there are some great tips from people here. I hate my picture being taken, but it is an effective tool. As well as measuring yourself. Then make a scrap book or something where you chart all your progress. Regardless of other people, when you see your body changing! It won't matter what others say, it's going to be alright there, living proof of all you've accomplished.

This site is great too, so many supportive people. I wish you the best of luck!

05-03-2012, 02:17 PM
Only I'm not really. I'm happy to have lost the weight I've lost, but all I see is the long road ahead of me. I look in the mirror and I feel bigger than ever. It's almost like I'm finally seeing what I couldn't see before.

This is probably my biggest struggle...It becomes a game of "never good enough"

I've noticed this only because it can depend on my mood too. Some days when I rock my diet and hit the gym like a pro so have an awesome day in other ways I actually feel skinnier! Then when I know I could have done better all I can see is this fat cow staring back at me. Maybe trying to set mini goals to focus on could help take the focus off of the road ahead and instead let you see the road now behind you :hug:

05-03-2012, 02:31 PM
Yup, I've become way more critical about myself. It's like I see more flaws in my body now than when I did 10 pounds ago :(

05-03-2012, 02:40 PM
Thanks so much for your amazing words of wisdom.

I have to admit that I didn't consider the possibility that people not saying anything is perhaps because they don't want to offend me or even broach the subject of my weight. That's a really valid point. And I suppose even 30 lbs isn't much compared to what I have to lose. Perhaps it's just going to take a lot longer to show.

It's kind of scary to think that your own reflection isn't entirely truthful. I always managed to convince myself that it was the camera that wasn't truthful -- I simply wasn't photogenic, see! -- and that's why I looked so different in pictures; but I've slowly come to realize that pictures are a far more honest reflection of how you look than a mirror. It will be an interesting day when when my brain catches on to the weight loss!

I take photos of myself every couple of weeks or so and I've seen some differences in my body, but it's still kind of difficult to gauge. But you guys are right -- this is for me, and I shouldn't base how I feel on others' perception of me. That's a stupid reason to feel sulky. I am proud of what I've done so far. I never thought I would get here. Even when I started, I was so used to failing that I was already prepping myself for it.

Thanks so much, everyone. You've saved me from myself again.

:hug: :hug: :hug:

05-03-2012, 02:53 PM
So on board here...Last year this time, I was squeezing into 22/24W sizes. Many of my clothes were a 24 and some 3xs. Today, I tried on a size 12 regular and they fit nicely. I also tried on regular Large clingy dress and it was gorgeous on me. HOWEVER, when I looked in the mirror...I don't really see that big of a difference. I see most of the old me. I also feel bigger than ever although common sense tells me that I must be smaller. I haven't fit a regular 12 since grade school!!!!!

My problem is that it gets me down. It is also hard for me to accept what I actually did to my body over all of these years. I mean my body was SCREAMING for relief (a.k.a- stretchmarks). I have weird "extra" pockets that looked like my body was trying to find anywhere to store all of the fat.

I have to tell myself though that I need to focus on the things I can change. I'm not giving up and I won't quit. If I do, things will truly get worse. :)

05-03-2012, 02:59 PM
It is also hard for me to accept what I actually did to my body over all of these years.

This. I have a hard time accepting what I've done, too. How I let things get this far. I regret wasting so many years being overweight and unhappy, and I also regret the fact that I'll never have a "normal" young woman's body; a body that's never been stretched to the point mine has!

But I think I'm ready to accept it and just be the best person I can possibly be. I have no right to complain. I have two arms, two legs, and as far as I know, everything works. Some people in this world have to overcome far more serious impairments over which they have no control. It makes me feel terrible to think I abused a perfectly healthy young body with some seriously bad choices. :/