Body Image and Issues after Weight Loss - Seeing yourself from someone else's perspective.




Euphy
09-13-2012, 06:21 PM
So, I've known for a long time that I needed to lose weight. There were a few times where I did manage to lose 20 lbs here or there, but I always gained it back. During the entire time I've been overweight, I've never really let anyone take pictures of me. I guess I just didn't want to see how bad I looked without the flattering angles.

I guess I never realized just how fat I looked. When I see myself in the mirror, I don't look that bad. Maybe I just have a magic thin mirror, but I think I have a minor body image disorder. Last night I took the plunge and took some photos of myself in my underwear. I felt so devastated that I've gotten to this point. But at the same time, I am happy that I have recognized that I have a problem and that I haven't let myself get any bigger. Today I woke up and looked at the pictures again. I cried for a while, so disappointed with myself. But now those photos are my biggest motivator. I'm not sure if this is negative or positive, but I feel like those images are burned into my mind. Anytime I even think about eating something unhealthy, those pictures will pop into my head. I could barely even finish my coffee this morning thinking about them, it literally just made me sick to my stomach.

I am starting to get over it, though. I wallowed in self pity for a while, but now it's time to really get into gear. I guess seeing yourself as other people see you is the push you need sometimes. Now I really see how unhealthy I've gotten.


mescelestus
09-13-2012, 07:28 PM
I'm pretty sure you don't make other people sick to their stomachs...It's great to be motivated, but you don't want to be too hard on yourself and wander into the realm of self hatred. You WILL lose the weight, and you will look and feel awesome!

EagleRiverDee
09-13-2012, 08:20 PM
I totally get this. When I look at myself in a mirror, I think I look fine. But in photos, I look way bigger. I think in the mirror I might be seeing like a memory of what I used to look like, but I can't do that with photos. I don't know. I consider it like the opposite of body dysmorphic disorder. You know people who think they're fat when they're not? I see a skinny me, and I'm not.


losermom
09-15-2012, 11:45 AM
I totally get this. When I look at myself in a mirror, I think I look fine. But in photos, I look way bigger. I think in the mirror I might be seeing like a memory of what I used to look like, but I can't do that with photos. I don't know. I consider it like the opposite of body dysmorphic disorder. You know people who think they're fat when they're not? I see a skinny me, and I'm not.

Dee, that's me too! I never thought I was fat. I had convinced myself that I was chubby and had fully embraced a health at any size, eat whatever I want lifestyle. But I'm pretty sure that the Health at Every Size does not include, or encourage, eating all that I did. :dizzy:

kakeJ
09-15-2012, 12:52 PM
The thing about mirrors is we are looking at ourselves alone, whereas in photos, there are usually others present. So we are comparing ourselves to them from a kind of 3rd party perspective. when I think about it that's what motivated me to get started,a picture of my husband and I embracing made looked like a bear mauling a deer. It shocked me, because when I looked in a mirror alone, I did not think I was that big. But even now almost 80lbs. later I am starting to get a little more critical of specific body areas, Like my upperarms and and neck. I have never weighed less in my adult life so I'm happy about that. Though the image I have of being "slinky" may not be realistic, I don't want another picture of the hungry bear snapped again.

Euphy
09-15-2012, 02:05 PM
I totally understand that. I don't know what it is with mirrors, but I just never really saw the weight on myself. I knew I wasn't skinny, but I just didn't see how big I really looked. It was almost comical in a sense because you can tell that my body frame isn't made for a lot of weight. I have these big upper arms and tiny little forearms. I wouldn't say I'm necessarily being malicious towards myself, but being able to laugh about it while changing my mindset has helped so much. Being able to actually see the weight on myself, and how unhealthy I am, has helped me to get through those days when all I want is to eat an entire bag of potato chips.

LockItUp
09-15-2012, 10:50 PM
I can completely relate to your post! I knew I was fat, but when I finally got the courage to take pictures at 211 pounds (already having lost 25 pounds mind you) I was completely devastated. I cried A LOT. Off and on for days I cried about it. I'm SOOOO glad I have those pictures now, and so glad I took them then because it really made me in touch with reality. I don't trust the mirror at all, which sometimes makes me question whether I'm allowed to feel I look good, which I feel isn't a good thing at all.

Anyway, I totally get where you are right now!!! It won't be long before you are looking back at those pictures not recognizing yourself!

proaxis21
09-15-2012, 11:19 PM
I totally get what you are saying, and one good thing about this, is your NOT ALONE. I remember a few years ago, I probably weighed 160lbs. I always thought I was fat. I look at now, where I'm a good 214lbs, and I tell myself I don't look that bad, but comparing the two is a SHOCK. I guess its ironic how these things work huh?

kelly315
09-16-2012, 12:16 AM
Pictures are always a huge motivator for me. I usually look worse in them than I imagined I looked in real life. The best thing, however, is when you start to see pictures that look great!

racrane
10-20-2012, 09:07 AM
Oh yes, I feel the same way. At 200 lbs when I looked in the mirror I'd keep trying unconsciously to find my 130 lb self. I'd always find an aspect and cling to that but really am not healthy. I'm starting to see how I am is not horrible, I just really need to commit. I'm walking a fine line here as I struggle with body image. My heavier self is not a bad person, but I do want to be healthy. So I try to avoid pictures and mirrors as they freak me out right now. I know what I look like finally and I will just keep working at it.

TamiL
10-20-2012, 11:16 AM
Sadly it doesn't really matter at what end of the journey we are at. At my heaviest point I really didn't see myself the way others did. I saw the same person I thought myself to be. I knew I was "chubby" but until I saw the pictures of me side by side with others I didn't realize how out of control my weight had gotten. Several years and 100 pounds down, I still have the same issue. My friends tell me I need to eat more and my face is starting to look hollow......but I look in the mirror and see the same "chubby" girl I always knew. Its funny how we are never able to see ourselves the way others do.

586
10-20-2012, 01:32 PM
Funnily enough, whenever family sees photos of me at my highest weight, they all say "We didn't know you were so big!" and when I look at it, I still think I'll walk into the bedroom and see that same person in the mirror.

When I was almost 300 pounds, I was still carrying this body memory of being 160ish. And now that I'm 160ish again, I still carrying around a body memory of being nearly 300. I have a tendency these days to not even recognize myself in the mirror, as a result.

dstalksalot
10-28-2012, 10:25 AM
I wanted to say thanks for posting. I have been experiencing the same issues. I always knew I was heavy, but never thought it was as bad as it was. Seeing the rare photo of my self was always a shock because my mirror was kinder. I am 60 pounds lighter now and I finally look how I thought I looked at my heaviest.......that's a trip but now in my mind I look slimmer than I am but when I look in the mirror all I see are flaws.

I have to constantly take photos to get an accurate view or go to my body gallery to get an idea of size and height. I am hoping it will even out in my head after more time has past .

Sheila53
10-31-2012, 05:41 PM
Sadly it doesn't really matter at what end of the journey we are at. At my heaviest point I really didn't see myself the way others did. I saw the same person I thought myself to be. I knew I was "chubby" but until I saw the pictures of me side by side with others I didn't realize how out of control my weight had gotten. Several years and 100 pounds down, I still have the same issue. My friends tell me I need to eat more and my face is starting to look hollow......but I look in the mirror and see the same "chubby" girl I always knew. Its funny how we are never able to see ourselves the way others do.

This is me, well, minus the people telling me I need to eat more. :) But I still refer to myself as a big person, and I am shocked when others think I'm joking. That's how I see myself.

saef
11-09-2012, 11:00 AM
I am still coping with this same thing, now that I've lost over 100 pounds.

I've been lifting weights three times a week fairly seriously for 18 months now, and my arms and shoulders and upper body have really changed.

But I only get glimpses of the changes. I almost have to sneak up on myself to see them. I am having my same old trouble overlaying my current reality over my memory of what I once looked like. Or else I am dissatisfied because I am thinking of what I wished I look like, and I start editing & airbrushing while gazing in the mirror.

It's turned into a larger philosophical issue:

I do not want to miss out on what I am because I am always remembering what I was or longing for what I want to be.

That is, I am not enjoying the present moment in this body, the real body that I currently have, because of memory and desire, which seem to make me oblivious to anything that I might have already achieved.

HelenaHandbasket
11-14-2012, 12:45 AM
Can so relate to this! I think it's because when I'd look in the mirror, I could focus on what I wanted to see - in a way, I was mentally "photoshopping" myself. I'd angle my body, focus on my face, view myself only from the front. You can't do that with a photo (mental photoshop - you can do the real thing, obviously, but that's not the same, heh). It's all of you, all there, all at once.

BUT - that's not how others see you. Not the others that matter, anyway. If a photograph helps give you a more realistic idea of your size and motivates you to get healthy, awesome, but don't get down on yourself. I consider my weight loss journey a labour of love, and I found that focusing on the positive was a more effective motivator than demonizing my weight. Don't run away from your past self; just run towards your future self.