I have heard different ones talk about visualizing themselves as thin. I don't seem to be able to do this. And some of you all talk about how several months down the road when you are at or near your goal, how looking back, the time went by quickly. I listen to these comments, and try to think that in a years time, I could be weighing significantly less and feeling better and all, and I just can not imagine that at all. Do you think not being able to do that is somehow sort of a stumbling block for me being able to succeed at this thing? :?: If so, how do I be able to do this?
12-23-2005, 10:51 AM
I don't know if it's a stumbling block or not--depends which side of the psychological fence you sit on, I guess.
For myself, I don't try to picture myself "thin" or even "thinner". Basically, my idea of what I "will look like" is just...like me. :) What I try to do, instead, in terms of visualization is imagine myself dealing with challenges that I know I will face in ways that make me feel good about myself. I'll give you an example.
This last sunday, my best friend and her parents held a Christmas party at her parents' new house. I had been helping them prepare (slicing veggies, pulling the necessary dishes, etc) so I knew exactly what was on the menu. I knew, for instance, that there were going to be TWO BASKETS and THREE PLATES of brownies and sugar cookies. Brownies are my weakness, I avoid them at all costs because once I start, there's no stopping me!
So anyway, I knew there were going to be brownies there. I repeatedly told myself that I wouldn't even start, I would spend my time chatting to others and helping where I was needed. I imagined myself having NO BROWNIES, and I imagined how good I would feel if I could go home at the end of the party knowing that I had held true to that goal. I spent three days preparing myself for this.
And I did it! The whole party I had one piece of broccoli from the veggie tray! :) I was so proud, and my reward was losing a pound this week and making my Christmas goal. :)
I do believe that I couldn't have done it if I hadn't envisioned myself being successful. I guess I just have a more immediate, rather than a more global, perspective.
12-23-2005, 11:25 AM
I love your quote from Sarah.....she is one smart brownie ...er ...cookie! ;)
12-23-2005, 11:59 AM
I guess because I've been overweight/obese all my life I can't visualize myself as a thin person either. Now most times in my dreams I'm thin but the moment I wake up the picture of me in my mind goes blurry and I can't remember what I looked like. :)
12-23-2005, 12:38 PM
I have never tried to visualize myself as thin -- in fact, it didn't even occur to me!
mousie -- thanks for that story!!!! I think I sort of use that technique in a more passive way, but your example showed me how actively I can use it!! In fact, I think I can put it to use this weekend!
12-23-2005, 12:47 PM
Visualization rocks. I always thought it was some new-age mumbo jumbo but it is the stuff that success is made on.
12-23-2005, 01:02 PM
I think visualization works if you can actually believe what you are visualizing. If not I feel that your subconscious will just continue to manifest what you actually do believe to be true. When using visualization or affirmations it is important to personalize when to where you are at instead of taking a cookie cutter approach. When I use affirmations I pick ones like "I nourish and care for myself in a healthy manner" I then visualize myself as radiate with good health. Another I use is when I am working out I affirm "Every time I exercise I free myself from the past and become healthy and physically stronger" For me those are affirmation and visualizations I made for myself because I believe they are true. Like you I can not just visualize myself thin. It seems to vague to me and it is something I can't relate to.
12-23-2005, 02:59 PM
Glynne - I totally know what you are talking about. I know that I have a really warped body image which has probably added to my troubles over the years. Weirdly enough, I remember when I was around 250 and thought I was SO HUGE. Now I am around 350 and I feel SO HUGE. What is strange, is that the feeling is really similar, even though there is such a difference in the two weights. If I can't form an accurate mental picture of myself in real life, how will I be able to visualize what I would look like thin?
Mousie - your story is a great inspiration. That is a great way to use visualization.
12-23-2005, 05:01 PM
I can't actually picture myself at a "normal" weight at all, but I can imagine the concept. What I mean is that it's more abstract for me, and is more related to how I imagine I'll feel rather than what I'll look like. I don't quite know how to describe it, but it's enough to keep me believing that it can be done.
The only other time I lost a significant amount of weight, I started at 210 pounds. I can still remember how I felt at that size: disgusting, enormous, ugly, unfit, etc.. After I regained the weight, I didn't feel any of those negatives until I hit 247 (my starting weight this time). Even then, those reasons weren't nearly as compelling as they were the first time. I'm a very poor judge of my body. For years, I simply didn't see a fat lass when I looked in the mirror, and I wasn't teased about my size, so I guess I convinced myself that I wasn't really obese.
As for time going quickly, I'm only halfway to my initial goal weight, but certainly the last 8 months have zoomed by. I keep saying to hubby, "You know, I couldn't have done this [**insert whatever activity we're doing**] last April, without my feet hurting or getting out of breath.", and marvelling at how short a time ago it seems. Logically, the next 8 months will likely pass just as quickly. I don't really give it much thought, TBH, since I removed the time limit I'd set myself for dropping the weight.
12-23-2005, 09:33 PM
I agree with those who feel it may be easier to visualize yourself doing things that a thin person does, rather than simply imagining yourself looking thinner or wearing smaller clothes. Close your eyes and imagine yourself hiking a rocky trail, climbing a mountain, crossing a finish line in a 5k race or just waking up each morning feeling fit, healthy and energized. The more you think about yourself in those situations, the more you'll see yourself in the body you have to have to do those kinds of things! The imagination is a powerful tool and its calorie-free! Good luck. :smug:
12-24-2005, 12:45 PM
I have to agree with the idea of abstract visualization. For instance, when I'm exercising I might close my eyes during a favorite song and imagine being out with friends dancing, sweating, and having a great time. I didn't have a picture of myself as thin but what I might do once I was. Or I might think about going out to dinner and how it would feel to enjoy my food without worrying that my eating habits called attention to me. Things like that.
As for time flying I can only say that it does. But, I don't think it happens until you stop paying attention to it. The first months were grueling because I was constantly on the scale always wondering if I was ever going to lose this weight. Once I accepted that this was how I would be living from here on out regardless of my weight time became irrelevant and began passing much faster.
12-24-2005, 12:54 PM
I still can't see myself as thin. Don't know if that will ever come. I am still amazed when I see a picture of myself or look in the mirror. I feel so vain because I just love to see pictures of myself. So I don't know if that will ever come.
Now as for thinking ahead. You will drive yourself crazy if you try to do that to much. That is why I had to set small goals and go for those. Will the time go quick? Yes it will go extremely quick. Will it always seem that way? No, not until you look back and see it. This does not have to be a stumbling block for you. Just take it one day and one pound at a time and I guarantee that when you are sitting here next year you will be amazed at how much you have lost and how quick the time went.
12-24-2005, 02:42 PM
I can't and don't try to visualise myself as thing. I visualise myself lifting, or swimming or running, activity type things, but not what I'll look like at the end. What if I get it wrong??? I used to have a really bad picture in my head of what I wanted to look like (I love Uma Thurman - yeah at 5 foot 4 and curvier than J-Lo not quite what I am ever going to attain!)
Any tool to weight loss, if it works for you do it, but if it doesn't it's not going to hinder you.
12-26-2005, 05:46 AM
I have not used visualization in the past but I have found pictures of myself when for that split secon dof my life I was thin. I realise how breif it was and how as a younger person I thought "Hey I made so now I don't have to worry about dieting anymore......" I am back where I started from ten years ago AGAIN......
I keep thinking there is this skinny woman locked away but I can not see her even in my foggiest daydreams.....
I do know what does work for me is losing myself on sites like this and watching everyone else's success and see replies and comments to keep me going. I live outside the US on a base overseas so I get real down sometimes about not getting the support I need. Reading stories and watching your successes however motivate me to get working on it.
12-26-2005, 11:54 AM
I visualize myself being thin ALL the time!! The problem is, is that I've been heavy for so long that I am not sure what I look like thin, lol... but I think about it anyway!
12-27-2005, 10:40 AM
I'm with you Chunky thigh.. (love the name, btw!) I've been heavy for sooo long. It's weird.. sometimes I'm the opposite. I can't imagine myself thin - b/c I think that what I am is normal. Now that is sick.
01-03-2006, 09:54 AM
Excellent thread! I think what I see most common in all the links is that we all have a hard time with our body image. I myself have difficulty thinking what I will look like thin, so to speak. Even after I had lost a lot of weight in previous diets, I still was shocked when I could go into a store and buy "normal" size clothing. For me, at least right now, I am focusing on the day to day. I visualize what I will I do if temptation comes my way, and how I can successfully handle it. Once I get closer to goal, than I can start visualizing other things.
01-03-2006, 12:18 PM
I was thin once. :) So to help me visualize what I'll look like, I just look back at old pictures. Of course, my 32 year old body will never look like my 17 year old body, but it really helps.
And I visualize doing stuff with my kids that is just difficult to do now, like running around, wrestling, hiking, etc.
01-03-2006, 12:47 PM
What an interesting thread, glynne.
I agree with Howie -- I've lost over 100 pounds, and while still far from "thin," I can barely picture myself as I look now, even when I'm looking in the mirror (for some reason, I see it more easily in pictures, though). I think for many of us who have been obese for a long time, it might not even be possible to visualize ourselves thin -- I had no idea what I would look like after I'd lost even a little bit of weight.
On the other hand, I REALLY like the visualization technique mousie brought up, and I think I do that a little bit, too. For me, it usually involves going to the gym. This morning, for instance, I woke up with the alarm clock and was dismayed to hear that it was still raining outside -- basically another cold, windy, disgusting day. So I lay there for a minute and tried to picture myself getting dressed... putting on my shoes... grabbing my umbrella... and kicking a** at the gym with an upper-body weight training session. For some reason, visualizing this made it seem possible, and I dragged my sorry butt out of bed and made it there.
Just one quick reminder that since everyone is so different, you just need to find what works for you. It's always amazing to me that despite the many success stories on 3FC, no two people have lost weight exactly the same way!
01-03-2006, 03:27 PM
I was never able to visualise myself as being thin, because I never had been. I still can't, to be honest. There are times when I look in the mirror and the sight blows me away, and other times when I still see a fat person looking back, with rolls of fat round the middle. Don't tell me they're not there, I'll admit they're smaller, but they're still there.
I think this is good though. Because no matter how much weight I've lost, the fact is that I am still overweight, even if I'm less overweight than I was. Allowing myself to realise that I can be here, at 172 and still think I'm fat reminds me that I don't want to go back up to 260 before I realise I need to knuckle back down again!
It's getting easier though. I pick up clothes when I'm shopping that I'd used to dream of getting into, I look at them and I realise without trying them on that they're too big. That's progress. I'm also getting slightly more of an idea of what I might look like when I hit goal, even if I haven't decided what that goal weight is yet (the basic plan is just to keep on going until I hit it, assuming I'll know it when I see it!)
I don't think not being able to visualise yourself as thin is a bar to success. After all, if you're hung up on a particular image of perfection you might be disappointed if you don't get there, or if it takes longer than you hoped. But if you celebrate each bit of shrinkage as and when it happens, and enjoy the process the whole thing will be a lot easier, without being obsessed by one picture in your head. It does take time, but at the end of the day it's just one good decision after another, one day after another, and if you have something you can focus on from time to time, maybe your wrist or your fingers are a little thinner, or you've gone down 1 dress size, it helps you put to the back of your mind the fact that you've not gone down 6 dress sizes yet!