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Body Image and Issues after Weight Loss Including discussions about excess skin and reconstructive surgery

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Old 12-14-2010, 02:03 PM   #1
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Default When your self-perception is skewed, who or what do you trust?

I'm hoping that, at some point in the future, my mental image will catch up with the reality of what's in the mirror. In the meantime, I have no idea what I look like.

For those of you who have made this transition, how did you navigate it? Did you bring a friend along every time you went shopping? Did you trust the scale, or measurements, or clothing sizes?

I know it's going to take time to get used to my new body, but are there things I can do to hurry up the process?

I didn't think this would mess with my head so much, but having always been overweight or obese, this is WEIRD. I went to Gap today to get a pair of jeans, and was embarrassed to ask the salesperson to help me reach a pair of size 6s. Surely she knew those would be WAY too small for me. They fit. Huh?
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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I don't know what to trust. Not sizes, that's for sure. I have a size 4 J. Crew skirt that fits like a dream and an old (probably pre-vanity sizing) sized 10 Gap jeans that fit equally well. I wear small, medium and large sized tops. I tend to wear larger sized dresses and smaller sized skirts.

Not the scale. Apparently I pack a lot of muscle and weigh more than my size would appear.

Not my measurements because I've taken them and they never quite seem to work right with the sizing charts at various vendors.

I've heard people take pictures and crop off their own heads which depersonalizes the photos. I haven't done that yet but it sure sounds like a good idea.

I have skinny days and I have fat days. I don't know that my mind every will catch up because I've been smaller than I am now and thought I was fat. Knowing helps though. I felt thin when I was definitely fat and I feel heavier now that I'm thin.
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Last edited by Eliana; 12-14-2010 at 02:12 PM.
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Old 12-14-2010, 02:29 PM   #3
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I've also always been overweight or obese and this is the very first time in my life that I wasn't. I've struggled so much with this issue. I feel like a schmuck sometimes mentioning it because I should be happy with all I've accomplished but there is this lingering feeling that I just can't see myself as normal.

I thought when I got down to this weight that everything would be perfect, but it is not. I have a lot of mental health "issues" that have come out because of the total life change and I still feel bad sometimes that I'm not where I want to be in terms of weight loss.

I do believe with time these things will get better.
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Old 12-14-2010, 04:16 PM   #4
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Sadly, I turst no one. I wish I would though. I have had many people comment that I am so tiny- but I will tell you, I AM NOT TINY!!!!!! NOT AT ALL!!!!!!!!!! I wish I could see myself as at least thin. I'm hoping one day soon...... It gets depressing sometimes.
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Old 12-14-2010, 08:33 PM   #5
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The only thing I really trust are video cameras. Still shots can be too flattering or too unflattering. Mirrors I'm always looking at from head-height and so I look thinner than I am. The scale is just a number. Clothing sizes vary wildly.

Trust the way clothing fits. Sure the sizing will be wonky and a 6 at Gap is probably a 10 at H&M, but you can always tell if clothes fit or not. If you're holding up something small going "I wonder if I will fit in here," try it on!
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Old 12-14-2010, 10:58 PM   #6
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I trust photos. They can show me how far I've come. I am not at goal weight. I think when I reach it I'll probably lower it. But looking at pictures I can SEE a difference. And that makes me feel better about it. Because while I'm not where I want to be, I'm not where I was before. And that's something.

I kind of like the idea of blocking your head from the picture and seeing how it looks. I might try that as well!
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Old 12-15-2010, 03:43 AM   #7
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Ideally get someone else to crop the heads off a bunch of photos and see if you can pick out which is you. You might be surprised!

It's a common psychology experiment, one where they put photos of all different sized women and you pick which you think looks most like you (most thin people pick a fatter one and most heavy people pick a thinner one) or similarly one photo of you taken and Photoshopped taller, shorter, thinner, fatter, etc. and you must pick out which is the real, unedited you. That's a tricky one, because you might pick yourself as being too big, but may also like the unrealistic look of yourself stretched out digitally thin and wish that was the real one, so don't do that one if you think it might go awry.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:36 PM   #8
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It has always been a combination of reality checks that helped me...you mentioned several.

- combo of measurements done weekly with daily (only once a day in am) weigh ins
- pictures, oh man for some reason the mirror can be very subjective for me but pix really work for me
- comparing my height/weight/measurements with those of others
- comparing my reflection with others
- naked vids, ok this may seem super insane/absurd but i totally take video with my phone of myself naked to see how i am *moving* and then immediately delete. much like a picture this seems like absolute reality to me
- dr evaluation
- honest friend eval (to a much lesser extent, they tend to be honest on the first lost, lie on the first major long term gain then be scared for life when I cry, haha)
- fancy scale eval of body fat (these can be less reliable measures, but are good for noting progress if its a decent model and done at similar hydration levels)
really it comes down to the set of tools that work best for you
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:12 PM   #9
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An insane amount of mirror time.

In mirrors everywhere, at all angles, not just one or two mirrors at home.

So much mirror time that Narcissus himself would feel like an amateur next to me.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saef View Post
So much mirror time that Narcissus himself would feel like an amateur next to me.
LOL!

Me too...I stand in front of the mirror every morning for like 10 or 15 minutes, trying to see how my body has changed.
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Old 12-15-2010, 10:57 PM   #11
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I don't have mirrors at home (I feel this is a good thing or I might starve to death) so I take a long time in fitting rooms when I'm out shopping.

Sometimes I look at reflections in windows when I'm sitting next to friends on trains etc to check out how I compare. I feel my perception of other people's sizes can be messed up too though.

I wish it didn't matter!
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:00 PM   #12
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JenMusic: I sometimes struggle with this too and I've been maintaining for several years. In fact, I'm recovering from an injury right now and had a couple of months where my workouts consisted of just going up and down the stairs of my home. So I'm kind of in the same place as you right now. (except I'm constantly checking to see just how far down the fitness/hypertrophy continuum I may have fallen.

The daily weigh ins as well as "pant-o-meter" helps to keep me in check.

However, one of the most valuable tools is my yoga class. The secret?
I wear fitted cardio tops (a t-shirt will slide down to your chin in downward dog) and a room with wall to wall mirrors.

I try to get a spot close to one of the walls so that I can study the definition or lack there of in my upper and lower body. Vain? Maybe to some. But the reality is it helps me to truly see where I am with regard to body composition compared to my scale weight.

So far, when my head tells me I feel and look like a bloated toad, I get in that yoga class and am shocked that it doesn't look that way while in "triangle pose..."

So, I suppose this supports what many others have said before me..."lots of mirror time" In addition to the mirror time, seeing your body in movement and in different angles also helps.
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Old 12-16-2010, 01:59 PM   #13
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Ditto, OP. I've always been overweight or obese as well. And now I can't for the life of me tell what I look like, now. Although I think I'm developing a strange love affair with my shoulders (they're getting more slender and I can see some bones now).

But I was just wearing a cami with spaghetti straps, walked past a mirror and I was like, "Holy crap! Is that ME? I don't look fat..." Then the next day I felt I looked like a parade balloon and like I hadn't lost any weight. Lol! I don't think it's a big problem; I just can't tell how I look all the time.

As far as who to trust about how I look? No idea. My family and friends call me "slender" and "skinny mini" and say I'm "getting so tiny." But I'm still borderline overweight, a.k.a, not tiny/slender/skinny. But I do measure myself - that helps a ton. It lets me know I'm shrinking.

But you know what? I'd rather deal with this and still be shrinking than not deal with it and be 207 lbs again. No way.

And I agree with saef! Insane amounts of mirror time / feeling myself up. Lol! Seriously, I feel for bones, muscles, etc. that weren't there before.
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Old 12-16-2010, 05:45 PM   #14
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Jen,
I have that skewed vision. I went from 175ish to 115...a size 12-14 to a 0 even in juniors. I look at myself and think who is this person? I put on these stylish tiny clothes and wonder if it is for real. I am trying very hard to just settle into maintaining. This has not been easy because I have become comfortable with my losses. I associate my losses with achievement. This association has been hard to break. I also realize that any lower and I will not look well. I used to weigh 130-140 then had my youngest almost 10 years ago. I lost very little weight after having her--thus I was used to being chubby for all those years. I really have no fantastic advice--just know you are not alone!
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Old 12-16-2010, 06:50 PM   #15
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I'm not really sure what to trust either. About 30 pounds ago I bought a cute pair of pants at the thrift store that I couldn't come close to fitting in. They wouldn't even get past my upper thighs. Now I can get them on and zipped (but they are still too small to wear).

To me, I feel like I look just as big as ever and the pants magically grew while hidden away in my closet.
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