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Do you see yourself as fatter then you "really" are?

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Old 11-19-2007, 10:34 PM   #1
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Default Do you see yourself as fatter then you "really" are?

I've been doing the yo-yo thing, now I'm up but I'm going to go down for GOOD this time. I know I'm mad at myself for getting off track, and it's true that my clothes don't fit right as I gain weight mostly in my belly and upper half - and keep my long thin legs.

BUT I was at a public bathroom the other day, there was a full length mirror and I thought, I don't look as BAD as I think I do. Ok, I was disguising my tummy with a blazer so my legs stood out... It's true though I really want to lose 20 lbs, but 10-15 would be ok too if I could make it stick.

I'm just wondering about our culture of always dieting and doing self improvement, does that make it so we are NEVER happy with ourselves AS WE ARE? I read in a book on HAPPINESS that oen of the keys is to quit thinking of life as a self improvement process...

I'm always on this diet or that, reading books on codependency, decluttering, becoming younger, fashion, make-overs, etc. But looking in the mirror you know what, I look OK! Sure I'm not the tall thin blonde girl I was in college, or naturally in my 20s. I won't get back to that no matter what I do.

How about a day of just plain being happy with ourselves for once? Do we have to be thin to be happy? Or can we just try to start now - and quit totally obsessing about all of the things we "have" to do before we are happy with ourselves, our house, our spouse, etc....
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:01 AM   #2
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I know I will never be truly satisfied with myself. I'm not technically overweight at the moment, I'm at the high end of a normal bmi. Even at my all-time lowest weight of 123 lbs, I still felt like I needed to lose more.

The culture is designed to keep us from being satisfied. If we were all satisfied, we wouldn't buy clothes and cars and diet books and diamonds all the time, so the ever-present advertisers have to make sure our self-esteem always needs a boost.

Also, advertisers aside, I don't think humans are meant to be satisfied. I think it's in our nature to always want what we don't have.
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Old 11-20-2007, 07:23 AM   #3
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Hey!

Well, I can see I've come a long way, and I know I still have some to go. But I haven't been a person who is chronically unsatisfied (and interestingly, I'm also not much of a "consumer"). (Except for food... but you know what I mean. )

I agree with jellydisney that it seems to be a part of being human to be unsatisfied. Buddhists call this dukkha--the "unsatisfactoriness" of life. And much of Buddhism and other Eastern philosophies has to do with how to deal with this dissatisfaction--in ways other than, for example, eating to try to feel better.

That book had a good point, Horsey--life doesn't have to be a self-improvement process. At the same time, accepting oneself doesn't mean never making any effort. So, I guess it's a matter of finding a path free from extremes.

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Old 11-20-2007, 07:32 AM   #4
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What a wonderful way to start my day . Thanks for the words of motivation. And you are right on the money. I, too, tend to be in a constant state of self-improvement attempts. I love the idea of taking a day just to celebrate "me" as I am right now. Ironically, that might facilitate self-improvement (lol).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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Old 11-20-2007, 08:08 AM   #5
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Horsey - I think your right on the money with this. I think I will always feel fat and overweight even if I was ever back at a normal weight. The years of yo-yoing have taken their toll on my vision of my self and the actual self. For example when I was actually a normal weight in my teens I percieved myself as grossly overweight. This also works the other way too though, when I was at my all time high of 252 I was in serious denial and wouldnt let my conscious comprehend what was in the mirror.
I wish that I was more like a man and didnt have all these emotional issues and the pressure that females have such a skill to putting on ourselves. We put so much pressure on ourselves to look like the celebrities etc etc which is just crazy. We all seem to forget the magic of the airbrush... anyway just wanted to say thanks for the thought provoking entry.
I actually saw an exercise on this programme about loving yourself naked or something where the woman had to draw her outline on a sheet of paper on what she thought her body was like, she then had to lie in it and he drew around her.. she had drew herself so much bigger than she really was. I thought that was interesting in showing how we percieve ourselves.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:01 AM   #6
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I really want to contribute to this thread... Striving is one of the roots of our eternal suffering... Yes it is important to keep "engaged" and set intensions and to be motivated, but it is also critical to bask in the joy of our perfection in this moment... Once realization of our flawlessness penatrates the veil of illusion (i.e- need to have a perfect body, clothes, car, house, bank acct) this incesscent need to transform into someone that in reality we already are falls away.

Just try something (you have nothing to lose and everything to gain)... When you look in the mirror see yourself as God would see you. Would She judge you? Would She speak negatively to you? Would She think you were less than? We all know the answers to the questions... Suspend all thoughts of the ego and allow the truth to step forward and tell the real story... That you are the manifestation of ultimate beauty and love.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:09 AM   #7
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I think it's important to stop the negative thoughts in our heads, until I did some readings I had no clue how bad I really was. I mean waking up, looking in the mirror saying to myself, gosh I can't stand this hair color, if only I could lose the 15 lbs for once, I sure am a loser that I can stay disciplined, wish this feature were different, etc... sets the tone for a bad day. It's not just my looks, I do this with work. Gosh I'm behind, but then again always behind, I can't seem to stay organized, blah, blah, blah. Could we all benefit from learning the process of "thought stopping"? Picking those negative thoughts and "stopping" them dead in their tracks. According to the "experts" we are to then replace those negative thoughts with positive ones... anyone have some good affirmations that we could replace the negative talk about our bodies with?
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:12 AM   #8
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I am the opisite - I see myself as smaller than I am now that I am loosing but before I started loosing yes I thought I looked twice my size
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:37 AM   #9
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I think that this is true for everyone, regardless of how affected by advertisements they are, or how good their self esteem is. The fact is, our eyes and brains are used to seeing us in a certain way - a certain body that is, in fact, larger than we are now, and that pattern of what we look like is then stored in the vision centers of our brain. There are so many different constructs in psychology that show the brain essentially "skimming over" what it sees and filling in the blanks to create whole images (this is why most optical illusions work). Our brains are excellent at recognizing new patterns and filling in the details to save time and effort. Of course, sometimes they fill in incorrectly, which is what happens if you've had a major change in body shape.

Think of your brain, having established the pattern that is your body for a long time. It sees your features, your rough outline, and says "bingo - thats me", and then fills in the blanks from previously stored images of you to create your final image of yourself. If you've spent years and years being heavy, your mental image gets filled in as heavier than you are. Likewise, many people who gained weight later in life look in the mirror and see themselves THINNER than they are...it takes a photograph to really show them what they look like.

It can take a long time to reset the pattern stored in your brain - what I've typically heard is that it takes a year or more. And that is, while irritating, perfectly normal. I have lost 133 lbs - I look in the mirror and see a body that is about halfway between where I am and where I used to be - my brain still hasn't caught up. But it is slowly changing. Except in cases of disorders (like Body Dysmorphic Disorder, in which you consistently see your body as a different size than it actually is for a prolonged period of time), your brain will catch up with you eventually.
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Old 11-20-2007, 11:48 AM   #10
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This is such an interesting thread. I have lost almost 50 lbs and for the first 35 - 40 of them I really didn't see much of a difference in the mirror, infact the only way I knew I was actually getting smaller was that my clothes didn't fit anymore. I have finally reached a point where, I think, I'm seeing the real me. And I'm very happy with the way I look now. My original goal was 150 but I am 181 now and I wear a size 12, I don't want to get too small and have it be way too hard to keep up with it, so i changed my goal to 160. I figure that should put me around a size 10 and I'd be MORE than happy with that, I'm actually fine with 12 but we'll see how it goes.
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Old 11-20-2007, 12:48 PM   #11
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Probably.

When I got fat, it took me a LONG time to admit that I really, truly was overweight and looked just plain chunky. Every time I saw myself, I felt like I was looking into one of those crazy carnival mirrors, because the person I saw in the mirror was not the same (or even close) to the person I envisioned.

Now, the person I see in the mirror is pretty much identical to the person in my head, but I just can't believe it. I will sometimes look in the mirror and strike poses... not (only) because I'm incredibly vain, but because I can't believe the person looking back is actually ME. After a year and a half of being a chunky chick, it's strange to know that I finally obliterated my heifer ****. (Now, now, I DO realize that I was not huge, but I was very, very uncomfortable with myself, absolutely miserable, and unquestionably less healthy.)

When I see pictures, I am surprised, because I have this silly idea that I could still stand to lose a few more pounds. I may wear smaller sizes now, but I do not think I am "thin" or "slim" by any stretch of the imagination. I still call my girlfriend a skinny mini, even though we wear close to the same size (she is a tiny bit smaller, but we can definitely wear each other's clothes comfortably). I can't even imagine for ONE SECOND that I am even CLOSE to as small as she is.

I think that it is especially tough for people who have been overweight for a good portion of their lives to see how far they've really come, because as mandalinn said, our brains fill in the idea of what we look like with images from the past.
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Old 11-20-2007, 01:18 PM   #12
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Jellydisney, I just hate how I buy diamonds all the time! .

Seriously, though, this is such an interesting topic. I have been really thin naturally and really fat. When I look at myself now, sometimes I look fat and sometimes I look thin. I guess Amanda's post could explain why I see myself both ways. I frequently wonder what I really look like.
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Old 11-20-2007, 02:57 PM   #13
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I often have fat (bad) and thin (good) days. A lot has to do about my clothing selection. Some outfits flatter, others do the opposite. But beyond that, sometimes I feel really good about myself and where I'm at and other times I feel so far from where I want to be and fearful I'll never get there.

Sorry I'm not much help, but I do comiserate.
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Old 11-20-2007, 03:10 PM   #14
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I hate how I look in the mirror and if I see every little "bump" or inperfection that no one else notices. I recently checked a book out from the library called "No Fat Chicks" -- how big business profits by making women hate their bodies and how to fight back. I havent started reading it yet because I am reading Eat to Live. But It should be interesting.
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:11 PM   #15
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Shane....sometimes your comments kill me!!! lol. I love the not (only) because i'm incredibaly vain!!! Lol!!!! too funny!! Maybe you should try that thing where your girl friend lays on a peice of paper and you outline her and then you lay on top of it and she outlines you and see how close in size you two are. That sounds like an interesting thing to try out!!!

I have days where i feel good about my size and i have days where i feel like i have a long way to go....espcially naked in the mirror!! I know i want to lose a few more inches. My real goal is to look good in a two peice. I want to be rid of my back fat and my tummy. But to answer the question....i have fat days and i have skinny days. I guess sometimes it depends on what i wear. And i still don't like alot of my pics. I feel like i am too wide....and dont get me started on my huge arms!!!!
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