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Old 04-13-2011, 06:15 PM   #1  
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Default Still seeing myself as the fat girl.

For those of you who have lost a lot of weight after being overweight for all or almost all of your life, how do you adjust? How do you let the "fat girl" go? Anyone else struggle with this?

Sometimes my friends get upset with me when I can't see myself how they see me. But what they don't realize is the emotional downside to being overweight almost your entire life to becoming healthy. You don't know how to look at the world, or yourself, any differently. Sometimes I look into the mirror and think, "Wow, how far you've come!," but a lot of the times, I still see the old me in my head and honestly forget. It's hard to remember, when all you've ever really known is a world in which you are obese/overweight.

When I go into stores, I always grab a large. Sometimes I get all "aha, you've lost weight!" mode and give myself a mental pat on the back while I grab a medium, only for the medium to be too big too. When I go shopping with friends, again, they get upset with me, and I suspect they think I'm making a big fuss for attention.

My.. boyfriend/exboyfriend (it's complicated :P) gets the most irritated with me, because I can easily recognize I've lost weight, I can admit I look good, I even get excited over my successes.. and yet, emotionally, subconsciously, I still feel and act like a fat girl.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:24 PM   #2  
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I was JUST talking about this with my mom.

I am now wearing size 8 stuff....but I feel like the same old size 16 me I was for so long.

There are times I see it (like today, I'm wearing the dress I wore to high school graduation....when I was 160...just a little less than I am now)...but then I look down and see my fat tummy and chubby arms.

How do we stop this?
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:31 PM   #3  
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I'm not sure, but would like to know too! When I lost a lot of weight a couple years ago I went from wearing for example size 11 pants to 3/5s. But being around myself all day every day I honestly couldnt see myself for how thin I got. I know it's nuts but I felt like I looked just the same!
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:38 PM   #4  
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Oh if only I knew how to fix this. Criss we have similar stats and situations. I have always felt like the fat girl. I was lurking in maintainers (soo afraid of not being able to make it in maintenance) and there was a thread on this it's called residual body image and the longer you've been heavy the harder it is to shake. The consensus was it takes an average of 1 year in maintenance for it to shift. Hope I can make that shift in a year!
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:54 PM   #5  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fromthebox View Post
Oh if only I knew how to fix this. Criss we have similar stats and situations. I have always felt like the fat girl. I was lurking in maintainers (soo afraid of not being able to make it in maintenance) and there was a thread on this it's called residual body image and the longer you've been heavy the harder it is to shake. The consensus was it takes an average of 1 year in maintenance for it to shift. Hope I can make that shift in a year!
Thanks! Yeah, hopefully it'll get better with time.

Like I said, I don't mope around whining about being fat. I know I'm not fat anymore, I'm pleased with my success, but.. I still sometimes see the world from my old perspective.
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Old 04-13-2011, 06:56 PM   #6  
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I don't have the answer either, but my goodness, you look beautiful...and that's an objective opinion.
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Old 04-13-2011, 07:09 PM   #7  
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This is an interesting topic. First, I want to say that I haven't ever been overweight, I am on the verge of being overweight right now (according to BMI). That is why I am at this forum, because it has been hard for me to prevent myself from gaining weight. I acknowledge my lack of experience in this topic.

But I have experienced something that you described. I have been 98lbs, and size 0, and I never felt any different than I do now. I still had low self esteem, all my problems were still there (except for the health problems associated with being overweight.) I looked in the mirror and saw the same person who I see today, even though I am 14 years older and 50 lbs heavier.

I don't know if this is very different for someone who has grown up over-weight. But I imagine if you grew up dressed in shabby clothes, being obviously poor, of a race that is looked down upon by dominant culture, or covered with acne, or with some other impression of your image as being bad, then you might experience something similar to what you are describing, no matter how much you've changed.

I always assumed it had to do with having a body image disorder. Maybe being overweight can cause someone to get a body image disorder--it would make sense. Losing weight can be so hard, that it can cause you to spend huge amounts of attention on your body--that maybe it creates a kind of obsessive mentality that is hard to lose once you are at goal weight. Plus, any abuse you suffered as a result of rotten people picking on your weight, will not get erased by losing weight.

The only way that I have found to deal with this, is to accept that I do need to keep up my appearance and health in order to be happy--but appearance/health alone will never satisfy my happiness--so I have to put a lot more work into being myself, and enjoying my life the way that I want to ( ignoring how others want me to be). Maybe you will always be that "fat girl", just like I will always be that "ugly,awkward, poor girl--with knotted and tangled hair, and giant glasses", but we are also a lot more than that--now you are also a thin girl, and I am also a clean, smart girl. Plus, we are so many more things that we haven't discovered yet. Maybe it's time to focus on the other parts of yourself that have yet to become.

Walt Whitman might be inspirational: "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large, I contain multitudes."
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:08 PM   #8  
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I have to agree with StopFat. I can't think of another way to help it.

I've been overweight all my life (heaviest at 220), too. I've never actually seen myself at Goal Weight, so I'm a bit nervous about that too.

I expect that there will always be imperfections on our bodies that we will manage to obsess over. What's helped me most in seeing myself in a better light is something my mom tells me: that Olivia Newton-John once said that she thought she was fat when she made Grease and that she looked bad in the black outfit. Now she looks back and says "you know, I had a really cute figure, and I never knew it".

I just remind myself of that whenever I start feeling self-conscious.
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Old 04-13-2011, 10:30 PM   #9  
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I've been having the same issue but a bit more extrem. It's pretty discouraging sometimes.

When I was 230 I used to think "omg if I m 160 I'll be so damn skinny and pretty." Then I got to 160, I still look so fat whenever I see myself in the mirror, so I decided to go to 150. When I finally got there, I still think of myself as a monster and some pictures my mom took still scared me.
Now that I m 143, I see no difference on myself when I look in the mirror, I still see folds of fat on my waist and huge *** stomach with loose skin hanging around on my arms/thigh. Ugly stretch marks around my knees, and pretty much everywhere you can imagine.

It's soooooo discouraging. I was hoping to be done and just maintain at 140, but I am now lowering my goal to 135, which I doubt will even be a difference.

I just hate the way I look in mirrors and pictures, I wonder how long I can start feeling better about them +(
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Old 04-13-2011, 11:05 PM   #10  
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I swing to extremes in this area. I'm still a fairly high weight but I'm in the "lean" category for body comp so my body has changed alot, despite the fact that I'm technically 5 lbs overweight despite being 2O% bf. Anywho, I'll go from wearing crop tops [I never really stored weight in my stomach even at my highest] to feeling disgusting in something like shorts or a tshirt. Its silly. Sometimes I'll make comments about myself or if a friend/guy friend/ exboyfriend makes deregatory comments about obese women I'll find myself being like "EXCUSE ME?!? What the **** am I?" only to be reminded that I'm not and they don't understand why I get upset/stop looking for attention. Truthfully, I've always been overweight [and still technically am according to BMI charts. haha] and its hard to let go of that mindset. I remember shrinking in class whenever anything related to weight was mentioned. Even the definition in something as silly as science class. Sometimes I get this way still but I'm not really sure how to correct it. Maybe it can't be corrected? I always thought, like some have already posted, that atmy highest if I could get down to 19O and a size 1O, I'd be happy.Well, that came and turned into 18O, then 175 [I gained 5 lbs over holidays...damn.lol], and now its 15O. I worry it won't end but eventually the body corrects itself. I hope. Sorry this is long but its osmething I often think about as well.
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Old 04-15-2011, 12:33 PM   #11  
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I was larger than everyone my whole life (even when I was a normal weight... that's what I get for being my height ), and so I had a LOT of work to do to get my self-esteem and confidence up.

It does get better though as long as you let it! I started to trust that people were telling the honest truth when I received compliments. It's hard to separate yourself from what you've always known, but the most effective thing you can do is get into a positive mindset. Beyond that, time really does help as you get used to being in this new body.

On a side note that I'm sure is way too forward and presumptuous, discard old baggage. Drop the boyfriend/ex-boyfriend. If he has that status, he's not a positive influence in your life and you deserve better. Please don't hate my honesty... it's just my personal experience talking. One of the main ways I became comfortable in my own skin is because of my boyfriend (now husband) telling me time and time again how beautiful/sexy/etc I am. I believe him now.
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Old 04-15-2011, 10:00 PM   #12  
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I'm with prepping! It's actually pretty difficult to be a tall and big chick!!
As for the boyfriend comment, I completely agree!
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Old 04-15-2011, 11:22 PM   #13  
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I think its def normal, I think when i lost a load of weight at school, it took about a year after to "change " the mindset
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Old 04-16-2011, 09:42 AM   #14  
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I can relate a lot to not feeling any different no matter what weight I am. But what I've noticed is the difference in how people treat me, like all of a sudden my opinion matters. :/
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Old 04-16-2011, 04:28 PM   #15  
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SannaMaria, I also find this to be true. Particularly with men and women who look a certain way. I know this is a sweeping overgeneralization and not all people in those categories feel that way [or even most] but there are a few who make that feeling very known. I really dislike that about society but it is what it is sadly.
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