My mind whispers old thoughts still to me. I can’t sit in that chair together with my daughter because I am fat…people are looking at me because they see how fat I am…Is she thinking about how I shouldn’t be wearing these pants? Are my fat rolls hanging over my pants? I can’t wear that dress. It won’t fit because I am too fat. Is my double chin showing in this picture??
There have actually been studies done on people who were obese and lost weight. It is completely common for them to still think they are fat and think that they still look fat. I find myself in the clothing store looking at clothes and still judging the cuts and styles based on my old size (16-18) instead of my new size 10. I think about the sleeveless dresses and cringe at my fat shoulders, and it takes me a moment to realize that I don’t have fat shoulders anymore. I have nicer, slimmer, more defined shoulders, but my mind still has a hard time grasping that concept.
I have NEVER been skinny. I was slimmer in high school, but gained a lot of weight in college. I dropped some of the weight, but then got married and got pregnant…with twins (can you say saggy belly skin?). After that, I yo-yoed for a while and then settled in at a cool 198 pounds. I lost a few pounds, and decided it was time to do this thing for sure. Dropped some, and gained it right back after a traumatic incident. Then I got serious when I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder and my mother’s health began really failing due to her auto-immune disorder. I wanted to be stronger than she was physically, so that I would have a better chance of surviving any major health issue that came my way. I also wanted to look better for my husband when he got home from a deployment. The problem? I still have that “Phantom Fat.” (Not my term; I found it in an old news article that can be found here.) They coined that phrase after the similar idea of the “phantom limb.” People sometimes can still “feel” their limb/limbs after they have been amputated or lost in an accident. In us formerly gigantic people, we still “feel” the fat mentally. We have been beating ourselves up over our fatness for so long that when we finally do the amazing thing of losing that weight, we still beat ourselves up over that now non-existent (or in my case less existent) fat load.
So, do you have “Phantom Fat” and wonder how to fix your brain? Well, I personally am going to make an appointment with my counselor to bring up this subject. Working on body image, I believe, is important when your real body image has changed drastically. According to the news article linked above, the specialists interviewed said that we must retrain our brain. We have apparently worked so hard at putting ourselves down that we now must retrain ourselves to lift ourselves up, pat ourselves on the back, and move forward into a new, improved way of life. So happy weight-loss to all you new, improved bodies out there…and give yourself a break…because dang it, you deserve it!!!
Many Kind Regards,
Rebekah is still struggling with her self image. Jeanette is doing the same, but getting some help from an unlikely source. Find out who by clicking here.