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Body Distortion

Friday, May 10, 2013

I currently have no real idea of what I look like. The image of me that I keep in my head -- my internal avatar -- is outdated.

I was walking behind a lady on my way out of the train station. I was, out of terrible force of habit, comparing my body to hers. She was not thin but curvy and, I thought, very attractive. I thought to myself as I have many many times before "I'd love to look like her. I don't want to be rail thin, just nice and proportional."

Then I walked past her and caught sight of the two of us in the mirror. And I was much, much smaller than she was.

When you spend your whole life comparing notes, it can seem surreal to realize that you are closer to your goals than ever before. I no longer want to look like anyone other than me. The best possible me. And I'm moving towards THAT me every day.

But the terrible habits I've picked up over a lifetime of body struggles remain. Scanning each room to determine if I'm the fattest one there. Looking at other women's bodies as though I'm clothes shopping: "I'll take the toned size 6, please."

While I consciously know I am smaller, and consciously am focused on improving my own body, these awful thoughts still appear.

Another issue is my clothing. It is too early for me to buy clothes -- I know because things I bought just back in March no longer fit me. When I get to my goal very little of what I purchase now will be useable. But I think my use of oversized clothing promotes this sense of body distortion, this belief that I am much larger than I am. Today I have on a size XL sweater and a size 14 skirt and everything is literally sliding off, having to be readjusted every time I walk. I can't wear this stuff and I can't buy new stuff. I'm in an in-between stage and that makes things harder both practically and emotionally.

Don't get me wrong, I am ecstatic about my weight loss and super enthusiastic to keep moving forward. Only 3.5 pounds to meet my goal for the month!

Still, I think it will take a little while for my mind to catch up to my body.

Last weekend, I was sitting on a friend's lap (we were crammed into a photo booth). I perched as gingerly as possible, trying to bear my own weight with my legs so as not to hurt him. But after a moment or two, I realized he was fine and I just sort of . . . let go. Relaxed. I expect more and more of these moments of relaxation will come and with them, I hope, more comfort with my new size.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    We are always more critical of ourselves than others are. emoticon
    1745 days ago
    great blog and yes I think you should buy one new outfit ! Even it is something you can't wear long , you will feel "prettier" and more femine and wearing large baggy clothes makes you look bigger !
    You are doing great !

    1746 days ago
    I had to read every single comment before I wrote, because this is such a common thread! I have a secret little sigh of relief when I realize that my BFF, who has sadly been gaining a LOT of weight, and I are not the same size, and not just because she has gained weight. And I ALWAYS look around the room, and am relieved if someone else is bigger. What is this??? Why do we have to compare in the first place, and why do we punish ourselves if we are the biggest, or even if we are not... I truly think that the mental issues are why we gain the weight back. Not this time. If I have to go to counseling to believe I deserve to be thin than I will!!! Because we DO deserve the healthy body we are getting and working for!!
    1748 days ago
    HA - Not only do I compare myself to other people, but I ask my son to tell me "who is bigger"... I know this is wrong, but I can't help it.
    1748 days ago
    I always check if I'm the fattest person in the room too! I thought that was just me.
    If we keep working on it, I know we can match up our mental image with what we really look like - darn sexy!
    1748 days ago
    I have the same horrible habits that you have when it comes to comparing my body (and a lot of other things) to others around me. Your attitude has come a long way and is encouraging to me. I did go out and update my wardrobe this spring. I hope, no, I know that by next spring the clothes will be 'big" on me but I think it is important to feel good about how you look right now - with clothes on, that is, for me. Next spring I will just have a ton of fun updating my wardrobe all over again.

    Sometimes I have to do a reality check because I think I look better than I actually do. That happened to me just this past week. My DH and I went on an overnighter with another couple and I was feeling pretty good about all that I have accomplished. I took lots of pictures of our weekend. When I printed the pics I thougth "OH NO! Who are you fooling. Your just as fat as ever!" And so it is going for me right now, but I have not lost hope emoticon
    1748 days ago
    I agree with every one else here. I still see the 317 lb guy that I once was when I look in the mirror. I'm not comfortable unless my clothes are baggy, and they're all baggy now! My talked with my brother the other day and he said that since I've lost a bunch of weight I look like a cancer patient when I wear baggy clothes. That was his brotherly way of telling me to go buy some new clothes.
    1748 days ago
  • UNICORN212
    I have been altering stuff to fit me during the in between times. That and adding belts. I can't make any suggestions on the body distortion because I need to learn that myself!
    1748 days ago
    Your mind will catch up with your body sure enough. Keep up the great work. As I started getting smaller, my friends donated clothes to the cause. You know everybody has multiple sizes in there closet. I also picked up a couple closet staples at discount stores like Marshalls and TJ MAXX just to have a few nice things that didn't look like I was wearing somebody else's clothes.

    Congratulations and best wishes for your continued success!
    1748 days ago
    I do that too! I look at other woman, and I'm like, man, I wish I looked like that. But you know, I'm pretty sure I don't look nearly as bad as I think I do. You're doing great, keep it up!
    1748 days ago
  • KEELIE21
    I do all of this! Also when clothes that had gotten too small for me fit again, or things get too big I ALWAYS first assume that the garment itself has changed and not me. Like "Oh I must have been mistaken that these pants didn't even come close to doing up because now they fit like a glove"
    There is zero logic in that thought. lol
    And I'm totally guilty of the scan and compare.
    My suggestion is to invest in some really cute belts
    1748 days ago
    Welcome to the story of my life! I think many of us (as evidenced by all the comments!) go through this on a daily basis. I can't seem to get out of the mindset either; I'm constantly comparing myself to other women and feel literally slow that I can't get my brain to believe that I am smaller than some of the other women I see.

    I go shopping in friend's closets a lot, and also do local clothing swaps with women (I've found them on I wish I had as good a resource for teaching our minds to catch up with our bodies! Good luck!
    1748 days ago
    I still do that same thing when I sit on my husband's lap! And I also perch on the edge of chairs so that my thighs don't spread out as much...a habit since my high school years. Kind of crazy, now that I think about it.

    I agree with everyone who says "go second-hand shopping." I lucked out at Goodwill and found 3 pairs of pants that fit perfectly...they had even been shortened to just my length. I was just as thrilled as if they were new.
    1748 days ago
  • CAALAN23
    The loose clothes can actually make us look bigger. While it's a good thing that things start sliding off, budget doesn't always allow for newer smaller things. I go down two sizes before I buy. (I am currently begging off friends with shopping addictions, LOL, and coming out very well!)

    Odd that you thought you were larger than the lady in front of you. I've seen many experiments involving making a body outline then standing in it to describing oneself to a sketch artist and we are always our worst critic.

    Not only do we have to workout the body but got to retrain that brain!

    1748 days ago
    Not having clothes that fit is frustrating - maybe you can "shop" in a friend's closet? Or a thrift store? You deserve a couple of new outfits even if they're not brand new from the store!
    1748 days ago
    The whole body distortion thing - I'm not certain how to fix that! I'm with you on not realizing where I'm really at!

    Clothes - do you have a goodwill? Donate the big stuff and grab some smaller stuff to get you thru? Or see if there are others that can do a clothing swap?
    1748 days ago
    There are many laps out there waiting to be found by you right now. So to speak, that is. Smile for the camera.
    1748 days ago
    Body distortion is a crazy thing. I have things like this happen to me all the time. I remember once, a little over a year ago, how one of the people on my local sparkteam had a ticker that said she was at 181 lbs. At the time, I was at 183 lbs or so, but i looked at that ticker and felt this huge pang of jealousy, thinking about how much further I had to go to get there, and then I realized just how close I was. For a moment, I'd thought I had 15 lbs left to get to where she was at - my brain was that far behind. It's so good that you're starting to see yourself the way you are!
    1749 days ago
    My weight loss shrink says that you have to change something drastic about your appearance to really 'see' yourself after massive weight loss.
    Like get hair extensions, cut your hair short or get a totally different colour. That 'shock' will allow you to see yourself again.
    And go play in clothing stores, try different things on that you would not have chosen in the past.
    Well done!
    1749 days ago
    emoticon I think we all are dealing with this issue. You're doing great, and I hope each day, you become more comfortable with the new healthy you.

    1749 days ago

    Comment edited on: 5/10/2013 2:10:38 PM
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