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JAOTAO SparkPoints: (92,293)
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12/2/12 2:41 P

Because I've struggled with weight my whole life (yo-yo syndrome), I don't think I ever got a clear image. The only time I knew I was thin was in my early 30s as a runner. It was hard to keep the weight on then. Now, my brain sees a thinner face. I am finally taking pixs along the way so I can see what the camera sees. I think that will help. The last time I lost 80 lbs (8 years ago) ... I couldn't see it at all and keep buying clothes that were too big.

Now, I am buying clothes along the way and not waiting. I feel better about myself, can see the smaller sizes, and the Salvation Army always gets nice donations.

So I am still a work in progress.

12/2/12 12:18 P

I lost 45 pounds in 3 months- it went pretty quickly. I've been maintaining at 175 for 3 months.
(my life situation required my focus to be on other things for a time). After transitioning out of focusing on my weight and always striving to lose more, I started to get really comfortable with how I looked. I would see other girls that wear a size 12 and think about how good they looked. I would see pictures of my face and barely recognize it because it is so much thinner now. I saw a picture from a year ago and was shocked at how I looked. I can't believe how much bigger I was. Back then I didn't think I was THAT bad. Running into people that hadn't seen me in a while and they are shocked at how I look also helped.

But I think what helped me the most is seeing what my body can do now. I can do pushups. I can do 100 sit ups- easy. I can jog 4 miles without stopping. When I stand, I can see the definition on my legs. I can ride my bike somewhere 20+ miles away. I get to a town that far away, and think, "My own body got me here". I can hike up mountains. I can keep up with the guys (well, some of them!) when I'm playing Ultimate frisbee. When I do an activity now that used to be really hard, I can see a difference in myself. And I like that.

I still think of myself as fat, though. I still check to see if I'm the biggest person in the room. I still wonder if people will judge me when I'm eating dessert. But I don't think about it as much as I used to though.

MOOCHIEQUIN SparkPoints: (2,863)
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12/2/12 3:04 A

Thank you, your comments were helpful.

ARUSHING2 SparkPoints: (0)
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12/2/12 12:16 A

Just a couple of months and about 25-30 pounds of excess flab disappearing from my "waste"-line.

HAPPYWRITER7 Posts: 9,723
12/1/12 11:47 P

something i still struggle with

LADYGRAY62 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 13
12/1/12 11:09 P

I turned 50 this year...looking back over my life, I realized I really was the classic "yo-yo" dieter. 3 different times in my life I'd lost 50-75 pounds...then, gained it back and more. I was about to pass that horrible marker, one of the "hundreds". I was skirting a bare couple of pounds from 300lbs. When you are a short woman barely 5' tall, that's a LOT of weight!

I decided to explore bariatric surgery and entered the program at the beginning of summer. I lost 50 pounds before surgery and 20 since. Despite losing 50 pounds, my body image hadn't changed really at all. I did feel much better. I was thrilled and happy to be able to stay on my feet and work around my property all day without killing myself. But I still saw myself as looking the same.

These last 20 pounds, though, I've noticed some odd things that indicate that my body is getting smaller....My outdoor hat slips down my head and pushes the tops of my ears! I have to really cinch the laces on my shoes and boots because my feet are smaller...I had to swap out rings to find some small enough for my fingers....I had to tighten my watch band, which barely fit when I bought it. I can really see my face and neck are smaller...I feel like I am emerging from my cocoon...I feel more feminine and womanly than I have in years.

I still have a long way to "goal" weight is 120lbs. I still have 110lbs to lose. But I am on my way...and I have asked for a full length mirror for Christmas...

The best advice I can give about accepting your new body image is what a few others posted about positive statements to yourself. The hardest thing you could do is look yourself in the eye in the mirror...and tell yourself...that you love you. Bet you can't do it the first time. "I feel stupid talking to myself in the mirror!" me, you really need to be able to feel love for yourself before you will ever be able to be happy and accept that you are taking care of yourself and your health and you look good! May the "light" go off for you the next time you look in the mirror :-)

12/1/12 7:10 A

I have been working steadily at getting healthier for 15 months. I think my body image started to change when I got out last year's fall clothes. Everything was so shapeless and big! I realized that I had been trying to hide behind these awful things. Another big shock to me was when my teenage daughter insisted that I try on some tall boots. My legs have not been inside tall boots in years! Guess what, I could wear them and they looked fantastic! For me, I think its this shock factor of realizing that my old wardrobe just doesn't fit anymore.

So, I gave away most of it and took some to a consignment shop. I did a little shopping for myself at the consignment shop and have been adding some new pieces bit by bit. I think it is going to take me awhile to get accustomed to this new body, but it is great to see the evidence that I am changing and getting healthier!

TINKERKEL66 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 249
11/30/12 8:06 P

Wow - good question - hadn't previously given this much thought.

I just had a friend tell me how awesome I looked in a recent photo, and my first thought was "What!?! Is he crazy? I still have a lot more to lose!" But, if I think about it, I have lost I do look much better than I did...even though I have ~17 more to lose until next goal.

I totally agree about new clothes. When I look in the mirror, wearing clothes that actually fit, I feel much better about how I look and the progress I have made...and it is so very satisfying to get rid of clothes that are too big!!


LADYBRAVO SparkPoints: (1,611)
Fitness Minutes: (323)
Posts: 10
11/30/12 6:50 P

I really like this idea of buying new clothes after each week. I have always said "when I reach my goal I will get a whole new wardrobe" but who can afford that? It is a good way to accomplish two goals. New clothes and adjusting your self image, b/c if you try different styles on each week you'll see what your body really looks like. Of course I would have to limit myself to 30 minutes or I could probably shop all day. This will also help me to rotate out my "fat" clothes that I hang on too and inevitably grow into.

MARF226 Posts: 210
11/30/12 1:26 P

What a great topic! I have lost 43 pounds since March and I still don’t know what I think of myself.

The biggest issue is I have never wanted for self-esteem. I knew I was overweight, sure, but I thought I looked pretty darn good. Of course I’d see pictures and think, wow I’m chubbier in “real life” than I am in my mind!! I started losing weight because I knew I needed to for health reasons. But that mental picture of myself hasn’t changed. I see myself as no fatter or thinner than before. It’s always a surprise to hear how other people describe me – like the woman in my office who just yesterday described me as the attractive, skinny, blonde woman. I kind of wanted to turn around because surely she didn’t mean me?!?! LOL

I hope my mental picture catches up soon!!

SUSANBEAMON Posts: 11,564
11/30/12 12:51 P

it hasn't. the body that the mirror shows is not my body, at least not the one i feel i live in. my healthful journey is mostly to return to the body i see in my minds eye.
actually, in my dreams i'm 6 ft, slender, with wings and light lavender hair.

Edited by: SUSANBEAMON at: 11/30/2012 (12:53)
CATMAGNET SparkPoints: (40,431)
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Posts: 1,183
11/30/12 11:46 A

I JUST reached my maintenance weight yesterday, and I know that I feel like that clumsy 285 pound woman I was a year ago at times. However, I don't think there's a simple formula for determining when one's body image changes. I think it's a personal journey that yields individual results; our body images match our bodies when we're good and ready...and in the meantime during that process, we have to be vigilant and continue with the process of eating healthy and exercise.

At least for me, that's why I'm grateful for the Nutrition and Fitness trackers. :)

JOYFULME01 Posts: 621
11/30/12 9:13 A

I never recognized myself as overweight . . . that was my problem. Body image continues to be an issue.

11/30/12 7:29 A

I think my biggest problem is that my basic body image hadn't changed since BEFORE I gained the weight. I feel absolutely no difference now that I have lost some (28 lbs) of my total goal (60 lbs) except that my clothes fit better and my body moves better.

LYNN955 Posts: 701
11/30/12 6:45 A

Other people see me differently immediately, I still see the fat chick. I know the clothes sizes are drastically different, but the mind still isn't accepting the change. This is the first time since high school, I have been this clothes size and weight. As everyone says we are a work in progress.

SLENDERELLA61 SparkPoints: (299,639)
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Posts: 10,197
11/30/12 6:40 A

Istill sometimes forget that I'm a normal weight now, even though I'm going on 4 years of maintenance.

The thing that helped me most improve my body image was that every Saturday after my official weigh in I'd go shopping. I'd spend a lot of time trying on clothes and looking in the mirror and usually buy just one piece I needed. I did that for several years, although now I really have all the clothes I want. However, if I have a day I really feel fat, I may go try on some clothes!!

LULUBELLE65 SparkPoints: (37,106)
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Posts: 1,169
11/30/12 6:34 A

My body image changes constantly. There are days when I look in the mirror and think I look OK, fat certainly, but not hideous, and then there are days when I look in the mirror and the 50+ pounds I have lost still seem to be stuck to my body.

I think part of it is that I retain water really easily, and some days my face looks really bloated and puffy. I have been taking a photograph of my face once a week at work on my computer, and then one a month I take a full body photo. It really helps to go back and look at the pictures side by side to remind myself that I am actually getting smaller over time, even if I have not lost any weight in a few weeks.

ONLINEASLLOU SparkPoints: (73,365)
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11/29/12 10:51 P

Great thread. Thanks for sharing, everyone.

I'm in a weird place in relation to body image. I see that I am smaller ... but I don't trust that it will last. I've lost and re-gained before ... and so, I don't trust the positive results I see. I feel that the positive results will go away and can't bring myself to "get attached" to the new appearance.

SHARONSOWN Posts: 1,746
11/29/12 9:57 P

I think mine changed yesterday! My beloved has been telling me I'm getting too thin but I couldn't see it until yesterday at the dentist's office. I saw my face in a different setting and light than I'm used to and I look haggard, close to skeletal! Well, maybe not quite, but I need to switch to maintenance, ease up a little. And listen to the one that loves me. He knows that anything I do, I overdo.

11/29/12 9:53 P

This round, I've lost 30 pounds, which makes me 10 pounds lighter than I was after my first round of weight loss. When I look in the mirror, I see that I'm smaller. But when I look at my body directly, it still seems so huge, my calves especially. I know it's ridiculous because they're 2.5 inches smaller than they were 4 years ago. It's a cop-out, but I'm inclined to blame it all on my mother. While other people have noticed and commented on the difference, my mother hasn't. (I didn't see her for a few months and lost 20 pounds in that time.) I've realized that no matter how much weight I lose, I'll always be fat in her eyes... I need to start using my eyes when I look at myself.

AURIESTAR SparkPoints: (8,502)
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Posts: 14
11/29/12 8:39 P

I lost 80 pounds more than 10 years ago and never felt any different even though I was at the goal I am working toward now. I think that is part of why I put the weight back on. When I was at my goal I kept mentally telling myself I had better "get it" that I was different so I could keep the change but never could get it that I was different .
I am so glad this thread exists because it's great to hear that others have this issue and I'd like to learn how to realize my difference this time and give myself some credit.
Right now I weigh less than I have in more than 10 years and I have to celebrate that and keep my chin up that I can realize my body image changes and see how others have succeeded.

LADYBRAVO SparkPoints: (1,611)
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Posts: 10
11/29/12 8:07 P

15 years and still trying!!! My highest weight was in 1997-- I had just graduated college, and spent a miserable summer as a camp counselor. I was at 297. That November I had stomach surgery. I lost the weight so fast. By 2000-I was in a relationship and married by July wearing size 10!. Things were great. I was able to get some plastic surgery after I had my son in 2003 to remove loose and saggy skin. I was at my lowest weight ever and I couldn't handle it. I ended up gaining weight and going through surgeries to fix that too. Now 15 years down the road -- I finally have figured out that I have to make an effort to see myself for what and who I really am. It is more than what I can see in pictures or in the mirror. I wear clothes that are too big. I don't fix my hair or wear make up, although I am still able to fit into a size 10--I am not healthy and I don't feel like I am in shape. I think that before I didn't think that I deserved to look good or to have nice clothes. It was so foreign. My mind sabotaged my body. This time as I start losing a few pounds again I have to fix my mind and spirit too. Glad I found this place to help.

Edited by: LADYBRAVO at: 11/29/2012 (20:08)
AM_MORRIS87 Posts: 1,665
11/29/12 6:20 P

I've been losing weight for 18 months, and I've lost 115 lbs. I still see no difference in my body. I see that clothes look a little better on me (or rather I realize how BADLY they looked before), but when I look in the mirror I still see myself exactly the same. I just see an awful, fat, disgusting waste.

11/29/12 3:56 P

I'm glad that this subject has been addressed. I have lost 53 lbs since June (40 thanks to SP) and even though people say I'm looking thinner and doing great--I cant see the difference when I look into a mirror. I can tell that some of my clothes are bigger and I'm in a smaller size but its frustrating that I still see a heavy person. I'm about half way to my goal and maybe that's why I cant see it? I still have a long way to go.
Atleast I feel better that I'm not the only one feeling this way! I thought I was crazy for not seeing what everyone else sees.

MILLIE5522 SparkPoints: (44,238)
Fitness Minutes: (19,119)
Posts: 1,401
11/29/12 1:59 P

I've lost 40lbs and though everyone tells me I am very slim I don't feel it. I still go for clothes that are 2 sizes too big for me when I go shopping! It's not that I see myself as fat in the mirror, in fact I see myself as slim then but once I am away from it, I feel big. Very strange!?! emoticon

AEGISHOT Posts: 4,577
11/29/12 1:57 P

My times on SparkPeople had helped me so much, my spark friends had been a source of motivation and inspiration for me. I cannot really say when, but I decided to change at a point in time. I started by giving myself a daily pep talk ("you are beautiful", "hold your head high always" "be elegant in what you wear" etc), and soon I became so proud of myself and gained more confidence. I also learn to appreciate others.

11/29/12 1:28 P

First I want to say congratulations on your 50 pound weight loss! It's a strange thing isn't it? How we see ourselves and how we see others. If we love someone, we often don't see their imperfections, but when we look at ourselves, we can be very critical, much more critical than anyone else would ever be.

For me, even after maintaining for over six months, I still need pictures to tell me how much better I look. Keep taking pictures, sometimes the before and after pictures are the best things we have to show us how we've changed.

JENNN77 SparkPoints: (144,736)
Fitness Minutes: (72,458)
Posts: 653
11/29/12 12:25 P

I'm still working on this. There are still times my brain says "that won't fit" when in reality, I'm way smaller than I think. I am having more moments of clarity, but I think this will be an issue for quite awhile still.

11/29/12 9:56 A

Tricky topic. I had to be so far gone when I was overweight before I decided I was fat (seeing pictures of my butt next to someone else who I thought of as the 'same size' and realizing mine was Twice as wide as hers) and now that I'm losing weight, I think I still have a way to go before I think I'm small (I hang around far too many size 0s to feel like I'm in that category even though I never want to be as tiny/frail as them).

MRSALLYP SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 147
11/29/12 9:50 A

I'm so glad I'm not the only one with this problem. I see these stories about these girls that just keep losing weight so they see themselves as skinny and I want to avoid that completely - for now I guess I will just keep using the scale and the size of my pants as a measurement. I'm not sure I would want to be below a size 6 though I really would love to be a size 8 since that is what I was at in high school but I don't want to be 135 again like then, I'm thinking more like 145 would be as low as I would want to go. I still have a ways to go and at 5'4"and a half that puts me in the normal BMI range so I think I will have to shoot for somewhere between 145 and 150. I love my curves so would hate to lose that and I wouldn't mind transforming some of the fat on my belly and thighs to muscle.

Thanks so much for the feedback - it really is nice to know I'm not alone in this!!

GINNABOOTS Posts: 9,052
11/29/12 9:33 A

I lost 67 pounds over 3 years ago & am at goal, 5'9 wearing a size 8 & unfortunately I still think I look fat. I have had so many people give me compliments, call me skinny & for some reason I just don't see myself that way. It is sad because we work so hard to get there & once we are there for some of us we still see that heavy person. Something we will have to work on.

YOGAWITCH SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 485
11/29/12 9:11 A

I still see myself the same way. It's like a body dismorphic problem

DARJR50 SparkPoints: (0)
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Posts: 2,247
11/29/12 6:52 A

about 3 weeks

TORTOISE110 Posts: 7,892
11/29/12 6:45 A

I find my image is changing over time and that my weight is also redistributing itself with workouts even though I am in maintenance and not losing or gaining. I have always loved clothes and they are helping me see myself more favorably. They just look better than they did when I was 30 lbs heavier and it brightens up my confidence to look in the mirror.

Edited by: TORTOISE110 at: 11/29/2012 (09:25)
GOAL40TH Posts: 669
11/28/12 2:58 P

I still haven't reached my goal, 20lbs still to loss. today I still feel fat. I'm happy with all I've done and were I'm at in my weight. When I see photos of myself I can't believe how small I really have become.

GLITTERFAIRY77 Posts: 8,023
11/28/12 2:46 P

Almost exactly what WenWashing67 said. It's true.

WENWASHING67 Posts: 356
11/28/12 2:43 P

I've always thought of myself as smaller than I really was...the mirror looked ok but pictures were hard to look at because they tell the truth. I still avoid cameras even though I've lost about 45lbs...I just don't want to see it. I have heard that once you're fat you always have that mentality, even when you lose the weight. I don't want to be that person. I'm proud of what I've lost and even if I can't see it, others do. I just spent Thanksgiving with my ex-inlaws who haven't seen me in almost 2 years and the very first comment I got was "wow, you're lost a LOT of weight!" I still can't see it. I mean, I see it in the clothes that fall off of me but just not in the mirror. Maybe that will change in time. I hope so.

MNNICE Posts: 17,457
11/28/12 1:50 P

It takes the brain a while to catch up! Most of the time, even after maintaining for more than 3 years, I still think of myself as a heavy person who has lost weight - not as a thin person. I'm still surprised when I catch a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror or window and at first wonder who is that???

AYOKUNLEGIRL SparkPoints: (4,092)
Fitness Minutes: (689)
Posts: 162
11/28/12 1:45 P

I have the exact opposite problem! I used to see myself at a healthy weight when I look in the mirror and only the photographs was hard to look at so I avoid them all the time. Now I took a good look to a recent photo and I realized I am overweight. You might think it is a no brainer when the scale tells you are 89 kg but still even though I recognize the problem I see myself thinner in the mirror. This does not help either. I hope to lose weight so I can catch up with my brain's imagination! LOL.

TIG123GER SparkPoints: (77,547)
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Posts: 2,116
11/28/12 12:36 P

I have lost 20 pounds and I don't see it and don't see myself any differently yet.

ALICIALYNNE Posts: 2,228
11/28/12 12:35 P

The brutal fact is that, until we are able to deal with our underlying self-esteem and self-perception issues, we will not be solving the problem. Losing weight doesn't magically make someone happy; dealing with one's own issues during the journey is what enables us to appreciate our new bodies.
I have been losing for a year now, at a very slow rate (only about 25 lbs thus far). I will look at something, and think "hahaha, yeah, no way I'm fitting in that!" and then my husband will talk me into trying it on. And WOW, it fits! I still see myself at the same size.
I discovered something very disturbing when I was looking at recent beach vacation photos, though. I'm still far from goal, but I was able to appreciate how much smaller I am to the way I was the year before. However, I took one look at my face in the pictures and wanted to puke. Now instead of being so grossed out by my fat in pictures, I'm starting to focus on my overly large forehead, or whatever other random thing.
I am doing a daily affirmation now in an effort to combat this kind of negativity, where I look at myself in a mirror and pick something I LIKE, and compliment myself for. But it is definitely a battle, that is not even close to over, and that likely isn't tied to my weight at all. Now that I wont be able to hate my pictures for my weight, I want to hate them for my big forehead.
.... yeah, I may be nuts.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
Fitness Minutes: (120)
Posts: 2,171
11/28/12 12:19 P

I was one of the ones who thought I wasn't "that bad" before. But, I saw some photos from a going away party (a year after the fact) and I was shocked, and that's what got me seriously thinking about losing weight. One of those photos is my "before" on my sparkpage. My weight came on gradually, and while I knew I was buying bigger clothes etc, I guess I just didn't realize how bad it was. Now that I'm 50lbs less, I look in the mirror and think I look pretty good, but I also don't trust myself so I think "well I could probably lose some more". It's almost like the impression of myself is worse than it was before. It kind of bums me out.

GRIZ1GIRL SparkPoints: (197,072)
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Posts: 2,243
11/28/12 11:45 A

I had to lose the first 40 lbs--which took close to a year....after that I felt pretty awesome.

N16351D Posts: 2,349
11/28/12 11:15 A

I have been within 5 pounds of my ideal weight since reaching my adult height, in 9th grade in high school, 1971. For the next twenty years, I thought I was too fat. Even with jogging miles every day for two decades, I still thought my flat belly was bulging too much. My legs, however, were shapely from all of that jogging.

I was in my mid-thirties before I became comfortable with my trim and fit size. By age 40, I was still jogging 5 days a week, but allowed myself to have a little jiggle on my thighs and belly. I added Yoga and Pilates to aerobics and jogging.

Now, at age 55, I continue to work out almost every day but not as strenuously as in my youth. Yes, there is some jiggle on my thighs, hips, and belly, but I no longer worry about it. Now, I concern myself with how healthy and strong I am, and how flexible I feel.

It took me decades to be comfortable in my own skin, even without having to lose weight.
I hope others don't go through what I did! The good thing about it is that my cardiologist says my heart is in great condition after jogging for 40 years.

SIRENSONGS SparkPoints: (57,040)
Fitness Minutes: (28,206)
Posts: 2,002
11/28/12 10:38 A

Unfortunately, even though I've lost over 70 pounds now, my body image hasn't changed all that much. Maybe when I reach my goal? I don't know. We'll see...

RASIRE Posts: 285
11/28/12 10:28 A

It still have not changed much. I have a ways to go on this journey, so I'm looking forward to the change!

CSROBERTSON621 SparkPoints: (212,451)
Fitness Minutes: (93,320)
Posts: 2,870
11/28/12 9:30 A

Online Now  • ))
I've been my current size (plus or minus a few pounds) for over a year and still don't "see" myself accurately. I've adjusted to not thinking of myself as a "fat" person, but my own perception of my current size is still bigger than I really am.

So pictures still surprise me -- particularly group pictures. I'll see myself next to someone who I thought at the time was about the same size as me, but the picture shows I'm actually much smaller. This is just the opposite of what used to happen at my highest weights -- I'd think I was not that bad, or about the same size as certain other people, only to find out from the picture that I was actually much larger than I thought!

Funny how our minds play these tricks on us. But I have to say I like my current body distortion better. ;-)

CHEETARA79 Posts: 3,912
11/28/12 9:14 A

I've lost 50+ pounds over a long period of time (2 years) and I'm still waiting to stop identifying myself as a fat person.

DIDS70 Posts: 5,368
11/28/12 9:09 A

That could take some time. We are our own toughest critic. I still have a lot to lose, but my friends are saying that i am looking better. Sure, I am in a smaller size, but i still don't like what I look like in the mirror or pictures. Hopefully that will change.

MRSALLYP SparkPoints: (0)
Fitness Minutes: (59,080)
Posts: 147
11/28/12 9:02 A

I have been working on losing weight for almost 15 months now and have lost over 50lbs and I am finding that at thanksgiving when some family called me skinny I was quick to say "Not Yet" and I told a friend the other day that I looked forward to not being the biggest girl in the workout classes I have been going to (she went to one of them with me) and she said I wasn't by far - which tells me that my body image of myself is still off!

So I wonder how long it took others to see where they really fell in line?? I know from the size of my clothes and the number on the scale that I'm doing great but I want to be able to be happy with what I see in the mirror as they just don't match up right now.

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