Identity and Weight Loss

Saturday, July 03, 2010

I am so terribly afraid of failure (which I'm sure I'm not alone in). As much as I long to be thin and healthy, I'm so afraid that if I start to lose weight, I'll get overwhelmed with the pressure to lose more, or at least not GAIN it back.

And the reality is that losing weight (especially 100+ lbs, like I need to) is a total shift in identity. I've been the "fat girl" for SO long! I start to wonder if losing weight will even register within my psyche.

I once heard Kate Winslet say that even though she lost weight, she still felt like the fat girl; that although she was physically thinner, all the mentality of being overweight was still very present. I think we so often imagine ourselves thinner and assume we'd automatically have the confidence to match it. Perhaps thats not true.

I also think that the process of losing weight creates a shift in identity that happens in stages. We begin as fat- then we become fat people losing weight- then we reach a point where we're visibly thinner- and if we're lucky enough to reach our goal weight, we become a thin person. The transformation, though a desired outcome, is still very taxing on the soul. A world that we once understood through the lens of our fat glasses no longer makes sense. Our understanding of ourselves- in relation to our world and the people in it- no longer applies. I may walk into a boutique perfectly capable of wearing all the clothes they sell, but in my mind- will I still feel like the girl who everyone stares at, wondering "what is SHE doing here?!"

Will I always see myself as the fat girl??
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    I can DEFINITELY relate. I'm on a journey to lose 100+ lbs also and sometimes I wonder if I'm going to know HOW to be healthier or thinner. I guess that's why losing weight HAS to be a lifestyle change. I have ALWAYS been known as the fat funny chick...will I become the thinner funny chick? lol. I think that as long as you love yourself now and as you change your life and lose weight you continue to love yourself and hopefully even more then before you and myself will be able to handle such a drastic change. My friend Danielle lost 150+ lbs through surgery and she is still the same girl...hilarious, happy, outgoing the only thing that changed is shes happier.

    I think that part of the process of losing weight is the exact questions your asking and as things change you will see answers. emoticon
    3335 days ago
    I can really relate to this blog. I lost 25 lbs before joining SP and didn't feel like I could see it on myself... but all my friends reacted to it with "oohs" and "aahs." Overall I don't feel like when I look in the mirror my size has changed. It's hard to see the changes on yourself on a day to day basis. Even when I realized I'm in the smallest jeans I own I still find it hard to believe. And when I go into stores and look at things like new workout clothes I have to stop and really wonder if the next smaller size is going to fit. The hardest part? Now that I've maintained the weight for a bit and I don't feel any different, its hard to stay motivated for the next phase. Visual models have really helped though. Not only can I look at them at the weight I want to get to, but the weight I was before now. Will it go away eventually and I'll be more accepting? I sure hope so.
    3335 days ago
    No. You DON'T HAVE TO SEE YOURSELF AS THE FAT GIRL. That is what I have to say.

    How do you change that: Borrow what you will become. Do your visualization board with examples of what you want to be.

    I workout with my board in front of me and when it get's hardest, I look at the lovely picture of a strong woman with gently rolling abs and strong arms and then BAMMNMMM TURBO KICKS IN.

    One of the most difficult parts of his journey is seeing the change. I suspect if we woke up tomorrow at 125lbs, we would still not see it. That why it's a process - change over time.

    Meditate and visualize. If you can see it, it will unconsciously guide your actions. A person who looks like that, does not eat "X," or workout half-*ssed, etc.

    You are no longer that "F" girl. In fact, let's remove the "f" word from our vocabulary. I even gave it a lowercase "f." It's not a proper noun, it's just a word that we don't use!

    Onward... Visualize, become.

    Spark Baby!

    3336 days ago
    I am right there with you. How each individual realates to themselves is different. It does go through phases and changes over time. I think it is very possible, as you change your lifestyle and how you feel it is very possible he image you have maintained will also change. however, that too, is something that needs to be worked on, challenged, and perhaps altered. It is another of those lifetime habits spark refers to.
    However, look at the changes you have made along the way. What were some of the results and how did they make you feel? Any change is scary, but you are not alone. I believe that gradually as the healthy habits of Spark become a part of you, you will feel better, and see yourself differently.
    I wish you the best as you continue your journey. Always remember there is much more to your identity than your physical
    3336 days ago
    No, you won't always see yourself as the fat girl, but it does take your mind a while to catch up with your body. I'm not to goal yet, but I'm down about 85 pounds. It took me a while to not see myself as the 279 pound girl that I was, but I don't think I have a very good concept of what I do look like. I'm still surprised by photos (that I look thinner than I expect), and I can't judge by looking at something whether or not it might fit me. That being said, my mind IS catching up, and I feel more confident wearing things that I never would have dared try on before, it just takes a while to adjust.

    As for the "what is SHE doing here" kinds of thoughts, I still have those but it's not so much about weight as it is feeling like I'm pretending to be an adult, and wondering if people can see through that. In fact, I'm 34 and by most standards an adult, but there's a little teenager left over in me.
    3336 days ago
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