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Weight loss & body identity

Monday, February 28, 2011

This semester I'm taking a performance studies seminar on performance autoethonography, and I'm currently working on a project on body identity after weight loss. Even though I lost 50 pounds and have kept most of it off for over a year, it's still hard for me to relate to my new body; when I look in the mirror I see myself as still being 189 rather than the 144 I'm at right now. It's an interesting habit I've noticed, so I think it'll make a good research project because there's not a lot of studies out about body image and identity after weight loss.

Part of my project involves telling my own story, but part of it also involves interviewing other people and telling their stories too. Once I've collected my interview data (identities will be coded to protect privacy), I will use the data to create a performance piece that will be performed for my class at the end of the semester. Depending on how the project goes, I may continue my research and develop it into my thesis.

If you are interested in being part of my project, send me a SM and I'll send you more information, including a written consent form. I'm looking to interview people who have lost at least 50 pounds. I can either email a copy of my interview questions to those who are interested, or we can arrange a time to interview over Skype. I'm also asking for participants around my campus and community, but since SparkPeople has been such an important part of my weight loss and maintenance success, I thought I would see if there are others around the site who have had similar experiences.

If you're interested or have questions about my project, please let me know! I'm hoping to have the interviews completed by about the beginning of April.

Thanks for your help,
Emily
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • JAVALOVERTOO
    Wow that sounds like a great project and I'm sure it will be your thesis too. Best wishes!
    3172 days ago
  • GETFIT2LIVE
    That sounds like a fascinating--and needed--research project! I've lost just over 70 pounds so far with another 40ish to go, and I find it hard to adjust my thinking to the fact that I can wear medium/size 12 in most things. I hold up clothes and think, no way will that fit, then discover that it's fine--or loose! Part of this journey is learning not only how to have a healthy lifestyle but how to relate to the 'new body' we are developing as a result.
    3177 days ago
  • CHRISTINECAN
    I also don't qualify but I think it's an area that truly needs a study like yours. The experience of discarding shopping items because they won't fit and finding they do, of passing mirrors and saying holey cow, they are all so familiar to us with identity crises.
    3179 days ago
  • YICHE12
    That's a very interesting thing you're doing. Although I do not qualify as yet having lost only 35 lbs, I wish you well in your quest. It would have been lovely to participate. emoticon
    3180 days ago
  • COLOURFULME
    I did loose once in 2002 190 pounds (86 kg) and indeed I was still the one looking for the biggest chair and stepping aside a few feet to let others pass.

    Unfortunately I haven't been able to keep it off. More then half came back withing two years and I have been back and forth, the perpetual yo yo ever since. I now still have 87.3 pounds to go (39.6 kg) to reach a more acceptable BMI but still to high because it was the weight I reached in 2002 and I felt good at.

    I don't know if I can be of any use to you just let me know.
    3181 days ago
  • SKIRNIR
    I have lost 50 pounds and just started trying to get into a maintenance mode in December of 2010 and believe me, I see what I look like sometimes and am a bit surprised. It is not how I see myself in my minds eye at all. I am more than willing to take part in such a project. Will sparkmail you in a minute with a private email address.
    3181 days ago
  • MARTHAWILL
    I know exactly how you feel. Have lost 92 lbs now and just reached my revised goal weight today. Have changed my goal weight twice because I really didn't know where I wanted to settle except to be in the correct BMI, never to wear the label "obese" or "overweight" again. Have been overweight my entire life to some degree and not used to being normal weight. Shopping for clothes is fun but I still have this feeling like I should move to the end of the rack to the larger sizes. Still looking at a stranger in the mirror.
    I think I would be interested in being part of your research if you feel you can use my experience.
    3181 days ago
  • CERIUSLY
    Best wishes for your project. It does sound really interesting.
    3181 days ago
  • GEMINISUE
    Read your friends blog comments, more info there. I would be interested in being a part of your project and thesis in the future. I have lost hundred, and have another one hundred and fifty to lose, so I will be around here, for awhile, striving to reach my goal. In the meantime, I can and will help those I can. Let me know.

    Linda
    3182 days ago
  • EJOY-EVELYN
    Great blog! Kali'sWalker blogged about your body identity blog. I've lost 75 lbs of the 100 I want to lose and my mindset, over this nearly five-year process has gone from 1) wearing belts that I haven't worn in years, then gaining 10-15 lbs back and losing the belts all together, to 2) wearing and LOVING my fat clothes, intermixed with an occasional tighter-fitting outfit. I love my layers and seem to have reverted to a combination of these layers with beautiful, yet glorified house dresses, in the colorful Indian Salwars I wear. What I see in the mirror I often don't believe . . . then again, I see what seems like my old fat self . . . yet I don't even recognize myself when I look at my old "fat" photo. Amidst all this complexity, I'm very happy thanks to a living faith that keeps me relatively well grounded, as do so many of my great SparkTeams! WooHoo!

    My best to your studies and research! I'm a retired Graduate Studies administrator from a smaller campus.
    3182 days ago

    Comment edited on: 3/6/2011 2:07:38 PM
  • CANDOK1260
    sorry need to lose 15 more pounds to qualify but sounds great
    3182 days ago
  • KALISWALKER
    I wish I qualified and some day I will, maybe I can be of help when you do a thesis. I wish you all the best in this project!
    3182 days ago
  • GO-LOEW
    Me too what Kristenpraz said! I hope you will blog about what you discover as you continue your research.

    After being over 200 pounds for many years, I am getting into new territory now that I am in the 190s with every expectation of going lower. I am thrilled to find I have shoulder bones, but I also don't feel like I am used to. I think it is an issue that people losing large amounts of weight need to watch carefully. I think if we lose too quickly, or don't get our heads right, we simply don't recognize ourselves and sometimes gain the weight back to so we can identify with who we see. (If that makes sense.)


    3186 days ago
  • EYES_ON_THEPRAZ
    I don't qualify for your project because I'm only lost 30ish, but it sounds really interesting! Good luck with everything!
    3187 days ago
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