6

votes

Are you still the fat girl/guy *inside?*

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 27, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Have any of you lost a fair amount of weight but haven't quite internalized the "new" you that you see in the mirror? Do you acknowledge mathematically that you weigh less (or possibly weigh the same, but your body composition has changed such that your physique looks completely different), but you feel the same inside your head?

I'm about 132 now. My highest weight several years ago was 158. I know that doesn't sound like much of a loss, but I'm only 5'2", so 26 pounds makes a big difference.

Anyway, when I was younger (and chubbier), I was sort of asexual. The notion that a man would look at me and be interested was so far off my radar the possibility was just nonexistent. (In my mind, at least.) If anyone was ever "checking me out," I wasn't aware of it because it was simply so far outside the realm of what I knew.

Now, though, I actually notice it happening all the time. I've always had poor self-esteem related to body image, but I'm much more comfortable in my skin now than I've ever been before. So I carry myself differently (on good days, anyway...I still have bad, but I think that's only human nature for a youngish woman in our society), and I dress differently. Not showy/flashy and heaven forbid "slutty." SO far from it, in fact. I just dress nicely, y'know? Stuff that flatters my best features. Generally, I'd say that with how great I feel, I just look more vibrant, alive, and energetic, and that, probably more than my thinner shape, is what men are responding to.

Aaaaanyway, I'm from NYC. So the first few times I noticed a guy looking at me as I passed by, my first reaction was, "What the bleep are you lookin' at, buddy?!" And then I thought, Is my fly open? Did I spill something on myself? It took a while before it occurred to me that...holy cow...wait a sec...they're not looking at me because something's wrong; they looking at me because I look good!

It still blows my mind a little. I've been at my lower weight for a while now, but I still feel like "the fat girl." I'm not talking body dysmorphia. It's not that I look in the mirror and see someone who's 4 times my size and literally can't recognize that I'm smaller now. I guess it's more that we tend to focus on how far we feel we still have to go, rather than being proud and amazed at how far we've already come.

Anyone else?

(And hey, while we're at it, yes, let's please celebrate how far we've come instead of lamenting that last millimeter of jiggle that no one notices but you. And if you haven't come very far, celebrate anyway! You're here, getting information and starting on a great journey, right? Be proud of yourself for that! We all start somewhere.)

8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on July 01, 2012
at 01:26 AM

I was told the opposite in therapy. The idea is that the mind lead the body.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 28, 2012
at 04:32 PM

Sorry, late to the responses. But agree, congrats Crowbar!

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 28, 2012
at 04:23 PM

It seems you did the same. In your case, it's great you are happier and while you were heavier, I wouldn't have called you fat. You likely look great these days and I say good for you. In response to your other comments regarding your writing. I tend to be closely aligned with your comments and views but you say things much more eloquently than me (finance major...)

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 28, 2012
at 04:20 PM

I tend to agree with you that women seem to force it upon themselves and in particular by judging one another. But, it would be sexist of me to make such a claim given im not a woman. I can tell you that while I didn't "feel fat" I didn't take my shirt off at the beach. I sort of viewed it as a natural progression of being an American male. (Which in itself is a very sad commentary on our society). These days I feel better, but I may also have just found better confidence in my 30's.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on June 28, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Thanks, guys :). It has been really crazy, and confoundingly easy. I wish I had learned all this many years ago. I still have a bit to go, but I feel amazing.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:56 PM

...terrible human being. Not all women do this, of course, but some do, and I can't imagine any man going there. Women are much more prone to basing their whole self-worth on their size, *regardless* of all the other amazing things they've accomplished and contribute to the world. (Great at their jobs, being a good mom, using a talent, etc. Doesn't matter b/c to them, the only thing that *does* matter is their size.)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:54 PM

Re: "Along the way I wouldn't say my self image changed much in any direction. I never saw myself as thin, never saw myself as fat and never really noticed the change other than when you look at photos." I think this is a big difference btw men and (some) women. A man who's put on weight will look in the mirror and think, "Wow, I'm gettin' fat. I should do something about that." Then he'll get dressed and go to work like usual. A woman will stand in front of a mirror, notice she's gained weight, and launch into a litany of why this makes her unlovable, unworthy, and an all around...

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:44 PM

Wow...110 pounds down? That's amazing! :)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:43 PM

...self esteem. I can't believe I let my size rule my life and determine my self-worth. And it breaks my heart that there are women (and a growing # of men) still trapped in that horrible place. My goal as a nutritionist is to spare just *one* young lady what I put myself through in high school & college. If I can do that, I'll consider myself a professional success. I want *so* much to teach young women how the body actually works so they'll understand that they do NOT need to live on Special K and skim milk and run 30 miles/week.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:41 PM

I've never had a skin issue, but I can relate with my weight. When I was in college, I was *very* uncomfortable with my body size. There are few pictures of me from that time b/c I hated having my picture taken. But in the few ones that do exist, I look FINE. Much smaller than I ever realized. If I could go back I'd KICK myself for how I hid from the world. Never went out, never dated, spent *way* too much time running and trying to lose weight (with the wrong information, of course). Damn it, I looked freaking fine, and I'm so sorry I missed out on so many fun experiences b/c of piss poor..

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:36 PM

Interesting. I think this is part of how some people become obese -- in their minds, they're smaller, so they don't recognize how big they actually are and take steps to do something about it. Jeez...it's crazy what our minds do to us with this stuff, huh?

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:35 PM

I know what you mean about being older. Yes, I'm only 33 now, but I still lament all the lost time in my 20s. I'd like to enjoy it as much as I can *now,* because I'm not so sure I'll look this good when I'm 60. :-/ (But here's hoping!)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:33 PM

Re: "Bigger picture, it makes me sad the stresses that you women are forced to endure." The thing is, we're not "forced" to endure it. We do it to ourselves! At my highest weight I was "only" 158, but *my own* self-esteem issues made it so I *felt* like it was 350. I know plenty of larger women who feel great about themselves. Maybe deep down they'd like to be slimmer, but *unlike me,* they're far too intelligent to base their self worth on their pants size. (And most days, I don't either...well, not anymore...but you know what I'm getting at.)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:30 PM

And it's not that the person *acts* any differently (although maybe they do). It's just that our human nature is to put people in neat little boxes of however we've defined them through the years, and when someone does something to redefine themselves, as it were, it throws off our world view. We might suddenly feel that *our own* place in the system is changing because someone we thought of as "one of us" so to speak, has changed a lot and we no longer feel that same kinship with them. (Doesn't have to be weight -- could be a new/better job, someone chronically single who now has a mate...)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:26 PM

HOWEVER: It's pretty funny, b/c women do this to *ourselves.* It's not the men that cared about you being bigger or smaller. When you lost weight, it was the *women* who felt threatened. I think this happens all the time -- even among good friends. If the whole group is chubby, and one person gets in better shape, it threatens the status quo, y'know? If the other people are not confident in their own bodies, having a friend who is *newly* thin can feel uncomfortable. Almost like everyone was equal before, but now all of a sudden, someone went from being "the funny one" to being h-o-t.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:24 PM

Good point: "When I was fat I was one of the guys... Afterwards their bigger wives and GFs didn't like me hanging out with them (yes, even when they were invited)... Despite never dressing suggestively, society seems to make certain assumptions about a more confident, put together woman, especially if she is thin."

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:24 PM

Good point: "When I was fat I was one of the guys... Afterwards their bigger wives and GFs didn't like me hanging out with them (yes, even when they were invited)... Despite never dressing suggestively, society seems to make certain assumptions about a more confident, put together woman, especially if she is thin." HOWEVER...

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 03:18 AM

I've heard that too. And every time, it's come from a woman who had a traumatic/violent experience with a man. And consciously or subconsciously, she gained a a lot of weight to make herself invisible to the opposite sex.

2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

(328)

on June 27, 2012
at 06:45 PM

+1 for the Importance of Being Earnest reference. It's my favorite play!

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 27, 2012
at 05:12 PM

Wow, great job! I think it takes longest for our minds to catch up... I liked what you said about remembering "what being fat means to people." I think having a personal experience like this can make you more empathetic and emotionally resilient, even if it's very hard to go through.

F9638b939a6f85d67f60065677193cad

(4266)

on June 27, 2012
at 03:00 PM

I have heard that some women use their excess body fat as a protective device against unwanted male attention.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 27, 2012
at 02:35 PM

You get a +1 as well. Same reason. Since I'll only ever inhabit my own body, it's interesting learning how others see themselves and interact with the world around them. And, in the "real world" we're not allowed to see others', or share our own, inner thoughts and emotions, so I hide behind a facade of bland and boring shallowness.

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on June 27, 2012
at 02:10 PM

+1 for a thoughtful answer :)

  • Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

    asked by

    (8014)
  • Views
    1.7K
  • Last Activity
    1429D AGO
Frontpage book

Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!

6 Answers

6
474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 27, 2012
at 02:07 PM

It's interesting the extent to which we come to internalize our self-image. My path was a bit different, I went from skinny dorky guy to chubby dorky guy and back to skinny dorky guy. (5 10, up to 212, now 160). Along the way I wouldn't say my self image changed much in any direction. I never saw myself as thin, never saw myself as fat and never really noticed the change other than when you look at photos. That being said, the "dorky" thing weighed on me in high school and later. It took time for me to come to terms with my lot in life. These days, I'd say I have. At 33 dorky guys make more $ and honestly, the people around me seem to be aging much more poorly than I.

Bigger picture, it makes me sad the stresses that you women are forced to endure. It's ashamed there are so many unhealthy pressures, so many road-blocks and so many messages telling you that your worth depends upon the shape of your body. (Witness another current thread regarding breast size, what a sucky way to be judged). As just a random male, I hope I can tell you that in general I, and many men, are much less judgmental than society may suggest. Many women who seem to display a significant level of self-criticism do not deserve it.

65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on June 27, 2012
at 02:10 PM

+1 for a thoughtful answer :)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:54 PM

Re: "Along the way I wouldn't say my self image changed much in any direction. I never saw myself as thin, never saw myself as fat and never really noticed the change other than when you look at photos." I think this is a big difference btw men and (some) women. A man who's put on weight will look in the mirror and think, "Wow, I'm gettin' fat. I should do something about that." Then he'll get dressed and go to work like usual. A woman will stand in front of a mirror, notice she's gained weight, and launch into a litany of why this makes her unlovable, unworthy, and an all around...

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 28, 2012
at 04:23 PM

It seems you did the same. In your case, it's great you are happier and while you were heavier, I wouldn't have called you fat. You likely look great these days and I say good for you. In response to your other comments regarding your writing. I tend to be closely aligned with your comments and views but you say things much more eloquently than me (finance major...)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:33 PM

Re: "Bigger picture, it makes me sad the stresses that you women are forced to endure." The thing is, we're not "forced" to endure it. We do it to ourselves! At my highest weight I was "only" 158, but *my own* self-esteem issues made it so I *felt* like it was 350. I know plenty of larger women who feel great about themselves. Maybe deep down they'd like to be slimmer, but *unlike me,* they're far too intelligent to base their self worth on their pants size. (And most days, I don't either...well, not anymore...but you know what I'm getting at.)

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 28, 2012
at 04:20 PM

I tend to agree with you that women seem to force it upon themselves and in particular by judging one another. But, it would be sexist of me to make such a claim given im not a woman. I can tell you that while I didn't "feel fat" I didn't take my shirt off at the beach. I sort of viewed it as a natural progression of being an American male. (Which in itself is a very sad commentary on our society). These days I feel better, but I may also have just found better confidence in my 30's.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:56 PM

...terrible human being. Not all women do this, of course, but some do, and I can't imagine any man going there. Women are much more prone to basing their whole self-worth on their size, *regardless* of all the other amazing things they've accomplished and contribute to the world. (Great at their jobs, being a good mom, using a talent, etc. Doesn't matter b/c to them, the only thing that *does* matter is their size.)

6
65bf1ca7071028018c6d8305d0ddcd76

(3049)

on June 27, 2012
at 01:59 PM

This I can relate to and yet I have never ever talked about this with anyone... (Edit: I think the reason I struggled with this so long in silence is because it sounds 'egotistical' and I was not entirely convinced the changes were 'real' (both in my body and people's behavior around me.) Thank you for articulating this!

I was once 185 lbs at 5"2. Went down to 105 ish... I had never wanted or gotten 'that kind of attention' before, and I was not prepared. My (now) ex husband was very possessive and jealous and insisted on accompanying me everywhere... And still accused me constantly of being unfaithful!(NEVER in my life...)

When I was fat I was one of the guys... Afterwards their bigger wives and GFs didn't like me hanging out with them (yes, even when they were invited)... Despite never dressing suggestively, society seems to make certain assumptions about a more confident, put together woman, especially if she is thin. During this period I still saw myself as fat, which was a problem too.

Now I'm a healthy 125 lbs sometimes 130, with more sculpted (toned, not freaky) muscles. Some days I still think I should go a little lower, but I like my shape and feel great: who gives a damn what size your clothes are or the number on the scale.

Be confident, be yourself. If you are being checked out, just go with it or let it go... Ivecome to realize that others who didn't block this attention because they felt unworthy ( I felt totally asexual too) are used to looking and being looked at. Try not to make too much of it if it overwhelms you. I am an introvert and really don't enjoy this attention, so I don't do the bar scene, etc.

Congrats on the work you've done, embrace who you are now and always :)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:24 PM

Good point: "When I was fat I was one of the guys... Afterwards their bigger wives and GFs didn't like me hanging out with them (yes, even when they were invited)... Despite never dressing suggestively, society seems to make certain assumptions about a more confident, put together woman, especially if she is thin."

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 27, 2012
at 02:35 PM

You get a +1 as well. Same reason. Since I'll only ever inhabit my own body, it's interesting learning how others see themselves and interact with the world around them. And, in the "real world" we're not allowed to see others', or share our own, inner thoughts and emotions, so I hide behind a facade of bland and boring shallowness.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:30 PM

And it's not that the person *acts* any differently (although maybe they do). It's just that our human nature is to put people in neat little boxes of however we've defined them through the years, and when someone does something to redefine themselves, as it were, it throws off our world view. We might suddenly feel that *our own* place in the system is changing because someone we thought of as "one of us" so to speak, has changed a lot and we no longer feel that same kinship with them. (Doesn't have to be weight -- could be a new/better job, someone chronically single who now has a mate...)

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:24 PM

Good point: "When I was fat I was one of the guys... Afterwards their bigger wives and GFs didn't like me hanging out with them (yes, even when they were invited)... Despite never dressing suggestively, society seems to make certain assumptions about a more confident, put together woman, especially if she is thin." HOWEVER...

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:26 PM

HOWEVER: It's pretty funny, b/c women do this to *ourselves.* It's not the men that cared about you being bigger or smaller. When you lost weight, it was the *women* who felt threatened. I think this happens all the time -- even among good friends. If the whole group is chubby, and one person gets in better shape, it threatens the status quo, y'know? If the other people are not confident in their own bodies, having a friend who is *newly* thin can feel uncomfortable. Almost like everyone was equal before, but now all of a sudden, someone went from being "the funny one" to being h-o-t.

3
Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

on June 27, 2012
at 03:49 PM

I keep telling people this. I have lost 110 pounds in a year. My starting weight was 330. I KNOW the change is completely radical. I KNOW the numbers have changed, but who I am on the inside hasn't caught up to my outside. I still identify as really fat, and I still hate fat discrimination, and bullying, and the whole weight loss industry. Which is probably a good thing, and I hope that I always remember what being fat means to people.

I have many fat friends, who accept their size and feel good about themselves. And they should. My weight loss has been great, but the goal is and has been better health.

But, yeah, when the men check me out now, it takes me a minute to register that it's ME they're looking at. It's weird.

474ae29b80569199c6589e879e6cd7d1

on June 28, 2012
at 04:32 PM

Sorry, late to the responses. But agree, congrats Crowbar!

E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 27, 2012
at 05:12 PM

Wow, great job! I think it takes longest for our minds to catch up... I liked what you said about remembering "what being fat means to people." I think having a personal experience like this can make you more empathetic and emotionally resilient, even if it's very hard to go through.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:44 PM

Wow...110 pounds down? That's amazing! :)

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on June 28, 2012
at 03:06 PM

Thanks, guys :). It has been really crazy, and confoundingly easy. I wish I had learned all this many years ago. I still have a bit to go, but I feel amazing.

2
E68bdbd83e45fd5be130e393ace9c9a9

(2063)

on June 27, 2012
at 04:54 PM

Such a great question, and something I've been thinking about recently.

I didn't come to paleo for weight loss, but I hope you won't mind if I chime in anyway :)

I started paleo partly to resolve some persistent skin issues. My skin looked horrible and I thought about it all the time. It's still not perfect, and it goes through cycles of improvement and remission, but I've noticed that even when my skin looks really good, I still feel very self-conscious about it. Like my entire face will be clear, except for one tiny pimple on my jawline that no one else would even notice, but I will still think of myself as being someone with bad skin. I will check the mirror over and over again to see "how bad" my skin looks and be surprised each time when it looks good. I had to go to an event where I had my photo taken recently, and I was so nervous because I was expecting to be totally humiliated with my horrible complexion, but later when I saw the photos, my skin actually looked great (I was wearing a little foundation, but whatever). I have realized that it's going to take a long time before I will be able to stop thinking about my skin as a permanent problem.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:43 PM

...self esteem. I can't believe I let my size rule my life and determine my self-worth. And it breaks my heart that there are women (and a growing # of men) still trapped in that horrible place. My goal as a nutritionist is to spare just *one* young lady what I put myself through in high school & college. If I can do that, I'll consider myself a professional success. I want *so* much to teach young women how the body actually works so they'll understand that they do NOT need to live on Special K and skim milk and run 30 miles/week.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:41 PM

I've never had a skin issue, but I can relate with my weight. When I was in college, I was *very* uncomfortable with my body size. There are few pictures of me from that time b/c I hated having my picture taken. But in the few ones that do exist, I look FINE. Much smaller than I ever realized. If I could go back I'd KICK myself for how I hid from the world. Never went out, never dated, spent *way* too much time running and trying to lose weight (with the wrong information, of course). Damn it, I looked freaking fine, and I'm so sorry I missed out on so many fun experiences b/c of piss poor..

0
8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on June 27, 2012
at 07:36 PM

This is really weird but I have the opposite problem. My mental image of myself is still thin even though I'm in the mid 190's at five foot five. I have a hard time recognizing myself in photos.

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:36 PM

Interesting. I think this is part of how some people become obese -- in their minds, they're smaller, so they don't recognize how big they actually are and take steps to do something about it. Jeez...it's crazy what our minds do to us with this stuff, huh?

8292546789ca48c32ead34c6e884d059

on July 01, 2012
at 01:26 AM

I was told the opposite in therapy. The idea is that the mind lead the body.

0
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on June 27, 2012
at 05:48 PM

Yes. Even though I have been at this weight for two years, I still find my self image is at variance with the image in the mirror. I lost 113lb. I have some pain issues as well, so I can feel like total crap- and then pass by a mirror and notice that I look great.

Then there is the weird cognitive dissonance of getting frank attention from girls half my age and then being a little upset that me at half my age was starved for that attention- now, of course, it is all a little impractical, though if anyone out there can play Cecily, I'd be happy to play Algernon.

The difference is large enough for me to sometimes worry that my responses in certain social situations don't convey my meaning anymore.

2f83028f9830b25f7c21109197176d9e

(328)

on June 27, 2012
at 06:45 PM

+1 for the Importance of Being Earnest reference. It's my favorite play!

Fd70d71f4f8195c3a098eda4fc817d4f

(8014)

on June 28, 2012
at 02:35 PM

I know what you mean about being older. Yes, I'm only 33 now, but I still lament all the lost time in my 20s. I'd like to enjoy it as much as I can *now,* because I'm not so sure I'll look this good when I'm 60. :-/ (But here's hoping!)

Answer Question


Get FREE instant access to our
Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!