Are you suffering from phantom fat? Easy steps for accepting the new fit body after weight loss

I've lost significant weight and my body changed. Every morning I look in the mirror I get surprised at the mirror image: it can't be me. I'm fat, not as thin as that reflection! I still feel like I take up a lot of space! What can I do to make myself see my new fit body after weight loss for the body it is now and not the body it was in the past? 
From Fat To Fit Girl
Fat Girl in mirror, Fit Girl in reality. My mind is messed up.

Shopping for clothes comes with a revelation that I pick an item and think to myself there is no way I am going to fit in it… I try it, and it fits! I have so many insecurities now that I am finally thin. Thinking you are still fat when in reality you are not is a real insecurity issue, and know that you are not alone in this!

The phenomenon is known as ‘phantom fat’. Most people who used to be fat still have that body image in their minds even after their bodies have changed. Their perception of themselves did not change. This is especially the case if the weightloss happened fast. When I realized that I am not the only one facing this issue, it comforted me to some extent. I’d felt lost at times because no one around me seemed to understand the impact of this.

Get help dealing with distorted body image in order to truly accept it

The bad news is that it is harder to change the internal body image than the physical body. The good news is that this acceptance depends only on you!

The body image you have of yourself is based on your feelings and your subconscious. You are the only one who can change it – so you don’t need anything but self motivation to work on it! [Tweet this!]

Women who had to pay attention to their weight make more effort to look their best and they believe that how they look is an important part of their personality. We can be characterized by body dissatisfaction and excessive concerns about physical appearance.

The 2 main reasons of phantom fat and why you feel out of touch with your new body are:

  1. The internal image perception still did not change from overweight to fit the new body. You are still fat in your head. You need to change your image perception in order to accept the new you.
  2. There is a disorder in the energy field around your body. The size and shape of your body changed and this change is effecting the energy field around your body. It needs to adjust on a subconscious level in order for you to be balanced again.

Am I suffering from phantom fat?

If you agree with any of these statements, then it is highly likely that you suffer from distorted body image perception.

  • “I am afraid that I will get fat again.” After weight loss the fear of gaining weight or becoming fat again might be your best motivation to stay slim. However, if you know that your fear is irrational – because you exercise regularly like a beast and eat healthy – but still fear of weight gain, then it is a sign that your internal body image did not adjust to your real life body.
  • “I always have to look my best!” Formerly overweight woman value their appearance highly because it is an important part of who they are. If you spend a lot of time worrying about: your everyday looks – but you’re not a celebrity, putting together an outfit – but you’re not a stylist, then you are preoccupied with your appearance because you are insecure about yourself.
  • “Do I look fat in this dress? Do I look fit enough?” If you search for approval and reassurance that you are not fat and can’t believe when people say that you’re not fat or that you’re fit, then you surely have a problem.
  • “My ass is so big!”/”My tummy is really big!” You are not satisfied with your body image so you keep complaining about your looks to your best friend or workout buddy. You don’t realize that when you turn to your best friend and say “My tummy is so big” you are also saying “Your tummy is really big.” You are not just insulting yourself personally, you are also insulting others around you.

Steps to build a more positive body image perception to accept the new you

  • The first and most important thing to know is that fat loss does not change who you are as a person! Remember this: it is still you on the inside. Now that you are fit, try focusing more on your inside and not so much on your outside appearance. After all, it is still the same you!
  • Walk in the dark with closed eyes: you will need to rely on your other senses in order to navigate yourself. It connects the mental image that you have of your body with the real life body of yours. During this exercise you will need to work with the body you currently have, and not the image of the body that is imprinted in your subconscious. Do this for 10 minutes a day, and you will see improvements in sensing your whole body.
  • Backward walking: it works similar to the previous exercise, without closing your eyes. It is challenging to walk backwards because backward walking eliminates the typical heel-strike to the ground – the toe contacts the ground first. It is not just a simple physical activity, it requires brain activity as well. Plus it keeps you stay mentally sharp, puts your senses into overdrive, and it enhances vision as well. You’ll see all these benefits with a 10 minute walk a day for five weeks.
  • Shift your focus on the things you like about your body: it can be your newly toned arms or any other body part.  The important thing is that you start seeing your body for what it is from body part to body part. You’ll be able to see the whole new you in time. When we are in the process of losing weight, we tend to see only the fat parts of our body that need to change. So we get used to focus on the not-so-good-looking body parts.
    Bikinis everywhere!
    Bikinis everywhere!
    Image copyright
  • The summer is here! Stop wearing a swimsuit! Get out your bikini! Unless you are wearing it for an office event, you’ll see that no one else finds anything odd about it. Pool parties, here I come!

Get help dealing with body image issues after weight loss! Click here to get emotional help>>>

1 thought on “Are you suffering from phantom fat? Easy steps for accepting the new fit body after weight loss

  1. I just want to say thank you so for the advice/insights on your blog…so helpful and you truly understand.

    I wasn’t obese but noticeably overweight (especially for my age + height). And I have to tell you most of that weight was when I was living with family/my mother (I come from an ethnic background and food is a very central part of culture. Also the ingredients we were using on a daily basis contributes to all the weight gain… they weren’t all bad, but it’s not good to overdo it). I find it best to eat it sometimes now & replacing some of the high calorie, high sodium ingredients with healthier ones.

    Also I’d like to add that growing up we didn’t have much, or “poor” as some would say…We struggled a lot and had to buy the cheapest, unhealthiest grocery items to get by. I think money and (or the lack of it) really impacts the way you eat as well. I also think many people (especially those from other nationalities) only like to eat their food & will *not* substitute the unhealthy ingredients for healthy ones, no matter how bad because they have to stick to the recipe tradition. I’ve seen that 1 for sure!

    Anyway thanks again, you’re doing great work!

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