The struggle with body image distortion after weight loss

The struggle with body image distortion after weight loss
You’ve won the battle – time to enjoy!
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You’ve lost significant weight. You have become healthier and stronger.
The body you see in the mirror is everything you ever wanted.

But it still feels strange? Still surprised when you see a photo of yourself?
We offer tips for accepting this new you.

Get 9 great tips to help with mental obstacles with your body image

The biggest struggle wasn’t losing all those pounds as you thought it would be, because once you change your habits and introduce regularity in your life, it’s all easy as a pie. The real disturbance is what you’re experiencing now, after the weight loss: the image of a body you see in the mirror staring back at you feels foreign. It looks good, attractive, but it is not you.

You thought that with losing weight you will gain a higher level of self confidence and a healthy level of self-esteem. You were wrong. You are more self aware than ever before.

You are used to watching beautiful bodies everywhere around you and wishing you had that flat tummy/toned arms/defined thighs/sexy booty. That’s what get you started on your journey towards healthy weight. But now you can’t believe you already did it – your body looks good! You thought you’ll never have that body, but now it’s yours. But the biggest problem you face now is accepting it. You are used to being overweight, it is familiar, and you learned to live with it.

Why am I dissatisfied with my body after weight loss?

Weight loss in itself is a major life change, much like getting married or moving to another country.
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Especially if the weight loss happened fast: your brain and your neurons are not as quick catching up to your new persona as your body is changing. The older you are the harder it is. Children are freely accepting changes in their bodies because they are still laying down images and views of themselves. Your view of yourself is more deep-seated when you become an adult, so it can be difficult to resolve changes with who you are as a person. This is due to the fact that the person you think you are is tied in to the body that you have. So body image after weight loss becomes a troubling and confusing experience.

A holistic approach sees this psychological trauma of being fat in the past as a disorder in the energy field. Everyone who ever experienced being shaped differently in the past go through this.

Acceptance of the problem

Also, you are used to focus on the negative things, the things that draw your attention and make you go “Ugh” about yourself. That’s exactly what kept motivating you throughout your voyage to Slim Town.

The struggle with body image distortion after weight loss
She runs everyone over on her way to Slim Town.
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So the first step is to admit that you have a problem with accepting the new you. You might not even be aware of it yet; it might just come to you as a seldom thought when you see your reflection. Your mind can’t make the connection. That reflection is not you, it can’t be: You are bigger than that; your thighs are wider; your belly is huge and looks like a beach ball. That mirror is lying to you. Then a friend notices the change, and tells you that you look great. You don’t believe them. Then other friends and family notice that too and compliment you on your looks.

First you think they are lying; then you start doubting yourself and your judgment. Then you start looking for your reflection and start seeing what they are talking about

But that new body is you, however your brain has not caught up with the weight loss yet.

How to overcome body image issues

Having the body of your dreams is new: your mind will need time to accept it. It will happen in time, I assure you there is nothing wrong with your mental health. How to speed up the process of your brain accepting your new body image? Here are my tips:

  1. Put a photo of yourself on the fridge or another visible place where you think you look better than perfect
  2. Get yourself a pair of skinny jeans or colored pants that make you keep thinking “Girl, you are small!”
  3. Take pictures now & compare them to old pictures
  4. Ask a friend or a significant other you absolutely trust what they think about your looks after the weight loss
  5. Look yourself in the mirror while you work out and compare the body you see with other bodies in the gym
  6. Go window shopping! Pick something out that you would never have dared to wear before and try it on just for the fun of it!
  7. Try on your old over-sized clothes! This way you will get a clear perspective of your progress and your current body size.
  8. Ask a friend or your significant other to point out someone from a crowd of people who has a similar body size as you. You’ll be surprised! Also, seeing other people who are similar to you in size will not trigger the same emotional response as seeing a picture of yourself would, therefore it’s helping you rationalize your new body size.
  9. When getting a positive comment on your new body from others, don’t ignore it or dismiss it. It’s a bad manner and you come off as being rude. Say thank you for the compliments! You’ve just earned somebody’s respect and admiration. After all, you’ve worked hard for it, right? So don’t try to shy away from compliments about your looks. The other person sees something regarding your body size and lower weight that you don’t.

For best results, do all of the above!

Accept responsibility for your own success!  See your body for as it is – don’t allow your old fat identity to ruin the new you!

You have problems dealing with your new body image? Share your story in the comments section!

Interested in facts about your body after weight loss? Click here to find out more>>>

4 thoughts on “The struggle with body image distortion after weight loss

  1. At 65 I have lost 70 lbs. now normal weight by all the charts. Body fat is 27% and falling. Lift weights and am toned. Have gone from 22/24 to 6-10. Don’t recognize myself. Can see change by mirror and numbers but seems unreal because no one- family or friends has ever acknowledged the change without my saying something. I have constantly wondered if it really does look different. Why haven’t people spoken up if it does? I don’t think I am imagining the extent of change, but it has been harder to accept because I get no encouraging feedback. It is as though without some external affirmation it can’t be so. Intellectually I know it is so, though. I thank you for your suggestions. I expect they will help me emotionally accept the change without external feedback!

    Was helpful to discover others have a hard time recognizing themselves too. We humans are interestng creatures!

    1. At 63 I have also lost 63 lbs. I can see it when I look in the mirror and when I try on clothes but when I walk away I hear my old self saying how fat my butt looks. My co-workers have all noticed and mostly been very flattering ( except for a few who say things like ” wow your’e getting so skinny” which I cannot come up with an answer for). I bought myself well fitting clothes and cannot make myself wear them. I don’t want to look like the fat lady who lost some weight but is still too big and now wearing inappropriate clothes. Ugh, It took a year to lose the weight, is it going to take a year for me to be comfortable with my new shape?

      1. That is amazing! Congrats for changing your lifestyle for a better! It does take awhile to get comfortable with your new fit body, but it will happen eventually. I have an interesting post about how to come up with a witty comeback for your coworkers, read it here>>>

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