Welcome to the new Community design. We know there are some big changes to get used to as well some challenges and bugs. Please check out our post about New Updates To The Community as well as Outstanding Bugs. We will continue to collect feedback and bug issues and will work to make improvements.

"Phantom fat"

Is it true that it takes time for your mind to adjust to your new size? Which can cause you to feel the same size as you was when you started? Regardless if you are at your goal weight or still have lbs to lose to get to your goal weight (but still lost). What are peoples experiences?

Replies

  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    I lost my weight in 2015 and I'm still really bad at judging what size I need when I'm, say, shopping for clothes. I'll look at something and think "there's no way I will fit into that."

    It's really not something that ever manifests outside of those situations though.
  • cwolfman13
    cwolfman13 Posts: 39,852 Member
    Jayj180894 wrote: »
    Is it true that it takes time for your mind to adjust to your new size? Which can cause you to feel the same size as you was when you started? Regardless if you are at your goal weight or still have lbs to lose to get to your goal weight (but still lost). What are peoples experiences?

    I did not experience anything like this.
  • Jayj180894
    Jayj180894 Posts: 285 Member
    I lost my weight in 2015 and I'm still really bad at judging what size I need when I'm, say, shopping for clothes. I'll look at something and think "there's no way I will fit into that."

    It's really not something that ever manifests outside of those situations though.

    Sometimes I look in the mirror and think I am Exactly the same and recently its been more times than not I don't think I have changed. I wish I had measured from the very start, would of been better. I use scales and progress pictures, but don't really take them incase I can't see any progress. Weight loss is such a roller-coaster of a journey! Who'd of thought when your scrolling threw Instagram and can lose 10 every week for 10 weeks lol!
  • penguinmama87
    penguinmama87 Posts: 949 Member
    Jayj180894 wrote: »
    Is it true that it takes time for your mind to adjust to your new size? Which can cause you to feel the same size as you was when you started? Regardless if you are at your goal weight or still have lbs to lose to get to your goal weight (but still lost). What are peoples experiences?

    Huh, I never thought about this before. It's definitely a thing when your body changes size due to other reasons. My kids always get clumsy at the same time they're having a growth spurt - their arms and legs aren't where they expect them to be! Pregnant women have to adjust both as they get bigger and then again after birth.

    It makes sense to me that this could happen with weight loss too, especially if it was rapid. I notice as I lose weight I fidget with my clothes more because they no longer fit as I expect.
  • Jennliftsandspins
    Jennliftsandspins Posts: 150 Member
    I don’t see much difference in the mirror but I know I’ve changed. Size 6 shorts I couldn’t even pull up last year now fit perfectly. But I don’t look that different to my own eyes.
    When trying on or ordering clothes I often grab things that are too big now.

    Other people have told me I’ve changed a lot but I can’t see it yet.
  • Lietchi
    Lietchi Posts: 3,086 Member
    My mind definitely is still adjusting. It's a weird feeling, I have moments where I feel awesome and other times where my stomach seems just as chubby as 57 lbs ago.
    Based on some recent clothes shopping, I have an approximate visual idea of what size clothes might fit me, but it takes conscious overriding of my instincts saying 'are you crazy, those clothes are tiny'.
  • paperpudding
    paperpudding Posts: 7,177 Member
    Jayj180894 wrote: »
    I lost my weight in 2015 and I'm still really bad at judging what size I need when I'm, say, shopping for clothes. I'll look at something and think "there's no way I will fit into that."

    It's really not something that ever manifests outside of those situations though.

    Sometimes I look in the mirror and think I am Exactly the same and recently its been more times than not I don't think I have changed. I wish I had measured from the very start, would of been better. I use scales and progress pictures, but don't really take them incase I can't see any progress. Weight loss is such a roller-coaster of a journey! Who'd of thought when your scrolling threw Instagram and can lose 10 every week for 10 weeks lol!


    I guess it depends on the degree as to whether this is a problem

    The sort of things posters above described - minor observations, not problematic.

    However if you are having a real body dysmorphia thing where you lose weight but keep seeing yourself as fat despite significant weight loss - do seek help.
    These things can be factors in anorexia.

  • Beautyofdreams
    Beautyofdreams Posts: 832 Member
    I have lost 74 pounds in the last year and went from 2x tops and 18w pants to M tops and sz 6/7 pants. I don't notice much difference in my progress pictures because I am still the same shape. While I can pick the correct clothing size, I have no idea what my size is in relation to other people or furniture. I frequently feel like I am bigger than most people and if you asked me to point to a person that I thought was the same size as me I couldn't do it.
  • Jayj180894
    Jayj180894 Posts: 285 Member
    I think it's madness how the mind works and I also think it can depend on your outlook that day/week. I definitely go threw phases of being like what's the point to wow you are doing great. This week has definitely been one of them even when you see the scale. I have noticed this week how much easier shaving has gotten though! Haha
  • yirara
    yirara Posts: 6,732 Member
    Friends keep on commenting that I am tiny. I still don't see that in the mirror. Mind you, I never saw myself as 'fat' either as I carried my weight very conveniently. Guess a bit of healthy body dysmorphia.
  • Jayj180894
    Jayj180894 Posts: 285 Member

    I guess it depends on the degree as to whether this is a problem

    The sort of things posters above described - minor observations, not problematic.

    However if you are having a real body dysmorphia thing where you lose weight but keep seeing yourself as fat despite significant weight loss - do seek help.
    These things can be factors in anorexia.

    That is very true! And with society today is very real, especially with social media. I have seen a few post recently of " Not before, Not after" pics showing the same body in different poses that look as if they have lost weight. But majority are before and after pics stating if you follow this and that you'll be the same. When really in reality they have most likely had surgery or even two totally different bodies! Very sad!

    Myself I think I can be very impatient and I definitely go threw phases, but it's nice to see its not just me lol
  • AnnPT77
    AnnPT77 Posts: 22,340 Member
    Oh, man, yes, I experience(d) that!

    I don't think I have or had an unhealthy view, but I definitely had trouble internalizing the idea of my own changed size . . . but I'd been obese for around 30 years or so.

    I didn't see the differences accurately while they were happening (weight loss was 5+ years ago), even in some photographs that I can see a difference in now. I would find myself moving over in narrow hallways to make room to pass someone, or turning sideways to go through a narrow space, when I didn't at all need to. At first, clothes in the proper size looked *absurdly*, impossibly small (went from around US 18W to Misses 6 in just under a year).

    Even now, in a store, the things that will fit look a bit small, though my old sizes now look surprisingly big, so there's been progress.😆
  • dragon_girl26
    dragon_girl26 Posts: 2,180 Member
    edited March 18
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    Oh, man, yes, I experience(d) that!

    I don't think I have or had an unhealthy view, but I definitely had trouble internalizing the idea of my own changed size . . . but I'd been obese for around 30 years or so.

    I didn't see the differences accurately while they were happening (weight loss was 5+ years ago), even in some photographs that I can see a difference in now. I would find myself moving over in narrow hallways to make room to pass someone, or turning sideways to go through a narrow space, when I didn't at all need to. At first, clothes in the proper size looked *absurdly*, impossibly small (went from around US 18W to Misses 6 in just under a year).

    Even now, in a store, the things that will fit look a bit small, though my old sizes now look surprisingly big, so there's been progress.😆

    I experienced this too. I also went from a size 18-20W (and was heading into 22-24 category when I decided to change things) to size 8-10ish. I would have never dreamed I would have even been able fit a leg into the size I wear now, the idea seemed absurd. It took me awhile in the mirror too, although mostly it was the mental stigma I carried around with me. I was obese through my teens up until I was into my 30s, so I still carried the "fat girl" mentality for awhile when I'd be out with friends or in my dance group (even though when I see photos now, I had become one of the smallest members in the group!). That major part of my weight loss was about 7 years ago...I've slowly adjusted over time.
  • springlering62
    springlering62 Posts: 4,128 Member
    It’s possible that while smaller, your body remains proportional enough to still mess with your head. It does make it harder to see clearly. (But not enough to go back. )

    For me, fat rolls have been replaced by extra skin which rolls like fat used to. I was a 22W. I am wearing a pair of Target kids jeggings which are too loose in the waist, yet I have a “waterfall” of skin over the waistline. It looks for all the world like a muffin top, even though I’ve been hoisting my britches up all day.
  • spiriteagle99
    spiriteagle99 Posts: 3,238 Member
    I always carried weight in my belly, thighs and calves. After losing 55 lbs. I still have extra weight in my belly, thighs and calves. When I look down at my body, I see only the fat. When I see a photo or look in a full length mirror I am always shocked at how small I actually am. I can see the bones in my upper body, and I read the scale regularly, so I know I am on the low end of a healthy weight for me. Sometimes I think I would do better to gain 5-10 lbs. But then I look at that round belly and say to myself, "No, not yet."
  • Speakeasy76
    Speakeasy76 Posts: 917 Member
    I always carried weight in my belly, thighs and calves. After losing 55 lbs. I still have extra weight in my belly, thighs and calves. When I look down at my body, I see only the fat. When I see a photo or look in a full length mirror I am always shocked at how small I actually am. I can see the bones in my upper body, and I read the scale regularly, so I know I am on the low end of a healthy weight for me. Sometimes I think I would do better to gain 5-10 lbs. But then I look at that round belly and say to myself, "No, not yet."

    I also carry my weight in the same places, too, plus the back of my arms. I logically also know I will not have the same flat stomach I did 23 years ago at the same weight, before 2 kids and 2 c-sections and frequent bloat. I also logically know I have wide shoulders that are not "fat," and a broad, muscular back that are in relative proportion to my hips (with those actually being a bit narrower now). This has been my body shape since I was a kid--back in the 80's when shoulder pads were in, even as a young teen I had to take the shoulder pads out because my shoulders were broad enough.

    Recently, though, I've been focusing on the flaws, even though I haven't been technically overweight in years, and lost about 8 more in the past year. I just see my flabbiness and how "wide" I am. I'm a recovering perfectionistic thinker, though, so it's hard for me to ever accept being "good enough."
  • callsitlikeiseeit
    callsitlikeiseeit Posts: 8,342 Member
    to a certain extent, almost everyone has some form of body dysmorphia. We are so used to being and seeing, a certain size in the mirror, our brains have a hard time seeing the changes. Just as we dont always see our size going UP in the mirror.

    For whatever reason, many, myself included, DO see the changes in PHOTOS. But I can tell you that even in photos... it was probably a good 80 pounds before i could SEE that i looked smaller. I could tell you EXACTLY what photo it was when I saw it, too. Still didn't see it in the mirror, but DID see it in photos after that point. Photos are also where I could see weight GAIN, when it started creeping back up (and i was nowhere as near as large as I initially was)
  • penguinmama87
    penguinmama87 Posts: 949 Member
    to a certain extent, almost everyone has some form of body dysmorphia. We are so used to being and seeing, a certain size in the mirror, our brains have a hard time seeing the changes. Just as we dont always see our size going UP in the mirror.

    This reminds me of the time I just glanced at the mirror as I was passing and had a momentary freakout because I thought I was my mother. My brain caught up after a few moments, but it was still freaky. Then I realized I'd reached the age she was when I have my first clear, distinct memories of her, so whatever I noticed about my own reflection in passing probably triggered some recognition pattern I'd forgotten about.
  • scarlett_k
    scarlett_k Posts: 738 Member
    to a certain extent, almost everyone has some form of body dysmorphia.

    They really don't. That's like saying "everyone is a bit autistic" or "I'm a bit OCD". Just because many people can relate to certain aspects doesn't mean everyone "has" it.