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  #1   ^
Old Sat, Aug-17-02, 12:29
Isabel Isabel is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 174
 
Plan: Dr. Atkins
Stats: 300/247/150
BF:
Progress: 35%
Location: Ann Arbor
Default Confused body image anyone?

I am not sure where to post this thread.

It occurred to me sometime this summer that I am all but oblivious to what I actually look like. Just now I weigh 247 but in my mind's eye, I am about forty pounds overweight. I am 5'6". In my mind's eye, I look like what I weighed when I weighed 180+-. Truth be told, when I was at my all time high of 330, back in those days, in my mind's eye, I looked like I was about forty pounds overweight.

Sure I have watched the clothing sizes rise. I can't tell you how many times I have caught myself in dressing rooms, telling myself that the sizes are getting smaller. It does not occur to me, in some unconscious moments anyway, that I am getting bigger when the 20W no longer fit: it was the clothing, not me.

My daughter, who is healthy today, has struggled with anorexia/bulimia for five years. She is also 5'6". When she weighed 85 pounds, she thought she looked like she weight 150+. She didn't just think it: she literally saw herself as fat.

I mention my daughter because we have all, I think, read about the distorted body image of the anorexic/bulimic sufferer. Have there been any studies done about the distorted body images of the morbidly obese?

I vaguely remember the doctor's check at which I weighed 330: it was years ago and I have no memory of losing any weight but eventually I fell back to 300, where I had been for many years. It had an air of unreality to me, of disassociation. That 330 pounds had nothing to do with me.
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  #2   ^
Old Sat, Aug-17-02, 12:35
Isabel Isabel is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 174
 
Plan: Dr. Atkins
Stats: 300/247/150
BF:
Progress: 35%
Location: Ann Arbor
Default And another thing about body image

Twenty pounds doesn't make much of a difference in appearance when one weighs 300 pounds and has lost 20. But gosh, it sure feels like a major achievement to me. It is so discouraging that no one notices.

It seems to me that once people in your world see you as seriously obese, they don't really look at you anymore. How else could I have lost 53 pounds and have no one notice?

I have started pointing out to people that I have lost 53 pounds. They looked a bit surprised, then take a good look at me. They want to ooh and aah but they don't really see a big difference. "Oh yeah," they might say, "you have lost some weight".

This is so discouraging!

To those folks reading who have forty pounds or less to lose, try and imagine losing thirty pounds without one single person noticing. It would never happen.
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  #3   ^
Old Tue, Aug-20-02, 22:49
Ballerina Ballerina is offline
New Member
Posts: 12
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 140/125/110
BF:
Progress: 50%
Location: Center Valley, PA
Default

I totally know what you're going through! I struggled with anorexia all through high school and at my worst I was 5'6 and weighed 90 pounds. After finally achieving a healthy body image, I gained back weight until I was 140 pounds. Now, I'm down to 125 doing Atkins and I still look in the mirror and think that I am even heavier than I was before I started! I thought maybe I was relapsing back into my eating disorder, but it's comforting to know that other people are experiencing it too. What helps me is to get out that pair of pants that were too small before you lost weight and keep trying them on and you can reassure yourself that you've lost all that weight by how much closer you can get to buttoning them! That's what helps me. That pair of pants is now too big for me!
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  #4   ^
Old Wed, Aug-21-02, 06:32
Isabel Isabel is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 174
 
Plan: Dr. Atkins
Stats: 300/247/150
BF:
Progress: 35%
Location: Ann Arbor
Default You don't know what I'm talking about

Dear Ballerina,
You wrote "I know totally what you are going through". It is customary on this forum for people to act like the issues of anorexics are akin to the issues of the morbidly obese. They are not and I can't live with the fiction.

You do not know what it feels like to weigh 300 pounds and lose 20 and have to live with the fact that those 20 pounds make absolutely no difference to your appearance. You don't know what it is like to weigh 300 pounds even though you don't eat more than a normal amount of food each day. You don't know what it feels like to get denied jobs because of your appearance, get pushed to the back of the crowd for group photos, to be denied committee chairmanships in your volunteer work . . . folks don't say it is becauseyou are fat but it is. You don't know what it is like to be totally invisible to members of the opposite sex. Many, many men don't even see fat females . . . and when lyou have to work with these clowns anyway. . . . Well, you just don't know what it is like.

If you lost 20 pounds, which it sure doesn't look like you need to, everyone in your life would see startling results.

My daughter, who worked for years to achieve a career as a professional modern dancer, has suffered from anorexia/bulimia for five years. Anorexia/bulimia, as studies at Cornell have clearly established, are really the same illness on a spectrum. My daughter has not been able to dance since her first bout of anorexia. She started out weighing about 135, starved off 50 pounds in about three months. She, too, likes to think that she knows just how I feel when I have lost 50 pounds. I can't believe she is so naive.

I sure don't know what it feels like to lose 50 pounds when I wasn't fat to begin with, to drop to 85 pounds and be hospitalized because of heart arrthmias (sp?), to faint on the dance floor in the middle of a performance. My daughter would be furious with me if I dared to suggest that I know what heer experience has been like and yet, in her young adult naivete, she thinks she knows my reality.

As to body image confusion, it is well documented that anorexic/bulimics have serious problems with distorted body image. My point is that studying fat people is less appealing to scientists and studies have not been done around the distorted body images of the morbidly obese.

I am sorry if I sound harsh towards you. I am deeply sorry that you have struggled with anorexia and pray that you learn how to live not just with a normal weight but with the weight that is right for your body. Another thing we don't hear about is that different bodies have different healthy weights. My daughter wants to be model/dancer thin but the fact is she has voluptuous breasts and hips and it is her body's type to be a curvaceous hotty.

Now, off my soap box. Best wishes to you on your path to welness.
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  #5   ^
Old Wed, Aug-21-02, 11:10
Ballerina Ballerina is offline
New Member
Posts: 12
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 140/125/110
BF:
Progress: 50%
Location: Center Valley, PA
Default

Wow, I guess I never looked at it that way. Thanks for helping me see things in perspective. Don't worry, you didn't seem harsh! I think more people need to understand the difference. Best of luck to you.
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  #6   ^
Old Thu, Aug-22-02, 11:17
kellser kellser is offline
Registered Member
Posts: 68
 
Plan: low-carb avoid sugar
Stats: 000/000/000 Female 5"2
BF:
Progress: 6%
Default I too deal with distortion

I think everything is fine, I look fine. Most of the time. I could be 150. Oh but Im not!

Here's my difference though: every once in a while I see just how fat I am in a window Im walking past or in someones eyes who think's Im disgusting or when I have to do something that makes me uncomfortable like visiting almost in-laws!

All of a sudden I come crashing down real real low and realize how horrible things have gotten.

I do my best to scramble out of that position however because I realize it is usually self deflating.

Sometimes it has been good to go that low though, to actually see the fat.

It's the reason Im here, desperate enough to put the truthful stats in my bio. Desperate enough to give up ice cream!!!

Im ready to loose the weight, Im ready to eat low carb for life if thats what it takes.

Body image is crazy. Love you guys and and the abilities to be thruthful in here. I spend so much of my life pretending that everythings ok, that Im normal when I all I really want is to go for a run with my freinds or shop in the normal stores!

Kellser.
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  #7   ^
Old Thu, Aug-22-02, 12:51
Lolabug's Avatar
Lolabug Lolabug is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 265
 
Plan: Dr. Atkins
Stats: 265/258/129
BF:48/48/20
Progress: 5%
Location: Ontario, Canada
Default

Body image. Yeah, that must be the reason why I keep knocking things over and bumping into things, hitting parts of my body on the edges of things. I really don't have a clue that my body extends out more than I think. I too think that I am just a little bit overweight. Reality is a different story that every once in a while pokes through.

In my thoughts, I can do all sorts of things. In reality, I can't dance very well, run or other things. All because my internal image of my body is vastly different than my actual body.

I think it's because I don't want to face the truth???? I'm not sure.

It sure has me thinking tho.

Thanks for starting this thread Isabel. Always nice to know that you're not alone in something.

Alena.
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  #8   ^
Old Thu, Aug-29-02, 18:21
Kristine's Avatar
Kristine Kristine is offline
Forum Moderator
Posts: 18,896
 
Plan: Primal
Stats: 171/155/155 Female 5'7"
BF:
Progress: 100%
Location: Southern Ontario, Canada
Default Soapbox=on

>>Dear Ballerina,
>>You wrote "I know totally what you are going through". It is >>customary on this forum for people to act like the issues of >>anorexics are akin to the issues of the morbidly obese. They >>are not and I can't live with the fiction.

That's only your opinion. Many would disagree with you.

>>You do not know what it feels like to weigh 300 pounds...

From both the title and the text of your post , I gathered that you were commenting on the tendancy for the mind's eye and reality to become two totally different things. You weren't lamenting on being morbidly obese. *You* even brought up the similarity to what happened to your daughter. Ballerina's comment of "I understand..." was aimed the mind's eye thing. She never claimed to know what it was like to be 300 lbs, yadda yadda yadda. If you think that only morbidly obese people could possibly relate, maybe you should have posted to the triple digits club.

Practically every ED forum I've ever been at ends up with this argument and I'm tired of it. Someone tries to find some commonality, and they get blasted with the same old, "you don't understand." "You don't get it."

[end soapbox]

Now to answer your question, yes, there *is* evidence that distorted body image works in both directions, but I can't find the reference. I remember reading it somewhere. I'm thinking Carolyn Costin's "ED Sourcebook", but don't quote me.
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  #9   ^
Old Fri, Aug-30-02, 00:42
Belle's Avatar
Belle Belle is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 236
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 240/234/150 Female Five Feet
BF:40%
Progress: 7%
Location: Big Spring Texas
Default Goes both ways

If you are big, people assume you eat tons, if you are small, people assume you much have an eating disorder and eat like a bird. Has anybody stopped to think that people all have different bodies and certaninly different metabolism? I work with a girl who is absolutely tiny and eats all the time at work. She didn't work out one time this summer and ate all summer long like mad. She is still as tiny as when she took off for the summer. Me on the other hand if I would have done that, would not have lost the pounds I did over the summer. Now to men(no offense, really) and how they treat women of different size different, if you are big, they don't look at you at all, some of them, I personally live with someone who thinks I am beautiful, even 45 pounds ago, if you are small, some of them see you only as a sex object, I personally would rather stay big. Jobs, yea the small ones get hired more, the bosses assume the small ones will give them favors, the big ones, well, I am proud to say I guess they assume we are not that friendly or don't have enough experience to give them favors, well, neither is true, but I would rather stay big if that was the assumption, no offense to the small ones, no judgement on your morals, just giving hypothesis on assumptions.
Off of my soapbox now, lol, Belle
P.S. Everybody have a good night
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  #10   ^
Old Fri, Aug-30-02, 06:32
agonycat's Avatar
agonycat agonycat is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 3,473
 
Plan: AHP&FP
Stats: 197/125/137 Female 5' 6"
BF:42%/22%/21%
Progress: 120%
Location: Dallas, Texas
Default

Belle, I hear what you are saying and have this to add.

I think part of the problem resides in how the media, mostly advertising sells the human body. You always see attractive slender females selling anything from beer to clothing. Men in advertising goes the other way. You see men for what they really are. Take the sharpie commerical. They show an overweight male with Bob written on his underwear showing like the plumber with his crack showing, but his name is really Dave. Or you see a nerdie guy dancing around in his kitchen eating DiGorne pizza.

It's a consumer market out there and well sex sells more than truth. So the ad agencies use sex appeal to sell items and warping minds on how "we" as a population should look instead of how we really are. Insulting as it is, that is the way of marketing and advertising. It doesn't mean we have to agree with it or like it.

I have been on both sides of the coin. I was once married to a spouse who only wanted a "trophy wife". I was bulimic due to the fact that 120-125 pounds was "fat" to him. Ten years later I wised up and gained a lot of weight while healing. I am finding somewhere in the middle is the best place to be.
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  #11   ^
Old Mon, Sep-09-02, 20:39
Angela175's Avatar
Angela175 Angela175 is offline
New Member
Posts: 7
 
Plan: none
Stats: 198/197/175
BF:too much
Progress: 4%
Default

I've gained 90 pounds over the past 6 years, but it was all pretty gradual after the first gain of 40 pounds or so the first year. However, when I went to my 10th high school reunion this earlier this summer, I could see the shock in people's eyes. I thought I looked good but it was the first time in several years that I felt embarrassed about my weight. I think I prefered that people just come out and say, "you've put on some weight" rather than pretend they didn't notice when it was clear they did and probably said to eah other as soon as I was ot of earshot, "what a porker she turned into."
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  #12   ^
Old Tue, Sep-24-02, 14:48
xBaByGrLx's Avatar
xBaByGrLx xBaByGrLx is offline
New Member
Posts: 18
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 140/130/125 Female 5'1
BF:
Progress: 67%
Default

I don't think I really realized it how i gained all that weight and I wish I could turn back in time and stop myself.. but thats not possible. I feel so left out. I feel like I can't do the things my friends can. I didn't even go to my prom because I didn't feel I fit in. To be quite honest, in my High School, I didn't know anyone in the graduation class who was nearly as fat as I am.

I realize how fat I am, and get disappointed when I have to go shopping with my friends. I can't even shop in the same stores as they do... sometimes embarasses me too that I have to drag everyone to a store because of me, so I usually don't even bother.

I moved to Canada when I was 10, so its been like almost 9 years here. People who visit from back home and see me after a long time.. the first impression i get from them is... "woh.. natasha.. what the heck happened to you? you used to be so pretty?" Just cuz I am fat does it mean I am not pretty anymore? These are the moments when I truly realize how fat I am.

Lastly, my dad's side of the family makes me feel like shit. One of my uncle sometimes even uses rude terms that truly hurt my feelings. My cousins are like a size 0 and 2 but thats their body type. Just cuz I am fat, my uncle thinks "I eat too much". It's a torture. Someone once even told me that "I wouldnt get married just cuz I was fat".. O please...

It moments like those that I feel anger.. and the main reason for me to lose weight is to show these people that I can do it. So I dont have to hear there crap anymore.

OK I dont even know what I am on about.. but I just had it in me and had to get it out.

Tash
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  #13   ^
Old Tue, Sep-24-02, 20:43
Angela175's Avatar
Angela175 Angela175 is offline
New Member
Posts: 7
 
Plan: none
Stats: 198/197/175
BF:too much
Progress: 4%
Unhappy

Wow, that's kind of sad. But don't despair. I got fat after I moved in with my boyfriend but he decided he liked me better on the fat side. That made me feel it was OK to overeat. It was great after always being on a diet, but I let it get out of control. Now I feel like I have to lose weight because I can't do things I used to but I'm going to do it for me although I know I'll never be a size 4 again. Any way, what I wanted to say is that there are guys like my husband (we got married last year) who are attracted to heavy women, you just have to find them.
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  #14   ^
Old Wed, Sep-25-02, 09:29
orchidday's Avatar
orchidday orchidday is offline
Posts: 3,589
 
Plan: Atkins
Stats: 286/261/160 Female 5'8"
BF:BMI43.5%/39.7%/24%
Progress: 20%
Location: Florida
Default

I agree that those who suffer from anorexic behavior as well as those with morbid obesity suffer from body image problems. Other than that, I think there are few experiences that are the same for these two groups. Underweight is celebrated in our society just look at the heroine model ads. Underweight people are treated as if they are fragile, maybe they are. But our society HATES fat people so I would venture to say the experience is different. As for the validity or need for this thread, I think it is an important topic. And obviously one that people are interested in.

A vast majority of people are attracted to thin or average weight women. There are men who are attracted to larger women but I believe they are few and far between. In defense of men, I don't think we can help what we are attracted to. I believe that there may be a biological pull towards thinner women. They appear more "adolescent" which denotes fertility. I guess I sound like an anthropology major - I am! But a thinner, more youthful figure does indicate fertility and health in the subconcious. In some cultures, larger women were celebrated and desired. But those cultures dealt with starvation and disease on a regular basis so anyone who could achieve fatness was doing okay. Thinner women are more fertile - that is a fact!

I am really gonna step out on a limb here. I am fat because I eat too much and exercise too little. I have a friend who weighs 400 pounds and she eats like a train. And she never moves. That is why she weighs 400 pounds. I cannot blame my body for weighing close to 300 pounds with habits like mine. I believe there are some people who cannot maintain a lower weight for medical reasons. But I believe they are few and far between. Most of us who are fat, know why we are fat. We may be insulin resistent but that doesn't explain morbid obesity - it might explain 20 or 30 pounds. It comes down to accepting responsibility for ones behavior. I know exactly how I got here and I would venture to say that any honest person knows. I believe that most of our bodies resist being fat - but we just keep going. Cindi
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  #15   ^
Old Thu, Sep-26-02, 13:01
greentea's Avatar
greentea greentea is offline
Senior Member
Posts: 598
 
Plan: General LC-ing
Stats: 145/127/120
BF:BMI 23.7
Progress: 72%
Location: Ohio at the moment
Default

Starting a new job and just filled out the health insurance forms.
I was in shock to find attached a height and weight chart.
If I weighed over what they deemed appropriate for my height I would have to pay 25% more for health coverage than other people This was the first I ever heard of such a thing and it rather outraged me to think these people were going to be constantly monitoring my weight as long as I am in their employ!
To me this shouldn't even be legal
You may look at my stats and say ...So What's She Worried About,
but believe me, my size now does not come naturally, it is and always has been a constant battle. If I wasn't trying to lose because of a fat-phobic father, it was because of a fat-phobic first husband, then I became fat-phobic. My NDH I know would be with me know matter what my weight but now I have fat-phobic employers. How can one ever truly be free of the fat consciousness of other people?
greentea
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