Does my bum look big in this?

14.8.10

Hey ladies,

Isn't it great when you get in contact with a friend you haven't seen for ages?  And when the conversation flows so freely it leaves you with a warm feeling inside and a vow that you won't leave it so long next time?  On Thursday I met up with an old work pal who I haven't seen for 18 months and we had a great time; putting the world to rights, gossiping, followed by my all-time favourite....shopping.

Image taken from Nando's
First stop was everyone's favourite - Nando's.  It was here that when the conversation turned from work, to boys, to friends, to diets, that it raised some interesting questions about body image.  Or more specifically, mine.

A couple of years ago I was a lot heavier.  Through hard work and "lifestyle changes" (as the books would put it) I've lost 74lbs.  I am extremely proud of this achievement, but as blogger Alice Linley-Munro says in this month's Glamour magazine: "I just wish someone had told me that the physical act of getting slimmer is only half the battle."  I can't say I'm faced with all of the problems Alice has, but I can empathize with this statement.  At my heaviest I was wearing a size 16-18 and at the time it didn't bother me one bit.  Trouble now is that I have no idea what size I am.  I mean, I can measure myself and use sizing charts to find out, but I have problems believing that I am the size it says I am and still buy clothes in bigger sizes.

So I used our old friend Google to find out what was going on.  According to Thomas F. Cash, PhD, I am suffering from Phantom Fat, a condition quite common in women who have lost weight but have not adjusted their body image to reflect their new look.  More worryingly, Cash suggests that some women create a self-fulfilling prophecy by believing that they are carrying this phantom fat.

Image taken from MSNBC

Don't get me wrong, I am aware of the changes in my body.  I can now feel my ribs.  I have a collarbone again.  I've dropped two shoe sizes and more annoyingly I frequently hit my hipbones on worktops because I don't always remember that there is no longer padding there to cushion the blow.  My trouble is that I just imagine I always looked this way, just 74lbs heavier.  Or perhaps it's to do with my previous experience of myself at my (previous) lowest weight.  This would have been when I was 16 years old and a size 12.  I now weigh less than that but I just can't quite believe it.  I look at pictures of myself back then and imagine that I'll never be that size again, despite the fact that people tell me I'm smaller.  If I was a size 12 and (in my eyes) smaller then, how can the sizing charts can be right when they tell me I'm now an 8-10?

So what do you think ladies?  This post isn't fishing for compliments...after all you haven't seen me to be able to give any.  It's about body image.  We all compare ourselves to other girls and question whether we measure up in the size stakes.  Or at least I do.  But how accurate how your comparisons?  Recently my lovely mum (who very rarely says anything remotely complimentary) informed my that I look "positively frail" when compared to somebody at work who I, hand on heart, think I am the same size as.

Or perhaps you think it's all a load of rubbish.  Labelling problems that didn't need a label.  As Jeremy Clarkson put it on QI - "Why do we have to name everything?"  I'm in two minds.  I know this is a psychological issue (if we would even call it an "issue"), but by giving it a name are we placing too much emphasis on something which maybe just needs time for us to change?  I have to admit, my thoughts on the existence of the condition called "Phantom Fat" changed when I read another online article which suggested that to change negative body image all I need to do is, among other things, start walking around in the dark, lie down with a book on my tummy and try to move it with my (non-existent) muscles to my chest or even just walk around backwards.  These suggestions led to serious doubts in my head.

So a slight change of pace in today's post ladies and I do apologise for it's length.  However I'd love you know what you think.  Have any of you lost weight and find it hard to adjust to the new you?  Are you still plagued with the idea that you're the size you were when you started your diet?  Or do you think that this is all a load of rubbish?!

Thanks for reading
xx

4 comments

  1. I recently lost a stone and although I've not altered dress size (I was a 6-8 to begin with, now the size 6 skirts are just slightly too big on my waist) I still feel like my legs are tree trunks - it's where I carry my weight. I'm only 5"2 so my legs will always look 'dumpy', no matter how much weight I loose, so I know exactly how you feel.

    Fashion Stereotype

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  2. such a lovely post i feel so moved that your sharing all this :)

    thing is i know im getting skinnier and i don't really like it. i'm trying to put my weight back on because i think im getting too skinny.

    your feelings are normal though i'm pretty sure.. unless it gets pretty serious that you don't really notice.. then this is how it leads to things like anorexia (i'm sorry not to scare you i'm not saying its you at all! jus worst case scenario) but your nowhere near so its ok :) just eat healthy

    Monica <3

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  3. Hi, its Fia from "Hella Woot!"
    Thanks for the comment and after you informed me about your own plans of going to an antique market I just wanted to wish you good luck.

    Im following you

    it would be great if you followed back

    http://hellawoot.blogspot.com/

    thanks

    mucho loveo

    - Fia <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know I'm late to this post but just reading your blog from the start and well done on losing so much weight!! It's pretty inspiring as I am at Weight Watchers now and although I've lost 17 1/2 lbs so far I still have a lot to go - around 74lbs myself to be honest. It can be pretty depressing when I find out I haven't lost of have put on so it's nice to know people I have met have actually done it if that makes sense?!

    Was brilliant to meet you on Saturday at Aussie hun, hope to see you again in June (a few lbs lighter! lol) Carla x x x

    ReplyDelete


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