Personality Cafe banner
1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,452 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been browsing this forum and while there are tons of threads on various diet and exercise programs, there seems to be little that deals with the various psychological aspects of losing a lot of weight. I started out at somewhere in the 300 lbs range (I stopped weighing myself at 320) and now I'm down to 215 as of this week.


The self-image reorientation:
As I've dropped weight slower in the last 6 months, started adding back resistance training and so on, my biggest challenge now is coming to terms with my "Fat persona", I.E my image of myself as a fat person. I still have a few lbs. too much (looking to get down to the 190 - 200 range) but I'm closer to "normal" than I am to morbidly obese at this point.

However, I find that I still in many ways behave and think as I did when I was morbidly obese; this is in terms of not just food but also in terms of human relationships and being viewed by other people. When I was at my largest, I didn't really care how people viewed me, I still avoided eating in public most of the time but for the most part stares and so on didn't seem to register.

I guess I was kind of happy with where my life was at that point. I didn't even feel like I was fat whereas now when I'm 215, I actually feel fatter. It's very strange that 100lbs down, going from a 42 inch waistline pants to 36, from XXXL to L, I actually feel like I'm more of a fatass now than before.

Simple things such as always wearing looser clothing so now when people tell me that a garment fits me well, I still feel like it's too tight. When walking around taking more space to avoid knocking things down, and just generally having a self-perception of being greatly overweight when you're not. The challenge is that until that self-perception is changed, my behavior will continue in the established patterns.


For those of you who have lost a lot of weight, what were some of the psychological readjustments you had to make as a part of your journey?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Jennywocky

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,854 Posts
You feel like you're fatter now because your standards for yourself have raised significantly. Nothing wrong with that, it's very healthy. It's what gives us the motivation to keep getting leaner, stronger, better.

Congratulations on your progress and success from your hard work!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,225 Posts
As you know i have been in a similar position. I certainly know what you are talking about. To me the greatest issue has been realizing that i am in fact attractive. It sounds weird, but seeing myself as someone who would be desirable to women has been a huge issue for me.

Now i am in a relationship, and even there i have had small pangs of inadequacy. ( now totally obliterated actually ) regarding looks. Furthermore, what has been hard for me to reconcile is that i can be seen as attractive even though i do not have a perfect body. Just OK or even pudgy and slightly overweight in my eyes seems to be A-OK as far as looks goes in others eyes. To me i might still be quite ugly and not done with the transformation i want, but it turns out my standards are not universal.

This might be superficial, but it has been a great revelation to me.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,657 Posts
I wrote an article about this for my blog a few months ago.

Here it is:

Are You Sabotaging Yourself?

Many years ago, I noticed something unpleasant about myself. I've also observed this trait in other people. You might recognize it in yourself.

I tend to get in my own way. I start working towards a goal, and I get excited about the progress I begin to see. Success finally seems within my reach, and then…something happens. I lose my motivation and go back to my old ways. This drives me crazy, so I started doing some research to find out WHY I do this to myself. During that process, I came across an intriguing article. I still haven’t forgotten its message, and still refer back to it when I feel myself slipping. And, I still actively study the concepts I learned from it.

The article is called Self Concept and Self Sabotage: The Hidden Reason Why You Sabotage Your Diet and Fitness Efforts Just When the Going Gets Good (and What to Do About It).

It was written by Tom Venuto, who is a very well-known and respected fitness expert.

Here’s an excerpt:
“Tell me if this has ever happened to you: You decide you want to improve your body and live a healthier lifestyle. You read all the books, gather all the information, map out a nutritional strategy, design your own workout schedule (or have a trainer do it for you), and you embark on the journey to a leaner, more muscular physique…and it starts working! But the minute you begin getting results, you fall off the wagon. You binge, you skip workouts, you cheat. What’s most perplexing (and upsetting) is that you know what you should do… but no matter how hard you try, you can’t get yourself to do it! It’s as if some unseen force is sabotaging you and controlling your behavior like you were a puppet on a string.”

Hmm…sound familiar?

He goes on:
“You may not understand or appreciate this “self concept” and “self image” stuff yet. However, if you choose to ignore this information, you would be making a grave error. You can be on the most perfect nutrition program and the best training routine in the world, but you’ll always sabotage yourself in the long run if you don’t understand what your self image is, how it controls your behavior, and how to change it.
First, let’s talk about your SELF-CONCEPT: This is the total bundle of beliefs you have about yourself, including all the names and labels you put on yourself and the way you see yourself. If you really want to know what your true self-concept is, write down the words “I AM ______________” and fill in the blanks with everything you can think of. ”
What beliefs do YOU hold about yourself? How do you label yourself?
Make a list. Be honest – write down words and phrases you think describe yourself.
Now, look over your list.
The words and phrases you wrote are good indicators of your self-concept.
Your self-concept started forming in early childhood. Your parents, your peers, and authority figures largely influenced its development. All of the information and suggestions you gathered from those sources was stored in your subconscious mind – and were accepted as true, even if they weren’t.

Venuto continues:
“As an adult, your self-concept has solidified, but it slowly continues to be molded and reinforced by your successes, failures, triumphs, humiliations and everything you experience, see, hear, read and think. For example, if you go on a diet or exercise program and you fail, this goes into your subconscious memory bank and reinforces a negative self-concept: ‘See, I told you I’ll never be able to look like those people in the magazines.’”

And I love this analogy Venuto uses to explain self-concept:
“Although your self-concept is deeply entrenched from years of conditioning, it CAN be changed. Before I explain the four steps to making the change, I want to explain self-concept using an analogy everyone can relate to – MONEY!
Money is seldom a subject that bores anyone and it’s a common denominator between all people, so let me explain the relationship between money and self-concept first. Once you see how self-concept affects how much money you earn, you’ll easily understand how it affects what kind of shape you’re in. You’ll then have enough awareness to begin changing your self-concept – and your body – for the better.

Question: If you won a large sum of money, or if your annual income suddenly became your monthly income, how would you feel about it?
‘That would be AWESOME!’ is what most people blurt out initially. I have news for you: As bizarre as this may sound, I guarantee that if your old self-concept was still locked in place, you’d do everything possible to get rid of your new-found wealth. You’d make bad business decisions. You’d be unsuccessful in sales. You’d have an uncontrollable urge to go out and spend the money, splurge on things you didn’t need, invest in things you knew nothing about, lend to people who wouldn’t give it back or even flat out lose it! Just look at what happens to most lottery winners.

Even though everyone SAYS they’d like more money, that’s only on the conscious, surface level. The problem is, your behavior is NOT controlled by your conscious mind; your behavior is controlled on a deeper level – from your subconscious mind where your self-concept is located. If having a lot of money isn’t consistent with your self-concept, it will sooner or later lead to some form of sabotaging behavior to bring you back down to your comfort level.

Most people stay inside a comfort zone that’s consistent with the concept and image they hold of themselves. They rarely rise above it or allow themselves to fall below it. Any time you try to make a change in your life, whether it’s losing fat or earning more money, it will stir up resistance inside you because you’re attempting to move beyond the safe, familiar and comfortable.

To earn more money, you must see yourself as capable of earning more money and worthy of keeping it. If you see yourself as a $24,000 per YEAR person, you’ll NEVER earn and keep $24,000 per MONTH unless you see yourself as a $24,000 per month person.

Are you starting to understand how the same thing could happen when you try to change your body?
To be lean, healthy and fat-free, you must see yourself as being capable of achieving that body and worthy of maintaining it. If you see yourself as a fat, pear-shaped person, you’ll NEVER be a lean, fat-free person until you see yourself as a lean, fat-free person.

Just when you start to see results and become happy with how you look…. all of a sudden, you’ll get the irresistible urge to sleep in and blow off your 6 a.m. workouts. You’ll get uncontrollable cravings for Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey ice cream at 11:30 p.m. You’ll lose your motivation. You won’t “feel” like working out. These self-sabotaging behaviors are all symptoms of a self-concept that’s inconsistent with your present results.

The part of the self-concept that affects your physical condition and ability to achieve your perfect weight is called the SELF-IMAGE. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon and author of the best seller, Psycho Cybernetics, stumbled onto the discovery of self-image with his patients. Even though he had corrected physical defects and deformities with surgery, his patients often retained their old self-image and continued to see themselves as “ugly,” “scarred,” or “deformed” even though they appeared quite beautiful by society’s standards. As a result, they continued to behave as they always had; shy, retiring, lacking in confidence.

This led Dr. Maltz to the conclusion that changing the physical image was not the real key to changes in personality and behavior. There was “something else.” That something else is the self-image. When the self-image is “reconstructed,” the person changes. If the self-image stays the same, the person’s behavior stays the same.
People who don’t understand self-image erroneously put all their attention on changing their eating and exercise behaviors, but the problem with this physical-only approach is that it’s not addressing the SOURCE or cause of the behavior. The source of your behavior is your mental self-image. You are more than just a body. You are a body, a mind and a spirit. You will always act – and can ONLY act – like the type of person you SEE yourself to be in your mind.

If you see yourself as a fat person, you will behave like a fat person. If you see yourself as a lean, fit and healthy person, you will behave like a lean, fit and healthy person. A fat person would never work out faithfully every day of the week, so why is it any surprise that someone with a “fat person” self-image would skip workouts? Their brain is programmed to skip workouts. Someone with a “fat person” self-image would never eat healthy, low fat, low sugar, low calorie meals, so why would it be surprising that they cheat on their diet and binge on junk food? After all, their brain is programmed to eat junk. Is this starting to make sense?

To make a lasting change, you must work on the physical AND the mental planes. Of course you have to change your lifestyle, exercise and nutrition habits, but the real secret is not trying to force new behaviors, but changing the self-image which controls the behavior. Put your energy on a new mental picture, and the new picture will create new behaviors. Best of all, the new behaviors that spring from a positive new self-image will come without as much effort or willpower because they’re hard-wired into every cell of your body. The “unseen forces” are now working for you instead of against you.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it?

So, how do you change your self-concept?

You create your desired self-image – picture it in your mind. Make it vivid and detailed. Dream, fantasize, imagine it – make it clear in your mind. Don’t just think about what you believe you CAN get – think about what you WANT. If your goal isn’t a bit scary and intimidating, it isn’t big enough!

Now, write that detailed description down on a card or paper you can carry with you in your purse, wallet, or pocket. Venuto says, “When you write your goal, use the three Ps: POSITIVE (what you want to achieve, not what you want to avoid or get rid of), PERSONAL (use the word I) and PRESENT tense (an already-having-received attitude). Don’t worry if it’s not perfect. Just sit down and write, write, write. You can always go back and edit, change or update it later. Just start.”

Now you are ready to “fake it til you make it”. I’m not telling you to be phony or put on an act. I’m telling you to BECOME the part you’ve written. Live it. Step into your new role. Take actions that are consistent with your new self. Do something every day that gets you closer to your goal.

Reinforce your new self-image daily – even hourly. Repetition will help you reprogram your mind by replacing the old image with the new one. It took a long time for your original self-image to form, so don’t expect the new one to take hold immediately. It will take time, effort, and consistency.

Venuto closes with this message: ” There’s immense power in mental images. The formula is simple: Decide what you want to look like, project your new image on the screen of your mind (visualize), think about the “new you” constantly, create a written description of your new image and read it at least twice per day, (write it out daily for even more impact), then follow through with actions that are consistent with your goal. Your marvelous and powerful mind will do the rest.

Your self image serves as the operating instructions of your subconscious computer and it controls everything you say, do, think and feel. In the absence of any deliberate change on your part, you will continue doing, thinking, saying and feeling very much the same things indefinitely. Here’s my question and challenge to you… are you going to make a deliberate change or are you going to stay the same indefinitely?”

Change your mind, change your life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,319 Posts
I thought only I had this problem. I know exactly what you mean; as I'm also facing this problem myself right now. I was always very fat, ever since I was 9 or 10 years old; so, I got used to my "Fat Persona": shy, introverted, rude, unattractive, etc. But, about a year ago; I decided to turn my life around and started getting my act together: exercise, cutting down food, etc. And, I started seeing the change; but, my mind was still stuck in my lipidous self; slowly, I have changed (albeit due to a conscious effort). Now, I'm in the final lap for my wanted goal; but, I tend to swindle around between my current and my former self.

The feeling fatter is because; since you've lost all that weight, you see yourself not in your former self anymore; but like the idealized version of yourself. And, compared to that version; you'll see yourself as fat. Only when you hit your goal; then you'll feel like yourself, like your "new" self.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,774 Posts
I verged on anorexia at one stage
Much better now,
But once you begin to loose weight rapidly,
You never when to stop exercising,
And when to realize that you can't deprive yourself of rest and some treats in life.
 

·
Auntie Duckie
Joined
·
2,720 Posts
I tend to get in my own way. I start working towards a goal, and I get excited about the progress I begin to see. Success finally seems within my reach, and then…something happens. I lose my motivation and go back to my old ways. This drives me crazy, so I started doing some research to find out WHY I do this to myself.
I keep re-reading the article and I'm really not happy because I'm doing this same thing to myself. I'll "almost" hit my fitness goals and then BAM!!!!! I'll fall off the wagon.

I HAVE to change my self-image somehow.

Damnit

:angry:


-ZDD
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,657 Posts
I keep re-reading the article and I'm really not happy because I'm doing this same thing to myself. I'll "almost" hit my fitness goals and then BAM!!!!! I'll fall off the wagon.

I HAVE to change my self-image somehow.

Damnit

:angry:


-ZDD
It is very, very common. I manage a weight control clinic, and believe me - most people do it. I wish there was a simple solution. We provide weekly one-on-one counseling and that helps people stay consistent...we constantly remind them of their goals and how far they've come.
 
  • Like
Reactions: niffer

·
Auntie Duckie
Joined
·
2,720 Posts
Well, i'm a firm believer that knowing about the problem is the first step. I haven't considered that I have a hidden mental picture of who I am, so I think that's what is bugging me the most right now.

Good info, but it makes me angry. I need to find that mental image and bust it...


-ZDD
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,713 Posts
If your goal isn’t a bit scary and intimidating, it isn’t big enough!
I saw this quote somewhere else as well, except without the "a bit" part. It's an awesome quote and one to live by. I also like the notion of getting out of one's comfort zone. Someone once taught me "comfort = failure", basically once you feel you've reached a point where you're comfortable enough to not want to change, it's time to pick up and move.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,452 Posts
Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I saw this quote somewhere else as well, except without the "a bit" part. It's an awesome quote and one to live by. I also like the notion of getting out of one's comfort zone. Someone once taught me "comfort = failure", basically once you feel you've reached a point where you're comfortable enough to not want to change, it's time to pick up and move.
Think "BHAG" - Big Hairy, audacious goals. Of course, keep in mind that I tell most people around me "Oh, I just want to lose another 5 lbs or so" when my real goal is to be 215 lbs @10% body fat.
 
  • Like
Reactions: niffer

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,450 Posts
I've been browsing this forum and while there are tons of threads on various diet and exercise programs, there seems to be little that deals with the various psychological aspects of losing a lot of weight. I started out at somewhere in the 300 lbs range (I stopped weighing myself at 320) and now I'm down to 215 as of this week.


The self-image reorientation:
As I've dropped weight slower in the last 6 months, started adding back resistance training and so on, my biggest challenge now is coming to terms with my "Fat persona", I.E my image of myself as a fat person. I still have a few lbs. too much (looking to get down to the 190 - 200 range) but I'm closer to "normal" than I am to morbidly obese at this point.

However, I find that I still in many ways behave and think as I did when I was morbidly obese; this is in terms of not just food but also in terms of human relationships and being viewed by other people. When I was at my largest, I didn't really care how people viewed me, I still avoided eating in public most of the time but for the most part stares and so on didn't seem to register.

I guess I was kind of happy with where my life was at that point. I didn't even feel like I was fat whereas now when I'm 215, I actually feel fatter. It's very strange that 100lbs down, going from a 42 inch waistline pants to 36, from XXXL to L, I actually feel like I'm more of a fatass now than before.

Simple things such as always wearing looser clothing so now when people tell me that a garment fits me well, I still feel like it's too tight. When walking around taking more space to avoid knocking things down, and just generally having a self-perception of being greatly overweight when you're not. The challenge is that until that self-perception is changed, my behavior will continue in the established patterns.


For those of you who have lost a lot of weight, what were some of the psychological readjustments you had to make as a part of your journey?
This might sound silly but whatever. How can "normal" people eat tons of sugar/carbs and not gain weight? By "normal" I mean most of the population not on a low-carb/keto diet. The people I know don't exercise especially rigorously, maintain their current weight and eat pasta and pizza. Could this phenomenon be almost entirely explained by genes and quick metabolism? Seriously, what the fuck is going on? I know the population is growing out and not up but how do these select few manage to maintain a healthy weight?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,657 Posts
This might sound silly but whatever. How can "normal" people eat tons of sugar/carbs and not gain weight? By "normal" I mean most of the population not on a low-carb/keto diet. The people I know don't exercise especially rigorously, maintain their current weight and eat pasta and pizza. Could this phenomenon be almost entirely explained by genes and quick metabolism? Seriously, what the fuck is going on? I know the population is growing out and not up but how do these select few manage to maintain a healthy weight?
This is something I've been wondering about recently.

Some people never count calories, macros, etc...but stay the same weight. I doubt they are consuming and burning the same amount on a regular basis.

I think insulin resistance plays a part. It does seem like there is more to the story, though...
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bricolage

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,450 Posts
This is something I've been wondering about recently.

Some people never count calories, macros, etc...but stay the same weight. I doubt they are consuming and burning the same amount on a regular basis.

I think insulin resistance plays a part. It does seem like there is more to the story, though...
That's exactly what I come up with in my head. It appears to defy thermodynamics. I know couch potatoes who are skinny yet munch on starchy junk food all day. It's got to be some quirk with insulin.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,452 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This is something I've been wondering about recently.

Some people never count calories, macros, etc...but stay the same weight. I doubt they are consuming and burning the same amount on a regular basis.

I think insulin resistance plays a part. It does seem like there is more to the story, though...
Insulin resistance + leptin resistance most likely. It's also been observed that some people naturally increase their "fidgeting" when consuming excess calories. There was a British documentary that experimented on people who according to their own testimony always stayed skinny, where they overfed these people over a period of time. Some of them put on fat (indicating that they were in neutral mode to begin with), others increased their muscle mass preferentially over fat mass, and a third group showed a higher "thermic" effect, in that their body temperature increased to help burn off the excess calories.

With leptin resistance your body's natural "stop fucking eating" signal is out of wack, and the "you should move now" signals are likewise compromised.

One of the principles behind John Keifer's "Carb Backloading" is that through resistance training you create a situation in which your body is inclined to shuttle excess calories, carbs and proteins to your muscles over fat. I.E. after resistance training your muscles are acting as if insulin was present when it's not, so adding insulin is a double-whammy of sorts.

Also, it doesn't defy thermodynamics:
http://articles.elitefts.com/nutrition/logic-does-not-apply-iii-a-calorie-is-a-calorie/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,452 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I know bro. I lost 120 lbs on a vegan diet. Now that I started pigging out I may gain it and I'm worried.
How do people stay healthy with all the delicious looking ads?
I was watching diet videos on Youtube the other day and got an ad for Domino's, if that isn't the advertising industry's way of saying "Fuck you" I don't know what is. I'm planning on keeping intermittent fasting and some degree of macro control after I finish my diet such as ensuring that I eat plenty of protein. It's just very hard to overeat if you have a lot of protein in your diet since it's so filling.

Of course, I also plan to keep resistance training and some degree of cardio in my life, I just started doing power cleans and man are they fun. I'm not cleaning more than 120ish lbs yet, but for a first time I don't think that's too horrible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Rainbow
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top