For my first installment of Health and Fitness Fridays, I thought I would share my experience with the issue of phantom fat and the affect it has on your mental well being after weight loss.
When you lose weight, it takes a while for your brain to catch up.
My husband had this experience on Sunday. He was trying on clothes for a new job and none of them fit, they were all too big. I commented on the fact that he has been doing so well on his weight loss and fitness journey, and he replied that he couldn’t see it. He didn’t feel any different. He still felt fat.
This feeling actually has a name, Phantom Fat. Basically it is not being able to see your fit body after weight loss can include fear about regaining the weight. It is a mental health issue that should be talked about, even if it is usually temporary.
I experienced this after my 65lbs weight loss. I couldn’t mentally wrap my head around being a smaller person, and it was
the biggest struggle during my first year of maintenance. I would offer to lend people shirts only to have them scoff at me because they would “never fit into them.” People would comment that I was tiny and I would be like “really?” I would still go to the bigger sizes in a store, only to have to tell myself, “no, those will be too big.” I just couldn’t see the change in me.
I was also trying so hard to maintain my weight that I started to become hyper focused on what I was eating and how much I was exercising. I ended up on a work trip, upset that I ate a burger for dinner and on the brink of tears. It was at this point that I realized that I was not in a good place and I needed to fix something.
I took some pictures of my new fit body, and shouted out to the world that needed to give myself a break. I had worked hard for two years and didn’t need to be so stressed and obsessed with my food and weight.
I put down all my tracking tools and just tried to be me.
This was just the break I needed. Five months later I am in a much better place. I was able to focus on fitness goals rather than food related goals and I am finally able to see me. I bought a pair of pants the other day, and went straight to the right size. I don’t beat myself up if I take a rest day because I know my body needs it. And I don’t cry over burgers because I know that having one once in a while won’t make me gain all my weight back.
Have you had an experience with Phantom Fat that you want to share? Please comment below. I would love to be able to connect with others that have experienced something similar.
If you want to learn more about this issue and ways to deal with it, check out this blog: http://fromfattofitgirl.com/