Health and Fitness Fridays: Still Feeling Like the “Fat” You

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.

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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.

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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/

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Competition

So what brings out my competitive streak? The questions should be “What doesn’t?” But there are two main contributors.

1. Any PVP video game, but right now League of Legends.

There are days that my husband refuses to play with me because I am too competitive and yell at him.

I actually regulate my playing time because I used to stay up too late just trying to win a game that it was affecting everything else in my life.

2. Any sport, but I  mainly field hockey, softball and roller derby.

I have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde personality when it comes to sports. Normally I am a pretty quiet, laid back person. But put me in a game situation and I become hyper focused and driven. I can also be a complete ******.

I can definitely take my competitiveness too far, sometimes so much that I don’t like who I am. Keeping this in check and not getting frustrated is something I am working on.

Sarajevo Rose

I was all set to write my ‘inspiring post’ on a weight loss transformation post I found yesterday until I took a trip to the commons and found Itchy Quill’s post on traveling alone.

His post brought me back eight years to when I was traveling solo around Eastern Europe. I was returning from two years teaching English in China(I had gone there with friends, but coming home alone) and went the long way home through Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia.217397_8394365314_8319_n

I had traveled solo once previously before this trip. I spent two weeks in Viet Nam and Cambodia the winter before, so I knew I was capable, but it was still a daunting task for a single female to travel solo for a couple of months.

It wasn’t all rainbows, there was a sketchy moment in Serbia where I had a stalker and ended up cutting my visit there short. But the fact that I even went to Serbia was a triumph of my solo travels.

Both Serbia and Bosnia were not originally on my list of countries to visit, but how could I not go there when I was so close. And as it turns out Sarajevo was one of my favorite places on the trip.

208346_8394650314_5067_nMy experiences in those two countries (stalker aside) were far richer than anything else on the trip. Even though it was a decade later, there were still destroyed buildings in Serbia from NATO 207026_8394525314_2281_nattacks. A stark reminder of a battle that has raged for generations. Sarajevo too bore the scars of this conflict in the form of ‘Sarajavo Roses’ (Mortar shells that have been filled with red resin that are scattered throughout the city). These two places made me realize how lucky I was to grow up in Canada, a place that has never seen a modern war.

If I had been traveling with others it is unlikely that I would have been able to convince them of this detour as it was something that was special to me. I had studied the area in University and wanted to see what it was really like.

And that to me is why traveling alone is a must for everyone. You can change your mind on a whim and have some of the best experiences of your life.