Weight Loss is good right? There’s never a downside to losing weight.

I used to think there could be no downside to losing weight. You work your butt off (literally ha!) and finally see an acceptable number on the scale. Hallelujah! Now it’s time for shopping! YAY, new SMALLER clothes! You are thrilled and looking how you always dreamed. Except that’s not how it really goes at all.

When I lost my first 60 pounds I only consulted the scale. Just me and the scale were deciding what I ate and how I exercised. I was counting calories and kicking my own ass on the treadmill.

Guess what? It worked! I dropped the weight in 6 months. That’s a solid 10 pounds a month. I was so excited and when I saw my magic number pop up on the scale I was ecstatic! I went out to get a new dress and swimsuit because I had hit my goal at spring time! Double bonus!

But, a little slap in the face came when I went shopping in my new body.

I still had trouble finding things that worked! WHAT? I thought it was easier for skinny people! To a degree that’s true, but the problem was a disconnect in my mind.

Woman Shadow

When I looked down one day as I was jogging I saw a cute figure, she had shapely hips and narrow shoulders. I thought to myself “what a cute figure she has…” Wait, that’s me! That’s my shadow! It honestly shocked me.

See yourself “outside” of your body.

No, I’m not talking an out of body experience woo-woo style, what I mean is to see your shape without “you” in the way. Your head has a lot of thoughts and judgments running around in there. It can take your reflection and change it however it wants to suit your identity. Have you ever wondered how an anorexic person can look in the mirror and NOT see the issue? Somehow they ignore the protruding ribs and sunken cheeks. How? They have a severe version of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. I believe many women, and men for that matter, have some form of BDD. It might not be as severe as the anorexic but at some level you are a much harsher judge in the mirror than reality.

I am not a doctor or psychologist, however, I am a woman who has lived in her body for over 3 decades and has learned to listen to what it is telling me. I’ve been such a harsh critic of myself and denied myself many enjoyable moments, all for what? I thought I wasn’t worthy of a good time at the beach or anywhere because of my body. What a terrible belief! I want to spare you the same misery.

Here is an example of a few women dealing with this issue. It can be pretty extreme and I feel for every one of them.

How do I see my shape?

To do this, I recommend the mirror test. Trace your outline in the mirror and stand back. See the shape without you in it. Not only does that give you an idea of your true shape, pear, hourglass, whatever it may be, but it also helps your brain see the shape for what it is and not what you subconsciously fill in most of the time.

Warning Reflection Quote

“Your mind can act like an evil version of Photoshop”

Your mind can act like an evil version of Photoshop where your stomach gets bigger and hips get wider with the stroke of your mind. You look in the mirror and you might struggle to see the new body. That’s why this exercise is the foundation to seeing yourself honestly. Once you see your true shape you can shop with that in mind instead of the old lie. Trust me, you’ll suddenly see and try things you wouldn’t before!

Also, be kind. You have an amazing body that has done the one thing it didn’t want to do. Lose weight. It thought you were dying with every change you made. Now that it’s healthy and a size you are comfortable with be kind to what you see. You are alive and healthy, and your body was the vehicle that got you there!

Make sure your mind has caught up with your body before you go shopping.

Have you looked in the mirror lately and admired something about yourself?

Try it!

I know that can sound chee-zay. As cynical as I am, I gave it a shot and was surprised that after a few days I hated my reflection less and less. Hey, it takes time to turn around an old pattern.

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