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I’m Going To Lose This Weight: The Fun House Mirror

I’m Going To Lose This Weight: The Fun House Mirror

Do you remember when you used to go to the fair as a kid and there was always a “house of mirrors”? It was pretty much the lamest “ride” in the whole place, but it was a decent time killer, so your parents made you go in anyway. You would wander through the maze of mirrors, trying to find your way out, and all of them reflected your image just a little bit differently. The curves in the glass made you short and fat, tall and skinny, or just weird looking. Being short and fat in real life, I always found myself attracted to the one that made me look taller and skinnier, and I would stand there imagining the possibilities of a taller, thinner me.

While I’ve long-since accepted I’m never going to be taller (5’2 for life), I am skinnier. Despite the mocking comments about how slow my weight loss has been since I started writing this weekly column (love you guys), I have lost close to 90 pounds over the last year. But the interesting thing is that I don’t see it when I look in the mirror. It’s like all of the mirrors I encounter are the concave ones from that house of mirrors that make me look short and fat, which obviously isn’t possible (right? Is the universe fucking with me?). When I look in the mirror, I still see the 90 pounds ago me, the one wore pants five sizes bigger than the ones I do now.

So, what is it that prevents someone who has lost a bunch of weight from seeing it in the mirror? Why are our brains (and our eyesight) unable to catch up to the new reality of our body? Sure, it’s harder to notice weight loss when you look at yourself every day, but one would think a significant weight loss would still be recognizable in the mirror. But it turns out there is some actual science to why you can’t see the difference in the mirror.

An article entitled “Phantom Fat” May Linger After Weight Loss explores the question of why we may not see our weight loss in the mirror. Elayne Daniels, a psychologist who specializes in body-image issues, says, “People who were formerly overweight often still carry that internal image, perception, with them. They literally feel as if they’re in a large body still. Body image is a lot harder to change than the actual physical body is,” also noting that this may be partially true for those who were overweight for years and lost a lot of weight quickly. So that likely explains why I immediately head toward the plus size section of any store, even though I’m no where near an extend size anymore. Adrienne Ressler, a body-image specialist, adds “You have to look at retraining your brain and understanding that you have been reinforcing this negative image for probably a long time.” Yep, for pretty much my whole life, Ms. Ressler.

But while there’s plenty of information out there on how to “retrain our brain” to lose weight, there’s not much on how to do it so that we can recognize our new bodies in the mirror. But Ressler says, “We need to learn to appreciate our bodies. If we could all look in the mirror and say, ‘Hello, Gorgeous!’ I just think the world would be a better place for women.”

Maybe I’ll just start there.

Starting weight to Lose: 30 pounds 

Week 1 Results: – 1.1 pounds 
Week 2 Results: – 2.1 pounds 
Week 3 Results: +0.4 pounds 
Week 4 Results: – 0.2 pounds 
Week 5 Results: – 0.2 pounds 
Week 6 Results: – 0.1 pounds
Week 7 Results: -0.9 pounds 
Week 8 Results: 0.0 pounds 
Week 9 Results: -0.5 pounds 
Week 10 Results: -0.6 pounds 
Week 11 Results: 0.0 pounds 
Week 12 Results: – 0.2 pounds 
Week 13 Results: -0.1 pounds
Week 14 Results:  No weigh in 
Week 15 Results: – 2.3 pounds
Week 16 Results: +0.6 pounds
Week 17 Results: – 0.2 pounds
Week 18 Results: -0.1 pounds
Week 19 Results: 0.0 pounds
Week 20 Results: – 2.4 pounds
Week 21 Results:  No weigh in
Week 21 Results:  + 0.1 pounds
Week 22 Results: -0.2 pounds
Week 23 Results: – 0.6 pounds

Remaining weight to lose: 19.3 pounds

If you want to follow along with me, friend me on MyFitnessPal or FitBit! 

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Jenna Crowley

Jenna used to be known as 2NOTBrokeGirls, but then one of the girls actually went broke, so she's struck out on her own. Jenna spends her free time saving the world, one sorority girl at a time (usually while wearing yoga pants), questioning why she decided to get a doctorate, documenting her love of all things cheese related, and hosting the new PGP podcast Don't Take It From Us. You can ask her anything you want about football, using your boobs to get what you want, and pizza at @JennaLCrowley on Twitter or via email at JennaLCrowley@gmail.com.

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