NSV vs Body Dismorphic Disorder (long)

on 8/18/11 10:49 pm - IL
My name is Jen and I had surgery Dec/10. I have been on this site regularly for probably close to 2 years. And while I love coming every day and feeling inspired and motivated by each of you.. I felt it was time to speak up, since you all will understand much more than anyone else.

My wieght loss has been pretty slow in my opinion. I am 5'7 and currently 168lbs. Ever since I came out of the 180s I have dropped sizes like crazy. Before I had surgery I would have said being a size 8 would be AWESOME, UNBELIEVABLE!! Last week I went home to see my family, while my sister was out I snuck into her room and tried on a pair of her pants. I see my sisters as TINY, always have aspired to be like them or atleast dang close! I snuck in and found a pair of her size 4 jeans and thought well I'll see if I can wriggle into these.. And they FIT!!! Now I had just bought a couple pairs of size 6 so I was not going to go out and buy new jeans, when the 6s were just fine. Yesterday I couldnt help myself. I wanted to see if I could find a pair of 4s that fit and looked nice. So after work off to the store I went. I grabbed a pair of 4s and just for fun (and because they were on clearance) I grabbed a size 2 as well. Well I skipped the 4s and bought the 2s!! I was so excited. I have NEVER in my entire life been a 2... unless you count a 2T maybe. And I probably skipped that too.

So here is my dillema. When I was bigger I didnt see myself as looking bad or even big. My mom would say when she was younger she would look in the mirror and think she was so fat, when she was maybe 100 lbs soaking wet in her 20s. I did NOT have that. I had the opposite. I looked in the mirror and thought on most days I looked pretty good. I did not see the almost 255 lbs in the mirror. So now that I am down to 168, why do I look in the mirror and see some one sooo large??? I look at my sisters who wear a size 2-4 and they are so incredibly thin to me.. and while one sisters body type is seriously different the other's is close to mine. So why cant I see in myself what I see in her? I am not sure if my brain is not up to the point of seeing it.. or maybe I really just am not as thin as I would think I would be at a size 2. Maybe I should take more pictures so I can see the difference. Because I seriously do not see it in the mirror.. even if I have gone from a size 18-20 to a size 2.

I know many of us go through this, just needed to get it out there. Appreciate you taking the time to read.
Gail S.
on 8/18/11 11:05 pm - New York, NY
I've been told that it takes some time for your head to catch up with your body. Not sure how much time... I think most of us have difficulty seeing our new selves the way others do.
Kim H.
on 8/18/11 11:36 pm - VA
RNY on 07/11/11 with
This is a good exercise that I did when I was younger/thinner and struggling with similar issues; it really helped. Get some large craft paper and tape it onto a wall a little higher than your height. Draw a picture of what you see of yourself when you look in the mirror. It doesn't have to be good but might be able to show you what your mind sees. Then, in a different color, have someone you love outline your body from head to toe with your arms and legs slightly apart so you can see your shape. Take a look at both the forms and see how you feel. See what the differences are. You may be surprised by what you learn about how you see yourself and it may help you. I hope so. :)
I am my own hero...I save myself one day, one meal, one bite, one choice, one challenge, one step at a time...
on 8/18/11 11:43 pm - IL
That is a really good idea! Never would have thought to do that. Better even than a side by side before and after. This way you can actually see the difference between your brain and the reality. Thank You!
on 8/19/11 12:02 am - Senatobia, MS
 Hi Jen:

I would take a picture of myself with my two sisters and look and see what everybody else sees.  Sometimes we have to take a step back to really appreciate what we have accomplished.  You look great, enjoy your new look.


Starting Wt 306; Losing Wt 155; Goal Wt 145: Regain Wt 225; Current Wt 157
PS:  FDL Tummy Tuck, Hernia Repair 5/17/12, TT Revision, Butt and Thigh Lift 4/18/13

on 8/19/11 1:40 am
It's difficult to see yourself as thinner especially earlier out.  In my experience, I realized it to a certain degree at around 2 1/2 years out.  What helped me was taking pictures often and pulling out my pre-op pants and putting the new size jeans on top of my size 24s and taking pictures.  Also, trying on those 24s and fitting in 1 leg.

I'm 6 plus years out and I still don't see what others see, I know I'm thin and I see a thinner me though.

Kudos on an amazing journey!

Proximal RNY Lap - 02/21/05

 9 years committed ~  100% EWL and Maintaining



Samantha L.
on 8/19/11 2:47 am - Petaluma, CA
 I completely understand how you feel.  When I was big (300 lbs), I never SAW a big girl.  Looking back at pre-op pictures now, of course, I can see just how large I really was. 
  Now, a little over a year later, I am down to a 6 (maybe a 4.. the sixes are getting loose) and I look the same to me... well, except now I have a LOT of extra skin.  I keep waiting for that "I caught a glimpse of myself in a window and couldn't believe it" moments.. but, it hasn't happened.  
  I'm just grateful for all the wonderful changes in my life since surgery (some surgery related, others not so much) and, most importantly, that I am healthy.  
   Good luck, and if you figure out a way to make it "click", please let me know!  ^_^

Heidi L.
on 8/19/11 3:16 am - San Jose, CA
RNY on 09/21/10 with
I've always had the same problem also. Even though I knew I was heavy I thought I looked okay. When I looked in the mirror I saw someone that was probably close to 40 pounds less than what I actually was. That is why I couldn't/can't stand seeing pictures of myself. I'm wondering if it is just a mechanism I developed in order to make it day to day and keep the confidence that I have.

Now that I'm 171 I'm not sure. I still think I look good in the mirror, but when I see a picture all I can think of is how thick my trunk is and that it needs to go.

I haven't heard of others viewing their selves this way until you mentioned it. I always hear obese people saying the opposite.

Congrats on the size 2s!!!

Pre-op  260.8#...Surgery 242#...Current 190#...Lowest 166#...Goal 155.8#

on 8/19/11 4:57 am - IL
I think maybe part of it is because when I look in the mirror I see the loose skin and my arms, which I have always hated, large and squishy. I think how can "THIS" be thin. It will take time for the mind to catch up. I may go with the fake it till you make it phillosophy for awhile. If you think it will be then it will?????

Over all I couldnt be happier with how the last 8-9 months have gone. And I will take having fat brain over just being fat any day!

Thank you everyone for all the responses so far.