Dealing with Body Dysmorphia after Gastric Bypass

56453542201105171335291584852496276_032 So what exactly is body dysmorphia you might ask? Well simply put when a person has anorexia they tell their friends and family they are too fat, and in reality when they look in the mirrors or look at their bodies all they see is a fat person staring back at them. This is body dysmorphia and this is something I knew I would also suffer from , when people look at me especially people who don’t see me often they are shocked at my weight loss and transformation. When I look at me I see a little skinnier version of the girl from a year ago, in my mind I still see a 300 pd staring back at me in the mirror.

Even though I know I have lost this weight, and my body literally feels so much lighter and I am so much more active your mind still plays tricks on you. When I look in the mirror most of the time I still see the “OLD ANGIE” staring back at me in the mirror. But then there are times when I will walk about a mirror and have to do a double take because I don’t reconize the reflection staring back me. The weight comes off so fast and it is such a drastic transformation in such a short amount of time that it cannot even register in your mind.

This was something that was discussed alot in my classes and support group prior to surgery. We were told that usually it can take your brain a year or two to catch up to your new body image and sometimes it never does and you will always see that fat person staring back at you in the mirror. What is even crazier and that most people whom were overweight can relate to is that when we were larger most of us would of told yourself that when we looked in the mirror we didn’t look as big in the mirror as we actually we were. When we are morbidly obese we tend to have a emotional coping mechanism where we are able to convert in our mind that we are not actually as big as everyone else see us as. The bottom line is when we are obese it is kinder in our minds to avoid the criticisms of others by believing that we are a little overweight and not obese and so we actually trick ourselves into thinking we are not actually as big as we are. Until that one day when you catch a REAL reflection of yourself staring back at you in the mirror, and then nine times out of ten we end up in tears. Of the “Where did that fat person come from?” and feeling shocked and betrayed. Our mind is a weird and wonderful thing, and how we play mind games on ourselves is even more amazing.

10857164_10204110835345401_3046307641269459442_o A perfect example the other day in Wal-mart my daughter and I were picking up a few items for Christmas and we ended up in the woman’s department as I was looking for thick sweaters on clearance, because I am always cold now since surgery. As we were looking my daughter came across a shirt in size Large that was in the plus size clearance section and she thought it would look beautiful on me. As I looked at the shirt I knew that shirt was way to small to fit my body and I immediately told her no hun I am still wearing 2X clothing that will not fit me hun. My daughter immediately got mad as she does understand the body dysmorphia thing and she said “Mom you are so skinny now you don’t see it but I do. Try this on and just see if it fits” Of course my immediate reaction was to get defensive and say “NO” that was too small. Well my daughter being as stubborn as me said I am not leaving this spot until you try this on, and then you preceded to tell me “Mom I am not joking I am not leaving, you need to try this on.” If anyone knows my youngest she meant every word she said as she is so stubborn. As seeing as I was too exhausted to argue with her I gave in and went to the dressing room and tried it on. As soon as I walked into the dressing room I felt my body start to get sweaty and I hate disappointment and I knew with every fiber of my body that this shirt was too small.  Of course I am sure you all know what happened at this point right? Yes the shirt fit and actually in some spots it was actually a little big on me, now of course all shirts run big or small and I am sure I cannot fit into all size large shirts but I have to admit it was exciting. As a matter of fact I couldn’t come out of the dressing room immediately because I started to cry I was so overwhelmed. As you can see from the awful picture my daughter took of me as I emerged from the dressing room in shock.

Prior to surgery we denied how big we actually were, and after surgery we tend to deny how skinny we are. It is a viscous cycle that is hard to break out of, and I know it annoys family members. But until our mind catches up with our actual body image it is something that we must learn to deal with. Another thing we tend to do is even though we are losing weight and logically we know we are looking good, we tend to resort to our old mind set and point out like our fat belly or pudgy arms. Another words we are still in that mode of putting ourselves down instead of accepting the changes we are have made and being proud of them, we still tend to point out the negative aspects of our new body instead of praising the changes.

 

 

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About Angie

Single Mom of two girls on a journey to get healthy by losing weight and learning to love herself again!

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