How To Say Goodbye To Your Former 'Fat Self'
You've worked hard on your body; eaten well and exercised consistently. People say you're looking great, and while you know that your body has changed deep down inside, you still don't feel like you've "made it". Deep down you still feel the same urges you had when you were fat and when you look in the mirror, you find it hard to see the new you.
You still see your old fat self and you're still fighting your old 'fat habits'.
Today I'm going to help you see what might be going on at a deeper level for you and how to move forwards so you don't undo all your hard work.
Physical Fat vs Emotional Fat
Underneath those layers of fat is a deeper type of weight - our psychology. No one intentionally sets out to "get fat" and no one intentionally over-eats or under-exercises. There are literally hundreds of reasons we eat out of the rhythm of our natural body and fail to move it the way it needs to be moved and one of those reasons is that we carry emotional weight
'Emotional Fat' is the internal weight we carry from our beliefs about ourselves, our bodies and on a grander scale, our place in the world.
We may have lost the physical weight, but we still need to lose the emotional weight and the things in life that weigh us down.
You've left your Inner 'Fat Kid' behind in your transformation
Were you overweight as a kid or a teen?
When we spend a large chunk of our lives overweight we develop strong beliefs around our place in the world at a subconscious level and while we can lose the physical weight we may find it hard to see 'new' self, if we are still carrying the beliefs of our old self and rejecting that part of ourself.
For example, perhaps you were the so-called "big boned one" in your family, and through your eyes you viewed the world as being that person. You may have lost weight, but through the eyes of your inner child you still feel like the "big boned one".
Our self beliefs can act as a bungy cord, pulling us back into the old behaviours that match our perception.
To move forwards and say goodbye to your former fat self, you need to heal the parts of your inner child that identify with all things related to weight and self-esteem. This means loving and nurturing the old you. We need to release the inner child from their emotional prison so we can see ourselves for who we are now; fit, healthy and happy with our body.
If you want to learn more about how to speak to your Inner Child you can download my free 2-week Journalling course which will teach you how to do that. Click here for the free download.
Is life weighing you down?
If you have a history of comfort eating or indulging in food or drink to deal with stress, these don't go away just because you have lost weight. Weight loss simply means you have reduced your body size, but it doesn't mean that you've automatically learned the skills to deal with your hard week, relationship issues, financial stresses, job dislikes and so on.
At some point you will be triggered back into your old "fat" habits of over-eating, drinking and self-medicating your way through stress and although you're a smaller sized person, you still feel as though you're on the edge of falling back into your old ways and old body.
To move forwards and say goodbye to your former fat self you need to start addressing how you deal with stress and emotional issues.
This can be a whole new journey in itself, but I am confident you can do this if you're determined enough to keep your new body.
Perception is reality
I talked about the inner child and his/her beliefs. But we can also have beliefs related to our adult self and their place in the world.
Personally, I believe the biggest problem we face today is the rampant display of Instagram and Facebook fitness selfies and the rise of popular InstaTrainer. If you fill your newsfeed with Kardashians, fitness models and the like, we start to become brainwashed that those are how we are all supposed to look. Now, I said brainwashed, because that's what it is.
Let me explain.
When I studied and worked in advertising we were taught powerful techniques to make you believe our claims and buy our stuff. One of those techniques is repetition. Now it sounds pretty simple, but it's actually a technique in brainwashing. When you hear or see the same thing enough times, the subconscious can pick it up as being true.
But it's not just repetition on social media that can do this ...
Your repetitive thoughts also brainwash! If we tell ourselves that we're not good enough, or that we're still "gross" or that we're single because we're still too fat then our subconscious believes it.
So when we look in the mirror, we still see that person!
To move forwards and say goodbye to your former fat self, you need to start filling your mind with positive repetitive thoughts. One of my favourite affirmations that sits on my wall is "I still have a long way to go, but I'm already so far from where I used to be, and I'm proud of that".
Many people use Bodybuilding / Figure / Fitness competitions as a weight loss goal. For those not treating this as a long term sport this can set us up for heartache. Standing on stage requires us to be between 5-10kg* BELOW our bodies natural set-point.
*Disclaimer, I am NOT referring to those who are athletes in this sport, I am talking about normal guys and gals who have done their first comp for the sole reason of "losing weight"
So when we regain this 5-10kg (sometimes more) we can feel like our old fat self.
If this has happened to you, then it is likely you're going to need a little help integrating yourself back into how a "normal" fit healthy body looks and feels. This may require mindset coaching or additional nutrition help to help you with the binging that you are likely to be going through also.
My biggest piece of advice here is this: do NOT compare a current photo of yourself with your stage pics, instead, compare your current pic with your very first before photo. That will tell you exactly how far you've come. By all means admire your stage pics and remember the great day you had, but you cannot compare apples to oranges; your current body is NOT comparable to a stage body.
And this can also apply to brides who dieted down for their weddings only to find they're now sitting 10kg above their "wedding day weight"
Five Practical Ways To Move Forwards
This year (2015) marks 10 years since I shed 16kg (35lbs) and kept it off! But I was like you and when I looked in the mirror, I still saw and felt like my former fat self. I did a figure competition and felt heartbroken 2 weeks after the show at how "fat" I was. Here are five ways I personally used to finally say goodbye to my former fat self and embrace my new fit self!
- Keep a photo journal of your progress. Selfies don't need to be displayed on social media they can be a powerful reminder of how you look. Every time I felt "fat" or thought I looked fat in the mirror, I would put a nice outfit on and take a selfie and compare it to a selfie from when I was last dressed up. What I discovered was I didn't look any different on those "fat" days. That started the process of retraining my brain.
- Take the focus off your weight and move it to your behaviour. I had B.E.D (Binge Eating Disorder) for 26 years and instead of looking at my weight I started looking at all my triggers and working through how I dealt with life and food. Instead of focusing on the "whats" I looked at the "whys". That allowed me to unravel all the "fat behaviours" and replace them with more functional behaviours.
- Get Real. Is it really fat that you're feeling? Or is it bloating or fluid retention? I remember looking in the mirror calling myself fat, when in fact I was bloated - so once I got real on what my body was REALLY doing, I was able to ask for the right help. I have body fat, but I don't get bloated which was the real cause of me still feeling like my former fat self.
- Stress & Emotion Management. Stress can make us retain fluid and lead us right back into eating foods that make us puffy. Our brain misinterprets this as "fat" and triggers off all those old feelings. I had to really look at things like my job, how much I hated myself, what toxins I was putting into my body and other things that were creating huge stress. I got counselling, naturopathic help, googled lots, and made big life decisions. This goes a long way to helping you not feel fat. I recommend things like meditation, yoga and taking time for yourself every single day.
- Tenacity, patience and stubbornness. I'm pretty impatient, but I am also stubborn and persistent. I can't begin to tell you the discomfort I had to face during this journey - weight loss is easy, but staring our own shit in the face is hard. We have to stare our shit in the face if we're going to be free from our old chains. Somewhere, deep down inside I knew that if I just kept going and learning, I was going to love my body one day. Today, I'm what some assholes would call "skinny fat" - but I look in the mirror and I like what I see. I have cellulite, and less tone and fat around my belly - but I'm not the bloated, depressed, sick, binging person I once was.
Once you can lose the emotional weight you will feel lighter and more at ease with the new you. What you will begin to see in the mirror is the hard work, the triumphs and the person you decided you wanted to be. You might not look like a fitness model, but you will look like your best version of you and you will stand proud knowing that you have, in fact "made it".