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TOPIC: Anyone lose a lot but not see a difference in the mirror?

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February 12, 2013 7:20 PM
I have lost 80 pounds but when I look in the mirror I really don't see much of a difference. If I look at pictures I see a difference with a side by side comparison. But the image I see in the mirror is almost the same as I've always seen. I don't know if it's body dysmorphia or if it's normal in any way...it's frustrating and can make it hard to stay motivated some days because I forget that I've done so well. I don't really fall off track but it's still disheartening not to see a huge difference when I look in the mirror. I keep going back to old photos so that I can feel good about the progress, but it makes me feel shameful that I was ever so big and I'm just wondering if my brain will ever switch over so I can stop punishing myself on a daily basis? And yeah I know I probably need a therapist but I can't afford one right now so I'm just wondering if anyone has dealt with similar feelings... :)
  15484934
February 12, 2013 7:22 PM
Yes, I feel that way sometimes. What helps me is to recognize all the clothes that are now so much too big, and the new clothes I have that I never could fit into before. With an 80 pound loss, there should be LOTS of clothes changes for you to help you visualize your weight loss.
  12375071
February 12, 2013 7:25 PM
What you see in the mirror will lag behind, sometimes pretty far behind, the scale. Others will notice before you do. For some, it can take years to fully conceptualize the change (especially those who have undergone bariatric surgery and lost weight extremely fast). We spend so long seeing ourselves one way (accurate or not) that it takes a while for our brain to truly perceive the change. Taking photos occasionally can help. Just don't let it get you off track, it's just funny human brain tricks!
Edited by LdyPsych On February 12, 2013 7:27 PM
  36589719
February 12, 2013 7:30 PM
What sort of exercise are you doing?

I found i didn't really notice until i started doing weights at the gym. Now when I look at the photos I still don't think I have really lost that much even though I've lost 44lbs (about 20kg) and I've gone from an AUS size 16 to an AUS size 12 -10.

I think the problem is I see what I have to go not what I have done. But when I do photo comparison I can see a huge body shape change and I really do think that is from weight lifting and squats etc at the gym.
February 12, 2013 7:32 PM
I think its hard to see change in yourself because you are used to yourself. easier for other people to see it (particularly those you don't see everyday). Also, I think your general shape stays approx the same all the way down til the end. For example, if you have a belly and slightly thinner legs, chest, then each area will go down a little, but you may still see a belly because everything went down proportionally....so the belly, for example, may be there til the very end when you have much lower fat stores. makes sense I guess.
  19250360
February 12, 2013 7:32 PM
I have that same problem, it's so difficult. Even after losing a fair amount of weight I look in the mirror and don't see much of a difference. Like if I look like this in the mirror NOW, what did I look like 20lbs ago?
February 12, 2013 7:33 PM
I totally understand what you mean... I haven't lost near that much, but I did go from a size 12/14 to a size 8 (at least so far). But I don't see a difference in the mirror. The other day I went shopping and grabbed a pair of pants from the rack that were a size 8, but looked tiny and the only reason I tried them on was because to me there was no way I was gonna fit in those... I'm still trying to convince myself that I am really not a size 8, but rather that the clothes are just cut differently now LOL But guess what...THOSE PANTS FIT!!! I don't know how long it takes our brain to make the switch, but I would say it is perfectly normal to feel that way. Just keep reminding yourself that you have done great so far!
  30490980
February 12, 2013 7:33 PM
I have the same issue honestly. I don't see a difference really with the 30+ lbs. that I have lost. Others do say that they can see the loss, but it just doesn't feel like that to me. I wish I could feel the difference more. Maybe I will when I get further along.
February 12, 2013 7:33 PM
QUOTE:

What sort of exercise are you doing?

I found i didn't really notice until i started doing weights at the gym. Now when I look at the photos I still don't think I have really lost that much even though I've lost 44lbs (about 20kg) and I've gone from an AUS size 16 to an AUS size 12 -10.

I think the problem is I see what I have to go not what I have done. But when I do photo comparison I can see a huge body shape change and I really do think that is from weight lifting and squats etc at the gym.


I run an hour a day, 6 days a week, switching it up between endurance and intervals. I do strength training every other day, I do all sorts of free weights, weighted squats, various weight lifting, machines, etc., I try to switch it up every 8 weeks so I keep my body changing. I know that I have changed but I just have such a hard time seeing it! :/
  15484934
February 12, 2013 7:36 PM
QUOTE:

I totally understand what you mean... I haven't lost near that much, but I did go from a size 12/14 to a size 8 (at least so far). But I don't see a difference in the mirror. The other day I went shopping and grabbed a pair of pants from the rack that were a size 8, but looked tiny and the only reason I tried them on was because to me there was no way I was gonna fit in those... I'm still trying to convince myself that I am really not a size 8, but rather that the clothes are just cut differently now LOL But guess what...THOSE PANTS FIT!!! I don't know how long it takes our brain to make the switch, but I would say it is perfectly normal to feel that way. Just keep reminding yourself that you have done great so far!


i totally have that issue when i go shopping now! i always try to pick out a bigger size bc my brain just doesn't think that my body will fit into the smaller size! i always have some sort of excuse or reason. my friends and family are even getting frustrated with me for not seeing a difference but it's so hard. and it doesn't make it easier when people make such a stink over the change! I mean it's so nice that people notice but sometimes it can be embarrassing how much they make a thing of it, like i was so revolting before. i've even had friends tell me it's "wierd" that i'm thin now (even though i DO NOT think i'm thin at all)...like, backhanded compliment!?
  15484934
February 12, 2013 7:40 PM
Yes, I get it too. Its been a very slow process for me to see it, I still see myself as the person 40lbs heavier, most of the time. Buying new clothes has really helped me the past week, I've been shopping a bit for spring stuff, and am starting to realize I no longer need the 14/16.. I'm now a 6. Keep taking pictures, and look at them every once in awhile, everyday even.
  15437412
February 12, 2013 7:41 PM
I am totally with you on this and when I look in the mirror, I see some small changes but not the ones that everyone else sees. Or if I do see the changes in the mirror, I find myself saying things like, well the mirror is on a angle or it is one of those skinny mirrors. I have lost over 125lbs, so intellectually I know there is a huge difference but after years of being fat and feeling fat, well it is going to take a while for me to adjust how I see myself. So, admittedly I take a lot of pictures, or should I say my lovely daughter takes a lot of pictures of me. When I get a new outfit, she pulls out the camera, even if it is just a new skirt, because when I see the pictures it makes it real and I am still dumfounded that it is me. I have lots of side by sides, it is about retraining my brain to see myself for what I am now and not what I was.
  31885129
February 12, 2013 7:42 PM
QUOTE:

I am totally with you on this and when I look in the mirror, I see some small changes but not the ones that everyone else sees. Or if I do see the changes in the mirror, I find myself saying things like, well the mirror is on a angle or it is one of those skinny mirrors. I have lost over 125lbs, so intellectually I know there is a huge difference but after years of being fat and feeling fat, well it is going to take a while for me to adjust how I see myself. So, admittedly I take a lot of pictures, or should I say my lovely daughter takes a lot of pictures of me. When I get a new outfit, she pulls out the camera, even if it is just a new skirt, because when I see the pictures it makes it real and I am still dumfounded that it is me. I have lots of side by sides, it is about retraining my brain to see myself for what I am now and not what I was.


wow that's AMAZING!! and thanks for the advice :)
  15484934
February 12, 2013 7:42 PM
QUOTE:

Yes, I get it too. Its been a very slow process for me to see it, I still see myself as the person 40lbs heavier, most of the time. Buying new clothes has really helped me the past week, I've been shopping a bit for spring stuff, and am starting to realize I no longer need the 14/16.. I'm now a 6. Keep taking pictures, and look at them every once in awhile, everyday even.


Thanks! I need to just go shopping more lol!
  15484934
February 12, 2013 7:43 PM
QUOTE:



I run an hour a day, 6 days a week, switching it up between endurance and intervals. I do strength training every other day, I do all sorts of free weights, weighted squats, various weight lifting, machines, etc., I try to switch it up every 8 weeks so I keep my body changing. I know that I have changed but I just have such a hard time seeing it! :/


It sounds like you are doing all the right things I think just what others have said because you are loosing it all over to you it looks like there isn't a difference although obviously there is.

I do the exact same thing I go to try clothes on and pick up a 14 put it on walk out of the change room and people are like "NO... and go get a smaller size.

You are doing a good job and from the sounds of things you are doing everything right. Let's just hope one day you'll look in the mirror and be happy with what is looking back.
February 12, 2013 7:46 PM
It happens to me too. I've lost about 19 lbs now. I went from 166 lbs to 147 lbs. I went from size 13/14 to a 9/10 and everyone else sees it and they tell me that I look thinner, and I KNOW that I have lost weight and that I do look better. The thing is that sometimes, when I look at my self in the mirror, I still see me VERY fat and feel very discouraged. I try for it, not to get me down or to give up. Looking at other comments, I guess it is "normal" and part of the process.
February 12, 2013 7:46 PM
First of all, CONGRATS!!! 80 pounds down is awesome!!

Completely been there. Fat girl mentality is how I explained it to my husband. You KNOW that the weightloss has happened but you just can't SEE it. Since you say therapy is not an option, which probably would help a lot, try writing about it in a journal. Write about what you feel when you look at yourself now compared to old pics. Write about the non-scale victories. My biggest in the past was being able to wrap a regular sized bath towel around me with no gap. Write down as many nsv's as you can think of. I think it helps that mentality to be able to see the difference in writing.

And finally, to be honest, quit looking in the mirror. Ok, yes I know you have to look in the mirror a few times a day but try to keep it from the shoulders up. If you can manage going a few weeks or even months without looking down in the mirror, you might be shocked to see the difference.
  33996655
February 12, 2013 7:47 PM
Compare photos if you can......Sometimes it looks different in pics than in the mirror.....For the better!
February 12, 2013 7:54 PM
Thanks so much to everyone! It's just scary I guess. I mean, I know I won't go back, I keep track of every calorie, I cut out a lot of drinking and unhealthy foods, I eat mainly wholesome, fresh foods which I prepare myself. I also work out a lot, like at least an hour a day 6 days a week. And I don't ever call it a diet bc I think diets are destined to fail you, and I say "fail you" and not just fail, bc diets are the ones that fail, not us, because they aren't created to work for the long term and for everyone- you have to find what's sustainable and what works for you, we're all unique, and I think I've found what works for me. and I don't feel bad if I go over my calorie limit (which I don't call "cheating" or "splurging" bc it's just LIVING!). I just take it one day at a time, and stay committed, keeping my eyes on my goals and believing that I can achieve them, even if that image in the mirror is not what i want to see. I guess I just have to be happy that this is my life now...I eat healthy. I work out. I'm a runner. It's become part of my identity so I know I'll never go back. I love my life now so that makes it easier than the days that I would hate myself. I'm still working on self esteem and accepting my body and seeing that change in the mirror. It's a work in progress, as always!
  15484934
February 12, 2013 8:06 PM
I read an article and the info was confirmed by a therapist I was seeing, that our minds take a while to adjust to each ten pounds we lost. (There was a specicif number of months for each ten pounds, I cant remember unfortunately.) I am giving it time, and really trying to see myself without that judgemental haze we put on ourselves (if that makes sense.) For me, if I dont step back every now and then, I fall into a pattern of disordered eating. (that is what happened for the last few months that made me join MFP, I was binge eating again.)

80 pounds is an AWESOME achievement! I think for some of us with low self esteem, it is hard to congratulate ourselves and even harder to see past our flaws. We shoo away compliments and see so much negative in ourselves. Just know that you WILL get to a point where you see that loss. Keep track of all the great changes you DO see, and keep track of your measurements. The more ways you see PROOF that you really lost those 80 pounds, the easier it will be for your mind to believe it! :) GOOD LUCK AND AGAIN CONGRATS ON THE LOSS!

ETA: I forgot your main question, yes, I have lost over 100 pounds and sometimes feel worse about myself now than I did back then
Edited by EmilyEmpowered On February 12, 2013 8:08 PM
  34578445
February 12, 2013 8:17 PM
I have this issue. You know what I do? I keep SEVERAL before and after pictures on my phone so at any time while trying on clothes, in my house, whatever I can look and remind myself that "this" is what I look like and not what I think I see in the mirror.
February 12, 2013 9:14 PM
I see a difference in the mirror when I am dressed, but not while I am naked. I have only lost 21.6 pounds though so I am only halfway to my goal
  31568851
February 12, 2013 9:30 PM
QUOTE:

I see a difference in the mirror when I am dressed, but not while I am naked.


This happens to me too! It's easier to see the change when you have more cues like how clothes are fitting.

But yeah, still waiting for my brain to catch up to my new body. I look in the mirror a LOT now, I think it's helping me readjust and remind myself that this is what my body is now. I'm starting to get better at things like deciding if I can fit through a space, or picking up clothes and guessing if they will fit or not, but I still often think I don't look THAT different.
  11497018
February 12, 2013 9:35 PM
stop looking in the mirror. give it a week or two before you look again so that you're not comparing small changes that seem insignificant.
February 12, 2013 10:16 PM
Yep I couldn't see any difference in the first 50lbs. If my clothes weren't getting looser I would have sworn I was the same. In fact I had pictures taken when I was nearly 60lbs down and my family who hadn't seen me since before didn't even notice I was smaller. The people at my church didn't notice either until I was down about 90lbs then it was like I had suddenly shown up skinny. I was like but you saw me last week and the week before how is it just now you notice its been 7 months that its been coming off.
  23991935

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