Venus Trapped in Mars

16 February 2014

Operation Get Fit: Am I A Giant?


Something I constantly struggle with is self-perception. I watched a show many years ago that I will never forget. It was about a girl with an eating disorder who struggled with the way she perceived herself vs. what she actually looked like. She had a beautiful figure, but she envisioned herself to be much, much heavier.

The doctor helping her setup an exercise for her  to better see how she really was shaped. The doctor covered a mirror in brown paper and asked the girl to outline what she thought her figure looked like. The girl started outlining the vision she had of her body, and I my jaw dropped. She was drawing a woman's figure that was easily 40-50 pounds heavier than this girl was. 

The doctor then cut out the outline the girl had drawn. They then compared the girl's hand drawn image of herself with her actual reflection in the mirror. The girls reaction was utter shock, and I think a bit of relief. 

Since I got to Miami a week ago (holy moly, I've already been here a week ugh) I have felt like a giant. The girl's here are all thin. They are all wearing skimpy skirts, booty shorts and crop tops. They are so thin, and it makes me feel like some sort of gigantic gigantor. 

I think many factors cause women to have a skewed perception of their body. These super bombshell women flaunting their sex sex sex all over Miami has stripped me of any confidence I've gained since starting this weight loss journey. I feel like my arm fat is just flapping all over our exhibit booth, I find myself layering on tunic after tunic after long tunic just to cover myself up so I blend in. It is 83 degrees and I'm running around in a long sleeve cardigan because I'm just so self-conscious and feel like a wildebeest compared to these glamazons. 

And it of course doesn't help all the men, including all my co-workers oggling (I'm making that word up) after the girls, asking to take pictures with them, even pointing them out to me, like I'm one of the boys that wants to see some girl's gigantic rack and 38ft long legs.

I want to take this challenge right now. I want to see the figure I would draw if I had to outline myself right now. I hope I would feel that same sense of relief I saw in the girl's face from the television show. 

Do you suffer from a distorted self-perception? 

Venus Trapped in Mars







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32 comments :

  1. No, you are not a gigantic gigantor! And I'm positive you're more healthy than the girls that starve themselves to stay thin. There's really something to that body outline... I think there's a little dysmorphia in us all. When I'm feeling less than great and start the comparison game.. I focus on something that I like about myself that I think is better than the person I'm looking it. I definitely shouldn't put anyone down to make myself feel better... But since it's usually in my head I think it's a healthy way to cope. Hang in there pretty!

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  2. Oh my gosh you are not alone... This is how I felt my whole life growing up in Florida and I recently learned that Tampa (where I'm from) is the #1 place in the country for plastic surgery... I mean... What?? And yet I'm not surprised at all... It was really a relief to move to NYC and just feel like a normal person! Now I'm back in Florida for law school and while you wouldn't *think* Tallahassee rivals Miami-- the high amount of sorority girls makes me feel like the frumpiest gigantor of all time... We went out for valentines day and I was like wowwww I look like the biggest teacher boring blah right now when on the way out I was like man I'm cute. So yah... It's really hard to not judge yourself against others but I think it does get better as you start feeling better

    And to answer your question yes I suffer from distorted body image but in my case it's te opposite - I used to be about 50 lbs less when I ran all the time so I still think I'm that thin and then when I see pics of myself I'm like -no way that can't be real! Haha

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  3. That is so funny... I've always had the opposite experience in Miami. I feel much more comfortable there for some reason. Like there will be plenty of skinny girls walking around but I feel like South Beach attracts all kinds of people - big and small alike, and you can find women of all sizes walking around in two pieces like they own the place. I don't know if it's because I choose not to see it, but I just get the feeling that everyone there is just comfortable in their own skin, which makes me feel the same.

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  4. I think everyone suffers from seeing themselves differently as others do. I had a friend in college who also saw herself larger than she was, and it was painful to watch.

    I've felt the same way when visiting Florida, but they're at the beach year round, we forget about bathing suits and tans for 9 months out of the year, and then all of a sudden in Feb or March we remember summer is coming again and we begin to panic. I think it's normal, we're just not used to have to be "bikini ready" year round.

    Also don't let anyone let you feel worse about your accomplishments! They are still great gains in your journey, and no one can take that away from you.

    Eat Drink & Be Mary

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  5. You are NOT a giant! I get it though. I feel like I know a lot of girls who are bikini competitors, and while I usually feel like I'm in great shape, I somehow feel like a flabby whale when I'm around them. I have to remind myself that they are in a whole other realm of fitness and I do not need to compare myself to that!

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  6. I feel this way sometimes. Especially when I am around my sister or friends who are so skinny after babies. I mean, how do they do it? No babies for me, but I feel huge around them. I also feel like a giant when I try clothes on at Anthropologie. I LOVE their clothes, but they all look awful on my body right now.

    Thank goodness for trainers and working out! Time to get in shape and love our bodies!

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  7. I feel this way all the time here. It seems like no one in Iceland is anything but tiny and gorgeous and it can be easy to let it get to your head. Some days I feel like a big frumpy foreigner walking around! I am trying to focus on the whole be happy in your own skin and just working with what I got. So get out there and work it girl!

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  8. First (I echo the comments you are not a giant, nor ginormous nor huge at ALL. Everyone ( or lots of us) have these issues. I Had major eating disorders in my teens and 20's and although I have overcome these I sometimes feel the pull, worse than the nicotine addicition I use to have. I found it funny theat my fears of going to LA, Miami, Cruises etc, I always expect to see skinny beautiful people and I never do. ( maybe the boat show only hires scrawny models or all the skinnies are looking for guys who buy big boats...)

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  9. Totally hit home.
    I went to Hawaii over the holidays, and I was shocked by how many women are so amazingly confident that they walk around all day in teeny tiny bikinis, and even EAT at little beach cafes in their bikinis. I initially despised them, but then tried my best to focus on appreciating the confidence it takes to feel so comfortable in your own skin, and am now trying to use it as motivation to feel the same. To me feeling comfortable in my own skin doesn't mean that some day I aspire to strut my stuff in cheeky bikini bottoms, but it does mean feeling good in what I feel comfortable wearing, and not feeling the urge to put layers on my layers...on my layers.

    I definitely feel gigantic often, but we are own worst critics. My body will never look like somebody else's body, but I'm trying to do the best with the bones that I have. You are gorgeous, and clearly intelligent! Setbacks are powerful things that help inspire strong forward momentum! You got this! :)

    Al
    www.herbearings.com

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  10. I have always felt that way about myself. Especially when I went to the gym. I am 35 and have had a child so my body is not what it used to be. Add that to the fact that I live in a college town and it's bad. It used to keep me from getting myself to go to the gym because I was so self concioius. I have finally reached a point in my life where I realized that I am how I am supposed to be. As long as I exercise and take care of myself, I feel better! Also doesn't hurt to imagine them at my age after having kids ;)
    Kristin

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  11. First of all, no you're not gigantic, you are beautiful and I love your honesty. Second, absolutely I also struggle with the way I see myself. I think everyone does to a certain extent, but body dysmorphic disorder is very real and very scary. There have been times when I looked back at photos of myself in a bikini and I'm all "wow, I was really fit there!" then I remember the day and how I felt and I remember looking in the mirror at the time and feeling like a big ole fatty. Ridiculous. Also, Miami is ridiculous. Mad props to you, I would hate to be surrounded by so many people who are obsessed with how they look. Just remember that you are doing great things and we are all here to support you! xo

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  12. Sure they have rockin' bodies, but are they as cool/smart/funny/interesting/awesome/witty/well-rounded/passionate as you are. Eh, no. You're on the right path, Sarah! Keep up the good work and continue loving yourself. I think you'll love the mirror test.

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  13. body image is really hard. I struggle with it all the time. I think everyone battles with loving their bodies- in one way or another.

    Karissa
    www.karissaandcompany.com

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  14. Omg you are so NOT a wildebeast, but I think everyone suffers from this. Sometimes when people at work tell me I look skinny and I just cannot believe them because when I look in the mirror I just am not happy. We have to just all feel comfortable in the skin we are in and who cares about those skinny Miami girls, they won't look like that forever!

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  15. Tthe way you feel in Miami is how I feel like I am going to feel when I go to LA in a few weeks.
    But I think all of those glam people are just out of the ordinary and we are the normal people!

    Alex

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  16. I think we all struggle with that. We all see a way bigger nose or way saggier boobs than what is actually there. I also think that there's probably some truth to what we don't like about ourselves but not to the great extent that we see. We, as women are so hard on ourselves. We really need to ease up a bit and just appreciate what we have, while we have it. (Especially since we are all so young.. because it gets a whole hell of a lot harder to keep fit when we're older.)

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  17. I completely get this. Hell, even walking the streets of Manhattan IN CLOTHES can instill this feeling. You are NOT a giant or a wildebeest. You're a gorgeous girl who's bringing her sexy back!

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  18. You are not a giant! I think we all fee that way sometimes though. I was feeling like a blob in vegas last year and told my friend about it. She shared advice her mom gave her that "you are always more beautiful and intelligent than you think you are." That helped me snap out of it. I like to remind myself of that form time to time.

    Also I show a similar documentary to my Psychology class. The kids stare at it in disbelief. Body image issues are some of the hardest to deal with.

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  19. I know the feeling. I have a totally skewed vision of how I look and I have pretty much accepted that I don't really know what I look like because I can't really "see" my body for what it actually looks like. I'm blinded by my own insecurity. Unfortunately a lot of women feel this way. You are definitely not alone. I don't see a giant when I look at you....but I understand that when you feel that way it's hard to convince otherwise.

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  20. My university is literally known for having an abundance of beautiful women, and when you don't see yourself as one of them, it gets discouraging. So I completely understand. I walk around campus every day looking at this girls and wondering how they look like that... It's just not possible. But then I realize we can't all be blessed with those genetics. Work with whatcha got. Do ya thang, girl!

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  21. I feel the same way, since I work in an office full of males! I'm not trying to attract any of them, but it does make me feel bad about myself.
    I imagine that being in Miami is very hard, though, if you want to be healthy, not crazy looks-obsessed!

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  22. I grew up in SE Asia and often felt very gigantic. By the standards of my own race and in America I'm on the petite side, but in my home I'm as tall or taller than most men and a head taller than many women I meet (And i'm 5'5''). But you can never compare, it's not worth it. I was not born to be 4"9' and have the extra small frame to match, and I can't compare myself to people who were! I'm me, not anybody else, and I'd rather be me, anyways!

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  23. That is the best idea ever! I would love to try that :)

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  24. It could be worse you could look like me a I am a short fat woman

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  25. Oh man, this one definitely hits home as I know I have a weird perception of my size. It's ridiculous and a constant battle to just love myself and be grateful for what I have. Sometimes it helps when I focus on what I have and be grateful that I am not sick or disabled.

    Since this past fall I have gained 8 pounds and I am starting to hate it because my pants are getting too tight! Ughhh... Grad school is almost over and then I will definitely be eating healthier and going to the gym more often.

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  26. this is such a good post. i think we all feel this way to a degree. literally every girl. and especially when i go to a new place I seem to notice more people around me, and particularly when they aren't wearing very many clothes. i do think you're doing great and I'm proud of you!

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  27. I think you're great and beautiful and amazing! I will say (in response to the first comment) that I find it extremely hurtful to say "the girls who starve themselves to stay thin". I'm not trying to debate or stir up drama, but I feel as though saying that is as detrimental to a woman's self image as is feeling overweight or called anything of the like. I am naturally thin, I do not starve myself, and I have strived my whole life to get my weight up. Until recently (as in a few years), I have been underweight and felt extremely self conscious because of it. Being 'skinny' or "thin" is not all it is cracked up to be, because then everyone looks at you and ASSUMES you starve yourself, etc. I ate like a mad person my whole life, crap food that should have easily threw on the el bees(lbs) but didn't. Now that I am older, my metabolism is slowing, and I am not as active as I once was, I still carry habits from trying to gain weight and I AM! Most recently my goal is to lose around 15lbs and then maintain. Beauty is from within. You my friend are gorgeous just the way you are, but don't stop striving for what YOU FEEL you need to do.

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  28. It's amazing how we can logically think "there is no such thing as ideal weight" and still let it get to us. It seems so silly that there is this emotional connection but it's so difficult to take that out of the equation. I wonder if anyone is ever really perfectly content in how they look. I know I have definitely struggled with this a lot so you're absolutely not alone!

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  29. You are for sure not alone, I always feel or imagine myself to be much bigger than I actually am. When I see myself on photos next to girls that are much tinier than me in my head, and I see on the photo that they are the same size or sometimes bigger than me I am quite shocked.
    For me it has gotten so much worse living in China where I often don't even fit into the XXXL sizes and people look at me saying "oh foreigners have such big bums" I hate it. It is usually such a relief to go back to South Africa where I can see that I am normal sized!

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  30. See the madness I deal with on a daily basis? I swear the chicks down here dont eat. They're the ones with problems.

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  31. I think we all have a distorted sense of ourselves at times. Like when I'm bloated I feel like I've gained weight and lose all hope for no flippin' reason. I am getting better at realizing that A) I'm not 21 anymore and B) I don't get paid to be thin anymore, so now I can just be HEALTHY. Yay for Operation get fit!

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