“Fat Girl” Mentality

First, let’s get the boring stuff out of the way… Last night I made a veggie soup because I wanted to use up all the veggies in my refrigerator since I’m getting another farm share tomorrow. I cut up about 2/3 of a white onion and sauteed it in a little nonstick spray, before adding zucchini, summer squash, and cabbage (the veggies I had). I added some veggie stock that my boyfriend had over the weekend along with some water and salt and pepper, and cooked it for about 20 minutes.

For lunch today, I added a serving of tofu to add some protein, and just chopped it up and poured the soup over it.

I also had a piece of whole wheat toast with it (1 pt) so the whole meal was 4 (1 for the soup, 2 for the tofu, and 1 for the bread). The soup was fine – – nothing spectacular because I didn’t add much flavor/spices, but it was fine. There’s a lot more of it in my fridge so I’m going to have to figure out something to make it more fun… TBD.

“Fat Girl” Mentality

A reader named Joanna emailed me yesterday to ask about my thoughts on the “Fat Girl” Menality. She said “Can I ask, do you ever have a hard time not thinking of yourself as that fat girl in your head, even tho you look in the mirror and know thats not who you are anymore? I’m really having trouble with that, and I’d love your perspective.”

So first of all, let’s talk about what exactly the Fat Girl Mentality is. If you’ve ever been the fat girl, you know exactly what it is, but it’s kind of hard to put into words. It involves this general paranoia where you just sort of assume that anyone who is whispering or looking at you is saying or thinking something about you and your size and is judging you just because you are fat. If someone at a healthy weight sees someone else look at them, they might think that they are being looked at because the person finds them attractive.  The fat girl mentality makes you automatically assume that the only reason anyone could possibly be looking at you is because you are fat and that they are looking at you in a negative way.

It’s hard NOT to let this take over their life and for you to be afraid to put yourself out there for fear of being judged. A good example is being downright frightened to go to the gym because you know that most of the people there will be thinner than you and just look at you and think, “What is she doing here?” even though the gym is where you should be to change that. I remember when I first started going to the gym I used to hate to be on the treadmill if there was a line because I figured the people in line were wondering what I was doing taking up one of their treadmills since whatever I was doing on there clearly wasn’t working.

As you start to lose weight, your outside clearly changes, but you’re still the same person looking out from within. Because your insides don’t change, it’s very hard time to shake this fat girl mentality and paranoia that comes along with it. The mental aspect of losing weight can be one of the hardest parts because you know what you have to do to lose the weight (eat less, move more), but how do you get out of the trap of feeling like the fat girl who everyone is judging?

Well, it’s not easy, that’s for sure. I still struggle a lot with this, even though I’ve gone from a size 20+ to a size 8/10. While I’ve made a ton of progress in this area, I still have to talk myself out of it more than I’d like to. Sometimes I’ll catch someone looking at me and think, “Oh shit. Are my pants to tight? Is a fat roll hanging out?” when the truth is they could be looking at me for a variety of different reasons, and it’s probably NOT because my pants are too tight. I think the thing that has helped me the most in trying to get myself out of the mentality is just trying to be positive and using the fake it til you make it attitude. When I start thinking those negative thoughts, I try to immediately stop them and think about the fact that people aren’t looking at me for my size anymore because now I’m just average. I try to congratulate myself and my body every time I go for a run or a bike ride or do Bikram because my body is capable of doing these things and I need to embrace it rather than focus on the negatives and shortcomings. As time goes on, it becomes more and more natural for me to think positive things about myself and my body rather than negative things even though at first I had to make a very diligent effort to not let the negatives take over.

Do you struggle with the “Fat Girl” Mentality? What tips or advice do you have for overcoming it? Do you see yourself ever fully getting away from it?

17 Comments on “Fat Girl” Mentality

  1. Victoria
    July 28, 2010 at 3:05 pm (7 years ago)

    Even when I’ve lost weight in the past, and almost reached 150lbs, I don’t think I ever felt like I wasn’t fat anymore. In fact, I think this may be part of the reason I regained the weight. If I could go back in time to when I nearly had my weight under control, I think I would find more ways to reward myself and really appreciate all the goals I had met so far… but, instead, I didn’t, and only focused on the long road ahead. The whole Fat Girl mentality can really blow up in your face…quite literally too!

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 28, 2010 at 3:38 pm (7 years ago)

      I agree. I think working on the mental part of the weight loss is important to start towards the beginning of your journey because all of a sudden the weight is gone but you still FEEL fat, so its like “what next?” I still kind of struggle with the idea as I get close to my weight loss goal how I’m going to shift from weight loss mode to maintenance mode. Like wanting the scale to stay the same instead of go down. I think you just have to start prepping early for these things.

      Reply
  2. Robyn
    July 28, 2010 at 3:14 pm (7 years ago)

    While I’ve never been the fat girl, I’ve certainly been the somewhat chubby girl and I still think about it alot. Even at PT just yesterday I constantly kept trying to fix my shorts so that I didn’t have a roll or look big. Who’s even looking at me there? Yet I still am so self-conscious about it.

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 28, 2010 at 3:32 pm (7 years ago)

      It’s just so hard to break, isn’t it! I find myself doing and thinking the same things, constantly fixing my top or my skirt when its like, really, who is paying any attention to me anyways?

      Reply
  3. Monica
    July 28, 2010 at 3:29 pm (7 years ago)

    Beth thank you so much for posting on this topic – I think it is a very interesting one and often something that many women go through.

    I focus on the strength element as well. When I look in a mirror and want to nit pick something, I look to my legs and how muscular they are and think of all that I can do now that I couldn’t do before (running, 80 minutes spin classes, etc.). I don’t want to be thin, I want to be athletic and healthy and that has really changed my outlook on my ‘fat girl’ feelings because I no longer have only those two categories of fat or thin. I think of athletes like Serena Williams who are by no means skinny and find confidence in breaking the fat/thin confines.

    Also, I have come to accept that there is no such thing as perfect and I will always have elements of my body that make me lack confidence (stretch marks from my very very heavy years). However, those imperfections are part of who I am and they tell a story of where I have been and where I am going.

    Reply
    • Beth
      July 28, 2010 at 3:31 pm (7 years ago)

      Monica – Thank you for this comment! I think adding “athletic” as a category rather than fat or thin is an excellent idea. Though athletic as you and I think of it, not athletic as some of the magazines do. I sometimes see articles that say “dress for your figure” or something to that affect and the “athletic” girls are stick thin and flat and not what I think of!

      Reply
  4. RunToTheFinish
    July 28, 2010 at 5:30 pm (7 years ago)

    honestly…it probably took me until just this year to stop looking in the mirror and seeing the girl that I was 35lbs ago. It was definitely a mental hurdle and I only overcame it because I started spending time saying nice things to myself about my body! what a novel idea, instead of trying to perfect it all the time I respected my body for everything it has accomplished and that has helped.

    i definitely still have issues…see my recent post on wearing tight tops 🙂

    Reply
  5. Kelly
    July 28, 2010 at 6:24 pm (7 years ago)

    Oh my goodness you just put exactly into words what I feel like every single day. I am the most paranoid person and it seriously affects mine and Keith’s life. I am very anti-social because of it. I hate it! I wish I would be better about it!! I always feel like people are judging me and wonder what the heck I am doing!!

    Reply
  6. greensandjeans
    July 28, 2010 at 7:55 pm (7 years ago)

    I know exactly what you are talking about. It has taken me years to accept and love my body the way it is and not try to force it to be something that it isn’t. I yo-yo’ed with my weight in high school and college and was lucky enough to come out the other side at a very healthy weight and a body strong enough to train for a marathon. I still feel myself suck it in quick while I’m zipping up my pants or a dress, praying for things to fit.

    Reply
  7. hundredtenpounds
    July 28, 2010 at 7:57 pm (7 years ago)

    I think I will always have a little “Fat Girl” in my head still. It’s a hard thing to shake after years and years of being fat. I think I’ve done a good job with banishing those feelings and thoughts….especially since I am so fit and active now. I see myself as “The Runner” and “The Swimmer” now–first and foremost. In my insecure moments, I revert back to “The Fat Girl.”

    I think being that “Fat Girl” made me who I am today, so I am not totally okay with just banishing her. That Fat Girl made me more sensitive, more compassionate to other people who are physical disabled or struggle with weight. If I had grown up as a “Barbie Doll” I might be a very different person today. 🙂

    Reply
  8. Amber
    July 29, 2010 at 9:47 am (7 years ago)

    I think whether your fat or thin, women in our culture are constantly self-conscious about SOMETHING as we strive for perfection. Overcoming “fat girl mentality” is an example of how you transcended from judging yourself, set some goals (impressive ones at that) and strived to achieve them, which gave you the confidence to accept yourself. A healthy woman is a beautiful woman – and we should all remember to embrace ourselves (and stop judging, ourselves and others) and maybe the paranoia about others judging us will subside too!

    Reply
  9. Juliene
    July 29, 2010 at 10:29 am (7 years ago)

    This was a great post. You and I started in similar positions. Last year I weighed 273 lbs and realized enough was enough, and that I was too young to be so unhealthy. Over the last year I have lost 120 lbs and I am finally in a healthy weight range. Although I have great days where I feel self confident and ready to take on the world there are also those days when I ask myself all day if I am fat? I feel super self conscious sometimes, especially if I am ordering food or grocery shopping for something that isn’t 100% healthy. In my mind everyone is judging me and seeing the 275 lb girl. I think it’s a daily struggle but the good thing is that the confident days definitely outnumber the self conscious ones. I also try really hard to tell myself that most of the people around me are strangers and do I really care why they are looking at me, I will probably never see them again anyway. Great job on your weight loss, and good luck with your last few lbs, I am right there with ya!

    Reply
  10. HappyWhenNotHungry
    July 29, 2010 at 10:39 am (7 years ago)

    I agree… I have never been overweight, but I have always been self conscious about the way I look. I think a lot of that stems from our culture and what we perceive as being “beautiful”. However, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am who I am! Great blog post Beth 🙂

    Reply
  11. kelsey@snackingsquirrel.com
    July 29, 2010 at 11:27 am (7 years ago)

    when i went from a size 12 to a 1 i had this mentality for a little while. i finally realized what so many people on weight loss shows talked about or on the bigest loser etc. it was so hard not to feel or think of myself as swollen and sad.. it really took some work to get over that. its such a strange mentality but when u look at the root of it, it makes sense why it happens!

    xoxo <3

    Reply
  12. Kerry
    July 29, 2011 at 4:02 pm (6 years ago)

    Great post! I’ve never been overweight, but I do get that fear that other people are judging me for the way I look, thinking I’m fat or badly dressed etc – for example sometimes if you walk past someone and they seem to be weighing you up. I think everyone has the fear to a certain extent that other people are judging them – you just have to keep that little paranoid voice inside in check!

    Reply

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