Rapid Weightloss: Body Dysmorphic Disorder

It took a lot of guts to put these images out there.

I mean, I don’t so much care about the strangers – in fact, I’m more than happy to provide inspiration.  But, it’s the friends, colleagues and family that I know have seen me at my ultimate “low” that keeps me awake some nights.

Yes, I unfortunately said “keeps” rather than “kept.”  As much as losing 116lbs should be a huge relief and cathartic (and it was, my post on What It Feels Like to Lose 100lbs wasn’t all bologna), it’s also filled with pressure and completely overwhelming.  I look at the “after” photos and see the 60lbs I still want to lose, rather than the 116 that I’ve conquered in less than a year.  I literally look in the mirror and still see the old Stacy.  I look at pictures of myself and either a) don’t recognize myself or b) can’t see a difference from before the weight loss.  My brain quite literally has not caught up to the physical transformation you see above.

When I accidentally see a reflection of myself, I don’t realize it’s me.

If I know I’m looking at a mirror, then I see someone over 100lbs heavier and am mortified with my appearance.  There’s a term for what I have: Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Having grown up with a variety of eating disorders, I can’t say I’m surprised that my brain has transferred my mental issues with food onto my body now that I’m comfortable with food and eating habits.

I’m lucky enough to have a support system to support me and remind me how wonderful I feel and look.  My lovely husband, who is becoming a svelte beefcake by the minute, is infinitely wonderful in telling me that even if I don’t lose another pound I’ve done amazing things for my health and should feel proud and happy with where I am physically.  He forces me to look at myself realistically, he points to my empty closet to prove a simple point about inches being lost.

I hope that no matter what your weight loss and health goals, you face them head-on and with honesty.  Without the ability to realize where problems exist, those that love you can’t possibly help you achieve them.  This post is just a reminder that even with the very best of success stories, each person has their own personal struggles which must be overcome.

Best of luck to you on your personal journey.

You Might Also Like

  • I think that amount of weightloss is AMAZING! And you look fabulous! You are really an inspiration to anyone who wants to get healthy, eat better, and look great.

    • Wow, thank you! It’s so great to be reminded why we take the time to do this.

  • Pingback: Rapid Weightloss: Body Dysmorphic Disorder « Paleo Parents | Untreated Info()

  • Shirley @ gfe

    Stacy, I’m not sure it’s really a disorder … doesn’t it take time to adapt to one’s new self? I have the opposite issue. When I look in the mirror, I usually don’t see an overweight person (or at least not someone AS overweight) so seeing recent photos of myself has been a bit of a shock. Tell yourself that you’re beautiful and healthy every day (in an affirmation with a big smile on your face, preferably looking in the mirror) and soon you’ll believe it!


    • If it weren’t coming from a lifetime of eating/emotional/body disorders I think you’d probably be right.  I do hope that overtime I’ll get used to seeing myself in a new way and enjoy being happy and healthy to the fullest.

      In the meantime, I’m seeking guidance from counselor to make sure everything’s OK and have a place to vent about how different life is (i.e. how people treat me) now that I’m no longer morbidly obese.

  • Kborzych

    Hi!  I also lost a hundred pounds.  I am 28 years old and after struggling with multiple eating disorders and getting sober from a heavy college drinking career, I went from 223lbs to 125lbs.  I have maintained this weight for 2 years.  It has been such a long road, and still have a difficult relationship with food and binge eating.  After horrific GI problems last year, I began to eat Paleo and am still trying to maintain this lifestyle while I learn how to cook for the first time.  It was amazing to read this because I feel like NO ONE understands my daily struggles.  I look in the mirror everyday and see something different.  Thank you for posting the truth.  You have touched me on a frustrating monday night.  Best wishes, Katie

    • Wow Katie – thanks so much for commenting and letting me know about your experience.  I’ve found it’s incredibly hard to find people who have been through or understand the process and emotional toll – let alone the physical transformation. 

      Awesome job losing it, and keeping it off!  I hope Paleo helps with the process and your personal health.  I know it made my relationship with food infinitely easier and healthier.  Best of luck and keep in touch!

  • Wow, what a transformation. Congratulations. And your Matt is absolutely right, if you don’t lose anymore weight (I know you want to) you will have done awesome. I think it’s wonderful you did this for your health rather than weight loss. I hope you are getting all the support you need. Way to go, Stacy!

    • Alison, thank you!  It’s been a wonderful journey and I think I am finally in a state of acceptance.  Took quite a while though – and I think I’ll always think of myself as the obese women I grew up being.

  • ThePaleoMom

    I face many of the same body image issues with my own weight loss, even with only 10-20lbs left to lose. I really have no idea what I look like. So, I understand that strange sense of conflict that stops us from really enjoying the success of our weight loss. I hope that time and the support of our loved ones is the only thing really necessary to get us to a point where we SEE ourselves. Thank you for posting such an honest telling of the emotions involved with losing a large amount of weight! And yes, you DO look fabulous and should be VERY proud!

    • Thank you very much, I am proud. Also you’re welcome and I’m so glad to have voiced these emotions. Now time has passed and I’ve definitely gotten used to my new body. I’m starting to feel good about the way I look and feel!

  • About 6 months ago i entered the kaiser weight loss program and lost 67 lbs. I still have 50 more at least to lose and since going off their products i have hit a plateau. Even thought I eat within my calories, I am stuck. So i deicied that i have come to far to let it go to waste and I know the key is Sugar and Gultens. So i am going paleo with some Dairy, as such I found this blog and I started to read about you guys and I am reading all the old entries, hence this post. I hit this one today and it spoke volumes without having to say it all. i am struggling with the same feelings and the same not seeing myself when I look in the mirror. I admire you and your family and thank you for putting this out there.

    • Thanks Tara, best luck going forward – you can do it! – Stacy

  • Heidi

    Thank you, Stacy. I needed this post this morning. I actually woke up and said I need to google this to see if Stacy has addressed it! 🙂 My mind still plays tricks on me even though I’m confident I’m on the right path and know I’ve already made great strides. Thank you for all that you do for those of us out here in the paleo community. May you continue to be blessed.