Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Tackle It Tuesday

I have a lot of shite to "tackle" at the moment. Most of which is a little too hum drum to chat about on here.

BUT, one thing I have been meaning to tackle, out of interest rather than necessity is this:

Phantom Fat. Ummmm. Charming phrase. But sadly a phenomena that kind of sometimes afflicts me.

According to the wonderful Word Spy:

"Body-image experts say it's not uncommon for people, especially women, who have lost a lot of weight to be disappointed to some extent to discover that they still aren't "perfect." The excess fat is gone when they reach their goal weight, but they may have sagging skin, cellulite or a body shape that they still deem undesirable. Some even continue to see themselves as though they are overweight.

Some specialists use the term "phantom fat" to refer to this phenomenon of feeling fat and unacceptable after weight loss.

"People who were formerly overweight often still carry that internal image, perception, with them," says Elayne Daniels, a psychologist in Canton, Mass., who specializes in body-image issues. "They literally feel as if they're in a large body still."
The reason this has come up again, for me, is the TV show The Biggest Loser.

I look at those contestants, specifially the female ones, and cannot see how I weigh less than them.

I'll give you an example:

Daina is currently 88.7kg. I look at her and think her figure is shaping up gorgeously! I am envious! (I currently weigh 87kg. I am not sure how tall she is, but you get my drift.)

Pheobe is currently 97.4kg. Looking good, but with a way to go. She looks how I still feel. But I am a fair bit less?

PLEASE note, I am NOT comparing myself with these women. Of course I get that we are all different and that we carry excess weight differently.

But I am curious, I guess, as to this "condition" which strikes me totally as a mental one?

Will I ever feel slim?


Will I ever have a correct sense of how my body really is? (Good and bad, fat or slim. Because I hate to say it, but at my top end weight of 111kg, I never actually felt obese. Weird.)

Confused about all this?

Yeah, me too. Not whining, just curious.

Thus far, in my Googling, I have not come across a solution. I shall, of course, continue to look for some answers.

In between times, if anyone has any bright ideas on this Phantom Fat bizzo, let me know?


  1. Don't forget that, with the amount of exercise they do on that show, the contestants are building muscle which takes up less space than fat. So they could weight more but still be smaller, if that makes sense. Instead of relying purely on the scales, I also measure my body fat percentage so I can work out how much fat I have lost from week to week. It's totally inspiring, especially when the scales don't seem to be moving!

  2. Me too Kelly. My trainer has those fancy dancy scales that measure me in terms of "top line weight" (KG's) body fat, water % and muscle %.When I look at how my muscle and hydration levels have totally increased as a % and my body fat has diminished.....oh wow, even I am impressed with myself, LOL! But the phantom fat feeling still remains.....:-(

  3. I have trouble with this too.

    When I'm slimmer I still think I'm huge. I hope when I'm slim this time I appreciate it, and realise that I actually look goood.

    I hope you can see/feel it for yourself too. xx

  4. I have never heard of phantom fat before, but I can see how it occurs, similar to anorexia - they can't see how thin they have become either. I don't have an answer for it, wish I did. Congrats on your continued weight loss journey. Hugs from Perth xxx

  5. Boy, do I feel your pain on this one! I can lose soo much weight when I'm dieting, and still feel ENORMOUS! I like what Kelly said, too, about the fat percentage, that's the TRUE test!

    Darn that PHANTOM FAT!!

  6. Yes, I get you! Sometims I still feel almost 40kg heavier than I am. I still see myself as shapeless, heavy and slow.

    I see all the bad things - like the tummy, arms etc.

    So I try to make sure I praise 1-3 positives about my physical self everyday to try and boost the way I perceive myself.

  7. Oh goodness godesses, I am sad but relieved it is not just me being a nutter. Thank you for all your comments. xx

  8. Sometimes I see myself like the cartoon drawing you've put in this post - when I look in the mirror and see 'slender', I ask my husband incredulously if I look the same as I do in the mirror to him. He thinks I'm a bit mad. Then other days, I can think I'm looking ok - cos I feel 'thin' - but I'll see myself in a shop window or something and realise.... oh yeah. I AM still 15-20kg over a sensible, healthy weight for my frame.

    Your WL to date is completely inspiring. Every time I start in earnest to drop some kg's, I fall pg again and feel even further behind. Sigh.


I am a comment addict. Thank you so much for your words...xx