I’ve Lost the Weight. Why Do I Still Feel Fat?

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t get my head wrapped around the fact that I am no longer obese. There I said it… I still feel fat!!

I have had a weight issue since I was 11 years old. I was what you would probably call “pudgy”. A had a few extra pounds around the middle and face; just enough to get teased about. Why did I have to be the ‘overweight’ kid?

I was first stigmatized by this on our first family trip to visit our relatives in Scotland. We spent the day at the beach and it was the first time I can remember feeling uncomfortable in my own skin. I can’t remember if someone said something to me, but I do remember feeling very uncomfortable showing my body to all in my swim trunks. Sad, but true.

From that point onward, I have always felt fat. I wasn’t (I have pictures that prove it), but that was how I have always felt. Like most kids in their teens, I sprouted up and lost all of that excess fat, slimmed out and grew up. I was more active and sporty; however the fattiness still lingered in my mind.

So, “blah, blah, blah, sad story”, whatever! Skip forward 30 odd years and having lived through ever increasing obesity, couch-potatoeness, and a general depression, I have come out the other end fitter, happier and have lost over 65 lbs of fat from my body. I weigh less than I did at age 20 and am orders of magnitude stronger.


It’s ridiculous! I look in the mirror and “see” that I am thin. I put clothes on that are 8 sizes smaller than I was 1½ years ago. I no longer have a belly that gets in the way every time I bend over. What the hell is stopping me from feeling thin?

I know that I will never be fat again. Having found the “paleo” way of eating is a no brainer when it comes to nutrition and stable weight maintenance. I know that I will always be fit; again, a no brainer since finding CrossFit/MovNat style workouts. Empirically I see that I am slim and fit; emotionally, I don’t.

What I really want is to feel comfortable in my own skin.

12 thoughts on “I’ve Lost the Weight. Why Do I Still Feel Fat?

  • Pingback: I’ve Lost the Weight. Why Do I Still Feel Fat? | Paleo Digest

  • June 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    carry a before picture with you. whenever thoughts of feeling fat creap into your brain, look at that picture. YOU AREN’T FAT! This sounds like an anorexic condition but not quite. so be strong and be careful not to become an eating disorder walking skeleton.

  • June 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    A few passes by some pretty women might boost your self esteem! I know I would give you a second look and a compliment to boot. Way to go.

  • June 8, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Brock, your accomplishments are so awesome! I am just beginning the journey that you started over a year ago. I know exactly how you feel though having lost weight in the past and still being that “little fat kid” emotionally. I do think it takes a lot more to overcome the emotional than the physical. I know what encourages me is that I want to be a healthy and strong mom, not necessarily a “skinny” mom. I want my children to know that even though the food changes in our house a bit, it is only because I want them to be strong and healthy when they leave my home. I have a 10 year old that is where you were as a boy and this posting is even more reason for my husband an I to adopt this lifestyle. I look forward to reading more of your blog! Keep up the great example you are setting for your sons, wife, family and community!

  • June 11, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    Brock, I know EXACTLY how you feel. I still have a long way to go down this Paleo road before I reach the fit point, but you would think losing 70lbs would be so evident that I couldn’t overlook how far I’ve come. And yet when I look in the mirror I don’t see that. I think Chuck’s got it right though. Because I look at myself every day I don’t see the huge difference between then and now that everyone else sees. I didn’t realize how drastic the change was until I was looking for one of those “before” photos. I was shocked myself!

    I have a friend who lost a lot of weight and two years later she would still catch her reflection in the window of a store and wonder, “Who is that?” So maybe you shouldn’t just carry a before pic. Carry one of you now and look at it. A LOT. Get that image ingrained in your mind. Who knows? It might help. 🙂

    Now if I can just do the same thing myself. 😉

  • June 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    It’s called former fat guy syndrome. You’re not the only sufferer! I’m not sure I know of a cure, though.

  • June 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Hi Brock, Got here through the Paleo Rodeo. I was in the exact same place as you right now a few months ago, but am slowly coming out of it. In fact, I did a post about it: http://primalgirl.wordpress.com/2011/04/19/body-image-when-youve-met-your-goal-but-you-still-feel-fat/
    I think I’m suffering from a mild case of body dysmorphic disorder. I’ve been (or thought I was) overweight since the age of 8. I’ve always had a crappy body image. Now that’s I’ve lost 100 lbs, it’s hard to get rid of that mindset.
    I think the cure is building up your self-esteem. Whether that is getting recognition from the Paleo community, rocking out at a sport you’ve never tried, or getting attention from women, only you can figure out what will work for you. Good luck, I know there’s a lot of us out there with the same problem.

  • June 20, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    when i was young, i was skinny, and i had a friend who was fat.
    getting older, i got fat, and he got skinny.
    some time ago i discussed with him that i still felt thin, while he still felt fat, so it goes both ways.
    my theory: there is just too much past experience and accumulated “feelings” of being a certain way.
    so, i assume that it will take (maybe a lot of) time, to accumulate the opposite feelings…

  • July 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    I’ve had feelings like that, too… I was a chubby kid and an obese adult, and my weight fluctuated quite a bit over the course of about 15 years until I really cleaned up my diet and started doing CrossFit.

    I still have days when my mental model doesn’t match what the rest of the world sees. I literally have to look at the labels inside my clothes and see the tags that say “medium” and “size 5” then remind myself that no one who’s obese has a closet full of size 5s. It’s such an odd sensation to know something is intellectually true, but still be tricked by my emotions and perception.

    CrossFit and strength training has also helped a great deal. I think I look my best when I step under the bar for a back squat. Something about the determination on my face and the way I’m kinda dwarfed by the barbell makes me feel strong and feminine… strange but awesome.

    Anyway, congratulations. Eventually it gets easier, but the weird feelings come back on rare occasions.

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  • September 17, 2011 at 5:17 am

    I have struggled with this issue myself, never feeling like I’ve lost enough weight, even when I have been thin before. Once I get back to my desired weight now, though, I will have the advantage of knowing that I can keep it off by sticking with this paleo lifestyle, which is not difficult to do if you only commit to it. I’m excited for the day when I’m as thin as you!

  • February 17, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Shedding demons and discovering a new person. Sometimes those demons come back and remind you of the good ole days. Stay strong…stay strong my friend.



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