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Wellness Wednesday: Fighting Fat Head


Have you ever had a day, or series of days, when you look in the mirror and find yourself particularly dissatisfied with your body? The positive feelings associated with all the healthy choices you made over the course of the week seem to evaporate right before your eyes as you take in your reflection. Likewise, a pair of pants that you wore confidently last week seems a bit snug or ill-fitting. Yet, despite all this, the scale hasn’t moved. When the mirror doesn’t feel like your friend, but the scale is telling you the same thing it did last week, then it’s likely your perception is off.

I affectionately refer to this phenomenon as having “Fat Head.” Fat Head is the experience of feeling or perceiving yourself as heavier when there has been no actual change in your weight or size. It’s a misperception that is usually associated with other underlying negative emotions that haven’t been addressed. Fat Head consists of temporary dips in self-esteem accompanied by an increase in negative body image.

If you have suffered from this condition then you know its manifestation is usually temporary. However, one of the possible adverse side effects is the desire to eat and give up on exercise. It’s that age old vicious cycle – feeling bad, followed by eating, followed by feeling worse.  So, the next time you are experiencing Fat Head, don’t fall prey to the pitfalls. Here are a few suggestions to help you endure this temporary state while helping you improve your self-confidence.

    • Remind yourself that the scale doesn’t lie. It is telling you with certainty that your body hasn’t changed.
    • See if you can get to some of the underlying emotions that might be contributing to your destructive perception. Try journaling or processing with a friend.
    • Do something nice for your body like schedule a massage, facial, manicure or pedicure. It’s hard to feel bad about your body when you are actively being kind to it.
    • Write ten things you are grateful for about your body on sticky notes and post them on your bathroom mirror.
    • In order to fight the negative perception associated with Fat Head dress nicely and keep yourself well-groomed.


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