Isn't it great when you get in contact with a friend you haven't seen for ages? And when the conversation flows so freely it leaves you with a warm feeling inside and a vow that you won't leave it so long next time? On Thursday I met up with an old work pal who I haven't seen for 18 months and we had a great time; putting the world to rights, gossiping, followed by my all-time favourite....shopping.
Image taken from Nando's
First stop was everyone's favourite - Nando's. It was here that when the conversation turned from work, to boys, to friends, to diets, that it raised some interesting questions about body image. Or more specifically, mine.
A couple of years ago I was a lot heavier. Through hard work and "lifestyle changes" (as the books would put it) I've lost 74lbs. I am extremely proud of this achievement, but as blogger Alice Linley-Munro says in this month's Glamour magazine: "I just wish someone had told me that the physical act of getting slimmer is only half the battle." I can't say I'm faced with all of the problems Alice has, but I can empathize with this statement. At my heaviest I was wearing a size 16-18 and at the time it didn't bother me one bit. Trouble now is that I have no idea what size I am. I mean, I can measure myself and use sizing charts to find out, but I have problems believing that I am the size it says I am and still buy clothes in bigger sizes.
So I used our old friend Google to find out what was going on. According to Thomas F. Cash, PhD, I am suffering from Phantom Fat, a condition quite common in women who have lost weight but have not adjusted their body image to reflect their new look. More worryingly, Cash suggests that some women create a self-fulfilling prophecy by believing that they are carrying this phantom fat.