Why Do I Feel Suddenly Fatter for No Reason?
The brain is a powerful and complicated organ. It has the ability to make a person feel fatter from one day to another and even from one moment to another. This can happen even without gaining weight. But how does it happen?
Why People Distort Their SizeEveryone distorts their body image to some extent. The reason is because people cannot view themselves from the perspective that others see them. The closest a person can come to viewing themselves as others see them is through a mirror. Otherwise, people perceive themselves from within and they rely partially on how they feel to get a sense how they look. This is what is going on when a person says, “I feel fat.”
Eating Disorders and Body Image Distortion
The most severe distortions of body size are usually seen in individuals with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. For example, an anorexic person may perceive themselves as obese when others see them as emaciated. This person may talk about their stomach sticking out when it’s actually caving in. These are extremes, but distortions that are significantly different from reality can also be seen in people without diagnosable eating disorders.
Distortion of Body Size and Self-EsteemDistortions of body size that are significantly different from actual size are often seen in people with low self-esteem who focus on their weight and dieting to correct what they perceive is the problem – their weight. Self-esteem is the acceptance that one is worthy despite personal weaknesses. A person can perceive themselves as fatter than others view them regardless of what their size actually is. This type of individual believes they are not worthwhile unless they accomplish goals that they have set for themselves. The goals can be social, such as attracting a mate; academic, such as getting straight A’s in school; or financial, such as earning a certain amount of money. When self-worth is based on external things, feelings of self-esteem are fleeting and fluctuate depending on what is going on at the time and how the person evaluates these things. When they think that they’ve achieved what makes them worthwhile, they feel better and when they perceive themselves as failing, they feel worthless.
The person who is preoccupied with their weight and size links their size with feelings of self-worth. That is, when they feel badly about themselves they feel fatter than when they feel they have met expectations. They can report sudden shifts in body size from one day to the other or even from one moment to the other. For example, a person can report that things were going relatively well on a given day when suddenly something goes wrong. It might have been a conflict with a friend, a bad grade in school, or not having lost weight as expected. At this point, the person can feel suddenly bigger or fatter, although it’s physiologically impossible for the body to have gotten bigger that quickly.
At the bottom of this phenomenon is a lack of self-worth and a belief that self-worth is connected to external things. The solution to this problem is not dieting or losing weight, but the realization that size is not the issue and that self-esteem comes from within. It’s at this point that body size distortions can start disappearing.