Many of us suffer from THE PHANTOM of FAT.

But after weight loss surgery, how do you tell the Phantom goodbye?

Researchers have based the Phantom Fat theory on the Phantom Limb medical condition. We know firsthand what psychologists are talking about. It takes time to get used to our new bodies after weight loss surgery. When one has spent a significant amount of her life overweight, obese, and morbidly obese, and then transforms to ‘normal’ in as little as a year, it’s difficult, and yes it can even be scary.

How does the PHANTOM of FAT haunt your life after weight loss surgery?

  • Do you have a hard time giving away your ‘big’ clothes? Are you wearing clothes that are a couple of sizes too big?
  • Do you avoid shopping for new clothes? Or, when you do go shopping, do you look through racks of clothing that you know are too big for you?
  • Have you avoided new activities, ones you thought you’d enjoy after weight loss surgery?
  • Do you look at yourself in the mirror and still think, or even worse say to yourself, “I’m so fat!”
  • Do you tell yourself, “I may not be as fat as I was, but I’m still not good enough. I’m not at the weight / shape / size, I want to be yet.”
  • Are you so afraid of gaining the weight back, so sure you’re going to fail, that you won’t allow yourself to enjoy the success you have achieved after weight loss surgery?
  • Are you afraid to believe that this healthy weight is your new normal?
  • Do you refuse to accept compliments or congratulations
    because you don’t think you deserve them,
    or because you don’t trust yourself to make this work in the long run?

You can probably come up with more ways that the PHANTOM haunts you.

Why do we allow it?

Because the brain remembers.

We have so many memories, hurts, sorrows, and failures, all associated with our lives of obesity. And perhaps we occasionally used our obesity to protect us from people, activities, experiences, and life. Sometimes it seems like the greater work after Weight Loss Surgery is not exercising, or eating right or taking supplements, but working on what’s going on inside.

How long will you allow the PHANTOM of FAT to rob you of your healthier life?
What steps can you take to reclaim your life and all that you have worked for and dreamed of?
What can you do to accept that obesity is part of your past life, and that it’s okay to let it go and move on?

You CAN tell the Phantom of Fat goodbye after weight loss surgery.
Take it one step a time.
Having awareness of how the Phantom haunts your life is a good place to begin.

Where in your life are you feeling uneasy about your new, healthier body?

When you look in the closet?
When you go shopping for clothes?
When you want to try a new activity but you’re still afraid?
When you look in the mirror?
When you think about how far you’ve come and you’re afraid to go back?
When someone compliments you on your new, healthier size?

Notice your thoughts and feelings the next time you experience a haunting from the Phantom of Fat after weight loss surgery.
Just notice what you’re thinking. Then notice what you’re feeling. My guess is that you might be feeling what I have.


I understand.  I get scared too.

But healing everything we have associated with obesity, making peace with our past lives, and now accepting and making peace with our new lives, in these healthier bodies is just as important as the work we do to keep our bodies physically healthy everyday.

This takes determination, courage, patience and self-kindness. But we are worth it, you and me. And we have the courage to tell the Phantom of Fat goodbye after weight loss surgery.

Love, light and grace to you.

Written January, 2012, 8 months after weight loss surgery.